A Highly Successful Gransden Meeting
R. D. Poore wins the Gransden Trophy Race in the 3.8-litre AlfaRomeo from Abecassis at 86.3 m.p.h.
Habershon's 1 1/2-litre Delage Victorious in Vintage Scratch Race.
Alan May's "30198" Vauxhall Placed Twice.
The thanks of all enthusiasts who gathered at Gransden Lodge airfield on July 13th are due to the C.U.A.C. and V.S.C.C. for the splendid circuit racing witnessed there. In general, the organisation was excellent, while what more could one want than the ten races on the programme, which comprised a 20-laps Formula Libre scratch race for the Motor £100 prize and the Gransden Trophy, a 10-laps scratch race for vintage racing cars, scratch races for vintage cars and unblown sports cars, two short handicaps, an Edwardian handicap, handicaps for Bentley and Bugatti cars and the first race for the 500 c.c. Club cars. The rain kept off, the scores of voluntary helpers worked hard and effectively and no accidents marred the racing. Certainly David Hodkin and Cecil Clutton deserve the warmest congratulations and their respective clubs deserve to prosper. Some 15,000 people attended. Would that we in England could have this kind of racing every Bank holiday, instead of once a year.
Practice on the new 2.23 mile circuit, with its two long straights and four bends, one a sharp hairpin, was very inspiring, all types of machinery being out at the same time. The circuit can be lapped at not far short of 90 m.p.h. We spent some time at the hairpin on the Sunday morning and were rewarded for our vigil by seeing Abecassis motor on to the grass when a brake locked on, Salvadori spin and stall his Alfa and Cole go right about turn on locked wheels in his Jaguar. The Parker-Martin's passenger was seen to prefer a back seat. In the huge hangar that served as Paddock, much of interest was to be discovered. Bear's Type 44 4-Solex Bugatti was unfamiliar with narrow monoposto body and cowled radiator and the Challenger had its Delage engine, Wilson box with right hand change, Maserati-like tail and new front shockers of the hydraulic plunger type. The Emeryson Special, which had never been run before, was discovered to have a duff magneto after over-richness had been suspected. Its Alta blower, aided by a cabin blower, gives 20 lb./sq. in. boost to the Rapier engine at 6,500 r.p.m.— literally two-stage blowing conceived in a back yard.
Harrison had dashed back from Rheims to drive the ex-Howe, Zoller-blown E.R.A. Allard had a sports car in the Continental fashion in his very hastily constructed new 2-seater Allard with V8 o.h.-exhaust-valve engine, while Leslie Allard had Sydney's last season's sprint car with Mercury engine. Whittingham's Ford-Bugatti was the sort of car they like down-under — outside piped V8 in a Bugatti chassis which retained its own gearbox. Major Shattock had reluctantly scratched his Brooke-engined Atalanta with gasket trouble, Giron was sealing the blower-delivery of Yates' special Type 51 Bugatti, Freddie Dixon inspected the engine of Rolt's Alfa-Aiken and the B.H.W. was reported to be none too fit. Seccombe's ex-Bellevue Garage six-carburetter M.G. was not taken from its van. The Watson-Cowell Alta was seen for the first time in this country in its new form, with G.P. 1 1/2-litre engine, self-locking differential and hydraulic brakes. Mrs. Ewen polished the vast expanse of 1908 Itala radiator, Hill told us he was scratching his 1912 Hispatio-Suiza because of radiator leaks and Abbott drove to the course in his magnificent 1904 Mercédés.
Raymond Mays was seen in a Wolseley Ten saloon, waiting to present the prizes. Eason Gibson was there with Leslie Johnson, Bunny Tubbs alternately motored about in his f.w.d. Citroen or used an aged Humber tourer as a grandstand, Godfrey arrived in an H.R.G., and, Laurence Pomeroy, Philip Turner, Gregor Grant, Michael May, Quiggin, Chaplin and, indeed, all the old, familiar faces were to be spotted on this Sunday morning at Gransden, while vintage sports and non-sports cars were in great profusion, Densham's re-bodied "14/40" Sunbeam, Winterbottom's Opel-engined Alta-M.G. coupé and a polished aluminium A.B.C. Special amongst them. Soon the cars came out for the first race.
