THE J.C.C. PRODUCTION CAR RACE.
ADAY of few thrills, but not altogether lacking in interest, was the generally expressed verdict on the Production Car race. Previous pessimistic views that the” Production “part of the race would be evaded extensively were not borne out, for most of the cars seemed to be reasonably standard and the efficient scrutineers eliminated the only doubtful entries on the eve of the race.
Eighteen eventually started, eleven in the 1,500 c.c. class, three in the 1.100 c.c. class, and four Austins to do battle in the 750 c.c. class on their own. As was expected the Alvis driven by C. M. Harvey immediately began to set the pace and gradually piled up an increasing lead during the earlier laps. The course used was the same as that of last year’s 200 mile race, with two hairpin bends making a 3.14 mile lap which had to be negotiated for 3 hours. The first casualty was Oates (0.111.) which blew a cylinder bead joint very early in the proceedings and caused his retirement. Captain Waite also lost a great deal of time during the earlier stages of the race owing to various forms of ignition trouble on his Austin 7, when eventually he
got going properly he ran through to the finish, but had lost too much time to win his class. The Alvis’s driven by W. Urquhart Dykes, W. H. Green and Ian Macdonald, were all running well to begin with, having a general dog fight with each other and with the two Frazer-Nash’s driven by Aldington and Bagshawe.
In the 1,100 c.c. class, Hazlehurst (Salmson) was going strongly and hanging on well to the 1,500 c.c. leaders, while Hendy was leading the Austin quartette.
After 5 laps, more troubles began to make themselves felt. Green’s Alvis ran a big end and Ian Macdonald injured his band performing some particularly ‘Violent work on the steering wheel, at the first hairpin bend.Three laps later he also experienced big end trouble and retired.
As usual, Vernon Balls, driving one of the new Arnilcars, was giving his characteristic display of violent skidding on the corners ; his brakes and tyres stood up to this treatment remarkably well and it was no uncommon sight to see him dash past some much faster car just before the bend and pull up all standing in a few yards even towards the end of the 3 hours when the brakes might be expected to have worn down somewhat. It was curious to notice the Amilcar negotiating the second bend with the inside front wheel locked for many yards at a time.
Few other drivers were particularly violent on the corners, but Dykes, whose Alvis had no front brakes, usually cornered with his inside rear wheel spinning wildly owing to a tendency to lift ; incidently this car had a peculiarly harsh and uneven note.
After 12 laps Hendy’s Austin ran a big end and he retired, while Norris’s Lea-Francis was delayed by a broken oil pipe after it had been running well.
Harvey had now several laps lead, being followed by Aldington and Bagshawe (Frazer-Nash ‘s) and Dykes’ Alvis. In the i joo c.c class Hazlehurst and Martineau’s Salmsons were still ahead of the spectacular Balls.
The 750 c.c. class provided a little diversion hereabouts as Walther (in the lead) chewed up his gearbox, dismantled it and continued on top gear only, accelerating gently and quietly away from the bends each time round. When Aldington stopped to replenish, Bagshawe, the Oxford undergraduate, passed him, thus annexing 2nd place, while Balls eventually got ahead of Martineau.
At about half time Samuelson’s Austin was eliminated by fire thus leaving the crippled Walther and the unlucky Waite to fight out a lonely duel, and at about the same time both Aldington and Norris were forced to retire owing to lubrication troubles. An Alv is victory now seemed almost certain since Harvey had established a lead of 5 laps, his lap speed being sometimes as high as 68 m.p.h., however, “there’s many a slip*” and after 50 laps the Alvis began to misfire and after several depot stops Harvey set out to finish on three cylinders, his trouble being apparently due to broken valve springs, and a stretched valve stem. By this time Bagshawe had taken the lead in the 1,500 c.c. class, though in point of fact Hazlehurst’s Salmson was about half a lap in front of him but was running in a different class and carrying less ballast,
With but four minutes to go Bagshawe caused great consternation in his pit by stopping and complaining of” funny noises “in the clutch or back axle. However, he was urged on by his supporters and Captain Nash and eventually was flagged as winner of the 1,500 c.c. class. The Frazer-Nash victory was particularly deserved as this make has long been Great Britain’s chief challenge to the small continental sports car and has always deserved greater recognition from the motoring public. Besides this it was a standard four-seater with ballast equivalent to three passengers, and this race was only Bagshawe’s second appearance on the track.
Other commendable performances were those of Hazlehurst’s Salmson and Ball’s Amilcar, while under the circumstances the speed of the Austins was very creditable. RESULTS (Subject to confirmation) :—