THE R.A.C. RALLY
Victories for Rover, A.C. and Riley in the three classes
THE second R.A.C. Rally, which concluded at Hastings on March 18th, proved as great a success as was the Torquay Rally of 1932. 359 cars were entered, 346 actually left their starting points, and only 32 failed to gain the R.A.C. plaque for completing the road section, including 7 who arrived after the time limit. The competitors had to average 26, 24 or 22 m.p.h., according to whether their cars were rated at over 16 h.p., 11 to 16 h.p., or under 11 h.p. They left the controls from which they had chosen to start at times varying from 12 noon to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, 14th March, according to the average speeds to be achieved, arriving at Hastings on the Thursday from 9.30 onwards. There were eight starting controls in England and one in Scotland, and from each of these a route approximately 1,000 miles long was set out, passing through four intermediate controls.
A number of cars arriving at the end of thir 1.000 mile journey.
Given a clear run, of course, the speeds set out for the various classes presented no difficulty to the modern car, and most competitors were able to get three or four hours sleep at one or more points on their journeys. A mistake in map-reading, the failure of the lighting system or any of the other things which are liable to happen in the course of normal running, may change the state of affairs, however, and precious time is quickly lost. Weather conditions were, on the whole good, but some rain was experienced in Scotland and Wales, while those whose route passed through Plymouth or Torquay had to contend with a certain amount of fog. The more wary drivers avoided most of it by striking inland.
The fine spell which Hastings had been enjoying had broken by Thursday, and when the first arrival appeared light rain was falling, and an overcast sky promised worse to come. The final control was at the entrance to the underground garage which runs for nearly a quarter of a mile beneath the Promenade. Even at 9.30, when the influx began, a good crowd of spectators had gathered, and the interest was maintained all the morning, in spite of the heavy rain which soon set in.
Once inside, the cars were soon parked in the spacious accommodation underground. The route books received their final signatures, and then the cars were
examined for damage to bodywork and other exterior defects, and marks were also deducted for lamps, horns or windscreen
wipers failing to work. The condition of both cars and drivers seemed better than last year. The regulations provided that no single driver should be at the wheel for more than 700 miles, which doubtless saved people from dropping off to sleep and running into telegraph poles, as happened on several occasions in the Torquay Rally. After the formalities were completed, the drivers were handed cards giving the time at which they had to report the next morning, and then laden with armfuls of suitcases and overcoats, the weary crews walked or drove to their various hotels and sought some well-earned sleep.
Norman Black (Essex Terraplane) in the stop and restart test.
Apart from rather a large crop of lighting failures, and a certain amount of bitterness amongst some of the all-female crews who had varied ideas as to the right way to drive, there were few complaints. The only case of fauna collection, usually such a conspicious feature of rally motoring, was that of G. B. Gush (30-98 Vauxhall), who spitted a hare on his starting handle and carried it 120 miles to Edinburgh, where it was handed over to the hotel authorities for any purposes for which they liked to use it. He had one or two other trials too, for his exhaust system blew up at Leamington, and his spare wheel bracket broke, allowing the wheel to damage the petrol tank. He was banished to a far corner of the Underground Garage to avoid the chance of fire from a carelessly flung cigarette.
The competitors varied from the cheerful enthusiasts who accomplished the journey in a very antique Aston Martin to the sort of person who complains that a Rally is rather an uncomfortable proceedings, as one cannot get on the road anything more nourishing than sandwiches, instead of a nice roast duck and vegetables. Evidently he had confused the Controls with the Relais Gastronomiques of France, "leurs vins, leur cuisine." Happily these people were very much in the minority. As a fashion note we might add the instance of the coloured gentleman who produced his soft felt hat from a neat black and red lady's
hatbox (his own) befor leaving for his hotel.
C. M. Anthony, (Aston-Martin), who drove outstandingly well in the standard
The next morning the eliminating tests were held, the first car leaving the garage shortly after nine o'clock.
