FAST MOTORING AT DONINGTON PARK
ECCLES (BUGATI1) LAPS AT 69 M.P.H. DIXON WINS FIRST 25 MILE RACE AND CRASHES WHEN IN THE LEAD OF THE SECOND.
THE Derby and District Motor Club is to be congratulated for its efforts to improve further the standard of racing at Donington. Prize money to the extent of £100 was offered in the two 25 .mile handicap races and each attracted forty entries, the majority of which took their places on the starting line, while the individual performances of Eccles and Martin on Bugattis and Dixon and Paul on Rileys were worth going a long way to see. Dixon’s performance with an unsupercharged car of 1,800 c.c. were, of course, particularly creditable, and his crash in the last race, in which he was leading, was much regretted. Unfortunately the good impression produced by the racing was to some extent counteracted by the slowness with which the programme was run off. The meeting started at two o’clock and continued, with irritating delays, until nearly 8 o’clock, so that those who had come a hund,:ed or more miles to see the racing, not to mention the wretched competitors, were not likely to get home much before midnight. With the car paddock not 10 yards from the starting line, a delay of half-an-hour between the sixth and seventh races should surely not have been necessary, and though one appreciates that the actual events take longer to run off than those held, for instance, at Brooklands, they might easily be speeded up by flagging off the straggling field perhaps three minutes
after the third man finishes. Such speeding-up would without doubt materially improve the enjoyment of the spectators and would attract others who at present feel that motor racing is rather a slow game.
son’s Austin looked rather disconsolate without its gearbox. Johnson on an M.G. had turned over at Hairpin corner during practise, but escaped injury. In spite of these incidents, however. there were still plenty of cars left !
There were thirteen starters in th? passed him leaving this point, gaining a thirty-yard lead by the time he reached the Paddock. Kenneth Evans was performing well for his first run on his new car and was gaining Steadily on the Ford, failing to catch him by yards only as they shot down the hill to the finishing line,
first event, which was for cars up to 850 c.c., and the six unsupercharged cars received 50 seconds start. In the first bunch Harrison (Ford) made a fine start and was first at the Hairpin, followed by Grice and Gibson (M.G.$). In the second group Skinner driving the Morris Minor which he ran this year at Shelsley took the lead, hotly pursued by Everitt and K. D. Evans on the new Type Midgets. Turner’s Austin was for once not behaving properly and went off with some misfiring. The first time round, Harrison’s Ford
And now to turn to the meeting. All the usual names figured on the programme, but Mathieson on his 2.3 Bugatti and Hutchinson on a new blown 14-litre were unable to run. Dixon had trouble with a seized differential pinion in practise, but rectified this after taking down the back axle. Raymond Mays had his supercharged Riley going well, but then it chewed up the bevel pinion, and he could not get a replacement of the right ratio. Moor had intended running “Wasp V,” a ferocious machine with a 1,500 c.c. twin engine, but the crank-case cracked in half, while Stephen
had a lead of 150 yards from Gibson, while Everitt was driving with his usual brilliance and bad overtaken Skinner which brought him into seventh place. Next time Harrison had increased his lead to over quarter of a mile, while Everitt was just behind Grice and Gibson. Evans had overtaken Skinner and was fifth on Levy’s tail. The little yellow Ford was still going great guns, much faster and steadier than on its last appearance at Donington, but Everitt was relentless. On his third lap lie was 7 seconds behind, on his fourth he was reported level at Starkeys, and
while Skinner’s Morris Minor, which handled surprisingly well, came in only 20 seconds to the rear. Everitt’s time was actually over 40 seconds better than the 5-lap record put up in March by Eccles on the Bugatti, which gives some idea of his performance.
Fifth Lap Race. 850 c.c. Supercharged or Unsupercharged.
1. W. G. Everitt (746 M.G. S), 12m. 20s., 62.47
2, T. C. Harrison (848 Ford) (50s,), 13m. 25s. 57.43 m.p.h.
3. K. D. Evans (746 M,G. S), 12in. 37s., 61.05 in,p.h.
There were 11 starters in the unsupercharged 1,100 c.c. race, with the Ford, Mclure’s Riley, the Appleton Special and the Le Mans Rapier Lagonda in the front row. The Ford was first away, but was overtaken by Appleton before it reached the hairpin bend, with McLure and Holbrow on Rileys close behind. The Lagonda stuck on the line for some seconds and was last away. Meanwhile Maclure was reported in the lead at Starkeys, but in the run down to the start Appleton was seen to have regained his position with Maclure and Harrison close behind. The second lap seemed a destructive one, for there were only five cars still running, and Holbrow retired at the start. Mclure had wrested the lead from Appleton again, both cars sounding particularly healthy.
