A MIXED DAY AT DONINGTON
A SPLENDID RACE FOR THE NUFFIELD TROPHY WON BY FAIRFIELD (E.R.A.) AT 65.67 M.P.H. TWO OTHER HANDICAP EVENTS WELL SUPPORTED BUT FAIL TO PRODUCE CLOSE FINISHES
NEVER were the shady trees and green grass of Donington Park more welcome than at the July meeting, when the sun blazed down with almost tropical brilliance. The first two races failed to rouse the onlookers from their torpor, but the Nuffield Trophy, the iso miles race open to cars up to is-litres, compensated for the earlier events. For two-thirds of the race the limit men kept going strongly, only to be caught eventually by Fairfield, whose average speed on a 1,100 c.c. E.R.A. was over 2 m.p.h. faster than that of Raymond Mays, on a ti-litre car last year. The weather conditions of course were very different, last year’s race being run in heavy rain.
Thanks to the energy of Mr. Crafter, the course continues to improve, and the latest alteration was the widening of the nonpassing area at Coppice Farm. There is now plenty of room for two cars abreast in this section, and the slight curve leading out of it has been banked. The surface Of the track was in good condition and altogether the organisers have tackled the job in a way which should make an international meeting in October well worth seeing. The return track parallel to the Starkey’s Hill straight has been completed,. and the first Club meeting will probably be held on it at the end of August.
The hair-pin bend took its usual toll during practising, one of the victims being Turner, the skilful but sometimes rather alarming driver of the little red Austin. Pulling out of the paddock and proceeding at quite a mild speed, the car got into a slide and shot down the bank, then overturned and fell on the top of the driver. Turner was taken to hospital suffering from head injuries, but happily on examination they were found not to be serious.
The other driver in trouble at the hairpin was H. L. Scarfe, who was driving a Frazer-Nash. Ile dived off the road at the same spot, and damaging his CAI” extensively, but escaping himself with cuts.
And now for the racing. The first event was a Ten Lap Junior Handicap. No less than 18 cars were entered, though only 17 faced the starter. Most prominent of the non-starters was E. R. Hall, with blown Magnette. The car failed to run properly during the practices and Hall decided to withdraw it. Freddy Dixon was reserving himself for the big event later on. The start was rather unsuccessful. Else on the unsupercharged Midget got away at the fall of the flag, but when it came to the turn of the 1,100 c.c. cars, and the blown Tio’s ” things were less happy. However, (alnuel’S Q Midget pulled away cleanly, followed by Baird’s ” R,” while Esplen’s car, also a single-seater, was sulky, of the bigger cars Dobb’s Riley made a good start, but Parnell on Horton’s singleSeater Magnette seemed to have gone to sleep on the line, and was not far from being bumped into by the indignant J. H. Smith. also on a Magnette, who wanted to do a little racing. R. V. Bolster
apparently stalled his engine or oiled a plug, and his curious red-painted Special With the original Magnette engine formed the red-lantern of the procession. Samuel had passed the limit man, Else, by the time the cars appeared over the hill again, though of coursethe latter still had lap in hand. Next behind him was Grice, who had forsaken his M.G. for a 1,loo c.c. Riley, followed by Hodgson on another Riley, and Esplen on his white-painted it R.1)
The next lap Samuel was first round again, with a lead of about too yards, with Grice next behind, while Goodacre on a blown Austin had picked up five places and was now running in third place. Esplen and Hodgson seemed to be evenly matched a few lengths apart, with the Cutler Special in rear.
The fourth lap rev(,: 11d no change in the first three, though Esplen had got rid
of Hodgson. He was now pursued by Pcrter Hargreaves, who caught him next. lap, while Parnell was now pushing along the single-seater, and on the fifth lap caught the Nash, which took turf on the inside of Starkey corner trying to take a short cut.
Samuel had by this time lapped the limit man and was over a mile in front, while Goodacre was neck-and-neck with Grice, leading him by three or four lengths. The horn wheels of Parnell’s car were locking with his efforts to keep in front of Porter Hargreaves, while Bolster burst a tyre on Starkey and swung round, but kept his engine going and trundled off the course uncle: his own power. Hodgson, Griffiths, Hughes (FrazerNash), and Lord Avebury, whose Alta was by now travelling really well, engaged in a private dog-fight, while there was a sudden excitement when Else’s Midget swung round at Starkey. Flames shot out from underneath, but the driver did not seem to notice, and they subsided of their own accord
Samuel, who by this time had a lead of more than two minutes slacked down considerably, but forgot himself on one occasion ard ran on the grass at Starkevs, as also did Smith (Magnette), and Hodgson. However, the end was free from surprises, the only change in order being that Grice regained third place from Parnell.
25-MILE HANDICAP FOR CARS UP TO 1,500 c.c.