The slow-running test was held over a distance of 50 yards, which had to be covered at about 4 m.p.h. A little further along the second test began. From a standing start drivers had to cover 100 yards pulling up with wheels astride the finishing line. Then as soon as they had come to rest in the correct position, they had to cover a further 100 yards, this time without having to stop at the end.
Conditions were at their worst for the test, for the wet conditions affected carburetion and upset calculations of the right moment for braking to begin.
The large number of entries makes it impossible to mention many individual performances. H. E. Symons (Siddeley Special) crawled along very smoothly, and in the acceleration and braking made good use of the self-changing gear-box. Stott with a 4½ litre Invicta seemed to get away well, also a number of Alvis Speed 20s. Fords, especially the V8 type, were noticeably good, and Hutchison somehow managed to change down from second to first as he braked. Healey, tipped as a likely winner, braked too early and had to accelerate. Weston's Sports Rover was impressive. Singers, Rileys and A.C.'s also performed well, and the Trojans, helped probably by their free-wheel
device, again did their stately slow running performance.
Considered from the utility point of view, the slow running test was of little practical use, for most of the small cars got down to 4 m.p.h. by the famous "jerking" tactics originally developed by Rileys, which would probably tear to pieces the transmission of the average car in a few thousand miles if this practise
were resorted to instead of changing down.
On the other hand some of the bigger cars, such as Healey's 4½ litre Invicta got down to the speed without difficulty.
Lining up for the final test.
A group of competitors waiting for their turn in the slow-running tests.
The acceleration and braking, on the other hand, serve to indicate the efficiency of the cars which take part in the test,
and the shortness of the distance prevented undue prominance being given to the merely high-speed car.
The standard of driving varied tremendously, as always must be the case when novices and experienced drivers appear together in a public competition, but there was no excuse for people who had not read the rules, and who braked on the last line instead of going straight on.
The Stop and Restart Test was quite entertaining, and would have been more so if the rain had not come down unmercifully the whole morning. Fortunately the surface had been dressed with coarse tarred chippings, so drivers were not troubled with wheelspin. The cars were held on the incline with chocks. They had to accelerate and brake so that their wheels stopped astride a line 15 yards from the start, and then accelerate to another 15 yards.
An Aston Martin, driven by C. Anthony came up well, also an ancient F.W.D. Alvis, in spite of considerable wheel spin. The Alvis 20's were also noticeably good, rivers of the faster cars had some
difficulty in negotiating the right angle turn at the top of the hill, notably Lord Curzon who had an inside berth. The cars were actually started alternately, though the drivers of a Hillman Wizard and a Standard, tried to cheer up proceedings by going off together.
T. D. W. Weston, the winner of Class I, during the acceleration and braking test.
The V8 Fords were as usual dashing in their get-away Weston (Rover Speed Meteor) who clocked equal-fastest time with Healey's Invicta made effortless climbs. Great things were expected of a pale blue 38-250 Mercedes, but it seemed over-geared or under-driven. Healey shot up well, but might have been a little faster with less wheel-spin.
E. S. Denny (Riley) was lucky to reach the top, as a number of teeth in his crown wheel had gone. Mrs. Stanton (Riley) apparently tried to get away with her brake hard on, and ruined the clutch, while Hudson in an oldish 2 litre Lagonda, just managed to get up with clouds of smoke and a nasty smell.
The awards were divided this year in accordance with the three horse-power categories. Starting with 200 marks
plus bonus, if any, for passengers above two, points were deducted for condition, as has already been explained. In the slow-running test, points were deducted at the rate of 5 marks per second for cars exceeding 25 seconds with a maximum loss of 20 points. In the second and third tests the mean time of the class was taken and one mark added or substracted for each 1/5 second under or over the mean time.
In Class I, Weston and Healey gained the same number of points, but the First Prize was awarded to the former on account of his superior performance in the Acceleration and Braking Test.
