A weekend of sun graced the Midland Automobile Club/Vintage Sports Car Club Newton Oils hillclimb meeting at Shelsley Walsh in July, when the Saturday saw a round of the MAC Midland Hillclimb Championship, while Sunday was reserved for the VSCC. Despite the strong sunshine, the shade of the trees kept the track fairly cool, and voices were heard to mutter that slick tyres would not get sufficiently warm to break any records. But three class records were broken, one of these and BTD falling to ladies: Gillian Fortescue-Thomas executed a splendid first run in her Anson SA4 which neither she nor anyone else had improved on at close of play, while Divina Galica’s Lotus 23B lopped just under half a second off the record, set exactly one year before by a Crossle, for pre-1965 Classic Cars, despite the recently-passed motion that such things do not exist.
Amongst the pre-1941 sports cars, Martin Stretton’s Frazer Nash Super Sports topped the early runs in the 1½-litre division, but was topped by Ted Dunn who took his Riley Falcon Special for its first Shelsley event and shaved two-tenths off Stretton’s best. Spollon’s Bentley 4¼ was fastest on both runs amongst the larger engines, with a best of 42.09 sec, compared with 42. 76 sec put up by Walker’s GN Dragonfly. Upholding Milanese honour were the wife and son of the Pre-War Racing Car Record holder David Black, the former in the Alfa Romeo 8C Mille Miglia, the latter scooping the Handicap win in the RLSS Targa Florio. The Vintage award went to a Bugatti T37 A, that driven by T. A. Roberts (45.23 sec), whose delightful Midland Manor Motor Museum provided an enjoyable diversion for Motor Sport’s reporter.
Freddie Giles provided plenty of spectacle on his way to taking the Vintage bracket in the 1½-litre Racing Cars (39.99 sec), but it was Richard Summers who showed the way with two very fast attempts in the MG KN Special, his best of 37 .85 sec being almost a second and a half clear of Brian Gray in the GN-chassised Hardy Special with its supercharged JAP engine behind the driver. With Wildbostz’s ERA R1A non-starting, Marsh’s third place time in that class in RIB was soon beaten in the over-1,500 cc section by Bruce Spollon in RSC, who achieved a bestever ERA time of 35.32 sec, setting a new record for pre-’41 Racing Cars, and beating after 31 years Ken Wharton’s ERA “record” of 35.80 sec. These triumphs left first place and a new Vintage record to Julian Majzub (Bugatti T35B-36.44 sec). After changing overnight one of the AC/GN’s rockers, broken the day before at Silverstone, Ron Foottit was second, ahead of Rodney Felton’s P3 Alfa.Romeo.
It was disappointing not to see David. Harrison campaign the 35/45 Racing Renault amongst the Edwardians and 2WBs class, but Colin Thomas had his recentlycompleted Wolseley 200-mile Race replica in action. Unfortunately, after a fail on its first run, the Wolseley seemed reluctant to take second gear before the first bend, and eventually rolled ignominiously back into the return road. It was left to the other 200-mile Race car, Benfield’s Alvis, to take the honours, with the Edwardian award going to the splendid GP Panhard-Levassor in the hands of J. M. Walker. Only two Special Saloons started, Reg Phillips’ Sunbeam being the faster, but there was an interesting assortment in the GT class including the spectacular V8 turbo Esprit of Elvin Ravenscroft which slithered into second with much wheelspin, behind the smoothly driven AC 3000ME Turbo of Robin Rew.
Times began to tumble amongst the Racing Cars, Roger Willoughby (March DG 84) bettering 30 sec, but four litres of Anson with Gill Fortescue-Thomas in control screeched up the hill in a mere 28.88 sec to establish BTD on her first run. Divina Galica’s pre-’65 Classic Car record of 32.97 sec was narrowly improved on by Peter Speakman’s Brabham BT18 but his commendable 32.88 sec only netted him second place on handicap. – G.C.