TWELVE-HOUR RACE ANALYSIS
DONINGTON SPORTS CAR RACE WON BY DELAHAYE. TAKES TEAM PRIZE
THE ambitious Twelve-Hour Sport sear Race organised at Donington by the Derby and District M.C. under Mr. Craner was not by any means devoid of incident or excitement. But, judging by the number of spectators, it seems that most followers of racing preferred to await the detailed results of this instructive contest rather than to follow the changing fortunes of the thirty-five starters in the flesh. The race was confined to sports-type cars, although alterations from standard could be quite extensive, greater, indeed, than those permitted for the R.A.C. T.T., for which it was known that several entrants were using this race as a preliminary. Road equipment was not necessary, although quite a few competitors ran with wings, etc., in place, notably the Frazer-Nash-B.M.W.s and one of the M.G.s. Engines had to be restarted only on the starting motor, pump fuels used, and chassis had to be of a type built in reasonable quantities prior to July 1st, 1937 and carrying twoseater bodywork with a minimum interior width of 80 ems. There was no handicap of any sort, the race being subdivided into classes for 1-litre, 14-litre, 2-litre, 3-litre and 5-litre cars. Superchargers were barred. No entries were forthcoming in the 2.3-litre class. It is now a matter of history that the race was won by a :1,550 c.c. Delahaye driven in turn by ” 13. Bira ” and H. G. Dobbs. The Delahaye aroused great admiration during the last T.T. race and its victory at Doningtou should seal its reputation with British sportsmen. The car is Bira’s ” own property. It covered
691.59 miles at 57.63 m.p.h. in spite of losing 7 mins. at the start and stopping with misfiring for a short period towards the close of the race. The car handled beautifully and led easily from just before 1 p.m., when it had averaged over 59 m.p.h. High gear-ratios, high
geared steering and a modern, push-rod o.h.v. multi-carburetter six-cylinder engine characterise this fine French car. Second place went to Charles Brackenbury and Cyril Paul on the II-litre T.T. Riley, who did 678.83 miles at 56.56 m.p.h.—another example of Riley’s wellestablished blending of reliability and
speed. Third place was taken by another 14-litre Riley, driven by Gerard and Bateman for 648.2 miles. Fourth place was taken by a lone H.R.G. handled in turn by A. E. Curtis, Michael May and A. Hess, which is a most creditable show for a car costing under L400 and one which lends great interest to the entry of one of these cars in the T.T. F. Monkhouse’s lt-litre Aston-Martin upheld the Feltham marque’s tradition of finishing well up in long-duration sports-car races by coming in fifth, with a distance a few miles less
than the H.R.G. J. D. Barnes and A. Langley were sixth in the first of the AutoSports Singer Nines with 627.69 miles to their credit. Turning to class results the ” baby ” class went to the Singer, with the works Austins as runners-up. The 1I-litre division was a Riley affair, with the H.R.G. a gallant third, although covering 46.9 miles less than the winning Riley. The 2-litre category was something of a surprise, as S. E. Whitelock and S. J. Newton kept their 1,604 c.c. Wolseley-Hornet going for 597.16 miles at 49.76 m.p.h., to win by just 7.65 miles from J. O. C. Samuel’s Frazer-Nash Six. Everyone had expected H. J. Aldington’s Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. to win this class. Aldington led the race after three hours at 60.4 m.p.h. with a lap lead over the Delahaye. Handing over to Pane, the car led its class by twenty laps after six hours and it was extremely unfortunate that at about three-quarters distance the gearbox developed defects that made it necessary to withdraw the car, when it was second in the race and very comfortably at the head of its class, with everything else working perfectly. Then, in this class also, poor Bilney had a serious accident with the A.C., receiving injuries from which he succumbed. In entering Holly Wood corner alongside Robinson’s Riley, Battey got into a sideways skid and the cars locked together and the A.C. was crushed between the Riley and a wall. The race had to be stopped while the drivers were removed by ambulance, Robinson suffering a broken thigh as he was flung from his car. Previously Miss Joan Richmond had been second behind the Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. in her class, handling the A.C. with no apparent difficulty. In class E the ” Bira “-Dobbs Delahaye was naturally at the head of affairs, and R. Wilcox and D. M. Steele may feel justly proud of getting their old school 41-litre Bentley home second, even though they covered 130 miles fewer than the Delahaye and were placed only twenty-third in general classification. The team of stripped, Model T M.G. Midgets, driven by Macdermid and Toulmin, Langley and Jones and Bastock and Crawford, finished eighth, ninth and seventh respectively, to win, most creditably, the Team Prize. The following analysis of class winners shows plainly where the biggest laurels are due
CLASS CAR AND DRIVERS
A. 972 c.c. Singer: J. D. Barnes and A. H. Langley B. 1,495 c.c. Riley : 0. Paul and C. Brultenbury C. 1,604 c.c. Wolseley : S. E. nbitelock and S. a. Newton E. 3,550 c.c. Delahaye: “B. Bira ” and H. G. Dobbs Very naturally there was plenty of trouble one way and another and of actual retirements there were eleven. H. C. Browlow (972 c.c. Singer) went out with big-end trouble after about an hour’s running, J. W. Beaumont’s 1,087 c.c. Riley had the same trouble after about three hours, T. H. Blackburn’s 747 c.c. M.G. lasted about four and a half hours and then retired with a broken oil-pipe, and Sinclair’s 1i-litre Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. suffered big-end trouble after almost six hours’ fast motoring. Robinson’s Riley and the A.C. went out through the crash, and Elliot’s 1i-litre Triumph had engine bothers after six hours or so, while, rather surprisingly, Maclure’s Riley retired for unannounced reasons and A. P. Watson’s 1i-litre Aston-Martin on account of oil-pump trouble. Finally, Aldington’s Frazer-Nash-B.M.W., which had been, hit by the Delahaye in the early stages, had gearbox trouble. Many
of the cars had three different drivers, so that lots of happy beginners seem to have had the chance of their lifetime.