In Class II, Miss K. Brunell, though she did not "win the Rally," as some of our less informed daily papers put it, attained a higher total of marks than any other competitor, and she and the A.C. car deserve all credit for the performance.
In the smallest class Rileys repeated their victory of last year, with four places in the first six, and Singers enhanced the reputation they have already earned in trials by taking second and third positions.
As a chance for friends to get together at the beginning of another season, and as a competition in which owners of touring motor-cars could hope to compete with their more fortunate brethren in sports machines, the Rally was a widely appreciated. The Underground Garage
allowed competitors to park their cars without delay and the R.A.C. organisation worked without a hitch.
The Tests were interesting and provided interesting data about the performance of drivers and cars. Some of the officials seemed to take a long time to make up their minds when exactly the ears had crossed "Line B," while another year number boards back and front would make it easier to follow each car from a central point. Small items these, and they do not detract from the credit which Capt Phillips and his fellow officials deserve.
The Hastings Corporation gave the competitors a splendid welcome, both from the point of the entertainment provided and the feeling of hospitality which prevailed. England has nothing to learn on that score.
THE COACHWORK COMPETITION
IN view of the unsettled weather, the R.A.C. very wisely decided to hold the final item of the Rally, which began at 9.30 on Saturday, in the Underground Garage. The rather dim light which prevailed there made it difficult to appreciate the numerous fine exhibits which were entered for the Competition, but bright sunshine happily prevailed in the afternoon, and the winning cars were displayed on the Promenade.
The Armstrong-Siddeley Tourer driven by H. E. Symons was greatly admired.
There were six classes in all, each of them sub-divided into the three horse power categories used for the road section. There were also awards for the best car in each category. Marks were awarded primarily for appearance, condition, and comfort with a few marks for gadgets. This allotment of marks seems a considerable improvement on some of the ones ruling in last year's competitions, where the organisers rather lost sight of the fact that the primary idea of a car body is to look and feel right.
The two-seater section was not well supported, the only interesting car in the
(a) class being a V8 Ford with a streamlined body by the Chaseside Motor Co. of Enfield. The rear part of the body swept right down to the ground and was enlivened by a vertical fin, in the style of the record-breaking cars. By removing a panel, two rear seats were disclosed and the disappearing hood extended over all the passenger space. The streamlining appears to have a useful side too, as the makers claim a speed in excess of 80 m.p.h.
All the cars in the next division were neat, including a grey Fraser Nash and a Le Mans Aston Martin. The prize was awarded to a Marendaz Special in which the black coachwork was set off by the plated outside exhaust pipes. In the smallest category the light grey and red Riley Gamecock was very workmanlike, while the Trinity Special on a Midget chassis revealed no trace of the coupe head which folded away in the rear locker.
The four-seaters were mostly well-established models such as the Vanden Plas body on Lord Curzon's Alvis, and Miss Watson's old-type 4½ litre Invicta, which was very completely equipped. The prize was awarded to H. E. Symons Siddeley Special, which carried a roomy and distinguished looking Vanden Plas body.
The (b) class was hotly contested by 22 entrants, and was won by G. W. Olive, with a Standard Avon. This car
was fitted with unusual faired wings, and was strikingly finished in orange and yellow. Other interesting cars in this class were an Alvis Firefly, Major Douglas Morris's Invicta, fitted with a Salmons convertable body in which even the screen folded down, and which received a prize at Monte Carlo. A Magna finished in blue showed that its body lines could still compare with the newer designs.
COACH WORK COMPETITION RESULTS.
In each class (a) signifies over 16 h.p. (b) 10 h.p. to 16 h.p. (c) up to 10 h.p.
