WELL DONE, FREDDIE !
POPULAR VICTORY FOR DIXON IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE TROPHY. RILEY’S FILL FIRST THREE PLACES. SUCCESSFUL NEW CIRCUIT, BUT POOR ATTENDANCE.
WINNING B.R.D.C. races is becoming a habit with Freddie Dixon. Following up his triumph in the soo Miles Race last autumn he scored his second successive victory by winning the British Empire Trophy Race on July 6th. But for gearbox trouble which necessitated Cyril Paul finishing the race with only two gears at his disposal, the Scuderia Dixon would have claimed first and second places. As it was, another Riley chased Dixon home, a ” works ” car driven by Edgar McClure. Paul was a thoroughly deserving third, and A. R. Samuel fourth.
In spite of a good entry, a spectacular course and glorious weather, the race was attended by one of the smallest crowds ever seen at an important Brooklands race. The counter attractions ot Mildenhall, Henley and Wimbledon were no doubt largely responsible for this lack of public support, and gave ample proof—if any were needed—of the limited appeal of long-distance handicap races. The ” road-circuit ” used this year was the most elaborate example of its kind ever seen at Brooklands. Straw bales a in Continentale were used for guiding the competitors round their intricate course, which comprised the Railway “Snake,” a fast doublebend ; the Members Bridge Hairpin, which brought the cars down the old Finishing Straight towards the Paddock, and then back again round the ” mountain ;” and finally the peculiar corners called Fork Hairpins” which were utterly unlike anything ever encountered on the road, but gave the spectators in the Cobham stand a fine close-up of corner-work The chief difficulty of the Railway Snake consisted in distinguishing the exact position of the straw bales when approaching at high speed. The extremities of the Snake were marked by brightly painted drums, one of which was rumoured to be filled with concrete I No one came to grief
here during the race as Lord Howe did last year, but Lord Avebury grazed a drum with his Alta in practice and damaged his front-axle after a hectic skid.
For safety’s sake the cars were prevented from zooming off the banking into the Finishing Straight by a long line of straw bales. The downhill section to the hairpin was a tricky hit, while the bend itself had an adverse ” camber.” Finally, the Fork corners took the cars round a rightangle to the right then still farther to the right immediately followed by an acuteangle bend to the left. Slow but tricky.
The planning of the course resulted in the starting line being in such a position, beyond the Fork, that it was only witnessed by a handful of spectators who cared to risk an adventurous passage through a tangle of brambles, undergrowth and marshy ground. One by one the 33 cars were pushed or driven from the Paddock to their starting positions marked on the concrete. The heat was intense, and bearing in mind the stringent nature of the circuit the question on everyone’s lips was : ” How many will stay the full course?” At 2.25 p.m. Charles Follett raised aloft an enormous white flag, and immediately all was bustle and confusion in the front rank, the blown seven-fifties and solitary unblown Amilcar. At 2.2o p.m. the white flag was raised once more, ordering all engines to be started. ” Ebby ” held up his little Union Jack without shifting his gaze from the chronograph, lowered the flag on the second of 2.30 and away they went. Kenneth Evans was leading slightly from Black and Handley, all three on R Midgets, as they took the Byfleet Banking, but Handley was in front at the end of the first lap, followed by K. D. Evans, Black, D. G. Evans (Q Midget), Eyston (R Midget), and Briault (R Midget). Monkhouse (Amilcar) miscued on the Fork Hairpin and charged into the straw after sliding
sideways, much to the dismay of a press photographer who was standing at that point. Samuel stopped at his pit for a plug change, and K. D. Evans did likewise on lap 2.
