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STAG PARTY October 2012 Volume 509


Editors Waffle Well, here we are again at the end of another season. The clocks have gone back and it’s now dark by 5pm, so ‘winter drawers on’, as they say! Another year of club fellowship and competition is almost over and we head towards Christmas. Our two regular club Sprint events at Debden once again gave both HCAAC and other club members a chance to exercise their competition cars, ranging from small family hatchback to mighty V8 sports-racer, alongside vintage machinery and single-seater racing cars to add to the mix. To comply with MSA regulations the club was obliged to heavily revise the first third of the course for the October event just gone, which was done to good effect. More on this in the sprint review later in this issue. The year 2012 seems to have had more 50th anniversaries than you could shake a stick at, what with the MGB, AC Cobra and Triumph Spitfire celebrating their half-century, following last year’s Jaguar E-Type commemoration frenzy. I wonder if we’ll be remembering the Morris Marina in 2021 – I somehow doubt it, but stranger things can happen, although I think we tend to overuse the words ‘legendary’ and ‘iconic’. Lewis Hamilton still seems to blot his copybook – last year it was his fixation with Felipe Massa (Lewis fans will claim the fixation was the other way round, of course), while this year he has discovered Twitter, and like a kid with a new toy can’t keep away from it. He does rather lose his reason when he isn’t always winning, the words ‘toys’ and ‘pram’ coming to mind in recent months. Meanwhile ‘our Jensen’ just continues serenely on his way. Not that I’m partisan, of course. But the recent Twitter tirade from Lewis complaining of Button showing disrespect by ‘unfollowing’ his team-mate, only to be followed by a retraction when he discovered that Jensen hadn’t been ‘following’ him in the first place, perhaps shows up a flaw or two in the Stevenage driver’s psyche. Let’s see how he gets on with Nico Rosberg at Mercedes Benz next year. Our cover picture this issue is a ‘a study in concentration’ – Jonathan Gibbs sitting in his Caterham C400 in the pits at Silverstone, waiting to head out on-track for his practice session for the recent 750 MC Birkett 6-Hour Relay Race. HCAAC fielded a six-car team for the first time in this long-standing annual event, and despite the bitterly cold weather all six, plus the rest of the team, had a great time both on-track and off. See later in this issue for a review and more pictures of this event. And finally, last issue we commented on the £1 million+ price achieved for a Ferrari at auction. Now, apparently, the 1959 Le Mans-winning Aston Martin DBR1 has been put up for sale at £20 million!!! Blimey, for that money you could buy almost half of Mark Rothko’s painting ‘Orange on Black’ – sounds like a bargain! Which leaves me with just enough room to wish you all a (very early) Happy Christmas and successful 2013. Looking forward to seeing lots of you at the annual club Awards Dinner in February. Sincerely, Trevor Scarborough


Odds & Ends

Monthly Club Night Just to remind you that the once a month club get-together is held at: The John Bunyan, Colemans Green Lane, Wheathampstead, Herts. AL4 8ES It is held on the FIRST WEDNESDAY of each month from 8.00pm, and all HCAAC club members are very welcome. Since returning to the ‘The Bunyan’ last year we have generally had a healthy number of club members come along, but there is always room for more, so why not give it a go yourself? You can be sure of a warm welcome!

Upcoming Club Night Features Jowett Jupiter Talk Do come along to the November Club Night (Wednesday 7th November) when we will be having a guest speaker giving a talk on this famous car. Quiz Another of the ever-popular Motoring Quizzes will be included at the December (Xmas) Club Night, so do come along and participate.

Annual Awards Dinner 2013 Just to let you all know that next year’s awards dinner will be moving from it’s regular venue of Mill Hill Golf Club to the South Herts Golf Club in Totteridge. It will be an extra-special event as it will celebrate the 110th anniversary of the club, which was founded in 1903 (as proudly stated on the front cover of this very magazine). The date will be Saturday February 23rd, so please make a note in your diaries so you can be sure not to miss it. Full info will be published in the New Year.

