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1912 Beacon Hill - 31 st

1912 Beacon Hill - 31 st August Beacon Hill was the crowning of Hubert Woods’s career and Crossley competition successes. Map Key 16 Here is the newspaper report from ‘The Leicestershire Chronicle and Leicestershire Mercury’ from the 7 th of Sept 1912. LEICESTERSHIRE AUTOMOBILE CLUB’S HILL-CLIMBING COMPETITION ALL RECORDS BEATEN NEW FASTEST TIME The annual hill-climbing competition in connection with the Leicestershire Automobile Club, held on Saturday, at Beacon Hill, Woodhouse Eaves, was a great and unqualified success. From the very first ascent of the hill Miss Starkey leading the event on her 12-15 Sunbeam, to the last, when Woods on a 20 Crossley, romped up in less than a minute, the programme never had an uninteresting feature. The weather was perfect for the occasion, the sun hardly being so powerful as it was last year, made better times possible; the recent rain had left the surface in very passable and the entries were three times the number there were last year, then a record in this respect. All these being what they were, were sufficient of course to make the occasion a success. The manner in which the officials worked together for the success of the meeting was also a contributing cause and not least of all the record number of spectators, keen motorists every one of them, made the event of a character which will never be forgotten. THE VENUE As last year, the climb took place at Beacon Hill, which is in every way admirable for the purpose. It is certainly the best hill in the county for the purpose of giving a car occasion for proving its merits. The road is fairly wide, and not abnormally winding, so that speed is not sacrificed to safety. The authorities-the Barrow Rural District Council and the Leicestershire County Council-had kindly given permission for the use of the hill for this purpose, and their demands that the road should not be blocked for the usual traffic, if there were to be any, were faithfully observed. Another route, however, to which the ordinary traffic could be diverted, runs parallel with the hill, and regular users of the road almost to a man kindly fell in with the “if you don’t mind please” of the club, and “went by on the other ride”. So that to all intents and purposes the hill was left to the own sweet will of the record breakers. The hill extends for nearly a mile; the exact distance being marked for the club being 1,450 yards. The greatest gradient is one in ten, and the average for the hill is one in fourteen. It will thus be seen that there is what a motorist mindful of his engine would call a “tiring” rise all the whole for nearly a mile, giving an excellent test for the staying power of a car. The timekeeping arrangements were such as to permit of not possible mistake occurring. The telephone wire ran the whole length of the hill and the judges at the top heard each car start at the bottom. Every car was checked twice by two timekeepers, the times being taken immediately and booked up. The calculations as to position and performance on formula were made independently by two mathematicians and the result then compared, thus obviating the possibility of error. `

1912 CHOICE OF POSITION On occasions of this sort one always wonders which is the best position from which to see the fun. Of course, the position must be chosen for what one wishes to see. The start was, to a motorist of great interest. It will be remembered that last year the writer commented on the heart rendering (and road tearing) manner in which a good many of the drivers banged in their clutches. It was gratifying to notice on the present occasion a marked improvement in this direction. The road was not torn up to anything like the same degree it was last year, and yet far better times were made. It was an education to see men like Woods. Bianchi, and the redoubtable Coatalen start off. They and most of the local drivers, too, one was pleased to notice, started off with very little of the scurry and wild whirl of rear wheels, doing very little to propell the car, but merely grinding the metal away that was seen 12 months ago. Almost to a man the drivers this year let in “gently but firmly” with the result that they were in second speed within 15 yards, and on top shortly after. It is interesting to notice that nearly all of the more up to date cars completed the hill “on top”. Taking into account the gradient, this speaks well for modern engineering. And then halfway up the hill, hundreds of spectators were kept in a state of excitement for hours. The straight down view of about half a mile of the track was perhaps the best place to see the cars “at it” As each man came up he was cheered by his friends and at times the excitement extended to erratic waving of sticks, hats, scarves – and even of sandwiches by those lucky enough to have them. But it was at the “finish” that the best of the sport was seen. One stood by the judges and saw nearly a quarter of a mile down the road a car coming round the bend. Round it swoops and then swish-it is by and we are left agape in the rear. It has been intimated Miss Starkey led the run. One of the most skilful lady drivers of the day. Miss Starkey gave some fine exhibitions on Saturday. The first journey up the hill she completed in 1 min 28 4/5 seconds. When she came out again in event B she did it in 4/5 second less. Such a wonderful uniformity in running many of us would be pleased to experience. Miss Starkey handled her car beautifully BEHIND THE WALL But before one comes to a discussion of comparative times, the mental exhilaration of speed must be referred to. The club for the first time in its existence offered this year a medal for the fastest time. This was responsible for bringing down some drivers of international fame and brilliant record. And they did give some sport too. As Mr Mawbey, the president of the club said at the prize giving “we Leicestershire motorists have had a treat” The four cars with the fastest times in the four events of the day were tied off to make the flying attempt for the fastest time. They were; J.W. Hedge of the Notts Club driving a 25 Talbot, with which he had made a time of 65 1/5 secs. G Hubert Woods, of the Leicester club, driving a 20 Crossley by this time having been 63 3/5secs: Louis Coatalen, who has become a member of the Leicestershire club and who appeared on the 12-16 Sunbeam racer with which he carried off the Grand Prix laurels, with a time of 71 seconds for the hill; and C A Bird. Of the Notts and Midland clubs, on his 12-16 Sunbeam-also a racer-with a time of 64 1/5 seconds. The four competitors were allowed to strip their cars as for racing, mudguards and everything else possible being taken off for the occasion. And then the really extreme excitement commenced. Hitherto we had stood round the judges. We still stood there until Hedge came by like a shot out of a gun. After that we went. We see him whizzing round the corner and accelerates still more as he comes onto almost level ground. He literally romps along, bounding from unevenness in the road to unevenness and in a wild tear flashes by. The time recorded is 63 seconds. After that we get behind the wall and look over from the other side. We are congratulating ourselves on our carefulness, when it gradually dawns upon us that most of the other people are doing the same thing. `

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