In the 1940s, we ran trials in the Summer as well as over the wetter months. In the height of Summer and the middle of a heat wave, on this day in 1949, we ran a car trial. Here’s how C.B. Salter described it in our journal that year…
John Bull Cup Trial
23rd JULY, 1949
A car trial organised in the middle of a heat-wave is not my idea of a quiet form of relaxation, and by the time we were ready to “Iet battle commence,” I, for one, felt more like sleeping than working. However, our labours were not entirely in vain and if remarks passed after the event can be relied upon then at least some proportion of those competing managed to enjoy themselves despite the heat and the hills.
A disappointingly small number of entries was received. 17 in fact, and all but one put in an appearance at the start. Those who did turn up were faced with a sun-baked course guaranteed to rattle the bones of the stoutest machine. Six sections had been marked out over an area of grassland consisting of five fields kindly loaned for the occasion by Mr. Larie of Whitewood Farm. Coloured flags indicated the commencement of each hill, and so identify the sections as Red Hill, Green Hill, etc. Three of the hills were used for a climb, and a Special Test in which competitors were required to park in a succession of four bays all facing a central point was included to decide results in the event of a tie.
Yellow Hill, No. I on the programme, caused very little trouble, only one failure being recorded in the second of the two sections used. Between here and Green Hill the first of the day’s casualties was recorded when F/ Lt. J. Clarke’s L Type Magna shed a half-shaft. The next two hills. Green and Red proved far from insurmountable obstacles. Red doing the greater damage with a mild crop of failures on section 1 and on the stop and restart in section 3.
Chequer Flag Hill was a somewhat different proposition, and was the undoing of all but Messrs. Radford and Shanks who both made excellent ascents. Two competitors met their Waterloo at this stage—G. W. Best’s M.G. lost bottom gear and E. H. Goodenough’s Horstman shed a few teeth in the crown wheel and pinion assembly, thus retiring audibly.
An awkward start on the next hill was effected by sending competitors immediately over a large grass-surfaced mound. Alf Morrish and Bill Marshall were in difficulties here, both becoming immovable in the gully at the base of the tump and requiring much man-handling to get them on their way. Some few others failed to clear this section, but those that did found no difficulty in completing the climb.
A Red and Yellow flag identified the next hill, a straight ascent of rough hillside, at which two attempts had to be made. F. L. Shanks and H. E. Roberts were the only competitors to reach the top, the former completing both climbs without loss of marks.
Two of the earlier hills, Chequer and Red were now used for the second time. To our surprise Chequer lost all its former terrors and almost everyone went right up. A change of the stop and restart test to a steeper section on Red hill brought with it quite a pleasant number of failures, and so further helped in sorting out the field. It was here that H. E. Roberts was well in the running for the Premier Award, had the misfortune to lose all marks when ominous noises emanated from his transmission in Section 4.
Only the special test now remained to complete trial. Best time in this was put up by F. E. Shanks with 48.1 seconds followed very closely Alf Morrish with 48.3 seconds.