CAMBRIDGE SPEED TELLS
LIGHT BLUES WIN INTER-VARSITY SPEED TRIALS. I. F. CONNELL’S COURSE RECORD
CAMBRIDGE, once again proved victorious in the Inter-Varsity speed trials, held at Syston Park, near Grantham, on March 19th. Although the Light Blues won all the car classes, Oxford produced a very fast motor-cyclist in E. N. Bunting with his big twin Vincent-H.R.D., and won both the events for two-wheelers. Only those classes in which both Universities were represented counted for ” The Motor” Trophy, and thus Cambridge were the winners by four eventto two Oxfo d were expected to put up a good fig this year, but were extremely unfortunat s their three fastest drivers were all unable to run. R. E. Tongue had his E.R.A. in the lists, to match I. F. Connell’s E.R.A. for Cambridge, G. B. Sumner had entered the big Delage and the fast Sumner-J.A.P., and Kenneth Evans actually brought his special sprint Q-type M.G., but had back axle trouble when he had only iust left the line on his first run. The same ill-luck befell him last year, while in 1936 Evans was again unable to complete a rim, owing to
engine trouble. Syston appears to be an unlucky place for the old Oxonian, who, as an undergraduate, made fastest time in the Inter-Varsity Speed Trials in 1933, on the Oxford By-Pass. In the absence of the Oxford champions, and blessed by glorious weather, the fast Cambridge racing-cars made hay with the course record, which was repeatedly beaten during the day, and eventually was secured by I. P. Connell’s E.R.A., with a very fine run in 25.67 secs. The previous best at Syston was the 27.2
secs. of R. E. Tongue’s M.G. in 1936. A dry course and a following wind made conditions favourable for high speeds, but it was exceptionally fute driving by D. H. C. Fry, with the Freikaiserwagen, to run Connell so close for fastest time. Fry’s best time was 26.39 secs., and it was only on his last run that Connell got in front. The Freikaiserwagen’s engine is now supercharged, under the
ministration of R. R. Jackson, and it Should be a potent force in speed events this year, since the road-holding of the little car is so good. The only disadvantage of the forward seating position for the driver is, as one of Fry’s friends said, that one sits so near the accidents Third fastest car time was 27 secs. by Eric Fernihough, the famous motorcyclist, driving the 2-litre Riley lately owned by H. G. Dobbs. This time was also inside the previous course record. Fernihcmgh’s success in his first car event, winning him the over 1,500 c.c. class, was particularly gratifying, for it was in
the Inter-Varsity Speed Trials, some ten years ago, that he first made his name as a motor-cyclist, by a startling performance on a 250 c.c. side-valve New ImperialJ.A.P.
Fernihough was particularly pleased, as during his career he has won his class on his first appearances with a two-wheeler, a three-wheeler, and now with a fourwheeled car. At Syston he improved his time on each of his four runs-27.89 secs., 27.59 secs., 27.29 secs., and finally 27 secs. He still holds the motor-cycle record for the Syston course, which is half a mile in length, with 26.3 secs. on his 13rough Superior in 1930. Bunting’s best run this year with the VincentH.R.D., when he recorded 26.74 secs. for Oxford, came very close, and ranked as the third fastest run of the day. Several other class records were broken this year, and a notable time was P. R. Monkhouse’s 31.16 sees. with his M.G., establishing a new figure for the 1,500 c.c. sports class. Previous best was A. F. P. Pane’s 33.23 secs. with a Frazer
Nash in 1935. The Monaco establishment thus scored a double success, for the other partner in this concern is I. F. Connell, who broke the course record. Moukhouse’s T.T.-type M.G., which has won this class for three years running (in 1936 driven by Connell), is now bored a to 1,430 c.c. There was an extremely keen battle in the 2-litre sports class between A. F. P. Pane, who had driven over night from Edinburgh especially to take part in the event, and D. H. Murray, both driving Frazer-Nash-B.M.W.s. On the first
runs Murray recorded the better time, 31.57 secs. against 31.66 secs., but on the second runs, though Murray improved by .02 secs., Pane got down to 31.43 secs., and won the class. However, in the AllCorners class, when both had another opportunity, Murray did better still with 80.8 secs., a new 2-litre sports record, and best time ever set up at Syston by an unsupercharged sports-car.
The official sports-car record is still held by Pane with 29.45 secs., driving his supercharged Frazer-Nash in 1936. Best sports-car time this year was set up by F. Hendry’s magnificent T.T. MercedesBenz, once owned by Earl Howe. Three drivers handled this car during the course of the day, and it became rather confusing as to who was driving on which occasion. Hendry set up 30.21, secs. but, late in the day, R. Warrington, getting the huge blue car off the mark in great style, and putting the blower in to some purpose on all the gears, recorded ‘28.78 secs. This was a splendid performance, and is the fastest time ever made at Syston not only by a Mercedes but by any
sports-car. However, Warrington was not qualified as a member of either of the two University clubs, and the time therefore had to rank as a demonstration run only. It was a pity that the resident members of the two clubs were not more strongly represented as most of the fastest cars were driven by ” veterans,” or those who have gone down. In times gone by the undergraduate members would not 4 Everitt passed Smith, and Dobson was cornering very fast with the E.R.A. Aitken’s axles juddered furiously, and Wakefield’s Maserati was now experiencing this to a lesser degree. On lap 6 Dodson led Hadley and” Bira,” now fifth, slid to the road edge at Stadium Dip. Then Dodson retired, leaving the lead to Hadley, and” Bira ” had passed the sick Austin just before the Dip, swinging over in front to get his line for the corner, now in fourth place. Aitken’s front covers were flexing noticeably on corners and Arthur Dobson was leaning out of his
cockpit in his usual manner. ” Bira,” still fourth, had closed noticeably with Smith on la:p 8, with Wakefield fifth, and Dobson behind.