New Club Members This year the club has seen the arrival of several new club members, and Stag Party takes this opportunity to welcome them all and hopes to see them at the occasional club night or sprint (or both).


The Birkett 6 Hour Relay Race Silverstone, being an old WW2 airfield, is pretty flat and open, and as such there is not much to stop the wind, should there be one. On Saturday 27th October there was one – a bitter north-easter straight from the Steppes. Just the weather for a motor race, and the motor race in question was the 62nd anniversary running of the 750 Motor Club’s ‘Holly’ Birkett Handicap 6-Hour Relay race, to give it its full title. Earlier in the year it was suggested by David Gibbs that HCAAC should enter this year’s event, as son Jonathan had done it last year with a team of Porsches. And so it came about that six club stalwarts agreed to ‘give it a go’, a disparate and dissolute bunch brought together by a shared love of getting bitterly cold! And so it was that Team No 33 was born, comprising the cover-featured Jonathan Gibbs in his Caterham C400, Donald Duncan with his Renault Clio V6 Trophy, Chris Wilson’s Ferrari 308GTB, Chris Blewett in his pretty Ginetta G12, Howard Dawson’s Caterham R500 and Graham Scarborough with his trusty Ford Capri. The day started well, with a fine smattering of snow, so we knew we were in for a treat, weather-wise. However, in an act of inspired planning, an electric fire had been brought and was strategically placed in the HCAAC pit, so all was well. Team Manager David Gibbs had everybody organised, and morning practice passed without incident and resulting in the team placed a very creditable 27th on the grid (out of 67 runners). The only reported issue was a brake vibration on the Capri, so Graham had to de-glaze the front discs in an effort to cure this (successfully so, but in the race another brake problem appeared). With up to eighteen cars (three teams) congregating in ‘our’ pit area there was constant activity and noise, with always at least one engine being warmed up (and often more) throughout the day, and with cars leaving from the front of the pit to start their laps whilst their predecessor returning into the back of the pits after completing their stint. The full ‘new’ GP circuit was being used for the race, but the ‘old’ pits and start/finish point was being used, with the futuristic new ‘Wing’ complex being deserted. Due to the fuel tank size of four of the team cars it was decided to run these in two half-hour stints, while Howard and Graham were able to do just one stint of an hour each. Running order is shown in the picture alongside, except that it was actually Chris Blewett taking the first stint in the Ginetta – an exciting proposition from the middle of a 67- car grid. But as the organisers warned competitors in the Final Instructions, “the Birkett is NOT a 10-lap sprint or the final BTCC round, and there will be considerable differences between the performance of both cars and drivers”.


David Gibbs, Graham Scarborough and Chris Wilson discuss team tactics before the race – or is Chris just checking which way the circuit goes? And notice the electric fire in the background, with two hardy souls huddling around it – what a bonus that was! At 11.45am the race started in best F1 style with the ‘five red lights’ sequence, and they were away, streaming off through Copse and down to the Maggotts / Becketts swerves. The prevailing ‘tail-wind’ probably helped a bit down the Hangar Straight, but was counteracted by the cold track temperature meaning tyres were running cooler than optimum - but it was going to be a long race! Apologies to Chris Blewett, but your intrepid cameraman failed to get a picture of him and his Ginetta. But here we have an action shot of Chris Wilson in the Ferrari 308 at speed approaching Maggotts Curve . . .

…while the crowd are on their feet as Howard Dawson exits Club Corner in his Caterham R500, such is the global pulling power of top-line motor sport!


And here is Donald Duncan’s Renault Clio just about to cross the new Grand Prix start line. These modern circuits have plenty of run-off, don’t they, not that Donald needs to make use of it.