1. A R Samuel, 746 e.e. M.G. (8), roe. 40seos., 24m. 36s.; 63.50 m.p.h.
2. C L Goodacre, 747 c.c. Austin (S). res. 40s, 25m. 35 2-5s.; 61.07 m.p.h.
3. J R Grice, 1,087 c.c. Riley, rec. 40s., 25m, 40s.; 60.83 m.p.h. Seventeen ran.
There was some heavier metal in the Senior Handicap, such as Lindsay Eccles’ 3.3-litre Bugatti, and the “2.3’s ” of Shuttleworth; Embericos and Vickers, the last two single-camshaft cars. Sir Ronald Gunter had a handsome looking Ulster Aston-Martin fitted with a Marshall supercharger, and another interesting car was Connell’s supercharged ii-litre Vale.
All cars up to xi-litres blown were sent off in a single group together with Griffiths’ Old 2-litre Sunbeam, and nothing very exciting happened here. Ten seconds later the “2.3’s ” roared off with Shuttleworth and Embericos abreast of one another as far as Red Gate. Eccles was dispatched a further ten seconds behind, and the purposeful roar of his car as he made for the first corner suggested that he would not be long in wiping off his handicap. A white car was in the lead as the field came into view again, and this proved to be Abecassis on a neat single-seater blown Austin with a body modelled on Driscoll’s car. Esplen was next on his single-seater Midget, then Smith (Magnette), Vickers,
-Gunter on the Aston Martin and Eccles on the Bugatti. Something had obviously happened to Shuttleworth and Embericos, but the former came in slowly later on with an oiled plug. It was later learnt that Embericos had had a terrific skid just before Coppice Corner, and had crashed into a tree.
On the next lap the single-seater Austin came in, and was later retired, leaving Smith and Vickers, who was driving with great spirit, in the lead. Eccles was fourth, and obviously in hot pursuit. The next time round he had a lead of ten yards from Vickers, and while Smith and Esplen, -Gunter and Williams on a Magnette, and Ward (Riley), and Griffiths on the Sunbeam indulged in duels further back.
The order remained unchanged on the fourth lap, while on the fifth, Esplen put on speed and passed Smith to take third place.
On the sixth, Eccles gave us some excitement when he rushed down the straight to -Starkeys only to find Griffiths on the Sunbeam there already. Rather nettled with this, he roared after him past the pits, but -Griffiths did not care to ease up, and the two cars arrived abreast at the Red House right-angle, with the wheels of the Bugatti locked and sliding. On the seventh lap there was a change of position, Williams passing Gunter to take fourth place, while Esplen’s monoposto Midget did not sound too healthy, on the ninth lap Williams moved into third
-place, and retained it until the end. 25-MILE SENIOR HANDICAP FOR CARS UP TO 4 LITRES.
1. A H L Eccles, 3.255 c.c. Bugatti (8), rec. 10s., 24m. 27s.; 63.84 m.p.h.
2. R C Vickers, 2,263 c.c. Bugatti (S), rec. 20s., 24m. F3s.; 62.38 m.p.h.
3. 11,J Williams, 1,087 c.c. M.G. (8), rec. 30s. 27m. 8s.; 56.78 m.p.h.
Twenty ran. The Nuffield Trophy was due to start at four o’clock, and half-an-hour beforehand
the covered stand at Starkey corner was full to overflowing. In 1934 the race was over a distance of forty laps, but this year it was increased to sixty, a distance of 150 miles. With a longer distance to run, it was hoped that pit stops for re-fuelling would add to the interest of the race, but
in actual fact most of the cars went through without replenishment. There were, however, plenty of stops for other reasons. Three blown ti-litre cars were on the scratch mark, Lindsay Eccles’ Bugatti and
the white single-seater Nash of Tim Davies. Seaman’s E.R.A. was to have made the third, but it ran a big-end during practice, and Connell ‘s blown Vale was therefore promoted from the list of reserves. The loop c.c. supercharged and ti-litre unsupercharged cars received two minutes, while those in the smallest cate
gory received two credit laps and 76 seconds. Twenty cars in all, lined up for the race, and there was plenty of smoke and noise as Ebby raised his flag to :give the start to the if-litre cars. Dobbs got away well with his single-seater Riley, with Parnell
and Ashton Rigby on Magnettes next behind. In the small class, Pat Driscoll fairly leapt in front with his single-seater Austin, while Connell rather surprisingly lead Eccles off the mark when it came to the turn of the scratch cars. Hardly had the last man got away when the 1,5oo c.c. cars came in sight again, led by Dobbs on the white Riley, with Ashton Rigby, Parnell and Fairfield in
order after him. Driscoll’s Austin was the first of the 750 C.C. cars, trailing Bira’s pale blue Magnette, with Evans (No. 13 !), and P. Maclure on a works 1,200 C.C. Riley after him, while Connell was still ahead of Eccles.
