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Firle Hill Climb help needed


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#1 Rupertlt1

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 12:13

I am piecing together the history of Firle Hill Climb here: http://en.wikipedia....irle_Hill_Climb

I need help with the narrative and filling in the gaps on the table of winners. No fragment is too small!

This from Jim Tiller, a regular competitor at Firle: "Racing stopped at Firle when a Lotus went out of control, as you say. Some walkers/ramblers ignored the motor racing warning signs and found, what they thought was a good spot on the bank side of the road from which they could view the hill climb. There were no other people there. The Lotus lost control and mounted the left hand bank, spun and then went up the right hand bank injuring the walkers. We are not aware of any injuries to the driver. The organisers realised that the hill was un-managable as it could not be sufficiently marshalled."

I can find no evidence of events at Firle after 1967 so this incident probably dates from then? The car that crashed is thought to be a Lotus Elan - can anybody say when and who?

I am also working on Bodiam Hill Climb here: http://en.wikipedia....upertlt/Sandbox

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#2 f1steveuk

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 12:34

I spent a happy day at the then Lewes newspaper archice which had quite a lot on micro-fiche, but I think this was soaked up into what is now The Argus", quite a few pictures and quite detailed reports, I can see if I can find contact details?

#3 Rupertlt1

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 12:38

I spent a happy day at the then Lewes newspaper archice which had quite a lot on micro-fiche, but I think this was soaked up into what is now The Argus", quite a few pictures and quite detailed reports, I can see if I can find contact details?


I'm in Toronto, Canada, but will be in Lewes shortly. Do you mean records in the Sussex Express newspaper? Which archive were you in? The record office?


#4 Allan Lupton

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 13:03

As you've noted Bentley Drivers Club ran events there for many years, so it may be worth contacting them:
http://www.bdcl.org/
- or perhaps you have done.

#5 Rupertlt1

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 13:06

As you've noted Bentley Drivers Club ran events there for many years, so it may be worth contacting them:
http://www.bdcl.org/
- or perhaps you have done.


They charge for research which is beyond my scope.


#6 f1steveuk

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 14:18

I'm in Toronto, Canada, but will be in Lewes shortly. Do you mean records in the Sussex Express newspaper? Which archive were you in? The record office?


What was the Sussex Express, as I say I think it was soaked up into the Argus some years ago.

#7 Rupertlt1

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 14:43

What was the Sussex Express, as I say I think it was soaked up into the Argus some years ago.


The Sussex Express still exists (just) - so maybe not the right publication? Did you visit a newspaper office? Do you have any records of your research?


#8 f1steveuk

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 16:41

I did the work for a museum I was working for (in near by Polegate), which included Firle, Lewes and the massive proposed banked circuit between Peacehaven and Brighton. I was in a newspaper office, in Lewes High Street, but I had to give them about three months notice. I am talking about 1989ish so things may well have changed! The research stayed with the museum and the organisers of the Bexhill 100.

#9 Rupertlt1

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 17:12

I did the work for a museum I was working for (in near by Polegate), which included Firle, Lewes and the massive proposed banked circuit between Peacehaven and Brighton. I was in a newspaper office, in Lewes High Street, but I had to give them about three months notice. I am talking about 1989ish so things may well have changed! The research stayed with the museum and the organisers of the Bexhill 100.


Do you mean the Filching Manor Motor Museum?


#10 f1steveuk

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 17:32

Do you mean the Filching Manor Motor Museum?

Indeed I do!

#11 Chris Townsend

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 19:02

What was the Sussex Express, as I say I think it was soaked up into the Argus some years ago.


You may well be better off using the National Newspaper Library at Colindale, North London, a part of the British Library
There is an online catalogue
http://catalogue.bl....;local_base=NPL
and you can order material in advance, on line, and get membership on the day if you take along relevant proofs of identity - though the best thing to do might be to get full British Library membership from the Euston Road main library, if you plan to be spending a while doing this.

