THE IRISH INTERNATIONAL GRAND PRIX
BRITISH VICTOR)/ AT RECORD SPEED
THE 2nd International Grand Prix to be run in Phoenix Park for cars up to 1500 c.c. on July 18th entirely vindicated the British small sports car. Gillow’s Riley took the lead quite early in the race and gained a steadily increasing lead to the end, averaging 72.2 m.p.h. under conditions which were none too favourable for high speeds. Rain had been falling intermittently for some days, and although it was actually dry when the drivers took their places in their cars for the start, there was little hope that the rain would hold off much longer.
The majority of the cars made an excellent start, which was made closer as the drivers were seated in the cars at the starting signal. The Aston Martins were noticeably quick starters, but two of the Alfa-Romeos (Eyston and Outlaw) were slow to start while the Riley driven by Whitcroft, which on previous form was considered a likely winner, was another whose engine was reluctant. J. F. Field’s mechanic had to open the bonnet and “do things,” before getting off.
The first lap saw three tea Francis cars in the lead, hotly chased by the Alfa Romeos, and in a few laps a nice little duel had started between Kaye Don’s Alfa and Clive Dunfee’s Lea-Francis, which was still in the lead.
The shower of rain before the start had evidently had its effect on the course, for there were some wild incidents at the corners early in the race. The LeaFrancis team were, very fast at Gough corner, while among those who failed to observe the ” Keep off the grass” instructions was Ivanovsky (Alfa-Romeo), last year’s winner of both races. He skidded almost completely round in avoiding another car.
Lea Francis cars were running very close together, and sounded extremely healthy. The first pit stop was by H. S. Eaton, Aston-Martin, who stepped out calmly, selected a fresh pair of goggles at his leisure, and then purred quietly off again. The grass at Gough corner was evident
ly proving attractive as Victor Gillow took his Riley off the road and back again, as did Sutton (Lea-Francis). The cornering of the majority was very accurate, however, and after Gillow’s little argument with the bank he settled down to the best and fastest cornering of any. Clive Dunfee then came into the pits with his Lea-Francis boiling hard, and work was commenced on the engine. •
Half an hour after the start the leadership on handicap was varying between Bertelli’s Aston Martin and Gillow’s Riley. The Aston Martins in the able hands of Sammy Davis, Bertelli, and Eaton, were running very regularly, and Davis’ lap speeds were in the region of 72 m.p.h. The supercharged ” 1500s” were doing about 75 m.p.h. and Kaye Don’s lap speed was 75.2 m.p.h.
Clive Dunfee, after being at the pits for about 10 minutes, gave out that he was suffering from plug trouble. Rather an old story !
Gough corner was providing plenty of excitement, and Kaye Don, coming round in a group of five cars had to take to the path to avoid two cars which skidded in front of him, but proceeded unruffled. Forty minutes after the start, H. S. Eaton again brought his Aston Martin in to the pits, this time for engine adjustments, but from the calm way everyone was chatting about it they might have merely stopped for refreshment. However, quiet work is far better than excitement on these occasions, and the job was actually done remarkably quickly. J. D. Barnes’ Austin was another car
that was in at the pits at this time, but was soon away. At last, after a very long delay, Clive Dunfee got his engine going again, and shot off, sounding quite healthy again.
A great scrap was now in progress between Ivanovsky and Kaye lion, on Alfas, and Higgin and Sutton on LeaFrancis. Gillow was getting his Riley round at an astonishing speed, but seemed rather to be tempting Providence, as his margin of safety (if any) was very small, and several times he used the bank.
Eaton’s trouble was apparently fairly deep seated, and he retired, after running for just under an hour.
Sullivan’s Lea-Francis was mis-firing badly and stopped on the course for adjustments. and eventually retired.
Poppe’s Austin came into the pits with magneto trouble, but got away again after some delay. The Lea Francis team were putting up a magnificent show, but the very speedy Alfas in the hands of Ivanovsky and Kaye Don were obviously going to be very difficult to catch. Sutton was now in the lead on handicap with Gillow’s Riley and the Alfas worrying him constantly. For many laps the Lea-Francis-Alfa
Romeo scrap continued, and the cars were keeping neck and neck on the straight, and cornering very close together. Gillow’s Riley was very fast indeed on the corners and he seemed to be getting more accurate as time went on.
This was proving a real race, and the drivers were doing all they knew to save seconds on the corners, and on the very fast bends on the side of the course opposite to the grandstand. The rain, which had held off fairly well in the earlier part of the race, fell sharply for a while and made the course distinctly tricky. Gardner’s Amilcar turned a complete circle at Mountjoy corner, but continued without much delay. A great scrap was now ensuing between Kaye Lon and Ivanovsky, the latter leading by a small margin. However Ivanovsky had a short stop and Kaye Don, who was driving a wonderful race, got ahead of Win. Just after 5 p.m. that is after 21 hours’ running, Kaye Don went slightly too fast into Mountjoy corner and skidded coin
pletely round, just hitting the grass verge. He was back on the road and away again at once, and continued as fast as ever. Poppe was, at this point, compelled to retire with supercharger trouble.
Gillow now had a comfortable lead and was driving a real winner’s race, not without incident however. His car was running faultlessly and unofficial timing showed him to be lapping at over 75 m.p.h. truly a wonderful performance for an unsupercharged 1100 c.c. engine. Disaster nearly overtook him before the end, how
ever, when he overshot Mountjoy corner and came to rest behind the sandbags. He reversed out promptly, and continued as if nothing had happened.
G. E. T. Eyston had been driving his usual steady race, and had firmly established himself among the leaders in front of the other Alfas, but was not seriously threatening the leading Riley which shortly afterwards crossed the line, a popular winner, amidst a storm of cheering.
Capt A. R. C. Waite, hero of many well fought contests, was the next to finish. with a small lead over Eyston, who brought his Alfa-Romeo into third place, after a very fine and steadily driven race.
Gillow’s time for the race was 3 hours. 3(-1 minutes 1 second, an average speed of 72.2 m.p.h., thus beating the time taken by Ivanovsky’s Alfa-Romeo of last year by 5 minutes, 29 seconds.
A. Frazer-Nash (Austin) was next. The Austins as a whole put up a very fine show and ran very consistently throughout. Another make which impressed everyone by their steady running, were the two Aston Martins driven by Bertelli and S. C. If. Davis. As was to be expected
of two such experienced drivers, they gave a fine exhibition of the art of road racing, and their cars ran faultlessly from start to finish. These cars were noticeably steady on the corners, due largely to their low build. The Rileys and Alfas were also outstandingly good. The Austins apparently believed in low tyre pressures, and although this gave them good adhesion, it seemed as if the tyres must be dragged off the rim. The fact that they gave no trouble is a great tribute to the Dunlop wired-on product ! Thus closed the first day’s racing of the Irish Grand Prix, an excellent preface to the big car event of the next day. The results were as follow :