The rather low averages, where not explained by lack of class competition, are due to showers of heavy rain, the frequent refuelling often necessary, and the duration of the race, together with the enforced stop after Bilney’s sad accident. Obviously the Delahaye was master of the whole situation, and was matched only by the 2-litre Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. Rileys again gave a really polished MILES GENERAL SPEED COVERED POSITION
… 672.69 6th 52.31 m.p.h.
… 678.83 2nd 56.56 m.p.h.
… 597.16 18th 49.76 m.p.h.
… 691.59 1st 57.63 m.p.h.
exhibition of good racing, and AstonMartin, Singer, and H.R.G., all showed up most meritoriously. The Austins were runners-up for the Team Prize, by the winning of which the T-type 1,292 c.c. M.G. Midgets have given a most convincing display of high speed endurance. These M.G.s ran with rear wings and front-wing stays in place and had nncowled dumb-irons and external radiator overflow pipes. The Paul-Brackenbury Riley was in racing rig, with co-ivied dumb-irons, covered mechanic’s seat, long tail and external exhaust system. The Delahaye and Auto-Sports Singers ran fully stripped, F. G. Crazier must be congratulated on obtaining such a good entry for this race, which was in the nature of an experiment, with only modest prizes. We hope that the Twelve-Hour Sports-Car Race at Donington may become an annual fixture, and that if it does the bigger British sports-cars, such as Bentley and Lagonda, will compete next year against foreign marques. Our sympathies are extended to Bilney’s relatives and friends and to Craner, over this sad fatality. The results in full read as follows : RESULTS
President’s Trophy : “B. Bira ” and H. G. Dobbs (3,550 c.c. Delahaye), 271 laps (691.59 miles at 57.63 m.p.h.).
2. C. Paul and C. Brackenbury (1,406 c.c. Riley), 266 laps (678.83 miles, 56.56 m.p.h.).
3. F. R.. Gerard and A. D. Bateman (1,496 c.c. Riley), 254 laps (048.20 miles).
4. A. E. Curtis, M. W. May and Alan Hess (1,407 c.c. H.R.G.), 248 laps (631.89 miles).
5. F. Monkhouse, J. R. Weir and M. T. Clayton (1,500 c.c. Aston-Martin).
6. J. D. Barnes and A. H. Langley (972 0.0. Singer).
7. C. P. Dodson and IL L. Hadley (747 c.c. (Austin).
8. R. A. Macdermid and J. M. Toulmin (1,292 c.c. M.G.).
9. A. B. Langley and J. E. S. Jones (1,292 c.c. M.G.).
10. A. C. Scott and E. A. Raiford (1,495 c.c. H.R.G.).
11. C. L. Goodacre and C. D. Buckley (747 c.c. Austin).
12. P. A. Richards and E. Winterbottom (1,292 c.c.
13. M. T. Collier and F. H. Scarf (1,495 c.c. Aston-Martin).
14. G. L. Boughton and F. H. Lye (972 c.c. Singer).
15. E. C. Stapleton and M. H. M. Goodall (1,498 c.c. Aston-Martin).
16. Mrs. Petre and P. Stephenson (747 c.c. Austin).
17. J. A. Bastock and H. E. Crawford (1,292 0.0. M.G.).
18. S. E. Whitelock and R.. J. Newton (1,604 0.0. Wolseley).
19. J. 0. C. Samuel (1,657 c.c. Frazer-Nash).
20. A. R. Williams, M. H. Smith and C. H. Head (939 c.c. M.G.).
21. B. W. Fursdon, C. Chard and B. Stacey (972 c.c. Singer).
22. 1). Powell and J. R. Atkins (847 c.c. M.G.).
23. R. Wilcox and D. M. Steele (4,398 0.0. Bentley).
24. G. Hartwell and G. Summer (972 c.c. Singer).