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SS STAILTIMS CC FINISIVIIEUS WINNIM’S SIDLED. 102.7 84.111D.11-1.
HANWORTH aerodrome was the scene of great activity on the morning of the 5th July, when eighty-eight of the 101 machines entered were assembled there for the biggest flying event of the year— the King’s Cup Race. Long before the limit man took off on the 750-mile circuit, officials, competitors, their mechanics, passengers and supporters were up and about in the clear crisp air of a perfect summer early morning. The weather was ideal—with a cloudless blue sky, and the lightest of winds. It was an occasion when the most ” unairminded ” person might easily have become a convert and conditions were such as to arouse envy for the waiting pilots in the hearts of those who, for one reason or another, were compelled to remain on terra _firma.
With the approach of zero hour the mingled roar of engines as they were run up increased, slipstreams flattened the grass, the sun glinted on spinning props and everything was set for the day’s contest.
Promptly at 7 a.m. W. H. Sutcliffe, in D. M. K. Marendaz’s Cirrus-engined “Moth,” was sent off on the first leg of the course to Hamble, followed 19 minutes afterwards by G. Vlasto in a sister machine. Then came the little Robinson “Redwing,” the latest of light-planes, piloted by J. F. ‘1’. Barrett ; it took off well, its flat-four A.B.C. ” Hornet ” motor emitting a particularly crisp and healthy bark. A. G. Mortimer was the next away, snugly ensconced in the diminutive cabin of the “Robin” (A . B. C . “Scorpion “).
Then in quicker succession, a series of “Moths,” ” Avians ” and ” Bluebirds” were sent on their way, amongst them being G-EBVZ, the ” Avian ” which Miss Winifred Brown was destined to bring in to premier place. Two ” Spartans ” followed, one piloted by Lieut-Colonel L. A. Strange (of the Spartan Aircraft Co.), the other by Flying-Officer McKenna. Things at the starting line had gone off without a hitch -up to this point. But when Squadron-Leader L. H. Slatter, flying Lord Trenchard’s ” Bluebird ” IV and Mr. Gillan, in a similar machine, taxied up, they both
mistook Colonel Lindsay Lloyd’s signal and commenced their take-offs prematurely. Excited \ a vings and shouts (which, of course, could not have been heard by the two pilots), ensued and they were recalled. The time was now nine minutes to nine and the ‘drome was still crowded with machines waiting to start. SquadronLeader J. Woodhouse, who will be remembered by many as an old T.T. rider and Brooklands habitué of pre-war days, was the next to leave ; he was piloting one of the numerous “Bluebirds.” And so the departures continued. At 9.12 a..m. A. B. H. Vouch, of Imperial Airways and Flight-Lieut. S. Pope unstuck with a Desoutter (” Hermes “) and an Avro V. (three ” Genets “) respectively, followed later by J. Bennett-Baggs with the new Avro Trainer (” Mongoose “), Gerard Fane in the little Comper, Captain Percival in the Hendy 302 (a lowwing cabin monoplane), the two Hawker “Tomtits,” the Martlet, and a whole flock of “Puss Moths.”
At eight minutes past ten only four machines remained for the drop of the starter’s flag. They were the two Avro Avian monoplanes, (one with a “Genet Major I ” engine, the other with a “Cirrus Hermes “), the handsome Segrave ” Meteor ” and finally the twin-engined Vickers ” Vellore.” The pilots of these planes respectively were :—F. Tomkins, Captain T. N. Stack, FlightLieut. Atcherley, and Flying-Officer Summers. The scratch man gave five minutes to the “Meteor,” and then with a terrific roar from his two ” Jupiters ” he got his big machine in the air, exactly 3 hours and 41 minutes after the limit man.