As mentioned earlier, Graham Scarborough suffered from a brake vibration problem in practice, but in the race itself he found he was having to pump the brakes up for every corner, using his left foot, which made for somewhat uneasy progress, particularly when traffic was encountered and the action got a bit more lively. Not quite knowing with certainty how the brakes would behave at the crucial time made for some uncomfortable moments. In this picture we see him lining the Capri up for Brooklands Corner (with the new Wing pit/paddock complex clearly visible in the background). Graham’s brake problem was, however, pretty much the only mechanical issue that the team had in any of the six cars, a testament to the sound preparation of all of them. The old adage of ‘they never missed a beat’ certainly held true at the Birkett. Well done to all concerned. Approaching the last hour, as dusk started to fall, the heavens opened and doused Silverstone with some vicious hail – the accompanying rainbow was a pleasant sight though! Chris Blewett was on track at the time and found the track conditions just a bit too treacherous, and pitted slightly earlier than planned to hand over to Jonathan Gibbs, who completed the event. The team ended up 48th overall, having completed 124 laps of the full 3.6 mile Silverstone GP circuit in the six hours. Fastest lap by the team was a very creditable 2min 19.51 secs, posted by Jonathan. Overall scratch winning team was ‘Team OBR’, consisting of two Saker GT and two Toyota MR2, who completed 145 laps, while overall winner on handicap was the ‘Dirty Half Dozen’ team of three Proton’s, two Clio’s and a Vauxhall Astra, with 132 laps plus 21 handicap laps (to be honest it was a complete mystery to your roving reporter how the handicapping system worked, but that was probably him being particularly dense that day!).


No event like the Birkett can be completed without the help of many support people to back up the drivers. In particular mention must be made of Lindy Scarborough who, ably supported by Tom Duncan, manned (womanned?) the pit wall on time-keeping duty for the best part of the six hours, and in the teeth of the biting wind too. We don’t know how you did it, Lindy, you must have perished. Thanks also to Margaret Reeves for cakes, mince pies, Danish pastries etc which kept the team fortified (Lionel tried to convince us that he had made them personally!), and not forgetting Mike, Lewis and Elio for their sterling support efforts, plus all the other club members who came along to offer encouragement, get in the way and eat the mince pies! And of course we cannot forget the person who thought to bring along the electric fire – it’s the spirit that made the British Empire! Thanks to you all for a great team effort. Talk is already afoot for next year’s event, with a possibility of running two teams if there are enough club members suitably inspired to give it a go. Give David Gibbs a call if this appeals to your competitive streak. As Howard Dawson said, “Skid approached me earlier in the year suggesting I run my Caterham. At first I declined thinking I wouldn’t be up to it, but I’m bloody glad I changed my mind – it was fantastic” Smartest Dressed Driver award went to Donald Duncan, sporting his pristine new overalls, boots and gloves (obviously out to rival Howard’s outfit at Debden!). If anybody wants to see what a stint at racing speed on the Silverstone GP circuit looks like, see the in-car footage from Jonathan’s Caterham on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0qNSdrQ8K4 And lastly… Found you! A very rare picture of the only spectator prepared to brave the Siberian conditions. Not sure if he is looking at the racing or just trying to hide from the wind!


You and Your Cars In this, the fifth in this popular series, written by you and about you, we are indebted to club member Nick Atkins for this article, featuring his 1986 Tiga GC286 C2 WEC sports car.

A Bit About Tiga Cars Tiga was a British company that produced a variety of single-seater and sports-racing cars between 1974 and 1989. The company was formed by two race drivers, Tim Schenken and Howden Ganley, the name Tiga being derived from the ‘TI’ and ‘GA’ in their first and second names respectively. Tim Schenken is an Australian who had driven in F3, F2 and F1 in the late 60’s / early 70’s, notably with 36 Grand Prix starts for the likes of Williams, Brabham, Surtees, Trojan and Lotus, his best result being a third at the 1971 Austrian GP in the Brabham BT33. Tim also had great success in world championship sports cars, particularly with Ferrari. Howden Ganley is a New Zealander whose motor sport career closely followed Schenken’s. He finished second to Peter Gethin in the 1970 European Formula 5000 championship and was then snapped up by BRM to drive F1. Between 1971 and 1974 he competed in 41 Grands Prix, for BRM, Williams and March, with two fourth places his highest finishing position (1971 USA GP and 1972 German GP, both for BRM). In 1974 Schenken and Ganley found themselves without F1 drives and decided to form their own company, called Tiga, to manufacture sports cars, their first being for the then burgeoning Sports 2000 category. Drivers of Tiga-built cars went on to win numerous championships and events, including three European, four British, and one American Sports 2000 championship, two Australian Drivers' Championships as well as class wins at the Le Mans and the Daytona 24-hour races. Spice Engineering used a Spice-Tiga GC85 Ford to win the Group C2 Teams title in the 1985 World Endurance Championship, and Tiga won the 1988 Camel Lights Championship for Manufacturers in the North American IMSA GT Championship. Tiga had plans to build an F1 car in 1978 but lack of finance put paid to that. In total Tiga built almost 400 chassis in their 15-year existence.


