Veteran to Classic - Fast Field

In February’s article about the motor racing of Jack Field I hardly did justice to his efforts with the twin-engined 4000 hp Sunbeam “Silver Bullet”. Although the giant was no more successful for Field at Southport than it had been for Kaye Don at Daytona in 1930, Field did drive it very fast on the Yorkshire sands in March 1934, at Southport’s speed record week.

Jack had two targets, to try to better the absolute British record held by Sir Malcom Campbell who had done 217.6 mph in S Africa or to break Campbell’s old Pendine British class-A fs kilometre record of 150.8 mph. He came close to it, with a one way run (the record had to be for two-way runs) at 174.09 mph. He did this after his day permit had expired and on what was merely a practice run, in the evening twilight; nevertheless, many spectators were still there to watch. That morning Field had done a mean speed over the kilo of 146.6 mph. He tried again the next day, but a driving rain made visibility poor and he had to cut out frequently. Later he did a mean speed of 140.47 mph, after which the officials refused to extend his time permit. The “Silver Bullet” had lived up to its unfortunate reputation but I think it worth recording that Field had driven it to within 10.76 mph of the best speed attained by Kaye Don in 1930 over a one-way kilometre, when it was a brand new LSR car. . .

Incidentally, he told me recently that for these Southport record bids the Brooklands’ authorities would not lend their timing apparatus but that the German Club sent over an operator with their set. A string of cotton was used as a “breaker” instead of timing strips and rode up over the nose of Pat Driscoll’s 122.74 mph Austin 7 and more than once cut his nose. WB