The NNPL is free to use, and you can actually order material in there on the day. [Takes 2 hours to come up in the week, longer weekends, which is why it's good to order in advance]
The advantage for you is that the NNPL holds in microfiche and/or hard copy every modern [ie 19th and 20th century] British newspaper, national and regional, so you can expand your search. You get the support of professional archivists, and copying is cheap.

Good luck with the Firle project, and as someone who loved the Bodiam event I'd love to see what you do with that.
You might well find that Motoring News gave some attention to these events [indeed, I'll have a look for Bodiam in 1968 MN on Wednesday when I'm there!]

Chris

#12 RS2000

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 19:09

Life became too short waiting for the links to open. I helped someone (no longer with us) several years ago looking into the remote possibility that Firle might be run again. I recalled at the time once reading an article in the MGCC magazine of about 30 years ago that referred to a Fitzwilliam Team MGA competing there (about 50 years ago). There is a photo around somewhere. There is also a photo of a VW Beetle at Firle in either Alan Clark's "Diaries" or his book "Backfire".
I'm not sure the intensive mandatory marshalling requirements of today would have necessarily still ruled out running it for the reason given for its demise but I suspect the massed ranks of the hang gliders etc. would present insurmountable access conflict. We also projected the times for fastest cars on the original course into some semblance of what we knew compared today at other venues and found roadgoing saloons would have been likely to achieve the 20 seconds or so that was fastest in period, leaving faster categories too quick. I also found (in on line records of local council meetings) some implication that public rights of way may have been increased since then.
Bodiham is better reflected in current living memories around the south east. I believe Andy Elcomb of S&DMC still has the Midget he rolled there...still in much the same condition.

Edited by RS2000, 10 October 2010 - 19:15.


#13 Rupertlt1

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 19:25

Life became too short waiting for the links to open. I helped someone (no longer with us) several years ago looking into the remote possibility that Firle might be run again. I recalled at the time once reading an article in the MGCC magazine of about 30 years ago that referred to a Fitzwilliam Team MGA competing there (about 50 years ago). There is a photo around somewhere. There is also a photo of a VW Beetle at Firle in either Alan Clark's "Diaries" or his book "Backfire".
I'm not sure the intensive mandatory marshalling requirements of today would have necessarily still ruled out running it for the reason given for its demise but I suspect the massed ranks of the hang gliders etc. would present insurmountable access conflict. We also projected the times for fastest cars on the original course into some semblance of what we knew compared today at other venues and found roadgoing saloons would have been likely to achieve the 20 seconds or so that was fastest in period, leaving faster categories too quick. I also found (in on line records of local council meetings) some implication that public rights of way may have been increased since then.
Bodiham is better reflected in current living memories around the south east. I believe Andy Elcomb of S&DMC still has the Midget he rolled there...still in much the same condition.


I'll be in Lewes shortly and may get access to the Sussex Express archive. Surely Autosport and Motoring News will shed further light on the subject? Any assistance greatly appreciated.

The coalition government is talking of relaxing the rules on holding motor racing events on public roads, so who knows what the future holds?


#14 MCS

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 19:40

The coalition government is talking of relaxing the rules on holding motor racing events on public roads, so who knows what the future holds?


Don't hold your breath.


#15 Rupertlt1

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 13:35

Will Schofield sent me the following reports from Firle from the B.D.C. Review:
Sunday September 6, 1959: "M.H. Barker and his Jaguar-engined Alton took F.T.D with 28.39." This was the day after the Brighton Speed Trials on the Sunday.
Sunday September 4, 1960 - F.T.D. A.G. Mann, H.W.M.-Jaguar, 27.36 secs.

Edited by Rupertlt1, 11 October 2010 - 14:00.


