An English Prescott Sunday

The late EKH Karslake expressed the opinion that the older racing cars were at their best when their engines had warmed up but before they had become too hot. That being the case, it was just as well that the globe in the area of Cheltenham decided to warm up less on August 5, when the VSCC made its annual onslaught of Prescott hill, than it had all the preceding week. Nevertheless, more engines than usual snuffed it on the startline, the Aston-Martin Green-Pea being a particularly bad offender, while others to stall were ERA R12C, ERA R9B, and Gibb’s s/c Frazer Nash.

Cars which failed to complete their runs included Reg Nice’s blown Ulster A7, which rolled, and Anthony Mayman’s ERA R4D, which ran into the bank. The ERA chose to do this on its second run, however, having made FTD on its ascent, in 41.91 sec.

Not much injury was done to drivers or cars but Mayman was deprived of making the climb of honour which usually concludes the hill-climb. Out of an entry of 194 D Bukins’ A7 won the 1100cc Sports Car Class (53.16 sec), runner-up being Barry Clarke’s vintage blown A7 (53.96 sec.), and Ms Walker’s vintage Frazer Nash took the 1500cc Sports Car Class, in 49.40 sec.

Of the Sports Cars up to 3-litres, Guy Spollon’s Riley Big Four Special was the winner (47.91 sec), from C Roger’s vintage Frazer Nash. The big Sports Car class went to A Sparrowhawk’s blown 4.3 Alvis (47.30 sec), with best vintage car to H Hine’s Bentley (50.36 sec). The Edwardians were out in force following their Oulton Park race, with 18 entries, of which the fastest was the 1913 Th. Schneider (55.00 sec), which contrived to beat the 1908 GP Panhard by 0.15 sec and the 1908 GP Itala by 0.66 sec. Roger Collings drove Lindsay’s 1914 GP Opel (56.57 sec), and Brydon substituted the 1913 4 1/2-litre Overland tourer for his giant Lancia, a typical American tourer with a 50-year-old garage advertisement still adorning its hind quarters (70.72 sec). A rare runner was V Mallya’s 1910 5-litre De Tamble, a side-valve 5-litre 4-speed confection from Yankee-land (76.72 sec). C. Gordon coaxed his 1915 5-litre Hudson tourer, a substitute for the Tamplin, up in 68.74 sec, beating, among others, Baddiley’s Coupé de L’Auto Sunbeam and J Black’s 9 1/4-litre Clement. The 1914 TT Sunbeam took Ridley up in 60.78 sec and two veterans joined in the fun, a 1903 2.6-litre Renault assembled from a collection of parts and a very original 1903 1.8-litre Mercedes recently imported from the USA, 87.78 and 82.36 sec, respectively.

Danaher’s 1932 Maserati just took the 1100cc Racing Car class (46.25 sec) from L Keeling’s blown MG PB Special. G Bishop’s A7 on 15″ wheels having been declared non-vintage, this section was won by M Eyre, making a welcome reappearance in his 1929 hybrid A7,(50.14 sec).

Chris Mayman in ERA AJM 1 was in command of the 1500cc class with a time of 43.95 sec. Caroline, after filling his cockpit and most of the surrounding countryside with rubber smoke while doing a F1-style warm-up of his back tyre, took vintage honours in the Morgan (46.67 sec). VSCC President Bruce Spollon was second to A J Mayman in the ‘middle’ Racing Car class, after very polished starts in the blue ERA R8C (42.58 sec), with Jon Giles in the AC/GN vintage first (45.34 sec). Of the big racers and Historics (combined), Guy Smith in the Alvis propelled Frazer Nash 3.5-litre (43.67) was the fastest, with the Lowell Elkhart best vintage runner (48.37 sec). In spite of the excellent conditions, no records for the 880 yard course were broken. So ended a typically English Prescott Sunday. The spectators’ cars were an exhibition in themselves; we parked beside D Holland’s immaculate lhd FWD Cord and not far from a splendid Type 63 Cadillac V8 tourer. WB.