Gear-boxes and other matters.
the German cars, or, who knows, a self-changing gear-box.
If the Wilson gear-box is generally adapted for racing purposes, the driving methods used by an earlier generation of racing drivers are likely to be abandoned. With the self-changing box the brake can be kept on right up to the corner if necessary, and the ratio changed when the driver is ready to accelerate away. I notice that Chiron does this even with the orthodox Alfa box, while Varzi and the other Ferrari drivers .brake, rev-up and change down before the corner just like we ordinary mortals were taught to do.
The inner Man.
Before leaving the subject of Montlhery I cannot help remarking on the appetising and well-served lunch one gets af La Potiniere, the little restaurant behind the Grand Stands, and could not help comparing it, and unfavourably, with the cold fare which is offered on race days at Brooklands. The public bars and other places of refreshment at our own track also leave much to be desired in the way of service and price, though this could be remedied by more efficient management, as was demonstrated the other day when some new firm undertook the catering for the British Legion gathering. Happily there is nothing in the Club rules to prevent having a picnic meal on the grass, which is after all the best prelude to watching an afternoon’s racing.
Bank Holiday Meeting.
August Bank Holiday meeting at the Track is always a good show, though last year I remember, many people were deterred from going by the terrific heat-wave then at its height. The Brooklands Championship race, a five-lap scratch event sounds particularly interesting, and as we go to press, I hear that John Cobb will be entering the Napier Railton, Bertram the big Delage, Dudley Froy Don’s 4.9 Bugatti, Fotheringbam will have his ” 2.3 ” and R. T. Horton will be seen in his Magnette, with a number of other fast drivers who have not yet made their decision. The Oxford and Cambridge Race, for past and present members of the ‘Varsities should also be popular. Last year it was included in the programme of the October Meeting, and will again be contested over 5 laps of the Mountain Circuit.
Campbell’s New Car.
Sir Malcolm Campbell is having the second of the two twelve-cylinder four-litre Sunbeams rebuilt for track racing and hoped to run it in the Bank Holiday meeting, but the work has taken longer than anticipated. It is intended for outer circuit racing and will therefore only be lightly supercharged, at about 8 lbs. It is hoped that he will run it in the 500 Miles Race.
Dixon and Eccles.
Road-racing must always be a more dangerous form of sport than driving on the track, always provided you don’t go over the top of the latter, but it just adds to the zest of the game. Dixon is making a good recovery from the injuries he received in his crash at Donington, but it is still too early to say whether he will be fit to drive in the T.T. Lindsay Eccles seems to have had an amazing escape in the Dieppe race, and was fortunate to have been flung out, thus escaping being crushed as his car rolled over and over. His crash hat was smashed to pieces but he escaped with bruises and a badly cut lip.
When he recovers he will doubtless be consoled by his new 3.3-litre Bugatti touring car which is just leaving the coachbuilders, the first of its type to be delivered in this country. Incidentally Noel Rees, till now a staunch supporter of Alfa Romeos, is thinking about getting one. He tells me that he is selling the Maserati probably to Rose-Richards, who will race it next year.
The “Five Hundred.”
This classic event is once again thoughtfully arranged at the end of the season, so that cars may be blown up without any thought for the future. All cars must be capable of lapping at a minimum speed 01 100 m.p.h., and will be disqualified if they do not do so within the first hour. As will be seen from the comparison of this year’s handicap times and those of last year, the small cars have got to go even faster than before. John Cobb’s big car should stand an excellent chance in this race, for he tells me that the Dunlop Company have overcome the tyre difficulty, and no trouble was experienced from this source on his last record attempt at Montlhery. All the same he will need at least two complete changes, due to the abrading effect of the concrete, and the weight and speed of the huge car.
1933 Handicap. 1934 Handicap.
The snag about scratch races on Brooklands with a field of perhaps forty cars is that even the smallest are nowadays so rapid that they run high on the banking, making it very difficult for the drivers of the “big stuff.” The only solution I can think of is that Cobb should have the track to himself for a day, and has a heat on his own, comparing it with the other times next day as is done in multiple heat races at Donington.
I understand that a three-litre Diesel engine is to be installed in one of the chassis of the old Thomas Specials, and will attempt to set up some Twelve Hour and other long distance records. These little cars were never remarkably comfortable on the track, and with the two radius rods required to steady the Sunbeam rear-axle which is to be fitted, the driver stands a very fair chance of being flayed before the end of his spell. Even more surprising is the news that an owner of a Double Six Daimler is to have one fitted into his car, with a yearly saving of over 2100 in fuel costs. The surplus space under the bonnet will no doubt be used for luggage accommodation and cleaning materials.
The A.E.C. Diesel driven by George Eyston is at present on exhibition at Shell Mex House, on the Embankment, but Eyston intends taking it over to Montlhery in the late autumn for some more highspeed work.
Alvis Car Club.
A General Meeting of this newly-formed one-make club will be held at the Alvis London Service Depot,. Jubilee Place, King’s Road, Chelsea, on August 16th at 6.45 p.m. The subscription will be 10s. per year with no entry fee, and application forms can be obtained from Mr. M. W. B. May, 18, Austin Friars, London, E.C.2.
Tommy Hann, at one time a regular performer at Brooklands on Softy Catch Monkey and other big cars, is driving a 3-litre blown Mercedes which he has rebuilt for track work in the August Meeting. He tells me he has great plans for a big engined front drive car for racing at Brooklands next year.
Gopsall Scheme Abandoned. I understand that owing to the heavy expense which would be involved in laying out a road-racing course at Gopsall Park and the fact that sufficient financial support could not be obtained, it has been decided not to
continue with the project. However, Gopsall’s loss is Donington’s gain, for the Racing Committee who had interested themselves in the former scheme, numbering amongst them such prominent men as Earl Howe, George Eyston, Cecil Kimber, Victor Riley, Raymond Mays and Captain Phillips of the R.A.C. have strengthened the racing committee of the Derby and District Motor Club, and are helping to draw up the programme for the International Meeting at Donington on October 6th.
Large Prizes and Team Awards.
The two principal events will be the two 100 Mile Handicaps. The first will be restricted to cars up to 1i-litres, and the principal award will be the Nuffield Trophy and £200, provided, needless to say, by the generosity of Lord Nuffield, with prizes of £100, £75 and £50 for the next three places. The Park Trophy for Unlimited cars has as prizes, £100, £50 and 225 for the first three, which to start proceedings there will be a 10 lap Handicap invitation race for cars up to 1,500 c.c. In addition to the above mentioned awards, there will be team trophies and team awards in each of the 100 mile events, so if the meeting is not a great success, it will be no fault of the organisers. The Fifty Mile events held in July were certainly well supported-.
Before the International event of course, we have the August meeting on the 18th, which should be as popular as last year. Incidentally I have just heard from Mr. Craner that Freddy Dixon is recovering well from his injuries, which included seven broken ribs, and should soon be discharged from hospital.