The VSCC at Prescott (August 8th)

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Fine weather, a good entry, big crowds and three new class records made this year’s Vintage SCC hill-climb at Prescott a happy occasion. The course was opened by Tim Carson in Barker’s 1908 Napier. A. S. Cottam in his 2-litre Connaught AL 10 made f.t.d., in 43.83 sec., only 0.27 sec. outside his 1966 record climb. Pilkington’s tubular-chassis Mk. II Cooper-Bristol was runner-up. Incidents were few, being confined to Jones’ Treen Riley running mildly out of road, the HM Special breaking its gearbox, Footitt going harmlessly through Allard’s gap at the Semi-Circle in the AC/GN, and D. S. J. losing a chain after Orchard corner from the Semmence Special.

The 1,100-c.c. Sports Car class was a walk-over for Jack French in his conception of a 1971 vintage Austin 7, twin SUs, four exhaust pipes and hidden mysteries giving a time of 50.97 sec., perhaps a case of “adding lightness”. This disposed of Ely’s Riley and Fletcher-Jones’ Lagonda, as well as the vintage runners-up, the Ulster Austins of Nice and Eyre. French set a new class record.

Fastest of the 1,101-1,500-c.c. sports cars was Stephenson’s Frazer Nash (52.55 sec.), which beat Tony Jones’ i.f.s. Frazer Nash “Patience” and Elwell-Smith’s 1928 International Aston Martin, the Aston Martin taking the vintage prize from May’s Frazer Nash and Poynter’s unblown Hyper Lea-Francis. The 1,501-3,000-c.c. sports-car section was won by Rogers’ AC Special (50.64 sec.), from Upston’s Frazer Nash and Oddie’s 328 BMW. Hill’s Alvis tourer was best vintage car, appreciably faster than Vessey’s Lancia Lambda and Woodley’s very smart, but re-bodied 2.2-litre OM. Hamish Morten set a new class record for the big sports cars, his 1928 4 1/2-litre Bentley climbing in 48.88 sec., taking this vintage honour from Williamson’s Bentley. Second place went to Llewellyn’s 8.3-litre Bentley. third place to Blight’s Talbot BGH 23.

The Edwardian Handicap went deservedly to Clarke’s nicely turned-out, ex-“works” Singer Ten, from Rowley’s Talbot 25, but the Itala was fastest, in 59.25 sec. In the absence of the Lightweight Special Morgan’s multi-blower Lagonda took the 1,100-c.c. racing class in 50.82 sec., from the best vintage car, the Hardy Special. Merrick was far faster than Sandy Murray in ERA R1A, to win the 1 1/2-litre racing class in 45.55 sec., Gibson’s ex-Aitken monoposto Frazer Nash second, Joseland’s Frazer Nash Anzani “Terror II” third and with a new Vintage class record to its credit, of 48.65 sec., which bettered the 1948. Norris Special time by 0.15 sec. Cottam and Pilkington dominated the 3-litre class, pursued, as it were, by Lockhart’s Rover, the vintage division going to Wall’s single-seater 35B Bugatti, which tied for fastest vintage time in 47.51 sec. with Perkins’ odd-looking twin-rear-wheeled 35B of the low-hung gas-works. The big racing-car class saw Clutton tactless enough to go faster (2.63 sec. faster—a matter of weight?) than the President, in the President’s 1914 GP Mercedes, and with an alarmingly slidy approach to Orchard on his first run, into the bargain. The Vintage section was won by Harvey Hine in the oversize 8-litre Bentley, his 48.22 sec. breaking Arnold-Forster’s 1965 vintage time in the Delage by 1.77 sec. Ann Shoosmith was second, in her cut-and-shut 1936 4 1/4-litre Bentley. Light relief was provided by Smith’s Alvis Speed 25-engined Frazer Nash; he chased our photographer on the grass at Orchard, saying “Sorry!” as he drove on—commentator Tubbs suggested he really meant “Pardon”—the next corner he had to take! He made no such error on his next run, winning the class in 46.96 sec.

Incidentally, in spite of a terse letter last month saying that Edwardian Rolls-Royce clutches don’t squeal, that of Howard’s 1913 Silver Ghost did so on both its take-offs. Finally, as Prescott must make a nice profit for its owners, couldn’t something be done about the filthy state of the girls’ loo?—W.B.