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Unidentified hillclimb/speed event - May 1955


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#1 MarkHealy

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Posted 05 August 2021 - 20:34

I'm trying to identify the location in these three images (links below) which were on a roll of film that my late father exposed at the beginning of May 1955. The preceding images on the same roll were of the Daily Express Silverstone meeting on May 7th, while the following images were of the Bugatti OC Prescott meeting on May 22nd.

 

That leaves Sun May 8th, Sat May 14th, Sun May 15th, and Sat May 21st as the possible dates for these images. My father was based in Birmingham and was reliant on a 250cc BSA for transport, so anything he would have attended would have been somewhere in the Midlands region. Looking at the May fixtures list in Motor Sport, the only likely contenders seem to be:
1) Nottingham S.C.C. Speed Trial on May 14th
2) North Midland M.C. Hillclimb on May 15th

Oddly, my father only made 4 exposures in total which I'm assuming was down to the extremely gloomy and wet conditions. 

 

In any case, does anyone know which venues Nottingham S.C.C. and North Midland M.C. might have used? It looks vaguely reminiscent of Loton Park?

 

Mark

Bentley - Unknown location - May 1955 | MarkGH | Flickr
Bugatti Type 37 - CCX 828 - Unknown location - May 1955 (2… | Flickr
Bugatti Type 37 - CCX 828 - Unknown location - May 1955 | Flickr


Edited by MarkHealy, 05 August 2021 - 20:35.


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#2 Rupertlt1

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Posted 06 August 2021 - 06:01

The first year at Loton Park was 1960  so not there.

 

"Another Nottingham S.C.C. event is

their sprint meeting at Alton Towers,

near Uttoxeter, Staffs, on 14th May.

This is also open to members of the

B.A.R.C., B.R.S.C.C., 750, Midland A.C.,

North Staffs, Vintage S.C.C. and Lough-

borough College M.C. and there are

races for saloons, sports cars and racing

cars of all capacity classes and a vintage

handicap. The course is about ¾ mile

in length and two runs will be allowed.

Entries should go to the N.S.C.C., Leen

Valley Dyeworks, Bulwell, Nottingham."

Autosport, 22 April 1955, Page 506

 

A sprint event was held at Alton Towers, Saturday 14th May 1955, promoted by the Nottingham Sports Car Club.

"John Dalton, of Belper, competitions secretary of the County Car Club (Derbyshire Sports Cars) won two events during the week-end in his Austin-Healey 100 S. sports car. On Saturday he won the event for sports models up to 2,700 cc. at the Nottingham Sports Car Club's sprint meeting at Alton Towers. On Sunday, competing in the North Midland Car Club's Ilam Hillclimb, Mr. Dalton won the class for sports cars of unlimited engine capacity, making the second fastest time at the meeting, irrespective of class."

Ripley and Heanor News and Ilkeston Division Free Press, Friday 20 May 1955, Page 4

 

What was the ILAM Hill Climb?

See: https://forums.autos...e/#entry3262264

 

Notes: Bugatti Type 37, registration CCX 828; Buckler advertising success at Alton Towers in 1955 — see Motor Sport, January 1956; another sprint event at Alton Towers was held Sunday 9 October 1955?

 

Does anybody have results/reports for 14 May, 9 October 1955 at Alton Towers? 

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 06 August 2021 - 08:16.


#3 MarkHealy

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Posted 06 August 2021 - 13:26

Fabulous info RLT, much appreciated. Of those two, Alton Towers certainly looks the more likely given the parkland like setting. I wonder was the sprint course part of what was the motorcycle circuit?

You've given me another possible location to investigate.

Thanks again,

Mark



#4 Ardmore

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Posted 06 August 2021 - 22:50

This is the list of events for May 1955 published in The Autocar

 

IMG-0693-2.jpg



#5 MarkHealy

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Posted 06 August 2021 - 23:49

Tks Ardmore. No extra likely contenders in that list that I can see.

 

Mark



#6 Rupertlt1

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Posted 07 August 2021 - 05:58

Car plunges into

lake at 60 m.p.h.:

driver unhurt

Jim Berry (41), a Rochdale racing

driver, narrowly escaped death yes-

terday when the car he was driving

at 60 m.p.h., at the Alton Towers

sprint meeting, skidded through a

stone parapet and plunged 10ft.

into a lake.

The car, a supercharged 2.3-litre

Bugatti, came to rest on its back.

Berry was pinned in the cockpit

for a few seconds, but then

scrambled clear and was hauled to

land by spectators.

He said later: "I was flat out in

second gear and when I braked for

the corner a front wheel locked and

I spun into the wall. As the car

fell into the water I got one leg

out of the cockpitotherwise I should

have been trapped."

Birmingham Daily Gazette, Monday 10 October 1955, Page 3

 

I think the motorcycle circuit may have been 3/4 mile, and therefore the sprint completed one full lap. Does anybody have a map?

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 07 August 2021 - 06:46.


#7 MarkHealy

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Posted 07 August 2021 - 22:21

Found a map here and it is indeed 3/4 mile in length. 1957 - Tony Sugden race career

 

Now to find some photos of events there to see if they look anything like what I have.

 

Mark



#8 Rupertlt1

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 07:20

Looks like FTD at Alton Towers on 14 May 1955 was Austen May in the Cooper MkVIII-J.A.P.