#16 Darren Galpin

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 13:59

Bentley DC Firle Speed Hillclimb
27th September 1953

Sports cars 1500cc
 1	G.A.Ruddock		Lester-MG			32.40s

Sports cars 2500cc
 1	B.Wyatt		Frazer-Nash		30.91s

Sports cars 3500cc
 1	J.G.S.Sears		Jaguar			32.92s

Sports cars over 3500cc
 1	P.Woozley		Allard			31.05s

Sports cars up to 2000cc
 1	C.D.F.Buckler		Buckler			33.26s

Sports cars unlimited
 1	G.D.Parker		Jaguar			32.19s


#17 Rupertlt1

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 14:06

Bentley DC Firle Speed Hillclimb
27th September 1953

Sports cars 1500cc
 1	G.A.Ruddock		Lester-MG			32.40s

Sports cars 2500cc
 1	B.Wyatt		Frazer-Nash		30.91s

Sports cars 3500cc
 1	J.G.S.Sears		Jaguar			32.92s

Sports cars over 3500cc
 1	P.Woozley		Allard			31.05s

Sports cars up to 2000cc
 1	C.D.F.Buckler		Buckler			33.26s

Sports cars unlimited
 1	G.D.Parker		Jaguar			32.19s


Marvelous stuff - where does this come from?


#18 Darren Galpin

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 15:21

Motor Sport, November 1953, pg 620

#19 Allan Lupton

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 16:30

Classes look odd and I suspect the last two were either not sports cars, or were modified sports cars - even so they seem to have been won at lower times than the equivalent other Sports Car classes. Gordon Parker's "Jaguar" would probably have been his "Jaguette" special (too early for "Jaguara") which was 2½ litres s/c.

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#20 Rupertlt1

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 21:12

David Beckett, Lister Jaguar, July 12, 1964 set FTD at Firle? Time? Can anybody stand this up with reference?


#21 fuzzi

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 06:19

If you drive the hill, you will find that there are timing lines painted on the road. The Morgan three-wheeler club have an informal event there in the spring each year -could it be them?

I thoroughly endorse the British Library Newspaper Library at Colindale. So far in two years I haven't had to wait two hours for orders to come up 40-50 minutes is the norm during the week. The events were covered quite well in the Autosports of the period.

#22 Rupertlt1

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 10:57

If you drive the hill, you will find that there are timing lines painted on the road. The Morgan three-wheeler club have an informal event there in the spring each year -could it be them?


Yes, but these lines don't correspond to the 'old' hill climb course which was only 600 yards long? I wonder if a sketch map of the old course survives?


#23 Rupertlt1

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 20:30

I managed to get briefly into an archive here in Toronto and have posted the fresh information here:
http://en.wikipedia....irle_Hill_Climb


#24 f1steveuk

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 10:57

Does Google Earth show anything?

#25 Rupertlt1

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 20:03

This from Jim Tiller, a regular competitor at Firle: "Racing stopped at Firle when a Lotus went out of control, as you say. Some walkers/ramblers ignored the motor racing warning signs and found, what they thought was a good spot on the bank side of the road from which they could view the hill climb. There were no other people there. The Lotus lost control and mounted the left hand bank, spun and then went up the right hand bank injuring the walkers. We are not aware of any injuries to the driver. The organisers realised that the hill was un-managable as it could not be sufficiently marshalled."

I can find no evidence of events at Firle after 1967 so this incident probably dates from then? The car that crashed is thought to be a Lotus Elan - can anybody say when and who?


Sussex Express & County Herald,
Friday, June 2, 1967, Page 22 photo caption:
Record holder M.J. Fallek
drives his 1865 c.c. Lotus Elan
round the last bend in Sun-
days B.A.R.C. hill climb at
Firle. He was timed at 26.3
sec - just over a second
outside his touring car record.

Could this be the car that crashed at Firle? Does anybody know any more?


#26 lesmo

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 22:36

In a Mini Firle wasn't much fun; you needed a lot of grunt to make it interesting, there were only two serious corners.
If you haven't got them already, I can offer copies of the results sheets for MGCC(SE) 14th July 1963, BARC(SE) 31st May 1964 and BARC(SE) 4th October 1964.