The story of what befell is seen in the charts on pages 219, 220, giving positions lap by lap, taking the finishing line as the end of each lap — we give such charts for each race, emphasising that they were kept by Motor Sport and are unofficial.
Race 1. Unsupercharged Sports Cars. 10.76 miles.
Jason Henry in the ex-Walker Delahaye and Peter Clark's Aerodynamic H.R.G. were running and here one of the few bad errors of organisation occurred, as these cars were not official entries. The Delahaye, after a bad start and in spite of an incident, "won" easily, but was not flagged in, while Clark was 4th. The Delahaye continued for several extra laps and was stopped by a yellow flag. Confusion reigned, but exclude these two cars and the story is clear enough. Cole's S.S. had an expensive blow-up on lap 1. As they went off Leslie Allard just led Sydney Allard and Boothby's original J.B.M. delightfully put down in the programme as a J.M.B.!. Lester's M.G. went splendidly to lead the small cars and Darby's "1,100" H.R.G. was noticeably good. Bickerton's Frazer-Nash fell out on lap 2. Leslie Allard if you forget the Delahaye, led throughout and Sydney, in spite of horrific cornering could not beat him, the new Allard, indeed, falling very sick at the end. Rowley's 2-litre Aston-Martin (the ex-Phipps' 1936 T.T. car) came up well, and Baring's Sprite-engined Ulster Imp Riley was in third place, holding the J.B.M., if you discount Clark's H.R.G. The Delahaye was endangered by Perkin's H.R.G. which stopped in the middle of the course after the finish, but by then it should have been flagged in. 1st, L. Allard (Allard); 2nd, J. Rowley (Aston-Martin); 3rd, A Baring (Riley). Won at 68.03 m.p.h.
Race 2. Edwardian Cars. Handicap. 10.76 miles.
The handicapping made this an excellent spectacle. Abbott's beautiful 1904 ex-Brooklands Mercédès, with 4-litre T-head engine and 3/4 elliptic front springs, went round steadily to the whir of driving chains and did a lap before Samuelson's 1914 7 1/2-1itre Peugeot, making a welcome re-appearance, got away. Ewen's Itala got off really well, then, as Samuelson almost completed his first lap Peter Clark's 1914 G.P. Mercédès left from the scratch mark. Meanwhile, Bridcutt's "Alphonso" Hispano-Suiza motored steadily along, blowing its horn at the corners. Abbott kept his lead on a fine run and all eyes watched Ewen and Clark trying to close the gap, flame showing from the Itala's expansion box and both drivers changing down for the corners. We timed Peter one lap at 68 m.p.h., the Itala at 66.9 m.p.h. The Peugeot got slower as the race wore on, and finally stopped.
1st, C. Abbott (1904 Mercédès); 2nd, Clark (1914 Mercédès); 3rd, Dr. Ewen (1908 Itala). Won at 42.76 m.p.h.
Race 3. 500-c.c. Cars, Scratch. 8.53 miles.
This, the first 500 c.c. race to be held, saw Stromboli and Cooper's Cooper non-starters. As the flag fell Aiken accelerated away from Strang and Brandon's Cooper. As they came round on lap one Aiken led easily from Brandon and Bacon. Aiken then fell to second place on lap two with the Cooper out in front, and Strang was still missing. Apparently his plug cooked going into the hairpin and they do say he whipped one from a Speed Cop's Triumph Twin before resuming. This, and the disappearance of the Bacon 500 and "Buzzie," made the race nothing more than a demonstration of Brandon's Cooper, which averaged nearly 60 1/4 m.p.h. Many Class I exponents must have pined for the shorter straights at Brough! 1st., E. Brandon (Cooper); 2nd, W. Aiken (Aikens 500); 3rd, C. Strang (Strang 500). Won at 60.21 m.p.h.
Race 4. All-Comers' Handicap. 10.76 miles.