Tiga GC286 Rover V64V – Chassis Number GC286-335 The GC 286 was the first of the Tiga ground effect C2 and IMSA Lights cars which were produced with progressive modifications from 1986 until 1989. One of their advantages was the ease with which the car could be updated from year to year, and could be adapted to run in the lightweight classes to both the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) rules. Engines as diverse as Mazda 13b rotary, Cosworth DFZ, Chevrolet V8 and Porsche 962 engines found their way into Tiga chassis in the mid 1980s, when Tigas were able to dominate their class, having overcome the earlier Alba designs, and before the productions of Gordon Spice became dominant. GC286-335 was one of the first of this model, and has a continuous history. In factory ownership it was initially operated in the WEC, and included the Le Mans 24-hours entered by Roy Baker Racing in the C2 class in 1986, with BDT (Ford Turbo) power. It ran in the full 1986 WEC series, taking in rounds at Spa, Fuji, Jerez, Nurburgring, Silverstone, Norising, Brands Hatch and Le Mans, wearing the number 98 throughout the year (see picture below).

In 1987 the CEEsports Team entered the car for Le Mans, with Slim Borgudd driving (ex-F1 racer and Touring Car / Truck racer to be) and Volvo turbo power, before a return to the BDT power unit later that year at the Brands Hatch 1000kms. Borgudd was reacquainted with the car in 1988 for Le Mans and the 1000kms at Silverstone and entered by American Alloy Engines. After that and later in 1988 it was acquired from Tiga Cars for entry in the 1989 BRDC British Sportscar Championship, changing to Rover-Cosworth V64V power for the Andrew McAlpine and Mike Catlow driver pairing. They competed in seven rounds of the BRDC C2 championship with a fourth at both Silverstone and Oulton Park being the best results achieved. Sister car chassis number 336 was also extensively campaigned by Roy Baker Racing between 1986 and 1990.


However, chassis 335, the subject of this article, was acquired in 1989 by the current owner, and the car has been preserved in the narrow-track, side-radiator form in which it ran in the BRDC and Interserie championships in 1990 driven by David Mercer, Steve Guglielmi, Richard Hinton and Nick Atkins. Since then it has achieved class victories in the Historic Group C/GTP series, including two class wins at the Nurburgring in 2005 with Matt Manderson driving. In the picture below it is seen driven by Vintage Racecar magazine’s Ed McDonagh at Spa in 2006.

Technical Specification Cylinders Capacity Power @ 8500 rpm Wheelbase Front Track Rear Track Dry Weight Gearbox Wheels

V6 2996cc 420 bhp 2550mm 1480mm 1626mm 705kgs Hewland FGB 5 speed 16” Gotti or BBS, F: 10.5” R: 14.5”

Note: this car is now offered for sale. All enquiries should be directed to natkins286@btopenworld.com, or telephone 07836 230031.


