Classical Gas is an independent web site and is not affiliated to any of the clubs or organisers of the events featured. Words and Pictures by Michael unless attributed otherwise. Michael is a proud member of the MCC, ACTC, Dellow Register and Falcon amongst others, but does not represent their views nor the views of any other organisers or clubs.
Classical Gas - October '97 - Part 2
JENKINS CHAPEL TO CORKSCREW
One of the hills in this years Edinburgh is listed as Corkscrew. If you look through the magazines you may think this a relatively recent addition, dating from 1993, but it has a much longer history. The hill was originally known as Jenkins Chapel and was first used in the 1930s.
Dudley Sterry rounds the famous hairpin on Corkscrew in his "MG J2" on a recent Edinburgh. You can read more about this fascinating machine later in Classical Gas (Picture by Mike Furse).
The undergrowth had not appeared when Lewis Welch rounded the same bend in his MG Magnette during the 1935 MCC One Day Sporting Trial. In those days the hill was called Jenkins Chapel.
The hill continued to be used under this name, pre war and post war, for many years, but fell out of use for several interesting reasons. There was a problem with the neighbouring farmers who were conducting a feud. One was strongly in favour of the trial so his neighbour objected as a matter of principal. PR is especially important with this hill as the access road has a rather peculiar status. A plate at the bottom saying that the local council has closed it to all but visitors to the house at the bottom and the MCC! These days there is also a gate across the bottom to inhibit access by the cowboys.
The section itself is not very smooth! There are two hairpins followed by some nasty steps. They are not particularly steep but are pretty rough, and it would be very easy to damage the car if you went to quickly. There have been problems on Jenkins over the years, even though the famous right hand hairpin is said to be nothing like as severe as it was in the 30s. One dry autumn a Fiat 600 (fitted with two litres of Uncle Henrys V4) jumped out of gear and caught fire in the gully. The walls were so close the occupants couldnt get out at first and it was quite scary for a while, although it ended up all right, and they eventually emerged unscathed.
Ron Horton storms Jenkins Chapel in the '30's in his Morgan three wheeler.
20 June 1999 - All may not be as it seems. I have received a couple of E-Mails that throw doubt on the authenticity of the old photograph's.
Andrew Brown says "Re: Your page on Jenkins Chapel.
Tony Branson adds
DUDLEY STERRYS MG "J2"
The picture of Dudleys car on Corkscrew set me thinking about this larger than life character and his amazing little car. My first recollection of seeing it was in the 1971 Falcon Guy Fawkes, when we still ran it as a road going classic event. According to my entry list number 20 was Roy Newton MG s/c and 21 Dudley Sterry MG s/c. I remembered this when I saw Dudley still doing his stuff when I started driving the Classics myself in the early 90s. (Before this I was a PCT man in a Mini!).
Dudley cresting the summit of Litton on the 97 Edinburgh. Note the absence of weather protection and dig that blower man!
I started to marvel at the amazing exploits of car and driver, competing, and often beating, the Trolls and Cannons that mostly travelled to and from events on trailers. No such namby pamby stuff for Dudley. He always drives his trials car to and from events, rain or shine, with no hood, toneau cover or even a proper windscreen. Now clearly something was a little non-standard about this machine. For a start it says 1,466 ccs on the entry list. Now all my books on MG history say that the J2 was 847cc and had a two bearing crankshaft! Then there is the enormous belt driven blower sticking out the side. MG did produce a few blown J3s, but the Powerplus supercharger was mounted under the front apron and driven direct from the crankshaft.
All this set me thinking and I wanted to know more about this fascinating car. But "super-Dud" is not the sort of person the likes of me slide up to, poke a tape recorder under his nose, and ask all about his motor for Classical Gas. The solution came when Brian Butler gave me a bundle of "Wheelspin" magazines. In the April 87 edition I found an article about Dudley and his car by our own David Alderson. From this I learned that Dudley acquired his car as a box of bits in 1964. When he put them together he had an MG J2 with an 1172 sidevalve Ford engine! Anyway Dudley started trialling his machine, gaining his first triple in 1968.
Then the car was involved in a road accident near Carlisle on the Edinburgh. (Yes I did say Carlisle, the Edinburgh actually went to Edinburgh in those days). Dudley rebuilt the car on a new chassis and it emerged with a 1250cc T series engine. Over the years Dudley developed his car, acquiring first a supercharger, then a 1466cc block from a TF in the late 1970s. These days the "J2" is a very special machine, but mostly uses MG parts, including an axle from an MGB an a self made four planet diff.
Now the purists may be appalled at this "bastard" machine, but dont blame Dudley, it wasnt a proper MG J2 when he bought his box of bits all those years ago.