Non-starters were Shattock's Atalanta, Crook's Alfa-Romeo, Dawson's Lagonda, Seccombe's M.G., Treen's Graham Paige and Burton's Riley. Matthews' Jaguar led Rowley's Aston-Martin from the line, Watkins' B.M.W. and Bond-Williams' Aston-Martin close together, behind. Rivers Fletcher's ex-Hirst M.G. bettered Crozier's huge "36/220" Mercédès-Benz drop-head in initial get-away, but Crozier was faster thereafter, and then Whincop's Type 51 Bugatti picked up on his group. The wonderful little Emeryson-Special, driven by Winterbottom, came through the field, in what was its very first run. Unfortunately, Matthews' Jaguar was flagged as winner and Winterbottom had to lodge a protest, which was immediately upheld. Whincop was driving really well, but the Mille Miglia M.G. of Kennington retired and Rivers Fletcher finished on fewer cylinders than intended. Salvador's ex-Evans Alfa-Romeo and Crozier's Mercédès also fell out. Heath's Alta had front axle judder and experienced an incident. Landon's ex-Fontes ex-James Alfa-Romeo blew coolant on to its driver's legs. Alan May's old Vauxhall, getting up to about 90 m.p.h., was 3rd. 1st, E. Winterbottom (Emeryson Special); 2nd, G. Matthews (Jaguar); 3rd, A. May (Vauxhall). Won at 68.17 m.p.h.
Race 5. All-Comers' Handicap. 10.76 miles.
After a lap, the Parker-Martin was out, while Newton's H.R.G. had become a very sick car. Capt. Hay-Bolton's 1 1/2-litre Singer-engined H.R.G. could not shake off the 1,100 c.c. "Brooklands" Riley driven and prepared by motorcycle racer Monty, while. Kehoe's big-tailed "Brooklands" Riley found its match in Blackall's "Ulster" Austin. Ruddock's late Meadows Frazer-Nash held 3rd place throughout. 1st, Capt. Hay-Bolton (H.R.G.); 2nd, G. Monty (Riley); 3rd, G. Ruddock (Frazer-Nash). Won at 64.32 m.p.h.
Race 6. Bugatti Handicap. 10.76 miles.
Ft.-Lieut. Protheroe's Type 37, Jones' Type 35, Birkett's twin S.U. Type 44 and Edwards' Type 37A carried sports' equipment, as did Fry's Type 55. Birkett easily led his group away from the line, Fairman's Type 35C hung for a while, and Dixon's 35B led Whincop's Type 51. Fry came through the field beautifully, to win from Protheroe and Birkett, but unfortunately finished with a broken gearbox layshaft. Whincop, Dixon in the ex-Horne Type 35B, and Hawthorn's pre-selector Type 51 ran in that order after a lap, but Hawthorn spun round and later retired, and Yates closed on Whincop, only to drop back, the Type 51 keeping ahead of Abecassis' "3.3" G.P., Whincop being 5th, behind Fairman, who held on to Fry but could not catch him. 1st, J. Fry (Type 55); 2nd, Ft.-Lieut. Protheroe (Type 37); 3rd, H. Birkett (Type 44). Won at 72.08 m.p.h.
Race 7. Vintage Sports Cars. Scratch. 10.76 miles.
At the fall of the flag, Alan May's "30/98" Vauxhall led away, followed by Lycett's 4 1/2-1itre Bentley, Blomfield's Invicta, Blackford's Frazer Nash "Patience" and Morrish's early Meadows Frazer-Nash. Thereafter the Vauxhall, reaching nearly 100 m.p.h. along the straight, was never challenged. Lycett, driving magnificently, held second place until the second lap, when Mackie's fast 2-seater Talbot 90 (the ex-Brian Lewis single-seater) came past him. Hayes' fine "30/98" with aluminium bonnet and brass lamps, soon retired. Morrish and Blackford were going well, but not fast enough, while Lycett could never quite shake off Blomfield, although the Invicta's engine pinked audibly. Behind came Fairman's 1922/28 4 1/2-litre Bentley and Stephenson's famous "PL2" Talbot 90, while after this came Hayes' 1926 "30/98" which lasted throughout. Knight's Brescia Bugatti overtook both O.M.s. and Hay's 4-speed Anzani Fraser-Nash kept ahead of Buck's "12/50" Alvis, Smith's Aston-Martin howled its tyres and Rayner's outside-piped "30/98" Vauxhall spun beautifully as a brake locked on. We timed May to do a lap at 70.42 m.p.h., while Mackie did a lap at over 68 and Blackford's Frazer-Nash one at nearly 61 3/4 m.p.h. The Vauxhall was actually quicker than the Allard in the first race — how far have we progressed in the last twenty years? 1st, A. May (1924 Vauxhall); 2nd, C. Mackie (1930 Talbot); 3rd, Forrest Lycett (1930 Bentley). Won at 68.71 m.p.h.