 

http://500race.org/people/austen-may/

 

RGDS RLT



#9 dgs

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 10:09

Austen May recorded BTD at both Alton Towers events in 1955.

 

14-05-1955:  Cooper V111-JAP,  57.05"

 

09-10-1955:  Cooper 55.0"

 

I do not have any other information on these events (more the pity)



#10 BRG

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 11:22

This is the list of events for May 1955 published in The Autocar

 

That list shows at no 15 a speed trial (sprint presumably?) by Mid-Surrey AC.  Anyone have any idea where that might have been held?  Surrey as a county is full of racers and teams but has never had many actual venues. There was  Brooklands,........err.....err...


Edited by BRG, 08 August 2021 - 11:22.


#11 Rupertlt1

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 13:49

That list shows at no 15 a speed trial (sprint presumably?) by Mid-Surrey AC.  Anyone have any idea where that might have been held?  Surrey as a county is full of racers and teams but has never had many actual venues. There was  Brooklands,........err.....err...

 

A logical answer is Brands Hatch (all sorts of clubs held events there) but I can't find any evidence yet.

I'll be at Gaydon for research on Friday and will look. Ditto Alton Towers, Ilam above.

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 08 August 2021 - 13:50.


#12 MarkHealy

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Posted 08 August 2021 - 20:08

Thanks again folks. As of yet, I've been unable to find any photos of any events (bike or car) at Alton Towers, so I'm unable to ascertain what it looked like in 1955 (I suspect nothing like it does today!).

I see Nottingham S.C.C. is still around and has an archivist. I shall make contact with him.

 

Mark



#13 geoffharrison

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Posted 09 August 2021 - 09:19

Having looked through my fathers list of events in which he competed , NMMC organised a hillclimb on the 15th May 1955.

He wiil have used his trials car and the notes read:- 15/5 Hillclimb NMMC  2nd  

No results sheet can be found.

Castern Hall , Ilam , Dovedale was also used by NMMC in September 1953 for the annual Overrevvers Challenge , NMMC v. SHMC .

 

Geoff., 


Edited by geoffharrison, 09 August 2021 - 09:19.


#14 dgs

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Posted 09 August 2021 - 09:44

Austen May recorded BTD at both Alton Towers events in 1955.

 

14-05-1955:  Cooper V111-JAP,  57.05"

 

09-10-1955:  Cooper 55.0"

 

I do not have any other information on these events (more the pity)

Looking at the excellent 'Motorsport Explorer' book by Julian Hunt, it appears that the two sprints mentioned that took place in 1955 were the only sprint meeting at Alton Towers  



#15 MarkHealy

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 21:52

It would seem the mystery has been solved!

I made contact with Mike Mayfield, who is the Nottingham Sports Car Club's archivist and he has confirmed the following:

"Both cars featured in you photos both competed at the NSCC Sprint Meeting held at Alton Towers on Saturday 14th May 1955.

 

Both were entered in Event 11 - Handicap for Vintage Cars.

The Bugatti Special of 1497cc was supercharged, car no 35, and the Entrant//driver was E.J. Sibbald.

 

The Bentley was 4 1/2 litre capacity, car no. 11, and was driven by J.A. Williamson.

 

Additionally, the Bugatti special in the hands of Mr Sibbald was also entered in the second Alton Towers Sprint Meeting held on Sunday 9th October 1955 as car no. 4 in Event 2 for Racing Cars 501cc to 1500cc.

His recorded times were 1st Run - 65.603s, 2nd Run - 66.664s between 40 & 41mph !!"

I'm indebted to Mike and all other contributors above for their assistance. Very much appreciated.

 

Mark



#16 Rupertlt1

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 22:18

It would seem the mystery has been solved!

I made contact with Mike Mayfield, who is the Nottingham Sports Car Club's archivist and he has confirmed the following:

"Both cars featured in you photos both competed at the NSCC Sprint Meeting held at Alton Towers on Saturday 14th May 1955.

 

Both were entered in Event 11 - Handicap for Vintage Cars.

The Bugatti Special of 1497cc was supercharged, car no 35, and the Entrant//driver was E.J. Sibbald.

 

The Bentley was 4 1/2 litre capacity, car no. 11, and was driven by J.A. Williamson.

 

Additionally, the Bugatti special in the hands of Mr Sibbald was also entered in the second Alton Towers Sprint Meeting held on Sunday 9th October 1955 as car no. 4 in Event 2 for Racing Cars 501cc to 1500cc.

His recorded times were 1st Run - 65.603s, 2nd Run - 66.664s between 40 & 41mph !!"

I'm indebted to Mike and all other contributors above for their assistance. Very much appreciated.

 

Mark

 

Is it possible to obtain entry lists for these two events?

(A Buckler advertisement mentioned success at Alton Towers.)

J. A. Williamson is Jonty Williamson?

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 11 August 2021 - 07:53.


#17 Allan Lupton

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Posted 11 August 2021 - 08:12

Is it possible to obtain entry lists for these two events?

(A Buckler advertisement mentioned success at Alton Towers.)

J. A. Williamson is Jonty Williamson?

 

RGDS RLT

 

J.A. Williamson was Jack Williamson.

J.T. Williamson  was Jack's son, known as Jonty.



#18 MarkHealy

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Posted 11 August 2021 - 20:42

Is it possible to obtain entry lists for these two events?

(A Buckler advertisement mentioned success at Alton Towers.)

 

 

I will check into it.

 

Mark