E.R.A.s REPEAT SUCCESS IN NUFFIELD TROPHY
WON AT 68.5 M.P.H. BY C. E. C. MARTIN, WHO ALSO SCORED WITH THE ALFA IN THE SENIOR HANDICAP DOBSON AND WHITEHEAD ALSO ON E.R.A.s FINISH SECOND AND THIRD ” BIRA ” DOES GREAT THINGS ON A SIDE-VALVE AUSTIN
At the July meeting at Donington a triple bill was presented, the most important item of course being the Nuffield Trophy for cars up to 111-,-litres. Here Driscoll on his double-camshaft Austin did all that was expected of him in the first part and led comfortably, only to drop out with an engine which refused to be started after a pit-stop. The tale was then taken up by Prince Birabongse, who proved as successful on Driscoll’s old side-valve as he has been on his larger mounts. Meanwhile Martin and other drivers of 1i-litre E.R.A.s had been coming up fast and steadily from the sera-tell mark and eventually overhauled the little ” 750s. ” The other two events were ten-lap handicaps. The Junior one was chiefly remarkable for the frequency with which the cars faced the wrong way. The Senior event was marked by some fine driving by
Rayson on his 11-litre Maserati. His compact little car seemed well adapted to the Donington circuit, and it took Charlie Martin all his time to catch him with the 3.2-litre monoposto Alfa-Romeo.
Turning to a more detailed view of the racing the Junior Handicap was for cars up to 1,100 c.c. blown and 1,500 c.c. unblown. These types started together from the scratch mark. 1,100 c.c. unblown cars received 30 sees., and blown and unblown 750 c.c. cars respectively 1 min. 10 secs., and 5 mins. Bright sunshine greeted the twelve starters as they assembled in front of the pits for the first race. Three small cars were sent off the limit mark and Wharton (Austin) was leading as they rounded Red Gate Corner. First time round Else (M.G.) had established himself at the head of affairs with a fiftyyard lead from Handley (M.G.) and Wharton was now a hundred yards behind. On his second lap Else had increased his lead and passed the pits for the second time only 300 yards after the scratch men had been sent off which made a start of nearly two laps in a ten
lap race. Dobbs (1.-litre Riley) was leading the scratch cars on their first lap, followed by Parnell on a singleseater blown Magnette. J. H. T. Smith (Magnette) R. Bolster (Bolster Special) and Billy Cotton (Magnette) arrived in a tight bunch, while Eccles’ blown Rapier gave up the ghost after a single lap.
Else continued to pull away from his 750 c.c. rivals, Maclure (1,000 c.c. Riley), always a dark horse, had overtaken Stancer-Beaumont (Ford Special) and Dobbs led the scratch cars. Billy Cotton spun round on Starkey’s, giving Richard Bolster, who was following close behind, a nasty moment, but Cotton kept his engine running and shot away again. On the following lap Parnell had wrested ,
the lead of the bigger cars from Dobbs and was cornering with tremendous zest.
At half-distance Else was past the pits before any other car came into sight over Starkey’s Hill. Maclure was next on the road, A lap and 25 secs. behind. Parnell was a ‘further half-minute in rear, while Bolster was driving marvellously on his Magnette-cum-G.N. Special. The winner was obviously going to be either Else or Maclure, with odds on the former, as the Riley only entered the same lap after the M.G. had completed six of the ten. There was plenty of excitement at the Stand however, for first Garman (Austin, S.) executed a tete a queue which embarrassed StancerBeaumont, and Parnell was going over the grass each time he took Starkey’s Corner. Finally his near-side front brake locked On, and he crashed straight over
the bumpy grass. Luckily the car remained right way up and came to rest before it. hit the safety wall, and the ‘driver stepped out unscratched.
Immediately there was a great rush of pressmen and pit-attendants and someone would undoubtedly have been hurt had another car gone off the corner at the same place. Fortunately the race finished without further incident and Else took the chequered flag A comfortable minute ahead of Maclure, his car running perfectly from start to finish. RESULTS Junior Handicap
10 Laps (25 miles) up to 1,500 c.c.
1. N. J. Else (746 c.c. M.(L) 26 in. 48.4s. Speed 57.06 m.p.h.
2. P. Maclure, (1,089 c.c. Riley) 27m. 52.4s. Speed 65.50 m.p.h.
3. D. S. Handley (746: c.c. M.G.) 28m. 11.2s. Speed 54.31 -m.p.h.
4. K. Wharton (747 c.c. Austin) 28m. 35.4s.
5. R. Bolster (1,087 c.c. Bolster Special) 30m. 141s.
The Senior event was for cars up to five litres, but the biggest and fastest machines running were Charlie Martin’s 3.2-litre Alfa-Romeo and Chris Stainland’s 3-litre Of the same make. They conceded 20 secs. to blown cars up to 11-litres and unblown 2-litres, and 10 sees. to the supercharged 2.5-litre cars. Rayson (Maserati) got smartly away at the fall of the flag and was round Red Gate Corner before Mrs. Petre (Riley Special) Griffiths-Hughes (Vale Special, S.) and Phipps (Aston-Martin) arrived
there. John Bolster driving the 2-litre ” Unmentionable Mary” lost all but top gear on the line, and was pushed off on the direct ratio of 3 to 1 just as Martin and Staniland roared away.