Also for Bodiam I have results sheets for 17th October 1964, 16th October 1965, 21st October 1972, 5th September 1981 and 7th September 1985. May have some photos at both events but will have to mine the archive.

Edited by lesmo, 01 November 2010 - 22:18.


#27 AJB

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 12:59

Does Google Earth show anything?

If you go in on Street View you get a photo every 10 yards up the whole road!! Never seen so many photos on such a quiet road; the Google camera-man must have known what it was.
Alan

#28 Rupertlt1

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Posted 07 November 2010 - 10:24

In a Mini Firle wasn't much fun; you needed a lot of grunt to make it interesting, there were only two serious corners.
If you haven't got them already, I can offer copies of the results sheets for MGCC(SE) 14th July 1963, BARC(SE) 31st May 1964 and BARC(SE) 4th October 1964.

Also for Bodiam I have results sheets for 17th October 1964, 16th October 1965, 21st October 1972, 5th September 1981 and 7th September 1985. May have some photos at both events but will have to mine the archive.


All results gratefully received. A complete history is what I am aiming for - although I never went to Firle back in the day I know from talking to those that did what a wonderful event it was. The boys at the Brighton & Hove MC dream of reviving it, possibly as a demonstration, which is unlikely. First they need to know what it was like in the old days.


#29 Rupertlt1

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 23:13

Sussex Express & County Herald,
Friday, June 2, 1967, Page 22 photo caption:
Record holder M.J. Fallek
drives his 1865 c.c. Lotus Elan
round the last bend in Sun-
days B.A.R.C. hill climb at
Firle. He was timed at 26.3
sec - just over a second
outside his touring car record.

Could this be the car that crashed at Firle? Does anybody know any more?


An advertisement in Motor Sport, September 1967, Page 873 refers to "Maurice Fallek's 1895 c.c. Lotus Elan with Martin Ford Engine" - he is believed to have raced a Chevron-BMW later. Can anybody pin down the date of the crash at Firle which ended racing at the venue?

#30 humphries

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 16:35

In the MN report of the Bentley DC meeting at Firle on 24/09/1967 it was mentioned that .... "Second (in his class) was John Malyan's Lotus Elan which might have been quicker had the driver not frightened himself by a "wall of death" act in practice." Whether this involved the injuring of spectators is not known, but it was the last meeting to be held on Bo-Peep hill. Possibly the organisers wanted to keep the incident quiet. Is John Malyan still around?

John

#31 Rupertlt1

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 17:26

In the MN report of the Bentley DC meeting at Firle on 24/09/1967 it was mentioned that .... "Second (in his class) was John Malyan's Lotus Elan which might have been quicker had the driver not frightened himself by a "wall of death" act in practice." Whether this involved the injuring of spectators is not known, but it was the last meeting to be held on Bo-Peep hill. Possibly the organisers wanted to keep the incident quiet. Is John Malyan still around?

John


John, Many thanks. Can you give the results from this report? I am trying to establish who holds the track record (in perpetuity)? So FTD: driver, car, time will add another piece to the jigsaw!

I know from photographs that the crashed Lotus Elan was car #90. Has anybody got the programme?


#32 bradbury west

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 17:34

Is John Malyan still around?
John


If he is John L Malyan and lives in W Sussex, which may seem logical, then he was still around 3 or 4 years ago. Only 2 others listed elsewhere, assuming he is John as first name

Roger Lund

#33 fuzzi

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 06:54

From notes I have hillclimbing was stopped at Firle because of difficulties with the local authorities over the status of the road after 1967. Rights of Way disputes had disrupted some meetings.

BTW I have not come across any mention of spectator injuries being an issue.

#34 bradbury west

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 07:08

I know from conversations with him that Dr Mike Lawrence is an expert on these S Coast hillclimbs. Perhaps contacting him would give the various answers which are sought here. Search for his contact on the Forum
Roger Lund

#35 Rupertlt1

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 10:56

From notes I have hillclimbing was stopped at Firle because of difficulties with the local authorities over the status of the road after 1967. Rights of Way disputes had disrupted some meetings.