Col. Lindsay Lloyd and Mr. A. 0. Reynolds walked in, the drone of the ” Vellore ” died away, the whole field was away and Hanworth sat back to await the news from points along the course. Scarcely half-an-hour had gone before the first retirement occurred. It was Atcherley on the ” Meteor ” ; apparently the petrol feed to the starboard engine was faulty, for intermittent running had set in, and Atcherley decided to return. Then a message came through that Mortimer was down at Salisbury with the ” Robin.” Time passed and bulletins filtered through from the
turning points and controls ; Sutcliffe with his early ” Moth ” had reached Bristol, but not without difficulty. Like several of his fellow-competitors, who were overhauling him, he had been harrassed by fog and ground mist near the south coast, and in addition, he had experienced tappet trouble. Barrett, who had been relying on his compass to steer him over the foggy area found himself eventually over Bournemouth and arrived at Bristol very late with his compass doing strange things. Several others had wandered too, but most of them got away in pretty good time, heading for Castle Bromwich, Hooton Park and Manchester. Sutcliffe was still leading, with his gallant Mark I going strong with the throttle wide. He arrived at Manchester at 11.31 a.m., having so far averaged 79.1 m.p.h. This second stopping place was the scene of further retirements, and a number of machines also fell out before reaching it., . Barrett’s compass was still hopelessly out, and in view of the report of fog and mist between Woodford and Sherburn-inElmet, he decided to “pack up,” The Avro ” Five” landed O.K., but was unable to restart as the impulse starter on the port engine failed. Then it became known that Oliver’s ” Avian ” and Cantrill’s ” Avian” were both out of it, while F. S. Symondson was reported missing somewhere between Bristol and Barton.
Meanwhile Miss Brown had been going great guns and by the time she had reached Manchester had crept up to third place. Competitors after receiving weather reports, set off again on the section of the course which proved the most difficult. Before Cramlington was reached Vlasto dropped out (he landed at Sherburn) and Sutcliffe, J. W. Chalmers (” Moth “), Flight-Lieut. Addams (Spartan), Capt. de Havilland (” Puss Moth “); Miss D. Guest (” Puss Moth “), Tomkins (” Avian” monoplane), Capt. Maxwell (” Moth “) and F. G. Miles (” Martlet “) all retired for various causes. At Cramlington the massed arrival of the luckier ones became too much for the harrassed officials ; machines were coming in from all directions, and every pilot was making frantic efforts to re-fuel. In the meantime some error was made in the starting arrangements, and with
about 20 Machines due off within a few minutes there was still further confusion. Eventually however, competitors set off again on the 109-miles leg to Hull, the last control. Miss Brown was now well ahead, with Flight-Lieut. Waghorn (” Bluebird “) second, and F/O McKenna (Spartan) third ; behind these three came the remaining 68, with Mr. A. Butler in his special ” Gipsy Moth ” flying very fast indeed. But after Hull, there was still 182-miles to do, Miss Brown’s ” Avian ” was still going strong, and her luck was holding. Others were less fortunate, and amongst those who retired for various reasons were :—Col. Sempill • (” Bluebird “), Norman Blackburn (1′ Bluebird “), Lieut.-Col. Strange (” Spartan “),• and M. D. Scott (” Moth “). Those at Hanworth, who had been regaled during the hours of waiting by a programme of exhibition flying, were now getting ready for the finish. The minutes passed and then, low down on the skyline, and flying fast, could be seen the outline of a biplane. No one was quite certain who it might be, until at 6.18 p.m. the three-year old” Avian “, bearing the number 55, flashed Over the finishing line. • Eleven minutes afterwards came Alan Butler who had flown a wonderful race With an average speed of 129.7 m.p.h. No. 3 was Waghorn, who came in two minutes after the second man, and the fourth competitor home was Mrs. Alan Butler who showed her ability as a pilot by averaging 129.6 m.p.h. for the 750 miles,
As the victor, Miss Brown not only won the King’s Cup, but also received the Siddeley Trophy (presented by Mr. J. D. Siddeley, for competition among members of light ‘plane clubs who are entrants in the Race), and a £50 prize given by Mr. M. H. Volk.
In previous years the winners of the King’s Cup Race were :-1922, Captain F. L. Barnard, I.).H.4a ; 1923, Captain F. T. Courtney (Armstrong-Whitworth) ; 1924, Sir Alan Cobham (D.H.50) ; 1926, Captain Hubert Broad (” Moth “) ; 1927, Mr. W. L. Hope (” Moth “) ; 1928, Mr. W. L. Hope (” Moth “), and 1929, Flying Officer R. L. R. Atcherley (Gloster ” Grebe “).