VSCC at Prescott
Prescott was in true garden-party mood for the VSCC speed hill-climb on August 5th. Continuing his outstanding season, David Black broke the outright VSCC course-record in 41.85 sec (short course), his runs in the P3 Alfa Romeo so smooth they looked slow! He sensibly elected not to run in the "ten fastest" final runs and conserved the monoposto again by letting his son drive him up in another Alfa on his ascent-of-honour.
Miss Gunn did well to win the small sports-car class in her A7 (52.52 sec) and it was nice to see 2nd place going to Walker's Morgan-JAP 3-wheeler (53.47 sec). Heelis' Riley 9 was 3rd, this vintage trio beating "Cream Cracker 1" and P-type MGs. The 1 1/2-litre sports class was another vintage one-two, Dick Smith's Frazer Nash (54.91 sec) winning from Stretton's 'Nash (49.83 sec). Of the up-to-3-litres sports cars, Dods' triple-carb AC Special was quickest (48.51 sec), with vintage cars, Rogers' Frazer Nash (49.23 sec) and Marsh's T35T Bugatti (51.13 sec) 2nd and 3rd. Wall's 35T Bugatti made 3rd vintage (51.18 sec). Best of the big sports-cars was Spollon's ex-Bailey Derby-Bentley Special (47.03 sec), with consistent, tyre-smoking runs, from Parker's fast and quiet P3 R-R-powered Bentley Special (47.54 sec) and Chant in the accelerative 4.3 Alvis "Brutus" (49.84 sec). Best vintage here was (hurrah!), Quartermaine's 30/98 (54.63 sec), from Briscoe's GN/Ford (55.24 sec after a sick first run) and Scott's ex-Neve / Bolster 30/98 (54.63 sec).
Nine Edwardians (and no non-starters) were crowd entertainment. Collings, on hairy, gear-crunching runs, made his best-ever time on the veteran Mercedes (56.76 sec) on both ascents, to win on handicap. The 1908 Panhard and ltala were runners-up, although Threlfall was actually fastest in the Th Schneider (54.08 sec). Slowest, but how gracious, was Daniels, in the 1907 poppet-valve, chain-drive, ex-Lord Craven Daimler tourer (75.3 sec), its lamps and levers copper-plated — no common brass — and with but 4,000 miles on the odometer.
Bruce-White had it all his own way in the 1,100 cc racing class, the BSA FWD Douglas-engined Alt'cock doing 49.81 sec. Way (A7) and Fountain (Gillow Riley) were next best. Grey had the fast Hardy Special seize-up before Orchard, to coast silently out of sight up the escape-road. Freddie Giles broke his own vintage 1 1/2-litre racing-class record by the handsome margin of 1.14 sec in the Morgan/GN "Salome" (46.15 sec), a BTH magneto for each cylinder clearly paying off plus a courageous pilot, of course. Stephens in ERA R12C was next fastest (46.58 sec), Gibbs' Beebe 3rd, and 2nd vintage (49.99 sec), its blown ohc Wolseley engine having the advantage over the very realistic "new" 1922 200 Mile Race Wolseley replica of Colin Thomas, which clocked 64.55 sec. In contrast, Benfield's real 200 Mile Race Alvis did 53.17 sec.
Bruce Spollon carried the day in the 3-litre racing class, his ERA R8C locking up into Orchard but clocking 43.72 sec, although slow on its second run. Lord Raglan was 2nd in his T51 Bugatti (43.90 sec), clipping the Orchard bank on his first climb, beating Footitt, who must have gone faster than anyone ever has into that corner, grazing the Armco (44.14 sec). That won the AC/GN "Cognac" the vintage section, from Moffatt's T35B Bugatti and Preston's T35B, with only 0.01 sec between them! Donald Day in his ERA R14B looked very fast but was just out of it. Finally, the historic and over-3-litre racing car classes were combined, with that fine run by Black's Alfa, Cottam's A-type Connaught 2nd (42.63 sec) from Guy Smith, very neat in the big Alvis / 'Nash (43.13 sec), while of the "fastest-ten" match-runs, Day dominated, in 42.71 sec, 0.04 sec faster than Cottam. So ended a marvellous summer day, Prescott having never looked better.
Prescotters. — No accidents, apart from the Giron Alvis running over its driver's foot in practice. However, Michael Barker missed a cog-swop and locked up the back wheels of the 328 BMW, C. R. Marsh's A7 nearly ran out of road at Pardon, and Preston took to the grass between the first two corners, in his Bugatti. The "Edwardian" starts were interesting. The 1907 35/45 Renault leapt away, as did the Th Schneider in two jumps, the 1914 GP Mercedes lost much water and Clarke's 1917 T-Ford was water-vapouring (its auxiliary gearbox having broken, its gear-ratios were unsuitable and it had epicyclic band-slip as well it has an eight-oh-valve push-rod Laurel head, with one side-draught "gas-works"). In contrast both it and the 1917 Dodge Four got away smoothly. The 1903 Merc rocked on its springs and was very eager! The best times here were: Th Schneider, 54.08 sec, Clutton's GP Itala 54.62 sec, GP Panhard 56.01 sec, 1903 Mei, 56.76 sec, 1914 Merc 63.36 sec (running-in its new crank?), Laurel-Ford 64.24 sec. Dodge 67.28 sec, Renault 73.21 s. and Daimler 75.3 sec. The Le Mans gear-ratios of Anne Shoosmith's 4 1/2-litre presumably allowed two 30/98s to beat her. Ghosh's hybrid Vauxhall Special was best of the big vintage racers, quicker than the V8 and V12 Deluges. Interesting cars included Mather's lengthy Frazer Nash, its AC engine and chain transmission built onto 3 K3 MG Magnette chassis said to be ex-Earl Howe's Mille Miglia car, a trio of 12/70 Alvis Specials (although Hulbert elected to drive a normal Silver Eagle tourer instead of his 12/70). Felton's Monza Alfa handled by Adnams, Felton himself substituting Monza for his Maserati, Heath's Mk 2 ex-Tony Crook Frazer Nash that seemed to suffer a flat-spot out of Pardon, Chris Mann's Talbot-Lago (instead of his Lotus 16), and Hare's 1935 "Chain Gang" Nash works-fitted BMW engine while, Gillies had the three-carb 2-litre engine back in his Treen Riley. — W.B.