After one lap Rayson was pulling away from Mrs. Petre, and Embiricos (E.R.A.) now lay fourth. Martin was ahead of Staniland, and ran through the field with such effect on his second lap that he came right up behind Mrs. Petre. He found difficulty in getting room to pass but did so as they disappeared into the wood towards the Old Start. On the third lap he bad moved into second place 300 yards behind Rayson, Embiricos was third and Staniland fourth.
Judging by its form in previous races, the little Maserati had no chance against the Alfa, but Martin gained little ground on the fourth lap. Staniland was doing his utmost 30 yards behind and bad succeeded in overtaking F,mbiricos. For two more laps Rayson was able to keep Martin at bay, then the superior speed of the big car told past Starkey’s Hill and Charlie boomed through into the lead. Rayson still relaxed nothing of his efforts and managed to hold out till the end against Staniland, and Embirieos proved himself fourth fastest
after a fast and consistent run. Altogether a highly diverting race and a good preparation for the Nuffield. Trophy. RESULTS Senior Handicap
10 Laps (25 Miles) up to 5,000 0.0.
1. C. E. C. Martin (3,205 c.c. Alfa-Romeo, S.), rec. 10s., 22m. 39.2s. Speed 68.58 m.p.h.
2. E. K. Rayson (1,406 c.c. Maserati, S.), rec. 30s., 22m. 42.2s. Speed 67.43 m.p.h.
3. C. S. Staniland (2,990 c.c. Alfa-Romeo, S.), rec. 10s., 22m. 50.8s. Speed 68 m.p.h.
4. N. S. Embiricos (1,488 c.c. E.R.A., S.), rec. 30S., 23m. 10.1s. Thirteen ran.
As in previous years, the Nuffield Trophy was run over 60 laps of the Donington circuit, a total distance of 350 miles. The handicap was as follows : 750 c.c., 11 miii. ; 1,100 c,c., 7 min. ; 1,100 c.c. s/c and 1,500 c.c., 4. min., and 1,500 c.c. sic cars, scratch. There were twenty-one starters, and of these the o.h.c. Austins driven by Driscoll, Dodson and Goodacre were considered to have the best chance. Maclure (Riley) had beaten his handicap time by 3 sec. in practice, and Charlie Martin, who was making his debut on an at the wheel of Scribban’s car, had put up sonic excellent laps. The car had spent the night at Bourne having its gear-box replaced while the pistons on Rayson’s
Maserati had been changed the very morning of the race. The car has now been fitted with a Zoller supercharger blowing at 16 lb., which explains the improvement in performance over its earlier appearances at Donington.
No fewer than six ER A.s, all 1 cars, figured on the entry list, while another interesting car was Dixon’s blown four-cylinder Riley. The three works Austins went off with a fine roar as ” F,bby ” flagged them away, with ” flint,” whose little side-valve Car had 1-cen painted the familiar shade of blue, in fourth place. Dodscm and Goodacre were in the lead the first time round and the fact that they had -already established a lead of 250 yards from Hanson (M.(.) gave sonic indication of the speed at which, they were running. Machtre’s Riley was the only unsupercharged 1,100 c. c. car. After him went the middleweights, with Dobbs (1 j-lit re Riley), J ticker (1 , 100 c.c. Alta, S.) and J. H. T. Smith (Magnette, S.) in the van. The Austins had almost completed their fourth lap before the scratch cars were sent off. Rayson led first time from Martin, Dixon and Briault (E.R.A.) but Martin was on his mettle and stormed past Rayson on
their second lap, and Lord Howe (E.R.A.). moved up to fourth place. 1‘lisfortune soon came on the Austins, for first of all Dodson stopped at Starkey’s Corner and had to be pushed to the pits, and then Goodacre pulled in Plugs were changed on both cars but in each case
they lost over a minute. Driscoll was still flying round in splendid style and at five laps he held first place, ” hira ” was second, Goodacre third and Maclure, fourth. Dobbs continued to lead the middleweights and was fifth on the field, although already lapped once by Martin. The latter driver kept his lead from the other E. R .A.s. Fairfield had come up second, Rayson was running splendidly in third place and Dobson, Dixon and Whitehead swung round Starkey’s lap after lap in close
procession. Lord Howe alone of the E.R.A.s was in trouble and paid two visits to the pits for plugs. Kenneth Evans returned at last to the pits after retiring in the first lap, and Monkhouse (Minicar) retired after turning round at Red Gate Corner.
