Tag Archives: Trial

Last On Sunday – Singer 9 Special Speed

At the very first Le Mans 24 Hours race in 1923 Maurice Boutmy and France Jérôme Marcandanti covered 89 laps to finish 18th to become the first 1 litre / 61 cui normally aspirated car to finish the race in an Amilcar CV. Remarkably it was not until 1933 that Singer Competition Manager FS Barnes and Alf Langley were to finish the classic endurance race in a similar sized British built car a Singer 9 Sports which completed 140 laps came 13th and last overall and second in class 21 laps behind a French built Tracta driven by Félix Quinault and Pierre Padrault.

Singer 9 Special Speed, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The achievement of simply finishing the 1933 Le Mans 24 Hour race at an average speed of 49.4 miles per hour was enough to encourage Singer to build a two seat version of the Singer 9 Sports, nominally the Singer 9 Sports was a 4 seater however the car used at Le Mans had a large fuel tank that occupied the space for the rear seats, called the Singer Le Mans. In 1934 Norman Black and J.R.H. Baker finish fifteenth overall 7th in class in a Singer Le Mans covering 163 laps.

Singer 9 Special Speed, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The popular Singer Le Mans is not to be confused with either the six cylinder 1 1/2 litre Singer Le Mans, or the four Singer Le Mans Replica’s built in 1939 which were out and out 2 seat racing cars. In 1935 a Special Speed version of the Singer Le Mans was introduced, distinguished by the running boards between the front and rear wings and it is this model that is seen here at last years Summer Classics Meeting at Easter Compton.

Singer 9 Special Speed, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Power for the Singer Super Speed comes from a 38 hp 972 cc / 59 cui 4 cylinder overhead cam motor still running on a two bearing crank as did the Singer 8 I looked at last week.

Singer 9 Special Speed, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

This particular car was delivered in December 1935 to HD Acres who a few weeks later used it to compete on the Exeter Trials in January 1936. Acres car can be seen being helped out of a little difficulty on the Simms test by those very nice men from the Automobile Association on this link.

Singer 9 Special Speed, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

By 1939 this Singer 9 Special Speed had passed into the ownership of RJW Appleton who is known to have driven the car on the Lands End Trial the same year. RJW Appleton was responsible for building the Riley powered Maserati called the Appleton Special which achieved and 1100cc / 67 cui standing mile record of 91.3 mph in 1937.

Singer 9 Special Speed, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The current owner of today’s featured car acquired it as a large box of ‘bits’ and has spent many years returning it to it’s present condition.

Thanks for joining me on this “Last On Sunday” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


More Mini Fun – ABS Freestyle

While at Dundry for the Cross Trophy Car Trial on Sunday I came across several vehicles about which I knew very little including this ABS Freestyle.

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Manufactured by Westholme Aviation Limited in Somerset this kit car was marketed by Funbuggies.

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The steering gear from a Mini is bolted onto the front of the chassis, with integral roll cage,

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and a similarly sourced engine and gearbox is bolted on to the back.

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Extra grip to the rear, driven, wheels is afforded by the two spare wheels mounted on a separate cage behind the engine.

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This ABS Freestyle which is SVA (Single Vehicle Approval) tested and road registered is shared by father and son Richard and Matthew who trailer the Freestyle to and from events as it does not offer much protection from inclement weather.

Unfortunately ABS Freestyles are no longer in production and Funbuggies appears to be no longer in business.

SOT further to yesterdays blog it turns out that not only did I win the front engine front wheel drive class in Sundays Cross Trophy Car Trial but Tim Murray informs me that my scores when adjusted by an index against all the entries in the other ‘Clubsport’ classes that I also won the Cross Trophy as well ! I am honoured, humbled and pleased as punch. Apparently the trophy will be awarded at the end of season AGM which will no doubt be the subject of another blog.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Freetstyle edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil psycho on tyres’ and that you’ll join me again tomorrow for a look at a show stopper. Don’t forget to come back now !


Beginners Luck – Cross Trophy Car Trial

Yesterday marked my return to competitive driving, after a 21 year gap, as a rookie in the discipline of Production Car Trials, a low cost discipline that was just as unlikely as my first attempt at competition in a series for Citroen 2 CV’s and in a vehicle with an equally unlikely competition history.

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The Cross Trophy Car Trial was held in a field belonging to fellow competitor Duncan seen here at the wheel of his magnificent 1921 GN with his daughter just visible in the passenger seat.

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A car trial is an event in which competitors are required to drive up a variety of ‘off road courses’ of varying difficulty, none of which on this event was more than a hundred yards long several of which were considerably shorter. The courses were marked out by Clerk of the Course Mal.

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The aim of the competition is to see who can get the furthest up each hill with points being awarded on the number of markers cleared by the front wheels. Here the Westfield Ford of Malcom & Ann from Kidderminster can be seen scoring a perfect zero having cleared the last marker of a hill. The competitor with the lowest number of points wins his or her class.

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I was running in the production front wheel drive class for vehicles which included this Citroen AX.

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The 3 other classes included Front engine open sports cars, like this Scimitar SS1 1600 crewed by Dave and Chris from Yeovil who were running this car in for the much longer Lands End Trial next week,

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front engine rear wheel drive saloon cars like this Ford Escort RS 1600 being driven by Nigel and his daughter Alice seen at the wheel here celebrating her 16th birthday,

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and finally rear engine rear wheel drive cars like this Joyner being driven by fellow rookies to the discipline Ian & Tanya.

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I had been unable to find a passenger for this event but fortunately 12 year old Laura seen here stepped in on the day and bravely sat alongside me in the 20 year old VW Passat as I struggled to find traction with clearly the largest car in the competition.

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During scruitineering the battery and ballast security was checked, Malcom & Ann were carrying 280 lbs / 127 kgs of steel over the rear wheels of their Westfield, I had no ballast in the Passat. Tyre pressures for which a minimum permissible 14 psi was highly recommended were also checked during scruitineering.

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Laura found my Passat considerably more comfortable than her Dad Andy’s Marlin in which she was also a passenger and by the end of the day Andy, Laura and I had all swapped passenger roles, going up a slope in a light rear wheel drive vehicle seemed considerably easier than a heavy front wheel drive car like the Passat.

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After a total of four attempts on each of the five hills the Bristol Pegasus MC’s secretary Tim Murray, seen in the background here, added up the scores of all competitors and unbelievably yours truly was announced as winner of the front engine front wheel drive class, call it beginners luck or the versatility of the large and in charge Passat, I was thrilled to bits.

My thanks to Duncan, Laura, Andy, Mal, Tim, to my fellow competitors and everyone from the Bristol Pegasus MC who made this a memorable day out.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s, Car Trial edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you’ll join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now!