BTW I have not come across any mention of spectator injuries being an issue.


I have contacted Mike Lawrence for assistance.

Ref an accident we have three witnesses - Jim and Sheila Tiller, Roy Hunnisett - all saying that a Lotus Elan crashed into spectators. Better yet I have photographs, taken by Roy Hunnisett, which clearly show a dark blue Lotus Elan, #90, with gold stripe and gold steel wheels, and spectators down, being attended to by medics. The clerk of the course is clearly identifiable in one picture. I would post them here if I could figure out how to do it!

So the question is who was driving the #90 Lotus Elan?


#36 humphries

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 11:35

Missing from your list.

28/09/52 Gordon Grozier (Bentlet 8.0)=D.Hely (Frazer-Nash LMR) 30.8

25/05/56 J Rudd (Frazer-Nash LMR) Time not known

05/10/58 Alastair Park (Tojeiro-Aston Maartin 3.0) 29.78

29/05/60 Not known

09/07/61 Bill Heathcote (Lotus 18-Ford 1.0) 26.55
17/09/61 M. Barker (Alton-Jaguar) Time not known

08/07/62 Bill Heathcote (Lotus 18-Ford 1.0) 25.40

26/05/63 Patsy Burt (Cooper T59-Climax 2.0) 24.45
07/07/63 Gordon Parker (Cooper T43-Climax 1.5) 25.06
15/09/63 Peter Farquharson (Allard J2-Chrysler 5.4) 26.23

31/05/64 Gordon Parker (Cooper T43-Climax 1.5 s/c) 23.87
12/07/64 David Beckett (Lister-Jaguar 3.8) 27.89
13/09/64

#37 humphries

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 11:47

Sorry in the middle of typing when it submitted itself!!

13.09.64 David Beckett (Lister-Jaguar 3.8) 25.45

30/05/65 Patsy Burt (Cooper T59-Climax 2.0) 24.22
11/07/65 Gordon Parker (Cooper Spl-Climax 1.5 s/c) 26.87
29/08/65 Gordon Parker (Cooper Spl-Climax 1.5 s/c) 23.09
12/09/65 Fred Tindell (Lister-Jaguar 3.8) 25.88

29/05/66 John Barnes (Elva 7-Ford 1.65 s/c) 24.09
19/06/66 Don Harris (DMF 3-Ford 1.6) 24.02
??/09/66 Cancelled

25/06/67 No information
03/09/67 John Fenwick (Brabham BT18-Ford 1.6) 24.52
24/09/67 M Barker (Alton-Jaguar) 25.7

Mike Anthony's Lister had a Chevrolet Corvette engine

David Good (BRM 67 2.0 4wd) 22.78, put in the best time according to my records.

John




#38 Rupertlt1

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 11:54

Missing from your list.

28/09/52 Gordon Grozier (Bentlet 8.0)=D.Hely (Frazer-Nash LMR) 30.8

25/05/56 J Rudd (Frazer-Nash LMR) Time not known

05/10/58 Alastair Park (Tojeiro-Aston Martin 3.0) 29.78

29/05/60 Not known

09/07/61 Bill Heathcote (Lotus 18-Ford 1.0) 26.55
17/09/61 M. Barker (Alton-Jaguar) Time not known

08/07/62 Bill Heathcote (Lotus 18-Ford 1.0) 25.40

26/05/63 Patsy Burt (Cooper T59-Climax 2.0) 24.45
07/07/63 Gordon Parker (Cooper T43-Climax 1.5) 25.06
15/09/63 Peter Farquharson (Allard J2-Chrysler 5.4) 26.23

31/05/64 Gordon Parker (Cooper T43-Climax 1.5 s/c) 23.87
12/07/64 David Beckett (Lister-Jaguar 3.8) 27.89
13/09/64


John, This is great stuff - I added more data yesterday which covers some of this: http://en.wikipedia....irle_Hill_Climb

Many thanks to my counterpart J. Scott Morris here in Canada who trawled Safety Fast re Firle.