Tiga GC286-335 Racing History

Engine

Race

Pos

Date Drivers

Entrant

Ford Turbo 1000 km Silverstone

4.5.86

Duncan Bain/Michael Hall/David Andrews

R. B. Promotions Ltd.

Ford Turbo 24 h Le Mans

1.6.86

David Andrews/*Michael Hall/*Duncan Bain

Roy Baker Racing Tiga

Ford Turbo

Thundersports Donington

5th

15.6.86 David Andrews/Duncan Bain

Roy Baker Racing

Ford Turbo 200 mile Norisring

29.6.86 David Andrews

RBR Tiga

Ford Turbo 1000 km Brands Hatch 13th

20.7.86 Duncan Bain/David Andrews

RBR Tiga

Ford Turbo 360 km Jerez

3.8.86 "Pierre Chauvet"/David Andrews

RBR Tiga

Ford Turbo 1000 km N端rburgring

24.8.86 David Andrews/*Max Cohen-Olivar Roy Baker Promotions

Ford Turbo 1000 km Spa

15.9.86 Michael Hall/*David Andrews

RBR Tiga

Ford Turbo 1000 km Fuji

5.10.86 David Andrews/*Duncan Bain

RBR Tiga

Ford Turbo 500 km Kyalami

8th 23.11.86 Giles Butterfield

Roy Baker

Ford Turbo 1000 km Silverstone

10.5.87

John Sheldon/Robert Peters/(Tryggve Gronvall)

Roy Baker Racing

Volvo Turbo 24 h Le Mans

14.6.87

Slim Borgudd/Tryggve Gronvall/Andrew Ratcliffe

Cee Sport Racing

26.7.87

John Fyda/Laurence Jacobsen/Stefano Sebastiani

CEE Sport

13.9.87

Laurence Jacobsen/Stefano Sebastiani/Richard Jones

CEE Sport

Ford Turbo 1000 km Brands Hatch

16th

Ford Turbo 1000 km Spa Ford

1000 km Silverstone

Ford

24 h Le Mans

Rover

BRDC C2 Silverstone

Rover

BRDC C2 Brands Hatch

Rover

BRDC C2 Donington

Rover

4th

8.5.88 Slim Borgudd

American Alloy Engines

12.6.88 Slim Borgudd

American Alloy Engines

9.4.89 Andrew McAlpine/Mike Catlow

Andrew McAlpine

7.5.89 Andrew McAlpine/Mike Catlow

Andrew McAlpine

6th

21.5.89 Andrew McAlpine/Mike Catlow

Andrew McAlpine

BRDC C2 Silverstone

6th

4.6.89 Andrew McAlpine/Mike Catlow

Andrew McAlpine

Rover

BRDC C2 Oulton Park

4th

13.8.89 Andrew McAlpine/Mike Catlow

Andrew McAlpine

Rover

BRDC C2 Thruxton

Rover Rover

BRDC C2 Silverstone BRDC C2 Donington

24.9.89 Andrew McAlpine/Mike Catlow

Andrew McAlpine

9

th

8.10.89 Andrew McAlpine/Mike Catlow

Andrew McAlpine

5

th

25.3.90 Nick Atkins/Richard Hinton

Nick Atkins

13

th

22.7.90 Nick Atkins/Richard Hinton

Nick Atkins/Richard Hilton

Rover

Interserie Brands Hatch

Rover

BRDC C2 Snetterton

5th 19.8.90 Nick Atkins/Richard Hinton

Nick Atkins

Rover

BRDC C2 Donington

15.9.90 Nick Atkins/Richard Hinton

Nick Atkins

Rover

Interserie Donington

26.9.93 John Dooley/David Mercer

-

13th


HCAAC Debden Autumn Sprint, October 2012 The club’s second sprint meeting of 2012 took place on Sunday 7th October, and attracted a good entry of seventy-nine. As mentioned in ‘Editors Waffle’ a new course layout was devised, and used for the first time in anger. Following Anton Rothwell’s unfortunate accident in May, it was incumbent on the committee to find an alternative route for competitors, to avoid the ‘excavations’ carried out by the Army earlier in the year which were deemed to make the old track too dangerous in places. The following diagram show the revised circuit, with the new section comprising the first third of the course, with a new start line by the collecting area, and incorporating a fast run up the main runway to the old ‘roundabout’, with a fast left-right pair of sweeps and a ‘bus-stop’ chicane to add spice. In addition the finishing line was extended by about 50 yards, giving us a 1.1 mile course in total.