The driving on the whole was of a high Standard, though Jucker seemed to be unable to get round Starkey’s without broadsiding on to the grass, and Freddy Dixon slid in front of Whitehead, but begged his pardon by raising his finger in salute. Order at 30 laps :
1. L. P. Driscoll (Austin) ih. 10m. 9.4s. Speed 65.46 m.p.h.
2. ” B. Blra ” (Austin) Ili. lint. 49.6s.
3. P. Maclure (Riley) lh. 15m. 43.4s.
Up to half-distance Martin had only gained 2 min. out of Driscoll’s handicap Of 11 mm. and if car and driver could keep up this astonishing performance the race would -undoubtedly go to the Austin. Added to this the exhaust note of the E.R.A. was distinctly ragged, suggesting trouble ahead.. However, the trouble when it came was for the smaller cars.
First ” Bira ” came in to fill up with petrol and lost 1 min. 10 secs. and his second place. He was driving under considerable difficulties for the tail pipe had come adrift from the exhaust manifold ard his left -arm was being continually scorched by the hot gases. Second misfortune, Driscoll pulled in at the same time: The bonnet was taken off and a new set of plugs fitted, and 15 gallons of fuel were slung in, which took in all 21 mins., but now complete tragedy. Mechanics pushed the car up and down in front of the pits but it refused to start, and there was nothing for it except to retire. This left Maclure in the lead, but in a few laps his car also began to slow. Quick diagnosis at the pit traced the fault to the magneto, and a new one was fitted in four minutes., but this delay set
him far behind the leaders. Dixon went out with clutch trouble about this time, but with the blown car he was never amongst the leaders. ” Bira ” on the side-valve Austin thereupon gained the lead, the order at 40 laps being the following
1.-” B. Bira (Austin) lh. 37m. 7.88. Speed 63.22 m.p.h.
2. C. E. C. Martin (E.R.A.) lh. 40m.
3. IT. G. Dobbs (Riley) lh. 41m. 5.6s.
4. A. C. Dobson (E.R.A,) 1h. 41m. 19s.
5. P. N. Whitehead (E.R.A.) lb. 41m. 31s.
When ” Bira” had completed his 45th lap Martin was still on his 44th and Dodson, the third man, was one further in rear: Martin was only pulling up on the Austin at the rate of two or three seconds per lap. and if the little car could stick it, ” Bira ” would finish comfortably in the lead. Then two laps later the shrill scream of the Austin became less healthy and on the 48th lap the Prince pulled into the pits, letting Martin roar by into first place. ” Bira” lost a further place on the 52nd lap, when he was overtaken by Dobson, and Fairfield was also close on his tail. In another lap Fairfield had gained third place, and Walker who had now taken over Whitehead’s car was emulating Nuyolati in slide cornering, trying to close on the leaders. The fikisl.ing, order now Leemed firmly settled but then Fairfield 112d the misfortune
to drop out in the last lap with oil-pump trouble after dridvg a splendid race.
Charlie Martin finished unflurried and cheerful as ever, and, being led to the microphone with some difficulty, paid a tribute to the KR.A. and the mechanics who had made his success possible. Five out of six E.R.A.s figured in the awards list, which was a great achievement, and the team prize would also have, gone to them but for Fairfield’s last-minute retirement. The A ustins suffered, one felt, by being ordered to average an unnecessarily high speed, for after all, 150 miles of Donington is a long way, but in any ease, do not the authorities say that a year of development is needed for per
fecting any new design ? ” Bira’s ” performance at any rate left no doubt as to the capabih.ics of the chassis or of his own skill as a driver. RESULT The Nuffield Trophy (150 miles)
1. C. E. C. Martin (1.488 c.c. E.R.A., S.) scr., 2h. 25m. Os. Speed 68.50 m.p.h.
2. A. C. Dobson (L486 c.c. E.R.A. S.), scr., 2h. 25m. 44s. Speed 68.18 m.p.h.
3. P. N. Whitehead and P. D. Walker (1,488 ex,. E.R.A.. S.), scr., 2h. 26m. 35s. Speed 67.83 m.p.h.
4. H. G. Dobbs (1,486 c.e. Riley) rec. 4n1., 2h. 27m. 1.2s. Speed .65.61 m.p.h.
5. ” B. Bira ” (747 c.c. Austin, S.), rec. •urn., 2h. 27m. 28.2s. Speed 62.29 m.p.h.
6. Earl Howe (1.488 C.c. E.R.A.. 8), act., 211. 28m. 27s. Speed 66.83 m.p.h.
7. D. R. &Walt (1,488 c.c. E.R.A. S.), set., 2h. 31m. 25s. Speed 65.42 m.p.h.
Still running at finish : P. Nlachire (1,089 c.c.. Riley) rec. Tin.. 50 laps. .T. H. T. Smith (1,087 c.c. M.G.. S.). rec. 4m., 50 laps,