Race 8. Scratch Race of 20 laps for Gransden Trophy. 44.21 Miles.
This was quite the finest race we have seen, or shall see, in England this year, and the massed start a sight for the gods! R. D. Poore, driving the ex-Rueseh 3.8-litre Alfa-Romeo, led from start to finish and won in polished, unflurried fashion at 86.3 m.p.h. Abecassis tried all he could to catch him, but failed. He held second place throughout and after a lap there was about 1.2 s. between the two cars. Next time round Abecassis had lost another second; he then dropped back a little further, after a few laps with no change in the gap between them. Then this gap closed again to about 1.2 s. and the race became immensely exciting. On his 15th lap Abecassis was baulked somewhat and the gap opened to 4.8 s., remained the same on the next round, when Watson's Alta baulked the Bugatti quite badly, after which Abecassis set about closing up on the big Alfa. When Poore's brakes locked on momentarily Abecassis seemed to seize this opportunity of closing on the leader, only to spin the Bugatti at the hairpin; it also ran out of fuel and coasted into second place. Salvadori's Alfa-Romeo, somewhat troubled by locking brakes, as were many of the Alfas, was 3rd. We timed Poore to lap at nearly 88 m.p.h. on his 7th circuit. Mortimer had a grand run in the 1 1/2-litre ex-Rayson four-cylinder Maserati, holding Hutchison's Alfa-Romeo until that car retired with piston trouble, when in 5th place, after 6 laps. Crossley's ex-Cormack Alta gave Harrison's Zoller E.R.A. quite a run, until the Alta retired. Mortimer then held on to Johnson's Darracq right to the end, Johnson being 4th, Mortimer 5th. We timed Mortimer on one lap at 81.09 m.p.h. and Salvadori at 84.51 m.p.h. This strikes us as a memorable drive, particularly as this old 8-valve car easily disposed of the E.R.A.s. The unsupercharged sports Darracq, too, deserves its round of praise. Watson's Alta had to stop while a trailing piece of cowling was torn off and lapped at only about 77 m.p.h. McAlpine drove his ex-Howe Maserati steadily, gaining a place as others retired, and Rolt retired on lap 11 while running 4th. After 17 laps there were only 9 runners, Heath's "Tecnauto" E.R.A. holding 6th place ahead of Harrison's E.R.A., McAlpine and Mrs. Darbishire's Riley. The B.H.W. and the Emeryson retired after only one lap, and the Delage-engined Challenger lasted only two laps. It was an expensive race for many people, but grand in every way for the on-lookers. 1st, R. D. Poore (Alfa-Romeo); 2nd, G. Abecassis (Bugatti); 3rd, R. F. Salvadori (Alfa-Romeo). Won at 86.30 m.p.h.
Race 9. Vintage Racing Cars. Scratch Race over 10 laps for the 1908 G.P. Itala Cup. 21.91 miles.