Suffice to say here that the revisions met with unqualified approval, all the competitors who were spoken to saying they liked the chance to really get the boot down straight from the start - that was after the ‘rather too tight’ first left-hander had been eased after a few too many spins in the morning practice sessions. To paraphrase Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, “. . . one spin, Mr Worthing, is unfortunate, two spins is simply careless. . . .” – and 20 spins demands a rethink! Sunday morning was extremely misty and cold, so much so that visibility was severely reduced, almost to the point where one marshal’s post could not be seen from another, as this picture of Donald Duncan’s Renault Clio V6 shows.


As already mentioned there were numerous spins at the first tight left-hander after the start so this was eased during the morning, which made for a much faster ‘blast’ all the way from the start line to the new ‘bus-stop’, with most drivers taking it pretty much flat. The next right-hander across the other side of the runway was also very fast, with the result that many cars were arriving at the bus-stop with tyres locked and clouds of smoke, as ably demonstrated by Mike DruceSmith’s Toyota MR2 .

What the new course certainly provided was a faster turn-round of cars, as the organisers were able to run three cars on the course at the same time, with the next car being released as its predecessor was exiting MP3 (and its predecessor being at roughly MP6). This reduced the total elapsed time for ‘turning a session round’ from over an hour to about 45 minutes. As a consequence every competitor was able to get three timed runs in the afternoon, and it was all finished by 3.45pm! Another contributory factor to this was the fact that the morning mist had burnt off by mid-day, and the afternoon weather improved greatly, with sun and blue skies. Times got progressively better as the afternoon went on, culminating in a fastest time of day (FTD) of 61.53 secs, set by Borough 19 club member Steve Boother in his OMS 2000M. Steve also set FTD of 59.73 secs in our May sprint, so the new course has added about 2 seconds to the fastest cars’ times. Congratulations again to Steve.

And at the other end of the scale we picture VSCC member Henry Day’s splendid Alvis 12/70, which recorded STD (slowest time of day) with a best of 1:46.63, and not a lot slower than some considerably later machinery – and that with a car that must be about 80 years old!


Our course car was club member Allan McNab’s splendid Type 37 Bugatti, with Allan acting as ‘chauffeur for the day’ for Clerk of the Course Alan Barnard (and looking suitably ‘period’ in leather flying helmet). Here, passenger Brian Horne looks like he wants to get out! One notable non-starter was, regrettably, Gerry Cannon with his fearsome Cantrac Ultima Rover 4.4 litre V8 (the subject of an extensive ‘You and Your Cars’ feature in Stag Party last year), with the beast refusing to run cleanly, and Gerry reluctantly had to scratch after only the first practice session. Gerry thought the problem lay with loose carburettor jets causing fuel flooding. Regular representatives from HCAAC (29 in all, roughly 40% of the total entry) and other clubs were present, along with Subaru and TVR ‘one-make’ championship contenders. We also had the benefit of a new caterer, ‘The Food Pod’, who served us good quality hot food and drinks from a smart-looking mobile, complete with blue and white awning. And very good it was too. This was their second attendance, as they were first engaged at our May sprint meeting and all reckoned them to be a definite improvement over previous years! HCAAC club member Howard Dawson proudly models his new red overalls, while Graham Morris looks the other way – obviously it takes more than a new suit to impress him!


