Motor SportApril 1932
THE R.A.C. RALLY
FIRST EVENT OF ITS KIND A GREAT SUCCESS
PEOPLE with knowledge and experience of the Monte Carlo Rally may, perhaps, have regarded the R.A.C. event of last month as a meek and mediocre counterpart of the former, but as a preliminary effort there can be no denying the fact that it was a great success.
It may not have proved anything of great value in regard to the speed, stamina or reliability of the modern motorcar, nor revealed anything exceptional in the driving ability of the participants. But it did show that British motorists are really keen to indulge in motoring fixtures when the opportunity occurs provided they are organised by a competent body.
Scott's Talbot in the flexibility test. Adjudged the finest car over 1,100 c.c.
irrespective of class it won "The Motor" Cup and was also first
in the class for four-door saloons.
The entry list totalled 367, and of this number 342 were starters. Many of the entrants had never before taken part in any form of motoring event, but on the other hand, a not insignificant number of familiar names also appeared in the programme. There were nine starting points —London, Bath, Norwich, Leamington, Buxton, Harrogate, Liverpool, Newcastle, and Edinburgh. The mileage from these various points, according to the official route cards, differed somewhat; for the London contingent, for instance, it was 1,002¾ miles, for Bath it was 1,006½ Norwich 1,003, Leamington 995, Buxton 1,002¼, Harrogate 990¼, Liverpool 1,004¼, Newcastle 994, and Edinburgh 999.
Fortunately or unfortunately, according to whether one wished for a straight-forward run or desired to show one's mettle under adverse conditions, the weather was good. In spite of this, competitors found that averaging 22 m.p.h. and 25 m.p.h. for the entire distance was not entirely child's play. For one thing in the early hours of the morning it was very easy to lose one's way in certain towns and badly-marked areas with no local informants at hand. Few drivers had any proper sleep, and the majority, on reaching the finish wasted no time in regaining the rest they had lost en route.
On the day of the rallyists' arrival (Thursday, 3rd March), the weather broke up temporarily, and it was a dismal Torquay that met their gaze. On the following day, however, the sun shone, and the flexibility and braking tests were held before vast crowds of interested onlookers. To the surprise of most people, those cars which were fitted with fluid flywheels, were not the only machines to demonstrate ability to go really slowly; the unpretentious Trojans were extraordinarily good in this respect, as were those Rileys which incorporated the Salerni torque converter in their transmission system. For the spectators, the slow-running tests provided plenty of fun; it was entertaining to witness the jerky progress of some of the older sports cars outpacing the official observers who pursued them breathlessly on foot, while to unsympathetic eyes the tense, anguished expressions of the drivers as they tried to get their machines to perform at a low speed provoked much amusement. Many overdid things, and stalled their engines.
After the slow-running test, the cars had to demonstrate their powers of acceleration and braking. As with the former, the latter was carried out over a stretch of road for a distance of 100 yards, with a 10 feet rolling start.
A two-seater sports Daimler endavours to emulate the snail in the slow-running test.
The standard of driving in this was generally low, many of the drivers not even speeding up their engines, while others seemed to start on too high a gear. Any gear or gears could be used, and the self-changing boxes were noticeably helpful.
At the end of the 100 yards boards were erected giving warning of the brake test. Competitors had to cross a line painted across the road, and then stop as quickly as possible, and the stopping distance was then quickly determined by lines painted at intervals of a foot across the road. The cars had to be stopped within lines ten feet apart, otherwise a failure was recorded, and most of them seemed to pull up pretty squarely. Water thrown out of the radiators made the test more difficult for later competitors, while there was rather more camber on one side of the road than the other.
The average performance, on the whole, demonstrated the advances in brake design which have been made in the last few years.
The tests continued until about noon, and the remainder after lunch until late in the afternoon. The organisation was carried out without a hitch, as it always is in events arranged by the Royal Automobile Club, but one cannot help hoping that another year some less prolonged substitute for the slow running test may be found.
The winners of the Rally in the two classes (under 1,100 c.c. and over 1,100 c.c.) were those which obtained the highest aggregate number of marks in the road section—which included the final inspection—and in the flexibility and braking tests. Prizes were also awarded to the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth competitor in each class. There were, in addition, a number of special awards in the coachwork competition.
CLASS I.—CARS EXCEEDING 1,100 C.C.
First : " The Autocar " Trophy and £25, Col. A. H. Loughborough (Lanchester, with fluid flywheel).
Second : R.A.C. Trophy and £15, J. Mercer (Daimler, with fluid flywheel).
Third: R.A.C. Trophy and £10, G. F. Dennison (Riley, with Salerni torque converter).
Fourth : R.A.C. Trophy and £5, H. P. Henry (Armstrong Siddeley, with fluid flywheel).
Fifth : R.A.C. Trophy and £5, D. Healey (Invicta, with servo clutch).
Sixth : R.A.C. Trophy and £5, J. D. Siddeley (Armstrong Siddeley, with fluid flywheel).