Appleton was, however, obviously not fast enough to catch the Riley, which increased its lead steadily to win by 250 yards, with the Ford hanging on gamely to third place. In the second heat Grice took the lead at the start, but was caught by Hodgson on his special underslung Riley before the Hairpin. However, Grice would not be denied and got past again on the long straight after the Farm. The announcer at Starkey got quite lyrical about his cornering there, while Gibson (M.G.) apparently came round on two
wheels on several occasions and lost his second place to Hodgson. The latter had some awkward moments at the Hairpin, for his front wheels flapped furiously, but he finished safely half-a-mile behind Grim The times of the three finishers were all slower than those of the first heat.
Fifth Lap Race for Unsupercharged Can up to 1,100 c.c.
1. P. Maclure (1,087 Riley), 13m. 51s., 58.89 m.p.h.
2. R. J. Appleton (1,084 Appleton Special), ’13m. 181s., 57.94 m.p.h.
3. T. C. Harrison (848 Ford), 13m. 21s.
heat with a two-minute handicap, and Perry and G. Dunfee, younger brother of a famous family, made the most of their one-minute start on blown M.G.s. Freddy Dixon on his bored-out Riley Six actually received 45 seconds start from Eccles (Bugatti), so the latter had every reason for his jump start and smoking tyres. Hills remained in the lead on the first lap with Turner on the Austin second,
The next event was one of the premier races of the day, a 25 mile handicap race, and the start presented an animated scene as the fourteen cars for the first heat were grouped in their starting positions. The first car to be dispatched was Grice’s M.G., which received a start of 2 minutes, then a minute later a group comprising Maclure, and Appleton, and Evans, and Everitt. The 1,500 c.c. cars received 50 seconds, excepting for Cyril Paul, who was on scratch with Charles Martin ;2.3 Bugatti) and Boyd (2.5 Ma.serati). Of this final group Martin got away ahead of time and was penalised in the final result.
G-rice was still in the lead the first time round, but Everitt (M.G.) had caught him by his second arrival at Starkey, and took his M.G. down the slope to the paddock tremendously fast in a controlled slide. Evans on the other Q Type Midget followed him, then Maclure on the Riley and Martin closely followed by Cyril Paul. Everitt continued in the lead driving magnificently, while Martin followed hard on the wheels of Evans and Maclure and in the fourth lap passed them to gain second place. Cyril Paul’s Riley was also going great guns in spite of a narrow shave near the Farm, and succeeded in overtaking Maclure and Evans on two following laps, bringing him into third place. Boyd’s Maserati of which much was expected was overgeared and difficult to hold on the winding sections, but after a great struggle with the Appleton Special managed to overtake it to the sixth place. The leadership remained unchanged, and Everitt got home with a lead of 400 yards. Hills on an M.G. led off the second but the latter was troubled in this race as throughout the meeting with oiled plugs, and had several stops. Dixon was third next round, 10 yards behind Hills, and on the third lap had established a half-mile lead. By the fourth lap
and his total time gave him a comfortable advantage over Everitt, the winner of the first heat.
25 Miles (Tenth Lap) Handicap for Cars up to 3,000 c.c. 1. F. W. Dixon
1. F. W. Dixon (1,808 Riley) (45s.), 24m. 20s., 66.75 m.p.h.
2. W. G. Everitt (746 M.G. S) (60s.), 25m., 64.2 m.p.h.
3. A. H. L. Eccles (2.3 Bugatti S) (Scratch), 25m. 37s., 65.42 m.p.h.
4. Cyril Paul (1,486 Riley) (50s.), 25m. 52s., 62.6 m.p.h.
The fourth race was run in two heats, and three Fraser Nashes driven by Caswell, Porter Hargreaves and Eccles appeared in a group the first time round, followed at an interval by Powys Lybbe, whose Alvis was smoking and had an unhealthy exhaust note, Tongue (Aston Martin) and Instone (Bugatti).
Eccles dropped out after one lap and the race developed into a struggle between Casswell, whose Nash was faster than the one driven by Hargreaves, but lost time each lap at Starkeys by unsteady cornering.
In the second heat Cyril Paul established a lead of 100 yards in the first lap, and finally increased it to half a mile, Maclure and T. P. C. Tapper (Bugatti) holding second and third positions all through.