Class Winners were: Class 1: Class 2: Class 3: Class 4: Class 5: Class 6: Class 7: Class 8: Class 9: Class 10: Class 11: Class 12: Class 13: Class 14: Class 15: Class 19: Class 20: Class 21: Class 22:

Nick Duncan, Citroen Saxo Jon Williams, Honda Integra R Ted Roberts, Rover Metro GTI Paul Bryan, Morgan 4/4 Bill McKenna, Porsche 996 Justin Andrews, Subaru Impreza Chris Hardman, Westfield SeiW Stephen Laing, Caterham R500 Bob Gibson, Alpine A110 Mitchell Perry, Renault Clio 182 Cup Richard Grimes, Subaru Impreza RS Gerry Fincham, Caterham R400 Gino Cuomo, Dax Rush Turbo Steve Boother, OMS 2000M Tony Luxton, Pilbeam MP58H Richard Carter, Reliant Scimitar GTE Mike Roe, TVR Vixen S4 Graham Scarborough, Lotus Elise Roy Millbank, Jaguar D-Type Revival

1:20.76 1:18.58 1:31.37 1:17.31 1:13.75 1:13.24 1:12.70 1:10.59 1:13.79 1:17.58 1:15.49 1:19.00 1:10.54 1:01.53 (FTD) 1:05.41 1:19.22 1:14.90 1:14.63 1:23.00

Congratulations to all, and we look forward to seeing you all in the 2013 season. Full results and pictures are on the HCAAC website (thanks to Paul Hopgood for some of the pictures featured here. And finally: A splendid ‘press-on’ shot of Jon Doubleday in his ‘Fraud’ Cortina Mk2, boasting a 5.7litre V8 engine and complete with ‘Doc’ Merfield name tag on each side, Merfield being one of the first to shoehorn a big V8 lump into a Mk1 Cortina back in the 1960’s (Ed: I remember him well, at Brands Hatch particularly).

“A tad less understeer and I might just make the apex next time!”


A Bit of History Westbrook Hay Speed Hill-Climb

At a recent club night committee member Brian Horne brought along a well-thumbed copy of an old programme from a hill-climb back in 1962 (50 years ago, Ye Gods!). What made it particularly interesting, apart from its age, was the event itself, or more precisely, the organising club. The event was promoted and organised by none other than our very own Herts County Auto & Aero Club, and comprised a round of the RAC Speed Hill Climb Championship to be held at the now-defunct Westbrook Hay venue.


For those of you who do not know it, Westbrook Hay was a very well-known and longestablished hill-climb venue situated off the A41 just outside Hemel Hempstead (go along the old A41 to the Bovingdon junction, continue on a quarter of a mile and the entrance is on the left). It was a regular round of the national championship for many years. The programme makes fascinating reading and for that reason we are including extracts from it here, starting with the front cover reproduced above, and followed by the programme introduction from Michael Christie, reprinted from the ‘Sporting Motorist’ publication (anyone remember that?). “Westbrook Hay Hill Climb came into the RAC Championship Hill Climb calendar for the first time in 1959, although it has been run for several years by the Herts County Auto and Aero Club. The hill is not particularly steep in any of its parts, but is certainly winding, which keeps speeds down. The road is quite narrow and is therefore best suited to the small type of car such as Cooper 1100 etc. Large cars, like ERA’s and the bigger sports cars, find there is not much room to make a mistake. Let us take a look at the hill from the driving point of view. The start is on a slight gradient with a righthand curve which continues for quite a long way, the gradient getting slightly less as you continue up the hill. You start in first gear and quickly nip into second and, if you have that sort of gearbox, into third as well, although some of the Coopers can remain in second for practically the rest of the way. Maximum acceleration can be used right up to the first tight left-hand bend, which is over half-way up the course. Once you have negotiated this you can see a straight of about 50yards in front of you, and it’s foot hard down in second gear, changing into third quickly when the revs reach the correct amount. About 50 yards after the left-hand bend there is a white post at the side of the road which indicates a slight kink to the right. Still no need to decelerate – you can use maximum acceleration for another 50/75 yards. At this point there are two very tall, straight beech trees on the left-hand side of the road. When they are about 25 yards in front of you, you know it’s time to brake fairly hard for a deceptively tight swerve to the right, which comes just before the finishing line. By and large, I would say that one cannot go over the finishing line in a fast car without cutting out for this swerve to the right. You then have quite enough time to pull up before you come to the large stone gate posts which lead up to the finishing car park. For drivers who are looking for landmarks to know the course, there are on the right-hand side of the road, in the thorn hedge, some very handily-shaped clumps of thorn bush which stick out a bit above the prevailing height of the hedge, and some handy gullies in the side of the road which can give clues to braking points, gearchange points, etc. I think all drivers will agree with me that the addition of Westbrook Hay into the RAC Hill Climb Championship has given the Championship Calendar a hill of completely different character to all others. Full marks to the organising club who have, in a comparatively short space of time, popularised this hill climb to the extent where it is a financial success, and a popular hill for the drivers as well.” (We love the idea of having ‘quite enough time to pull up before you come to the large stone gate posts’ – Health and Safety, eh?) The entry list makes for interesting reading as well, split into three main categories:


Group 1: Saloon Cars, with two classes split at 1300cc, the former containing mainly Austin and Morris Coopers, and the odd Anglia, Fiat Abarth and DKW, while the latter had just one Gilbern-MG and a couple of Sunbeam Rapiers Group 2: Sports Cars, with four classes of up to 1100cc, 1100 to 1600cc, 1600 to 2500cc and over 2500cc. This is where the bulk of the entry came from and saw a huge variety of vehicle makes and models, ranging from Austin-Healey Sprites at one end to Phil Scragg’s Lister-Jaguar at the other. Other well-known names were present including Peter Boshier-Jones and his 1098 Lotus-Climax, Dizzy Addicott with his Lotus-Buick, D.B. Farrell and his homegrown 5.4 litre ‘Farrillac’, which is still running today as it regularly appears at the Goodwood Revival. Josh Randles had his 2-litre CooperClimax on hand, and Gerry Tyack was in his 1500 Emeryson-Climax. Group 3: Racing Cars, in three classes – up to 500cc (to accommodate the single-seater F3 Coopers etc), 500 to 1500cc, and over 1500cc. This was obviously where most of the serious championship contenders would be coming from, and some of the names appearing here were the very top drivers in British hill-climbing at the time, including Peter Westbury in his Cooper-Daimler, Martin Morris’ ERA D-Type, David Good in his Cooper-JAP and Arthur Owen with his 2.5 litre ex-F1 Cooper-Climax T53. Owen went on to win the 1962 RAC Hill-Climb Championship outright. The programme also contained an application form for membership to HCAAC, for which the fee was the princely sum of £1 1s (or 1 guinea as it was known), while combined HCAAC AND RAC membership could be bought for £3 2s 6d. There were even items of HCAAC ‘merchandise’ available, with a lapel badges priced at 5 shillings, ties at 19 shillings and an HCAAC car badge for 30 bob (£1 10s to you!)

(Many thanks to Brian Horne for the loan of this historic artefact – the editor promises to return it once it has been re-discovered somewhere within HCAAC Publishing House – aka down the back of the sofa!)


Answer to July ‘When, What, Where, Who’

We said that the car, pictured here on the Goodwood House hill at the 1996 Festival of Speed, was pretty straightforward, particularly in the light of another item elsewhere in the same edition of Stag Party, and it is the famous (or infamous!) BRM V16 1.5 litre F1 car, in its later 1952/53 Mk 2 guise (the same model Fangio took to that 198mph at Albi). The driver in this picture is NOT Fangio, however, but his Argentinian compatriot Jose Froilan Gonzales, who was attending the Festival that year as a sort of guest of honour / elder statesman of motor racing. Looks like he was wearing one of his original crash helmets, too.


HCAAC CLUB OFFICIALS

President

Graham Scarborough

Chairman

Chris Wilson

Honorary Treasurer

Khan Busby

Honorary Secretary

Donald Duncan

Membership Secretary

David Gibbs

Child Protection Officer

Evelyn Gibbs

Committee Member

Steve Muir

Committee Member

Brian Horne

Committee Member

Tony Gattuso

Committee Member

Lionel Reeves

Committee Member

Jonathan Gibbs

Committee Member

Gerry Cannon

Web Site Editor

Gordon Stubberfield

Events Secretary

Pete Walters

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Hcaac stag party oct 2012