CLASS II—CARS NOT EXCEEDING 1,100 C.C.
First : "Light Car and Cycle Car" Trophy and £25, V. E. Leverett (Riley, with Salerni torque converter).
Second : R.A.C. Trophy and £13, R. St. G. Riley (Riley).
Third : R.A.C. Trophy and £10, G. H. Strong (Standard).
Fourth : R.A.C. Trophy and £5, Mrs. M. H. Riley (Riley).
Fifth : R.A.C. Trophy and £5, Mrs. C. S. Starsland (Riley).
Sixth : R.A.C. Trophy and £5, G. W. Olive (Avon Standard).
LADIES' PRIZES.—TO the woman driver in each class who, without a male passenger or driver on the car, obtained the highest number of marks. Presented by the "Daily Mirror."
Lady de Clifford (Lagonda).
Class II: Mrs. M. M. Riley (Riley).
IRRESPECTIVE OF CLASS.
Club Team Prize.—Col. A. H. Loughborough (Lanchester), D. Healey (Invicta), and R. Way (Rover), M.C.C. D. Team.
"The Daily Telegraph" Cup (London).—J. Mercer (Daimler, with fluid flywheel).
The Norwich Cup.—G. F. Dennison (Riley, with Salerni torque converter).
"The Leamington" Cup.—V. E. Leverett (Riley, with Salerni torque converter).
"The Motor" Cup for the best car in Class I.— J. E. Scott (Talbot).
"The Autocar" Trophy for the best car in Class II—C. J. Joyce (Crossley Ten).
First prizes in each of the following twelve classes. Second prizes where the entry includes five or more cars.
1. Open two-seaters under 1,100 c.c.-1, W. Waddicor (Riley) ; 2, A. H. Wilkinson (Riley).
Open two-seaters above 1,100 c.c.-1, J. A. Hackle (Daimler) ; 2, T. R. Mallen (Talbot).
2. Open four-seaters under 1,100 c.c.—1, S. Holbrook (Crossley) ; 2, F. H. Beer (Crossley).
Open four-seaters above 1,100 c.c.-1, C. D. Siddeley (Armstrong Siddeley) ; 2, Lt.-Col. D. Will loughby-Osborne (Lancia).
3. Two-door two-seater coupes, 1,100 c.c.-1, B. Roy (Triumph) ; 2, no award.
Two-door two-seater coupes over 1,100 c.c.1, M. Newnham (Armstrong Siddeley); 2, J. Harrop (Chrysler).
4. Occasional four-seaters and two-door sports saloons, 1,100 c.c.-1, Miss P. Naismith (Standard Avon) ; 2, G. W. Olive (Standard Avon).
Occasional four-seaters and two-door sports saloons above 1,100 c.c.-1, A. Harrington-Harvard (Talbot); 2, A. It. Pass (Sunbeam).
5. Four-door sports saloons under 1,100 c.c.-1, C. J. Joyce (Crossley) ; 2, Mrs. M. M. Riley (Riley).
Four-door sports saloons above 1,100 c.c.-1, J. E. Scott (Talbot) ; 2, H. P. Henry (Armstrong Siddeley).
6. Full saloons, limousines, landaulets, and coupe de vile under 1,100 c.c.-1, G. H. Strong (Standard); 2, A. H. Oxenford (Standard).
Full saloons, limousines, landaulet, and coupes de vile, over 1,100 c.c.-1, D. H. Simmons (Rolls-Royce) ; 2, T. Thistlewayte (Rolls-Royce).
One of the cheeriest crews was that in the Armstrong-Saurer coach, who announced their approach at controls, and to other competitors with a fanfare on an elaborate coaching horn.
Who was the unfortunate driver who could not add ? He drove over the finishing line, stopwatch in hand, and as he thought, exact to the minute. He had made, however, an hour's error in his reckoning.
Kensington Moir when approaching Buxton, was persuaded to take a "short cut" at the bidding of one of his passengers. He finished up at about 3,000 feet on a by-road, and miles from anywhere.
A hairdresser in Exeter complained that he had great difficulty in shaving his numerous Rally customers, as they persisted in falling asleep in the chair.
Another Exeter incident was when a particularly tired driver, on leaving his car, walked straight into a post. He explained that he was not short sighted— just sleepy.
One lady driver deserved a special medal. She drove single-handed throughout, had no rest, no meals, and smoked only seven cigarettes. She also had trouble with her lights, but continued, and arrived at Torquay two hours late.
Not a few spare drivers while dozing en route, had mild nightmare and awoke from dreams of crashes and other disasters. Others confessed to "seeing the road go by" when they closed their eyes, hours after the finish.
J. Fuller's Riley Nine coupe was the lowest built closed car in the Rally. The body was the work of Reading of Portsmouth.
A Morris van, driven by a woman, and which checked in at the finish made a strange contrast alongside the many luxurious vehicles at Torquay.