Handley proceeded to increase the distance between himself and the others by dint of terrific cornering, wrenching the car round in a most masterful fashion. The R-type M.G.s all had new torsion bars, stronger than the previous ones, and looked altogether better on the corners. When the 750’s had been running for 9 minutes the next group was dispatched, blown eleven hundreds and unsupercharged two litres. The M.G. Magnette was quickest off the mark, but the leading cars at the end of the first lap were the DixonRileys driven by Dixon himself and Cyril Paul. Then came Hall (Magnette), Dobbs (Riley), and McClure (Riley). While the second group was negotiating the Fork Bends Monkhouse did his stuff again with the Amilcar, ramming the straw bales backwards this time. He depended upon the skill of the other drivers to avoid a collision, and was loudly barracked by the spectators in the Stand. Another who was decidedly erratic on this corner was Dobbs, and after a lurid broadside on one lap he followed it up on the next by turning right round, fortunately without baulking anyone. Handley was quite the fastest here, and once nearly ” pipped ” a stray photographer. Then the six cars in group 4 got away, Mays (E.R.A.) leading from Thorpe (Frazer-Nash), Cook and Prince Leiningen (E.R.A.$). Their first lap order was : Mays, Leiningen, Cook, Thorpe, ” Tim Davies” (Frazer-Nash), and Fontes (Squire). Exactly four minutes later Rayson set off alone on his blown 2-litre Bugatti, and four minutes after him the supercharged “
2.5’s” were flagged away. Of these, Eccles (Bugatti), gained a slight initial lead from • Staniland (Bugatti), but the order was reversed by the end of the first lap. Now only one car was left on the starting
line, Featherstonhaugh’s Maserati. For five distressingly long minutes it stayed there, while the driver calmly chewed gum and occasionally asked ” How long now, Mr. Ebblewhite? ” Then he, too, was away, and the track presented the fins sight of 33 cars scrapping and lapping at great speed.
But all was by no means well with certain. members of that company. Kenneth Evans made another stop for plugs ; ” Tim Davies ” broke a chain and stopped several times for plug trouble which turned out to be carburettor after all; Ford stopped for a one minute consultation and again for a six minute clutch adjustment ; Handley consumed a plug or two ; Monkhouse found that charging backwards into barricades, even if they are only made of straw, can spring a mighty leak in one’s petrol tank ; ” Bira ” and Hall both replaced some plugs on their Magnettes, and so did Cook and Prince Leiningen on their E.R.A.s and Staniland (Bugatti).
The first retirement came when Embiricos found that he had a broken brake cable on his Bugatti. A few minutes later ” Tim Davies ” tired of trying to diagnose the misfiring of his single-seater FrazerNash. The carburettor had not yielded to treatment, so ignition was blamed (tentatively). Then fate struck a not unusual blow at the hopes of Raymond Mays by damaging the transmission of his E.R.A. Up to this point the car had been going magnificently, and many people hoped he would repeat his victory in the recent Eifel race. It is not to be wondered that the average spectators cannot cope With long-distance races at Brooklands. At 3 o’clock the leader-board informed them that Featherstonhaugh (2 laps), was leading the race ahead of May (7 laps), Leiningen (7 laps), and Paul (8 laps). Of course the explanation was that the Maserati driver was mak
closely followed by Prince ing the most impression on his scheduled handicap, but surely this should be made a secondary item of the scoring. What the -ordinary man wants to know, or rather all he is prepared to bother himself with, on his Saturday afternoon, is who is actually leading the race. An examination of the scoreboard showed that Eyston, Black, Briault, Samuel, D. G. Evans and K. D. Evans, had all Covered ii laps—and yet
Featherstonhaugh with only 2 laps to his credit was supposed to be winning ! A regrettable retirement at 3.15 was that of Fontes on the Squire, with a defect in the blower drive. The car had looked Most promising in practice. Another half-hour gave the cars a chance to settle down into a more significant order,
and at 3.30, one hour after the start of the limit cars, the order on handicap was 1. Paul (Riley) 76.38 m.p.h., 2. Dixon (Riley) 76.12 m.p.h., 3, Thorpe (Frazer-Nash) 76.17 m.p.h., 4, Rayson (Bugatti) 76.82 m.p.h. The greatest number of laps had been covered by Black (M.G.),..;lamuel (M.G.), and D. G. Evans (M.G.), with a total of 23. Paul and Dixon looked the best ” tips,” for they were driving with that combination of speed and calmness which is so valuable in a long race. They were obviously driving to plan, just as though there were no other cars in the race. And their cars were beautifully prepared. The green single-seater Frazer-Nash in the hands of
Ion Leiningen on an E.R.A. Thorpe was springing a great surprise. It was leading its group, being slightly ahead of Fairfield (E.R.A. 1,too c.c.). Thorpe handled the car well, but for a lapse at the Members Bridge Hairpin when he went
into the side of the cutting. The car seemed to be a little light forward, and the front wheels were apt to slide, but it was tremendously fast. Ford was the cause of unfailing amuse ment through his increasing nakedness as his shirt gradually worked up to his neck. His curiously bodied M.G. Magnette eventually came to a standstill at the Members Bridge corner with brake trouble
The pits were busysthe whole time. ” B. Bira ” was called in by the Stewards for :driving too high on the Byfleet Banking.
