VSCC Prescott

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The VSCC’s luck with the weather deserted it for the Prescott hill-climb on August 3rd, when it rained heavily all day. But this did not prevent a very large number of spectators attending and the entry of 122, with only 13 non-runners, competing without accident or mechanical trouble. The very wet course ruined any hope of new records and made getting off the start line difficult, particularly for Williamson in the LSR Delage, not helped by a sudden clutch and the o/s rear wheel spinning for many yards. Both Burrell in the Bentley-Royce and Matthews in the “assembled” Delahaye indicating their problem, whereas Guy Smith in the Frazer Nash-Alvis and Arnold-Forster in the Bequet-Delage made well-controlled starts, taking first and second places in the big racing cars class.

FTD went to Bill Summers who did a courageous 47.9 sec on his second run, in the KN MG. Best vintage-car was Footitt’s AC/GN, in 50.7 sec and the fastest unblown sports-car was Walker’s Ford-powered GN, which won both divisions, vintage and general, of its class, in 51.54 sec. The Edwardian class saw Danaher’s agricultural-sounding 70 hp 1904 Gordon Bennett Star win on handicap, and the Panhard and Itala resume their duel, Walker clocking 59.05 sec to Clutton’s 61.18 sec. Collings’ 1903 Mercedes did 64.49 sec; it had other ancients to compete with but they were hardly in the same category, the one-cylinder Napoleon, with open exhaust, needing 141.39 sec and the 1906 De Dion-engined Astahl 118.54 sec.

The very first car to brave the terrible weather, Lee’s 1929 Salmson, took both divisions of the 1,100 cc sports-car class, in 57.89 sec, vanquishing a bevy of Ulster A7s.  Ricketts’ Riley Falcon took the 1-1/2-litre class in 52.81 sec, the vintage part going to Selwyn-Smith’s Interceptor Frazer Nash (56.73 sec). Spollon’s Riley Blue Streak took 3-litre sports-car honours in 53.83 sec from vintage winner Rogers’ Frazer Nash (54.52 sec). As stated above, the Walker GN buttoned up both parts of the big-sports car class, Quartermaine’s 30/98, which must vie with Clutton and the Itala for longest competing driver/car combination, was second vintage, with 58.61 sec.

Of the racing cars, Danaher took his 1,088 cc Maserati to victory in the 1,100 cc class in a fine 52.13 sec, and it was good to see Enticknap’s Morgan, single rear wheel at a disadvantage in the rain, win the vintage section, in 56.28 sec. Summers, of course, headed the 1-1/2-litre class with FTD, beating ERA R12B, and note, Caroline’s Morgan three-wheeler was third, in 52.05 sec, with only 0.03 sec difference in its two ascents, so that it won the vintage award from the GN “Salome” and even beat ERA R12C, Stephens finding the gear-ratios unsuitable (52.97 sec). ERA prestige was restored when Spollon took the 3-litre racing class in R8C, in 49.01 sec, from vintage exponent Footitt. Fastest Bugatti on the temporarily soaking BOC hill was Cardy’s T35B in 51.17 sec. Of the “Brooklands’ type trio”, Wolseley 300 Mile Replica, Riley Sandracer and Benfield’s 200 Mile Alvis, the last-named was much the quickest, in the 58.43 sec.

Two “new” cars were Barker’s 1922 Renault 45 (called “Salmanzar” as its engine size reminds its owner of the 8-litre champagne bottle he once received); it climbed in 73.84 sec. which was enough to beat one 12/50 Alvis and a 2-litre Lagonda, and Barry Clarke’s delightful 1,100 cc Ruby-engined GN with exposed push-rods and rockers, SU carburettor, and 3-speed chain transmission (66.03 sec). Sage’s 2-litre Lagonda was in Le Mans trim (69.94 sec) and Fry’s Railton LST Replica has very light front-spring shackles (56.09 sec). Fold-flat screens are nothing new, as the 1911 Riley had one, and the Star-McEvoy (67.38 sec) held a party the night before for other blown cars. During the hill-climb interval a presentation was made to Peter Hull, the retiring VSCC Secretary, and Alan Cherrett took him up the course in an Alfa Romeo. All that now remains is to try to get dry…!  — W.B.

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