Rumblings, August 1933



(1)11. m. UM oil 119S C1114 130AUERGES

Whitney Straight.

With the lamented death of Sir Henry Birkin it looked as though Earl Howe would alone be left to represent England in Continental Grand Prix racing. Then that brilliant young driver, Whitney Straight, took his Maserati abroad and set about gaining some first hand Grand Prix road-racing knowledge. His exploits at the Kesselburg Hill Climb and the Grand Prix de la Marne are recounted on another page, and it was extremely unlucky that a burnt foot should prevent him from competing at Dieppe.

I hope he will be able to carry on the good work. At the time of writing he is still in a London nursing home, but he will be out and about quite soon again.

In Memory of Sir Henry Birkin.

Mention of Sir Hf-nry Birkin reminds me of the suggestion that a team of racing cars should be manufactured in his memory. This idea was recently thrashed out by the Committee of the B.R.D.C., who finally decided that it was impracticable.

A further Committee Meeting will take place shortly to consider an alternative scheme, and in the meantime the Secretary, Harry Edwards, has asked me to say that any suggestions will be gratefully received by him at Bangalore House, Newton Street, London, W.C.2.

Will Dieppe take the place of Boulogne ?

IN the days of the famous Boulogne meetings, English competitors formed a large part of the entry for the various events. You yourself probably used to make a point of going across the Channel for the meeting, and its demise was greatly regretted by everyone.

Now, it seems to me that a worthy substitute for Boulogne has been found in the Dieppe motor week-end, which took place on the 15th and 16th of July. On the Saturday were held the final tests of a Rally, and a concours d’elegance. In this I saw a very neat Wolseley Hornet entered by a British competitor, M. D. A. de Clermont. On the next day, Sunday, British motor cyclists carried off all the honours, the invincible Norton team giving the British spectators every excuse for feelings of national pride.

A Chance for British Drivers. This swelling pride was badly pricked in the afternoon, however, for of a field of 19 cars in the Dieppe

Grand Prix, only one was a British competitor. Fortunately, Earl Howe drove a most polished race in finishing 2nd in his class and 4th in the general classification, so our face was saved to a certain extent. But I should like to see more of our drivers there. True, Whitney Straight and Penn Hughes had entered, although neither of them ran. Then the race

clashed with the Mannin Ifoar, which was unavoidable. However, I can seriously commend the attention of British drivers who want to get some experience of road racing to the possibilities of the Dieppe race. It does not cost much in the way of freight and expenses to reach Dieppe, and once there the course is only a short

distance from the town. Liberal prize money is subscribed, first prize being 10,000 francs, and the total 158,000 francs, so that any competent driver with a Bugatti would stand a good chance of covering his expenses, at least.

Finally, those responsible for the race and notably Monsieur Hamiaux, who is in charge of the organisation, are extraordinarily helpful and courteous to foreign visitors, as I can personally testify.

Now then, you Bugatti owners, think it over !

A Race for 750’s and 1,100’s?

On the way back from Dieppe on the steamer I met that enthusiastic patron of motor-racing, Lord Brecknock. As an improvement on my idea that British owners of Bugattis and similar racing cars should go over to Dieppe, Lord Brecknock told me that he had suggested to the organisers that they should hold a race for 750 c.c. and 1,100 c.c. cars next year.

A race of this kind would really give to Dieppe the popularity of the old Boulogne meeting, and the thanks of all enthusiasts are due to Lord Brecknock for this timely suggestion.

Incidentally, Lord Brecknock is what our Transatlantic cousins would call “some hustler.” During that week he had seen the Mannin races at Douglas, returned to London and set off immediately for Dieppe, arriving at 2 o’clock in the morning of the day of the race !

On the Island.

The Manx races were very successful from the driver’s point of view, though the fact of having to he “on the location” for nearly a fortnight must have prevented quite a number of people from taking part. At one time there was a rumour that Nuvolari was coming over to see the course, quite unfounded naturally, as the Italian driver was busy dealing with the Belgian Grand Prix just then.

At the dinner given to the drivers, which incidently was a cheerful affair with some amusing speeches, I was talking to Captain Fronteras, who reminded me that Nuvolari had been for 5 years motorcycle champion of Italy, which no doubt taught him a good deal about getting into tight corners and getting out again. Apparently he wanted to take part in the A.C.U. T.T. races, but the Bianchi company would not consent, knowing that he would either try to win the race at a spectacular speed or break himself up in the attempt. Other wellknown car drivers who once were mounted on two wheels are Varzi, who rode a Sunbeam in the Island, Mario Ghersi, whose young brother Pietro performed this year on a Guzzi, and Brivio. Handley, a new convert to fast motoring was said to have been promised the loan of an Alfa in return foi riding for the Guzzi concern, but did not manage to get hold of it.

Seeing the Race.

The lot of the spectator at the IVIannin Races was not quite so good since from parts of some of the grandstands nothing except slow-moving cars could be seen and those at a long distance. Those who watched from houses overlooking Church Road and higher up the course certainly had all the thrills they wanted however, especially during the early part of the 1VIoar race, with Brian Lewis a few yards behind Eyston. Next year, perhaps, and one hopes the races will be held again in 1934, the public might be allowed on to part of the Promenade, since no one showed any signs of running off the road on this section. A certain discretion will naturally have to be used, as wet tramlines are apt to lead even the best of cars astray.

A New ” Scratch-car.”

The B.A.R.C. Meeting on August Bank Holiday will provide the first public appearance of John Cobb’s new Napier-Railton. A really fast car has been wanted for some time at these meetings, for the single seater Bentley, driven so wonderfully by poor” Tim,” is now only a vivid memory. Cobb’s Delage, once its great rival, has not yet produced anything like its old form. in the hands of its new owner.

A really fast, big car is essential for the proper enjoyment of a B.A.R.C. Meeting. “Chitty,” the Isotta Maybach, “Vieux Charles,” Eldridge’s Fiat, the Leyland Thomas, the Bentley, the Delage—and now the Napier-Railton.

For Sale—ready for the fray !

Does anyone want to buy a really fast blown Austin ? The car in question is in racing trim, and is probably one of the fastest in the country—apart from the works jobs. Going . . . going . . .