However, what he lacked in driving experience he made up by the immaculate turnout of his car and personal appearance. This stoppage, on top of numerous plug changes, played havoc with those in his pit.
Iii addition to the normal amount of plug changing, cars were coming in now to refuel, some Of the drivers taking the opportunity of adjusting brakes and shockabsorbers. A. C. Dobson replaced the steering arm and tie rod of his Bugatti ; Roy Eccles complained of transmission trouble on the Eccles Special, which had been going quite nicely in its first race ; while ” Bit-ass ” mechanics decided to try the blower and magneto for a change. Kenneth Evans stopped for an investigation of steering trouble, and on the next lap charged right through the straw barricade at the Members Bridge Hairpin. He approached the corner in company with his Brother Denis, on the ” Q,” but the ” R ” failed to respond to the steering and went straight on. Things were bent straight again at the pits and he carried on to the finish.
At 4 o’clock, Dixon had displaced Paul and was now leading at 76.11 m.p.h. Paul was second and Prince Leiningen (E.R.A.) third. The latter was driving magnificently, with that precision and polish which is the mark of a fine driver. Fourth came Rayson, unobtrusive as ever, but always among the leaders. Thorpe had finished his run with piston trouble, but the FrazerNash had left an impression of great promise for the future. Staniland was out with a broken back-axle. Cyril Paul now faded out of the picture for a time, owing to gearbox trouble which cost him first and second speeds. His chief, however, was now firmly in the saddle, with his car going as well as ever, and the race just where he wanted it. At
THE BR) T SH EM .PI RE T ROPHY -continued. 4.30, two hours after the start, Dixon led from Eccles, whose 2.34itre Bugatti was three laps behind. McClure’s ” works ” Riley was third and Rayson fourth. A( this time the greatest number of laps had been covered by Dixon (Riley) and Samuel (M.G. Midget), with a total of 46. Black (M.G. Midget), Briattlt (M.G. Midget) and
D. G. Evans (M.G. Midget) had all done 45. Oliver Bertram took over from Prince Leiningen for a short spell. The car was suffering from the occasional death of a plug, but was otherwise in good form. Prince Leiningen was very pleased with its performance. Meanwhile the twiddling of plug spanners went on apace all along the pits. ” Bira was probably the most ardent plug-changer of the lot, while others we noticed at the pits were Cook (E.R.A.), K. D. Evans (M.G.), Hall (M.G. NIagnette), Rose (Alfa-Romeo), Eyston
Midget), and Handley (M.G. Midget).
Bira also found time to change his magneto. occasionally and even to re-time same. Cook made a special stop to tell his pit staff exactly what he thought of them. Having done this to his entire satisfaction he departed. At 5 o’clock Dixon was still in the lead, two laps ahead of McClure, one ahead of Samuel, and three in front of DohL.,. Samuel had to stop for 15 seconds to fasi..o
a loose oil-filler. Rayson had droppt.d back through breaking a wheel when a tyre burst on the Fork Hairpin. NOrIllall Black was very close to Dobbs and Samuel, and got into third place before 5.30.
Denis Evans had now become infected with his brother’s plug decease (sorry!) and was often to be seen at the pits. Hall, Leiningen, Cook and ” K. D. ” kept him company. McClure was closing in a little on Dixon, but the wily Freddie knew what he was up to. Fairfield had been signalled to go faster some time ago, but did not see the signals. The pits of the faster cars were much too near the Fork, and the drivers naturally preferred to keep their
eyes fixed on the corner while they braked and changed gear.