Fifth Lap Race for Unsupercharged Cars up to 1,500 c.c. 1. Paul
1. Cyril Paul (1,486 Riley), 12m, 10s., 63.33 m.p.h.
2. P. Maclure (1,087 Riley), 12m. 46s., 60.39 m.p.h.
3. T. P. C. lapper (1,496 Bugatti), 13m. 14s., 58.1 m.p.h. For the next race Paul handed over his Riley to Dixon, and the latter made the running from the start. He was rather lurid on Starkeys, but each time his slide ended up with the nose facing the right way, in spite of the difficulty of controlling the car with three-quarters of a steering-wheel. Skinner (Morris Minor) and Cormack (Alta) both left the road
Eccles had passed into second place, but was half-a-mile behind Dixon, and though he succeeded in catching up a few seconds, finished finally over a minute behind. Dixon’s lap speeds had nearly reached that of the solo motor-cycles, his best time being 2 mins. 151 or 68.5 m.p.h.,
on different laps, while Everitt and Turner were notably steady. Dixon finished the race nearly a mile ahead of Everitt and, in spite of not being pushed, put up the record time of 11 mins. 31 secs., beating very handsomely Everitt’s speed in the first race of the meeting.
Fifth Lap Race for all Cars up to 1,600 c.c.
I. F. W. Dixon (1,486 Riley), 1 1 in. 31s., 66.9 m.p.h.
2. W. G. Everitt (746 M.G. S), 12m. 41s., 60.73 m.p.h.
3. A. J. Cormack (1,074 Alta S), 12m. 52s., 59.8 m.p.h.
In the sixth race for cars up to 3 litres, unsupercharged cars received a 30 seconds start. Paul and Dixon were quickly away, while Eccles lost any chance of catching up by stalling his car when the flag dropped. Dixon turned his car right round at Starkeys and retired at the start. This let T. P. C. Tapper, on the white Bugatti, into second place, though his brakes and front suspension seemed to be giving him a difficult ride. Eccles was coming through the field like one possessed on his black Bugatti with its stirring note, and only just avoided running into Boyd on the Maserati when the latter took Starkey’s corner without using his driving mirror. On the fourth round he had another moment when overtaking Tapper at the same point. In spite of his efforts, however, Paul finished half a lap ahead.
Fifth Lap Race for Cars up to 3,000 c.c. 1.
1. Cyril Paul (1,486 Riley), 11m. 50s., 65.11 m.p.h.
2. A. H. L. Eccles (2.3 Bugatti), 12m. 331s., 64.08 m.p.h.
3. T. P. C. Tapper (1,496 Bugatti), 12m. 391s., 60.83 m.p.h. The second ten-lap handicap race was run in two heats, with the slower cars in the first one. The three limit cars,
two Hillman Minxes and an Austin, had a start of nearly four minutes. Goodson, on the Austin, took the lead and held it for five laps until he was caught by Richardson (Riley). The latter had some wild moments at Starkeys, and twice had to do some cross-country motoring to regain the road. Powys Lybbe moved into second place when Goodson retired On his last lap, and Tongue (Aston Martin) was third.
The last heat of the day, which was not run off till 7.30 p.m., looked like being well worth waiting for. Eccles and his twin camshaft Bugatti (” double-wipe” to the initiated) and Martin a single camshaft model. Dixon was driving the larger of his two Rileys, Boyd’s Maserati was fast, if hard to hold, while Stephenson had even managed to get his gearbox back in time for the start. He actually had a 10 seconds start from the 1,500 c.c. cars, but Laird caught him in one lap. Hartwell (Magnette) and Boyd (Maserati) followed, then Evans on the blue Midget. Dixon was next behind him, and on the second lap had shot up to second place, due to the retirement of Stephenson and Laird. On the third lap he had passed Hartwell to lead the race with a lead of half a mile, with Martin third and Evans fourth. Next lap, and no Dixon, with Martin this time the first to roar down the hill
past the start. On the fifth Eccles passed the two cars in front of him and took the lead with a tremendous lap made at 69 m.p.h. (2 mins. 14 secs.), while the ambulance, which set off 10 minutes later, made it quite clear that something serious had happened to Dixon.
Eccles continued to lap at high speed, and in the end had gained a lead of 300 yards from Martin, while Evans and Boyd, on the Maserati, were third and fourth. Despite the high speed which had been shown in the second heat, however, Richardson’s handicap gave him first place in the final results.
Details of Dixon’s crash at Starkeys were later obtained. He had come down to the corner at a great speed, blinded perhaps by the sun, and being unable to stop had kept straight on and crashed into the protecting bank of earth. The car cut half-way through without overturning, but the driver ‘ suffered concussion and was badly bruised by being thrown against the steering wheel. It was a sad ending to a day of successes.
Second 25-Mile Handicap for Cars up to 3,000 c.c.
1. C. A. Richardson (1,087 Riley) (2m. 25s.), 26m. 26s., 58.4 m.p.h.
2. A. H. L. Eccles (2.3 Bugatti 8) (Scratch), 26m. 56s., 66.99 m.p.h.
3. C. E. C. Martin (2.3 Bugatti) (5 s.), 27ra. 20s., 56.17 m.p.h.
4. A. Powys Lybbe (1,496 Alvis) (3m. 15s.), 27m. 51s., 56.4 m.p.h.