Unfortunately, the two Amilcar Sixes of Finch and Marshall and Kramer's AC-Amilcar (ex-B.P. Special) were non-starters. Radford's grand little ex-Powys Lybbe Talbot-Darracq beat everyone on initial acceleration, and led away from Dixon's 35B Bugatti, Bear's 3-litre Bugatti, and Heal's G.P. Sunbeam. Very soon, however, Habershon, on that ever-young ex-Parnell 1926 straight-eight G.P. 1 1/2-litre Delage, was away in front. Driving faultlessly, Habershon was never troubled, and be won easily, at 75.92 m.p.h. We clocked him to get round at 77.94 m.p.h. on his 4th lap and approximately 75 m.p.h. thereafter, when victory was certain. Fairman's Bugatti started slowly, but it came along rapidly thereafter, engaged in a duel with Dixon's Bugatti, passed that car between the corners at the end of the finishing straight, and swept on to take 2nd place. Dixon then fell out and let Marechal's "Speed Six" team Bentley thunder along in 3rd place. Note, however, that Butterworth, in a 4 1/2-litre Bentley he had built up himself, early got on Marechal's tail and nothing the six-cylinder car could do would shake him off. After 7 laps the only other car running was Richards' Riley. The Talbot-Darracq, flame showing from its exhaust On the over-run, had gone magnificently for 5 laps, only to slow up and retire after holding second place behind the flying Delage. Those two "period" 1 1/2-litre cars had been a grand sight, and now Dixon's. Bugatti came up, followed by Fairman, only to fall very sick after 7 laps. Heal, unfortunately, never got into the first three, the old Sunbeam wickedly flooding its carburetter after 2 laps while running in 4th position. Buck had much embarrassment with locking brakes on his Bugatti. 1st, R. F. Habershon (Delage); 2nd, J. Fairman (Bugatti); 3rd, P. Marechal (Bentley). Won at 75.92 m.p.h.
Race 10. Bentley Handicap. 10:76 miles.
After two rather self-conscious-looking young men—Poore and Habershon had been displayed to the public sitting in the back of Hodkin's D.I.S.S. Delage — as someone said, from fastest to slowest ride of the day — and then conveyed off to the Control Tower to meet Raymond Mays and their prizes, the Bentleys had a most informative race. Fairman's 4 1/2-litre led initially from Brierley's 4 1/2 and Lycett's 4 1/2. Then they came round on lap 1 and Marsh's 3-litre was leading from Stout's 3-litre, with Lycett 3rd. Brierley then attempted to pass Lycett on the outside of the first corner after the Control Tower, Forrest turned to regard this rival, only to see it spin round, and stall its engine! Brierley got going on the handle, but his car — a 2 seater with external pipes — lost all chance of a place. Lycett gradually wore down the 3-litres to lead and, behind, Butterworth and Marechal were engaging in a return duel, Butterworth's 4 1/2 now ahead of the "Speed Six" by reason of 20 sec. handicap start. Indeed, the bearded driver was going splendidly, lapping at about 68 1/2 m.p.h., and he won from Lycett, with Marechal 3rd. Unfortunately, Bolster did not start, in Bell's 3-litre. Towards the end Russell's 4 1/2 and Merten's 4 1/2 had a slight impact, but without unfortunate results. 1st, A. Butterworth (1929 4 1/2); 2nd, F. Lycett (1930 4 1/2) 3rd, P. Marechal (1980 6 1/2). Won at 66.74 m.p.h.
Race 2 and race 7 were divided into classes, and in these events the class winners were: Unsupercharged sports cars. 751-1,100 c.c. 1st, Mrs. Whincop (Fiat); 2nd, L. Gibbs (Riley); 1,101- 1,500 c.c., 1st. A. Baring (Riley); 2nd, J. Wyer (H.R.G.); 1,501-2,000 c.c., 1st. J. Rowley (Aston-Martin); 2nd, N. Bond-Williams (Aston-Martin);. 3,001.-5000 c.c., 1sl. L. AIlard (Allard); 2nd, S/Ldr. Boothby (J.B.M.). Other classes: insufficient starters. Vintage Sports cars: 1,101-1,500 c.c., 1st. F. Morrish (Frazer-Nash); 2nd. D. Smith (Aston-Martin) 3,001-5,000 c.c., 1 st, A. May (Vauxhall); 2nd, F. Lycett (Bentley). Other classes: insufficient starters.
So ended the sort of racing this country should have regularly, not merely once a year. Those locaIs who appeared to us to regard the home-bound stream of cars somewhat tersely should know that the R.A.F. Flood Victims Relief Fund should benefit quite appreciably from this altogether excellent day's motor-racing.