Re 1952 the name is Crozier? I have him as Gerry in 1951?

Ideally I need references for this stuff to satisfy the folk at Wikipedia. We are nearly there with the table of winners. Fantastic!

RGDS RLT

P.S. Just seen full list - it just gets better!

P.P.S. Is he Fred Tindall?

More: Presumably David Good set the time of 22.78 sec on May 28, 1967?

Edited by Rupertlt1, 11 November 2010 - 12:22.


#39 Allan Lupton

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 13:09

If he is John L Malyan and lives in W Sussex, which may seem logical, then he was still around 3 or 4 years ago. Only 2 others listed elsewhere, assuming he is John as first name

Roger Lund

That John L Malyan was still around when the 2009 VSCC Members' List was published. Haven't knowingly seen him recently, but that means little.

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#40 David McKinney

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 16:01

Re 1952 the name is Crozier? I have him as Gerry in 1951?

I'm sure there was a Gerry Crozier running a Bentley about that time, but I thought he was from the North - maybe even Scotland?


#41 humphries

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 17:41

Yes Crozier - typo Grozier! Gordon or Gerry, mmm, my records were compiled nearly 30 years ago I'm so not sure any more.

As for F.Tindell, if memory serves (a depreciating asset), he shared the Lister with Fred Owen so it might be a transference mix-up by me.

I'm afraid I am unable to provide chapter and verse for sources but information mainly from Autosport and MN.

John

#42 fuzzi

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 06:13

Gerry Crozier is the Bentley driver. He owned and drove a number of Bentleys around this period including the Barnato-Hassan, which had been fitted with a two-seater body and wings and was driven on the road. Gerry Crozier drove Stanley Sedwick's Speed Six Bentley AC 260 at Montlhery in 1960 attempting 120miles in one hour - nearly made it too.

Gordon Crozier was a Scot who I found in "The Motor World" driving an XK120 Jaguar to best time of the day at the Guay Sprint on the old Inverness road on the Atholl Estate in June 1958.

(I'm glad to hear the stories of the accident have been backed up - it can't have helped the case with persuading the local authorities that the climbs should continue)

Edited by fuzzi, 12 November 2010 - 06:15.


#43 David McKinney

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 06:29

Thanks Julian

I suspected my memory wasn't to be trusted :)

#44 Rupertlt1

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 08:50

Gerry Crozier is the Bentley driver. He owned and drove a number of Bentleys around this period including the Barnato-Hassan, which had been fitted with a two-seater body and wings and was driven on the road. Gerry Crozier drove Stanley Sedwick's Speed Six Bentley AC 260 at Montlhery in 1960 attempting 120miles in one hour - nearly made it too.

Gordon Crozier was a Scot who I found in "The Motor World" driving an XK120 Jaguar to best time of the day at the Guay Sprint on the old Inverness road on the Atholl Estate in June 1958.

(I'm glad to hear the stories of the accident have been backed up - it can't have helped the case with persuading the local authorities that the climbs should continue)


Does anybody have a reference for Firle 1952? Autosport? B.D.C. Review?

I've contacted the MSA to see if they have anything in the files re Firle. Apparently they got rid of a lot of stuff when they moved from central London.


#45 Allan Lupton

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 09:12

I've contacted the MSA to see if they have anything in the files re Firle. Apparently they got rid of a lot of stuff when they moved from central London.

You could try the RAC. The events concerned were regulated by the Competitions Dept. of the RAC, originally to be found in their Pall Mall building and later in Belgrave Square. It is possible that when the quasi-autonomous Motor Sports Association was set up that the archive was left behind, rather than destroyed.


#46 Rupertlt1

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 09:17

You could try the RAC. The events concerned were regulated by the Competitions Dept. of the RAC, originally to be found in their Pall Mall building and later in Belgrave Square. It is possible that when the quasi-autonomous Motor Sports Association was set up that the archive was left behind, rather than destroyed.


