Author Topic: Motorsport in Sussex  (Read 4527 times)

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Offline Tim Sargeant

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Re: Motorsport in Sussex
« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2022, 18:52:46 pm »
 My wife's great uncle Lewis John Laing Humphries competed at Lewes Speed Trials with a GN, (AP799) and other cars.
He owned a motor repair garage at Malling Street in Lewes for many years.

Offline pomme homme

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Re: Motorsport in Sussex
« Reply #31 on: January 15, 2022, 21:28:38 pm »
Jeremy Wood's history of the Lewes Speed Trials 1924-39 ('Speed on the Downs') makes a number of mentions of Lewis Humphries (as R. Lewis Humphries - is this the same person as Lewis J. L. Humphries?) participating in a GN, an Amilcar and the GN 'Kim II' (of which there is a photo of him at the wheel). He seems to have been particularly successful in 1926-28.

Offline pomme homme

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Re: Motorsport in Sussex
« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2022, 14:16:35 pm »
Jeremy Wood's history of the Lewes Speed Trials 1924-39 ('Speed on the Downs') makes a number of mentions of Lewis Humphries (as R. Lewis Humphries - is this the same person as Lewis J. L. Humphries?) participating in a GN, an Amilcar and the GN 'Kim II' (of which there is a photo of him at the wheel). He seems to have been particularly successful in 1926-28.

The photograph of the GN 'Kim II' shows it bearing the registration IT 327. So maybe this was driven by a different Lewis Humphries?

Offline pomme homme

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Re: Motorsport in Sussex
« Reply #33 on: January 17, 2022, 17:49:19 pm »
Argh! This is beginning to haunt me. I've now discovered that there was another hill climb at Firle - on the private roads of the Firle Estate - which probably held its last event in 1967. There may also have been hill climbs on the road up Bo Peep Hill, Selmeston, although this may just be a different description of the same course.

I've only identified - so far - one meeting on this course, which was organised by the Bentley Drivers' Club on 4 September 1955. Unfortunately the source of this information does not extend to the precise location of the hill climb or its course.

Addendum : What tosh! I forgot that I'd posted, back in 2013, reference to the wikipedia entry for this hill climb - which gives details of meetings taking place on the course every year between 1949 and 1967, including that organised by the Bentley Drivers' Club on 4 September 1955 when the fastest time of 26.98 seconds was recorded by G.Parker in a 3.5 litre Jaguar sportscar.

Offline pomme homme

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Re: Motorsport in Sussex
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2022, 11:17:39 am »
I have now purchased Jeremy Wood's 'Speed on the Downs : Lewes Speed Trials 1924-39'. I found it a fascinating read. It recounts, year by year and meeting by meeting, the timed sprints over a section of the private road which rises from behind Lewes Prison and continues up to the Grandstand that served Lewes Racecourse. In the beginning the course measured 440 and 501 yards respectively for the events which were organised by the Eastbourne Motor Club and the Brighton & Hove Motor Club and there was a rolling start. Subsequently events, organised by the Kent & Sussex Light Car Club, were run over a 700 yard course with a standing start. This was subsequently lengthened by 32 yards (in order, it was said by The Autocar magazine, to bring the course length to exactly a third of a mile - but if my maths serve me well, 587, rather than 732, yards is a third of a mile) . Sadly what the book does not provide are plans showing the course and its start and finish locations (maybe because the information no longer is extant?). What also is not clear to me, from the book (and it being decades since last I visited the location), is whether the Lewes Speed Trial was a sprint, run solely over the road on the relatively flat plateau of land on which the old horse racing course was situated, or a hill climb, including the relatively steep stretch of the lower part of the private road. I will enquire of Jeremy Wood to see if he can shed light on this.

I did enquire of Jeremy Wood and he was kind enough to respond as follows:

Quote
I did think about putting a plan of the course in the text but it was virtually straight with just a slight kink to the left towards the finish.   It is best illustrated in the photo on page 92.  The slight gradient from the start flattens out at the kink hence the fact you cannot see the rest of the course in that photo.  It was always called a speed  trial rather than a hill climb as I suppose the course was only slightly up hill.   The length of the course varies and would often be marked out again for a particular event especially in the early years. The Brighton and Hove motor club claimed to use both 700 and 528 yards and from 1925-31 the Kent and Sussex Light Car Club seems to have used 700 yards as standard.  From May ’32 the course was lengthened by 32 yards to make it a third of a mile  (p.106).  Although it is now a private drive I have examined the area of the start and finish but could not identify an exact spots.

Offline pomme homme

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Re: Motorsport in Sussex
« Reply #35 on: January 19, 2022, 14:53:06 pm »
My father Carl Sargeant at Brighton Speed Trials 1949 in his newly built Sargeant Special. This was a Railton straight eight of circa 1936 shortened and lowered and the engine moved back in the chassis for better weight distribution. The Railton car was originally designed by Reid Railton after the Invicta company packed up. The Railton was basically an American Hudson chassis modified and fitted with essentially British style coachwork by various coachbuilders. With the four litre straight eight cylinder engine the touring versions went quite well. This car originally had a fabric saloon body. It was stored in Selsey during the War where my father had run the Selsey Hotel Garage and unfortunately the Selsey Home Guard though it a good thing to use it for bayonet practice!   I think this might have been the first Speed Trials meeting after the War. Photo by well known Brighton motor sport photographer Guy Griffiths whose negatives have all been preserved.

In the 1949 Brighton Speed Trials the Sargeant Special achieved 19th place in the sports cars over 2000cc class with a time of 36.40 seconds.

Offline Tim Sargeant

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Re: Motorsport in Sussex
« Reply #36 on: August 30, 2022, 15:20:01 pm »
Jeremy Wood's history of the Lewes Speed Trials 1924-39 ('Speed on the Downs') makes a number of mentions of Lewis Humphries (as R. Lewis Humphries - is this the same person as Lewis J. L. Humphries?) participating in a GN, an Amilcar and the GN 'Kim II' (of which there is a photo of him at the wheel). He seems to have been particularly successful in 1926-28.

It is the same Lewis Humphries, possible confusion as his son was Raymond Laing Humphries b1904.
Lewis Humphries' full name was Lewis John Laing Humphries. My wife's Great uncle.
His usual 'mount' was a GN registered AP699 with which he took FTD (Fastest Time of the Day) at the short-lived Goudhurst Hill Climb at
Balcombes Hill Goudhurst. Contemporary reports give the name as 'Balkums Hill'.

Offline pomme homme

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Re: Motorsport in Sussex
« Reply #37 on: January 25, 2024, 16:03:47 pm »
Until today, I was unaware that the Firle hill climb had been revived by the Bo Peep Drivers Club. The revival event appears to have been held in 2015 and was due to take place again in 2022 before a last minute cancellation. It's not clear, from the drawing on the organiser's website, over what roads this event was run. However it looks to have been run over the bostal from Selmeston to the top of Bo Peep Hill (where the Southdown Gliding Club airfield used to be between 1961 and 1974). If so, assuming this road to be a public highway, one must presume that it was a demonstration, rather than a competitive, event (probably that was equally the case if the road was private - in view of the likely cost of third party liability insurance for a competitive, timed event).