On the next lap Dobbs was again first to appear, with an advantage of 20 seconds, but of course the small cars had a two lap lead, so Driscoll, Evans and Maclure actually led the race. For three laps the little single-seater kept in front, then the oil-tank filler cap started to leak, covering the windscreen and Driscoll’s goggles with oil, and ultimately compelling him to retire. Eccles also fell out after a few laps, as his car persisted in boiling.
After four laps Maclure had captured the lead from Evans, whose car seemed less snappy than usual. There was a stir in the Stand as jucker took his Frazer-Nash at the grass at Starkey’s. He repeated this performance three laps later. Whitehead also broadsided at this point, and his car had to be manhandled off the course. At’ ten laps the order was Maclure, Evans, Samuel and Grice, the latter putting up an excellent performance on a home-tuned 1,100 c.c. Riley. Dixon can usually be relied on to provide some excitement, but on the day of the Trophy he seemed to be taking his time, and in addition lost 2 minutes at the pits adjusting his shock-absorbers, while Dobbs who had been leading the “fifteen-hundreds” was forced to retire with a damaged petrol tank. Ashton Rigby and Kenneth Evans both came in to change plugs, while Maclure himself pulled in to the
DON INGTO N PA RK-continued. pits for some small adjustment. These -stops made a complete change in the order, and at 23 laps the leaders were Samuel on
Q-type Midget, Maclure, on the works Riley, and Grice, who had been coming up strongly in spite of swinging half -round at Starkey.
Hardly was Samuel in the lead when his engine started cutting out, finally leaving him stranded just after the pits. R. R. Jackson went out with a starter battery and got him going again, but it was not until much time had been lost that they found that the magneto switch wire had been shorting. Maclure lost more time at the pits attacking something on the dashboard of his car with a hammer and chisel, and this brought Grice into first place.
Fairfield meanwhile had been driving with splendid precision, and at the thirtieth lap he secured third place, two laps behind the leader. Dixon had also been given the sign, and the squealing brakes of his car told of the efforts he was making. However, he was a lap in rear, and Fairfield was lapping three seconds faster than he was, so one’s money was obviously on the E.R.A. Grice on his little brown Riley was still going great guns however, and remained in the lead at the 35th lap, but then misfiring set in, and he had to pull into the pits for a change of plugs. Maclure thus regained first position, but Fairfield was only 30 seconds behind
at 40 laps. Second by second the E.R.A. caught up, only zoo yards behind at 45 laps, and finally gaining the lead two laps later in the fast section after Coppice Corner. While this exciting duel was in progress, Starkey’s corner was not without its thrills, for Dixon was rather wild, and on one occasion very nearly baulked Fairfield and a little later swung right round in front of Maclure. All the same his exploits were quite mild in comparison with those of jucker on the Frazer-Nash. The latter driver made no effort to keep to the road, charging out on to the grass as if it had been part of the track, and the stewards very sensibly flagged him in and stopped him.
With seven laps to go, Fairfield was one whole lap in front of Maclure, though his supporters had a moment of alarm when he called for a second at his pit to make sure he had enough fuel. Maclure also had a couple of short stops but held his second place. As for those who finished lower down the field, Briault had been running in third for the last fifteen laps and successfully managed to stave off Dixon’s attack. ” Bira,” otherwise Prince Birabonse, handled his Magnette well to gain fifth place, his pit-signals with their Siamese characters causing great delight. Unfortunately his pit organisation was a little crude, and some time was lost
through refuelling from a two-gallon can. Miss Doreen Evans, the only lady driver, performed consistently, and finished sixth on her R-type M.(; Midget. Another driver we should have liked to have seen on the finishing list was Grice, whose Riley had gone so well in the early stages of the race. The misfiring of his engine was finally traced to a blocked petrol pipe.
THE NUFFIELD TROPHY. HANDICAP EVENT UP TO 1,500 0.0.150 MILES (00 LAPS).
1. P Fairfield, LON c.c. E.R.A. (8). rec. 2m.; 2h. 2cm. 10s.: 63.67 m.p.h.
2. 1.’ Maclure, 1,089 c.c. Riley, rec. 2 credit laps and lrn. 168., 2h. 26m. 23s.; 63.46 m.p.h. ;1. D L Briault, 746 c.c. M.G. (B), rec. 2 credit laps and lm. 163., 2h. 29m. 39s.; 62.05
I. P W Dixon, 1,486 c.c. Riley. rec. 2m., 2h. 30m. 25s.; 61.47 m.p.h.
5. B Btra, 1,087 c.c. M.G. (8), rec, 2h. $4m. 54s.; 59.68 m.p.h.
6. Miss D B Fauns., 716 c.c. M.G. 1Si, rec. 2 liredit laps and mt. 16s., 2h. 36m. 4s.; 59.63 m.p.h. Twenty ran. Six fini46,-,1
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