Class 1. Open two-seaters:
(a) M. L. Curtis (Ford)
(b) Mrs. N. A. Moss (Mareudaz Special)
(c) W. Waddicor (Riley)
Class 2. Open four-seaters:
(a) H. E. Symons (Siddeley Special)
(b) 1st, G. W. Olive (Standard Avon)
2nd, T. C. Mann (Lagonda)
(c) 1st, J. M. Archer (Lanchester)
2nd, F. S. Barnes (Singer)
Class 3. Two-door two-seater coupes:
(a) E. Ainsworth (Standard Avon)
(b) Mrs. G. Daniell (A.C. Ace)
(c) F. R. G. Spikins (Singer)
Class 4. Occasional four-seaters and two-door sports saloons:
(a) 1st, S. Harris (Rolls-Royce)
2nd, Major N. Steward-Dowson (Rolls-Royce)
(b) 1st, S. B. Wilks (Rover)
2nd, Miss L. M. Roper (Armstrong Siddeley)
(c) C. J. Joyce (Crossley)
Class 5. Four-door sports saloons:
(a) 1st, C. W. Ward (Rolls-Royce)
2nd, F. Bilton (Rolls-Royce)
(b) 1st, F. Gordon Crosby (Riley)
2nd, D. Pumphlett (Talbot)
(c) 1st, Mrs. R. Gough (Riley)
2nd, Lt.-Col. A. M. Wilkinson (Crossley)
Class 6. Full saloons, limousines, landaulets and coupes de ville:
(a) G. E. Scott (Daimler)
(b) 1st, R. W. Cracknell (Daimler)
2nd, W. G. McMinnies (Armstrong Siddeley)
(c) 1st, Miss M. E. Mein (Lanchester)
2nd, Miss P. Naismith (Standard)
Champion car over 16 h.p.- C. W. Ward (Rolls-Royce)
Champion car 10 h.p. to 16 h.p.- S. B. Wilks (Rover)
Champion car up to 10 h. p.- C . J. Joyce (Crossley)
The smallest class comprised a good number of Singers, but was won by a Lanchester similar to the one which appeared at the Olympia Show, fitted with a sporting body by Mulliners. The owners reported an excellent turn of speed for this combination.
The two-door coupe class did not produce much of interest, the winners being an Avon Standard, an A.C. and a Singer.
The occasional four seaters and short sports saloons were obviously dominated by the two Rolls-Royce cars entered, and it must have been a difficult task deciding between a Phantom II with a James Young body, and a very fine sedanca designed by H. R. Owen and built by Gurney Nutting. The winning car had a cream body and black bonnet top and wings, and the sedanca all-black relieved with chromium strips on the running board. The removable portion over the driver's seat folded quite invisibly into the fixed head over the rear seats.
The 16 h.p. class provided a class winner in S. B. Wilks' Rover Sports Saloon, a low built and compact car which nevertheless had a surprising amount of room inside. C. J. Joyce's Crossley 10 repeated its Torquay success and was also judged the best car in the 10 h.p. class.
Rolls-Royces were again supreme in the four door sports saloon class, first prize and winner of its category being awarded to C. W. Ward's graceful light blue and silver 25 h.p. car, which was built by Park Ward. It was equipped with a number of useful items, such as windscreen wipers driven by cable from a distant motor, permanent four-wheel jacks, fire extinguishers in the valance, very complete luggage accommodation in the rear, tools in neat cut-out trays, and even a Clayton ventilating fan for warming or cooling the interior at will. The interior appointments were equally lavish. In
appearance and equipment this car well deserved its premier award. The car which won its class at Olympia last year, also with a Park Ward body, was second.
The middle-weight category was won
by F. Gordon Crosby's Riley, fitted with a graceful body finished in an attractive light brown shade. The swivelling spotlight on the roof was a practical fitment for easy reading of signposts. A Riley also won the smallest class, a neat black car with aluminium finished wheels.
The full saloons showed little of sporting interest, but it is interesting to note that Stott's car was the one which he drove to Monte Carlo.
The Open sports body on the 10 h.p. Lanchester driven by J. M. Archer, who started from Glasgow.
Winner of Class 4 in Coachwork Competition, S. Harris' beautiful Park Ward Continental Saloon.