The handicap was resulting in a close fight for second, third and fourth places, and no one quite knew who would be the lucky ones to be ” placed.” At approximately 5.50 p.m. Dixon motored quietly over the finishing line, much to everyone’s delight. As his car pulled up the first to congratulate him was Sir Algernon Guinness with a slap on the back and ” Well done, Freddie !” Dixon had driven a clever race and thoroughly deserved to win. lie gets amazing speed out of his cars without sacrificing reliability -and if you can do that you are difficult indeed to beat, Then McClure and Paul were flagged in, but some minutes elapsed before the timekeepers decided who was second and who was third. ” :McClure second, Paul third,”
came the news, and more back Slapping and champagne quaffing was performed. One by one they came in, until 15 cars had covered their allotted 8o laps. The last man, however, V. I.. Seyd (M.G.) failed to qualify within 15 minutes of the winner by the narrow margin of 50 seconds.
Dixon’s team pulled off the team prize ; so that altogether it was a good day for M iddlesbrough.
1. F W Dixon (1,986 c.c. Riley), 31i. 20m. 15s., 75.47 m.p.h.
2. E McClure (1,986 c.c. Riley), 311. 22m. 25s., 74.58 m.p.h.
3. C Paul (1,808 c.c. Riley), 311. 26m. 5s., 73.17 m.p.h.
4. A lt Samuel (Q-type M.G. Midget), 8h. 26m. 40s., 69.72 m.p.h.
6. N Black (R-type M.G. Midget), 3h. 26m. 55s., 69.64 m.p.h.
6. P G Fairfield (1,100 c.c. E.R.A.), 8h. 26m. 59s., 72.87 M.p.h. 7. A H L 1.!,reles (2-3.Iitre Bugatti). 76.92
8. II G Dobbs (1,808 c.c. Riley). 72.72 m.p.h.
9. D L Briault (R-type M.G. Midget), 69.21 m.p.h.
10. D N Letts (M.G. Magnette). 71.48 m.p.h.
11. E K Rayaon (2-litre Bugatti), 78.46 m.p.h.
12. Prince Leiningen (11-litre E.R.A.), 72.07 m.p.h.
13. G E T Eyston (R-type M.G. Midget). 67.97 m.p.h.
14. D Evans (R-type M.G. Midget), 66.80 m.p.h. 15. V L Seyd (M.G. Magnetic), 66.77 m.p.h.`
*Covered the 80 laps, but finished 50seos. outside time limit.
750 c.c. A R Samuel (M.G. Midget).
1,100 c.c.-P Fairfield (E.R.A.). 1,500 c.c.-Prince Leiningen (E.R.A.). 2-iitres.-F W Dixou (Riley). 3-litres.—-A H L Eccles (Bugatti).
Dixon, Paul and Dobbs (Rileys).
H T H Clayton (Arnilear), R El D67′ Dewdney (Bugatti), C T Thomas (AstonMartin), Billy Cotten (Cotton-Field Spell, J B Seaman (E.R.A.), A J Counsel; (Alta), G 10 A Manby-Colegrave (Alfa* Romeo), A Von der Becke (Riley) A P Hamilton (Mfa-Romeo), R Shuttfeworth (Alfa-Romeo), A Dobson (Alfa-Romeo), Dr.. J D Benjafield (Alfa-Romeo).
J L Ford (M.G. Magnette), brake trouble -31 laps. T A W Thorpe (Frazer-Nash), piston-32 laps. “Tim Davies” (FrazerNash), carburation and ignition trouble-7. laps. R Mays (E.R.A.), transmission-lli laps. C S Staniland (Bugatti), back-axle8 laps. N S Embirices (Bugatti), brake trouble-8 laps. L Fontes (Squire), big-end,
Did Not Complete Course. W L Handley (M.G. Midget)-76 laps. K Evans (M.G. Midget-78 laps. F
Monkhouse (Arnilcar)–27 laps. B Bira , (M.G. Magrictte)—62 laps. E R Hall (M.G, • Magnette)-63 laps. Roy Eccles (Eccles’ Special)-49 laps. Lord Avebury (Alta)-40. laps.
H W Cook (E.R.A.)-78 laps. H Rosa (Alfa-Romeo)—-75 laps. A C Dobson (Bugs tt i )-78 laps. R E L Featherstenhaugh ” (Maserati)-46 laps.