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Homepage. This page: Programme dating to 1949 describing the motoring activities planned for July 2nd & 3rd by the BARC.

Eastbourne Rally (BARC), July 1949.

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It would be a few years before motor sport got fully back up to speed again after the war, and even when it did, most of the cars were pre-war machines, removed from storage, dusted down, their tyres re-inflated, and readied for action once more. Goodwood had by this time had its first meetings, as had Silverstone, but the calendar was still sparsely-populated with events for enthusiasts to attend, and/or compete in.
Organisations such as the BARC (British Automobile Racing Club), formerly known as the Junior Car Club, took it upon themselves to re-awaken interest in motorsport with events such as the Eastbourne Rally, as did countless smaller clubs and organisations across the country. As a result, hillclimbs, sprints, autotests and trials sprung up, often with minimal financial backing but plenty of enthusiasm to support them.
The Eastbourne car rally & concours event
The Eastbourne Rally for 1949 was held over the weekend of July 2nd/3rd. Competitive events were planned for day one, while day two, a more genteel affair in keeping with a day of rest, hosted the Concours d'Elegance at Devonshire Place.

Saturday, competitive motorsport.

Test one was a hillclimb at Butt's Lane, Willingdon, commencing at 10.45am. Cars were grouped into classes depending on engine size (upto 1200cc, 1200cc-2000cc, and 2000cc+), and also configuration - open or closed bodywork. The smaller-engined classes were populated primarily by the usual suspects, with Fords, Austins, Rileys, Hillmans and Singers pre-dominating. The mid-sized cars included examples of Aston-Martin, Lea-Francis, MG, HRG, Jowett and Triumph (to name just some), while it was left to examples of Jaguar, Allard, Lagonda, Lancia and others to popular the larger-engined category.
A couple of interesting "specials" are listed as entrants. G. Parker is listed as entering his Jaguette Special, which it seems was a 2.5 litre supercharged job, the driver's name being Gordon Parker. Quite what the H.M. Poppet, entered by T.E.R. Hazeldine in the upto 1200cc (closed cars) category was I'm not sure.
Event one was listed as a hillclimb, but the description given in the programme suggests more of an autotest than hillclimb. It involved accelerating away from a line, doing a reversing manouevre part way up the hill, then putting one's foot down again to ascend the remainder of the climb. Points would be deducted for clobbering the pylon situated at the reversing point.
The second of the day's tests required deft use of a car's brakes. With the car pointing downhill, out of gear and ignition off, each competitors would be waved away, after which they'd coast downhill under their own momentum. A line would be approached, the idea being to bring the car to a halt immediately after the front wheels had gone over it. Penalties for running too far past the stop line would be applied by the judges where required.
Following a break for lunch, competitors would head down to the sea front for the third test of (wo)man and motor-car. This involved the driver parking on line marked A - A, the driver standing some distance in front of the car. On receipt of a signal, the driver would dash to their machine, reverse wildly alongside a barrier before steering to the opposite side of the barrier, engage first gear, and sprint to the line once more. Clearly agility, and power combined with a modest overall weight (of car and driver), would be a great asset in this type of test.
Drivers would only have a short break before tackling the next test. This required the driver to swiftly negotiate a slalom forwards, then in reverse, coming to a stop in a "garage" with all four wheels within the "box". Test five was similar, albeit in forward direction only, although obstacles rather than just cones would have to be successfully cleared if penalties were to be avoided. Test six tested both the driver's accuracy and their memory for a route. Billed as the Rallye Soleil Test this required the driver to weave in a forwards direction, avoiding obstacles, then reverse in an arc before returning back down the course to the finish line.
Route for car test 6
Target times for each test, grouped by class, were given, encouraging the drivers to get a move on, rather than cruise around and take it easy.

Sunday's Concours d'Elegance.

If this all sounded a little too frantic, then Sunday's Concours d'Elegance would probably have appealed more. Car were again grouped by engine capacity and body style, with every car them grouped into categories for cars registered upto 1st January 1941, and those registered on or after this date. Entries in the earlier category were as follows:
  • Citroen 1911cc 1940
  • Fiat 570cc 1938
  • Riley 1496cc 1937
  • Rover 1577cc 1936
  • Alvis 4387cc 1939
  • Jaguar 3466cc 1938
  • Lancia 2972cc 1936
  • Mercedes-Benz 5400cc 1936
  • Cord 4700cc 1937
  • Hudson-Terraplane 3450cc 1938
  • Rolls-Bentley 4257cc 1939
  • Alvis 4300cc 1939
  • Humber 4086cc 1938
While the category for later vehicles included the following classic cars, which - at the time - did a good job at flying the flag for post-war British cars, even if few were actually available to buy at the time:
Ad for Light Car magazine
  • MG 1250cc 1947
  • Lea-Francis 1767cc 1949
  • Sunbeam-Talbot 1185cc 1948
  • HRG 1496cc 1949
  • MG 1250cc 1947
  • Morgan Special 1267cc 1948
  • Alvis 1892cc 1948
  • Sunbeam-Talbot 1944cc 1949
  • Citroen 1911cc 1948
  • Ford 1172cc 1949
  • Bristol 1971cc 1949
  • Sunbeam-Talbot 1395cc 1947
  • Singer 1506cc ??
  • Humber 1944cc 1949
  • Hillman 1184cc 1948
  • Triumph 1776cc 1949
  • Morris 918cc 1949
  • Humber 1944cc 1949
  • H.M. Poppet 497cc 1949
  • Allard 3622cc 1949
  • Alfa-Romeo 2444cc 1948
  • Allard 3622cc 1948
  • Riley 2443cc 1947
  • Riley 2443cc 1949
  • Rolls-Royce 4257cc 1949
  • Standard 2088cc 1949
  • Wolseley 2214cc 1949
  • Austin 2199cc 1948
  • Allard 3622cc 1948
  • Jaguar 3485cc 1949
  • Bentley 4250cc 1947
  • Austin 2199cc 1949
  • Humber 4086cc 1948
  • Jaguar 3485cc 1949
Alas none of the results for the concours competition are pencilled within this programme, so who the overall winner was, I can't say. Next time I have some copies of The Autocar or The Motor from 1949 to hand, I'll have a look to see if the results are given.
Return to the main Classic Race Programmes collecting page.
Examples of the club magazine produced by the BARC, titled the BARC Gazette, can be seen on this page within the car magazines section of the site.

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