Any further int? Contacts?

I mean to get to the bottom of this!

Has anybody got a report of David Good (BRM 67 2.0 4wd) doing 22.78 at Firle - must have been quite a sight!


#47 Stephen W

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 11:13

Does anybody have a reference for Firle 1952? Autosport? B.D.C. Review?

I've contacted the MSA to see if they have anything in the files re Firle. Apparently they got rid of a lot of stuff when they moved from central London.



You could try the RAC. The events concerned were regulated by the Competitions Dept. of the RAC, originally to be found in their Pall Mall building and later in Belgrave Square. It is possible that when the quasi-autonomous Motor Sports Association was set up that the archive was left behind, rather than destroyed.


I was under the impression that it all went to the furnaces.

#48 humphries

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 11:42

Full page Autosport report of the 1952 Firle event on page 425, 3 October edition. The headline was "Have we seen the last of Firle Hill-Climb?. Nothing to do with the course but a concern that Bentley owners could not find tyres unless the RAC removed its ban on remoulded and retreaded tyres for events like Firle.
Gerry Crozier is mentioned with his first name!

Good's record in the BRM was reported on p940, in Autosport 9 June 1967. He did his first run in 22.82 breaking Gordon Parker's record 23.09 then a 22.78. Good claimed he could go quicker.

It is likely the reports in MN are more detailed still but my collection of MN from Sept 57 is in the loft.....

Edited by humphries, 12 November 2010 - 13:47.


#49 Rupertlt1

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 13:33

Full page Autosport report of the 1952 Firle event on page 425, 3 October edition. The headline was "Have we seen the last of Firle Hill-Climb?. Nothing to do with the course but a concern that Bentley owners could not find tyres unless the RAC removed its ban on remoulded and retreaded tyres for events like Firle.
Gerry Crozier is mentioned with his first name!

Good's record in the BRM was reported on p940, in Autosport 9 June 1967. He did his first run in 22.82 breaking Gordon Parker's record 23.09 then a 22.78. Good claimed he could go quicker.

It is likely the reports in MN are more detailed still but my collection of MN from Sept 57 are in the loft.....


John, This is all wonderful stuff. How the car industry got off their knees after WW2 is a mystery. Petrol rationing, material shortages (including tyres), import restrictions, export quotas, over-taxation, greedy unions, worn-out equipment, planning restrictions, dispersal to the regions etc. All this took a toll from which it never recovered. I guess it took the Bentley Boys to get the ball rolling at Firle.

The end of Firle reminds me of the accident at the Kop Hill Climb in 1925. Spectators choosing unsafe vantage points leading to an accident and the end of competition. The Kop is back so why not a similar celebration at Firle?


#50 Rupertlt1

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 16:11

I've spoken to John Malyan on the phone and he tells me that he did compete at Firle - in a Lotus Elan and an Aston Martin DB2 - at B.D.C. meetings, probably three in all. The Aston was eligible as A.M.O.C. were an invited club. The "wall of death" incident happened in practice when he got off the road in his Lotus Elan on the left hand side after the first corner. This was due to another competitor "emptying the sump" at the first corner, and led to his young wife giving the marshals an ear-bashing for failing to warn him! He was given an additional practice run to compensate. He built the car from a kit to avoid the then current purchase tax.
John also competed at Shelsley Walsh, Prescott and Gurston Down. He also raced a Frazer-Nash BMW for 26 years, crashing the car in the Pomeroy Trophy at Silverstone.
He described Firle as a good, power hill, steep like Shelsley Walsh, but not as exciting. He told me a yarn about Jonty Williamson going round the top corner at Firle on the bank and failing to record a time.
However John Malyan is not the driver of the #90 Lotus Elan as he tells me his Elan was bright yellow.

We are still looking for the driver of a dark blue Lotus Elan, #90, with gold stripe and gold steel wheels?

Edited by Rupertlt1, 12 November 2010 - 21:57.