have allowed themselves to be outclassed In this manner. Nowadays, at Oxford in particular, University regulations handicap those in statu pupillari from maintaining fast racing-cars. A Cambridge man who had overcome any such handicap in great style was D. A. Hampshire. He had a very fast 2-litre supercharged Bugatti, and though beaten by M. C. Crowley-Milling, another Cambridge resident, with an Alfa-Romeo, among the sports-cars, managed to turn
the tables later. Both had entered in the racing class as well, and whereas Hampshire removed his wings, CrowleyMilling only took off the spare wheel, and the former was successful in winning the cup for the fastest time by a Cambridge resident, with 29.64 secs.
This run was just beaten by J. E. Clowes, whose supercharged McEvoySpecial, driven to the course in normal touring fashion, did very well to register 29.5 secs., for fourth fastest car time. Not so much has been heard of the veteran McEvoy lately (the car, not its designer, Michael McEvoy himself, who, in Continental attire, was a picturesque figure at the meeting), but it is well known that it is equally at home in speed events or reliability trials. With nearly one hundred and fifty runs during the day, despite a number of non-starters, the meeting was run off in excellent style, and was watched by nearly a thousand interested spectators. Once the timing apparatus went on strike, or rather the solenoids refused to On lap 9 ” Bira ” closed with Hadley, having disposed of both Everitt and Smith, waited his chance, and got by going into Stadium Curve. Hanson now had his share of Maser. axle-dance. On lap 10, Paul’s Delahaye was lapped by the leaders. Dobson slid the front wheels of his E.R.A. at the Dip. On lap 13 Maclure did a fine bit of overhauling of Smith. On the final round bar one Wakefield was in second place, glancing hastily round to see how close was Arthur Dobson. ” Bira ” was lapping at around 2 mins. 5 secs. And so they finished ” Bira ” (E.R.A.) at 57.83 m.p.h. (44 mins. 31.8 secs.) ; 2nd, Wakefield (Maserati) ; 3rd, Arthur Dobson ; 4th, Hadley (Austin) ; 5th,
strike, but the luncheon interval was forthwith proclaimed, and matters were speedily set right by one of the stewards, who is a don in electrical matters at Cambridge.
Connell saved up his fastest run on the E.R.A., which has now one blower instead of two, till near the end, an excellent piece of showmanship. Oxford, without their Tongue, could make no reply.
“The Motor” Trophy : Cambridge, 4 events : Oxford, 2 events.
E.R.A. Trophy (fastest car) : I. F. Connell (E.R.A.). Jackson Cup (fastest 1,500 c.c. sports) : P. II. Monkhouse (M.G.).
Reilly Cup (fastest Cambridge Resident) : I). A. Hampshire (Bugatti).
Sports Cars (Supercharged) F.
Unlimited (5) : 1, F. Hendry (0) (MercedesBenz, S.) 30.21s.; 2, M. C. Crowley-Milling (C) (AlfaRomeo, S.)30 93s. ; 3, D. A. Hampshire (C) (Bugatti, S.), 31.4s.
All-Corners: 1, M. C. Crowley-Milling (0) (AlfaRomeo, S.), 30.26s. ; 2, D. H. Murray (C) (FrazerNash-B.M.W.), 30.8s. ; 3, P. R. Monkhouse (C) (M.G.), 31.10s.
Racing Cars ex. : 11.0.
1,100 ex. : 1,1). 11.0. Fry (C) (Freikaiserwagen, S.) 25.43s.: 2, M. G. Burnand (C) (Riley), 33.01s. 1.500 c.c. : 1, I. F. Connell (C) (E.R.A., S.), 27.59s.;
2, J. E. Clowes (C) (McEvoy, S.), 29.5s.; 3, P. R. Monkhouse (C) (M.G.), 30.99s. Over 1,500 c.c. : 1, E. C. Fernihough (C) (Riley), 27.50a.; 2, D. A. Hampshire (C) (Bugatti, S.), 29.64s.; 3, M. C. Crowley-Milling (C) (Alfa-Romeo, S.), 30.01se
All-Corners: 1, I. F. Connell (C) (E.R.A., S.), 25.87s.* ; 2, D. H. C. Fry (C) (Frelkaiserwagen, S.), 26.39s. ; 3, E. C. Fernihough (C) (Riley), 278.
*Fastest time and course record.
0—Oxford. C—Cambridge. Maclure (Riley). The placemen received 050, i:75 and i50 respectively and Bira ‘ wins the Coronation Trophy, and makes a great start towards winning the B.R.D.C. Road-racing Star for the third year in succession. This is ” Bira’s third big victory at the Crystal Palace circuit, and the speed the highest to date. Last year the late Pat Fairfield won this race at 53.77 m.p.h. for 30 laps, in the 1i-litre E.R.A. Once again 11-litre cars proved best suited to the Crystal Palace circuit, in spite of the handicapping
system. Maclure drove an excellent race with the unblown Riley and Rolt made a good first showing as an E.R.A.
driver. And it was a quite enjoyable meeting.