Rodney Clarke’s “3.3” G.P. Bugatti breaks Sports-Car Record.
Mrs. Darbishire (Riley) raises her own Ladies’ Record
Many Class Records Broken
Gerrard’s white 2-litre twin-rear-tyred E.R.A. made fastest time at the Summer Open Prescott Speed Hill-Climb. Cornering carefully, he clocked 47.35 sec. His first run occupied 48.13 Sec.; his second run was a distinct improvement, and .68 sec. faster than his f.t.d. run at the June meeting, although .10 sec. slower than Sydney Allard’s fastest run at the opening meeting. Allard brought the Steyr-Allard down but, the spinning wheels suddenly gripping as he neared the Bridge, the car got out of control and crashed badly. The body was somewhat damaged and the rear axle was bent. It proved impossible to fit an axle from another Allard in time, so the car was re-loaded in its van and rushed to London in an endeavour to get it repaired in time for Bouley Bay. On the previous day’s practice Rowley had turned his 2-litre Bugatti end over end beyond the finish, escaping with cuts. The meeting was run in fine weather and many records fell, including the Sports Car record and Ladies’ record. As usual the organisation was impeccable, but the gate seemed a trifle smaller than usual-doubtless the International Meeting on September 14th will draw a record crowd.
Newton’s Meadows-H.R.G., now endowed with rather larger wings, was on form again this time, winning the unblown 1 1/2-litre sports class at just above his old class record time, from Willis’ Type 55 B.M.W. and Pitt’s ex-Lester M.G. Of the blown 1 1/2-litre sports cars, Kennington’s ex-Mille Miglia M.G., its usual Brooklands exhaust system doing little to subdue it, won from Richardson’s Type 51A Bugatti, with Shattock’s Brooke-engined Atalanta 3rd on its first actual appearance on the hill. The M.G. set a new class record on both runs, his second run, in 51.33 sec., beating Crozier’s Bugatti record by 1.74 sec.
The class for 1 1/2-3-litre normally-aspirated sports cars was a day out for Frazer-Nash-B.M.Ws. Tyrer’s 328, noticeably modified, not only beat the 328s of Crook and Oscar Moore, but again beat the old class record on both its runs, the new figure being 50.81 sec., which beat Harrison’s Riley record by 1.68 sec. The equivalent blown sports-car class was closely contested, Heath’s 2-litre Alta finally winning from Oliver’s Type 35B Bugatti and Landon’s Alfa-Romeo, the last-named hampered by an almost solid clutch. What is more, Heath improved on his existing class record by .52 sec., setting it at 50.30 sec., fastest sports car to that time. Sydney Allard, in his new 8 ft. 4 in. wheelbase sports Allard, made a gallant attempt to uphold Allard honours in the unblown over 3-litres sports-car class. On a prodigious first ascent he clocked 51.58 sec., then, arriving almost out of control, in clouds of smoke, at the first corner on his second run, he slid round. Restarting, he continued his run, to clock 62.32 sec. Leslie Johnson’s Darracq proved a match for the Allard, and his driving was a model of consistency — 50.55 sec. on both runs. This beat Allard’s 1939 class record by .78 sec. Leslie Allard fully deserved his third place, in 51.70 sec., for he handles his Allard better on each occasion. Only Bear’s “4.9” Le Mans Bugatti and Rodney Clarke’s “3.3” G.P. Bugatti contested the blown over 3-litres sports car class, and Rodney drove beautifully, clocking 49.95 sec., then 49.86 sec., whereas Bear couldn’t better 52.51 sec. Clarke beat his old class record by 1.37 sec. and set a new sports car record for the hill, beating Heath’s Alta figure by .44 sec. and the old Alta record by .96 sec. This is a truly excellent effort, as the car now has standard Type 57C pistons, reducing its compression ratio to about 6.4 to 1, so that, when called upon to do so, it can function on “Pool” petrol.
More records fell when the 500 c.c. racing cars ran. First Strang beat Brandon’s record set up last June with a run in 51.78 sec., Brandon, Cooper and Aikens all taking 53 to 54 sec., while Collins’ “Lion Cub” was slower still and Lones took 52.46 sec. On their second runs the fireworks began. Brandon did 51.53 sec., but Strang improved to 50.99 sec., a substantial new record.
The 501-750 c.c. racing class saw only Symonds and Jarvis present to exercise their Austins, of which the former’s was just perceptibly the quicker.
The 751-1,500 c.c. racing class was won by Major Vaughan driving the “Shelsley” Frazer-Nash single-seater with which the late A. F. P. Fane set the existing class record of 47.72 sec. On his first run, forgetting he was not in the Becke, which has a spring-loaded gear-lever, Vaughan started in 3rd speed. However, he was vastly better on his second run, in spite of a slight tail slide at the second corner, clocking 48.92 sec. Habershon brought the old straight-eight Delage up beautifully to get second place, helped largely by his brakes, as acceleration was not impressive until the revs, began to mount. Nevertheless, the Delage was .31 sec. faster than Bainbridge in Ansell’s E.R.A. Leo Davenport, in Roland Motors’ rough-sounding Alta, was fast, and Spollen’s Triangle Special wasn’t a lot slower on its first run, but momentarily missed a change of speed on its second. Mrs. Darbishire clocked 50.91 sec. in the Riley, a new ladies’ record, as she improved on her June record by .27 sec. Basil Davenport’s G.N. “Spider,” very noisy indeed and smelling of methylated spirit, did a most inspiring 51.06 sec.
Of the 1 1/2-2-litre racing cars, Gerard in his E.R.A., in making f.t.d., naturally won the class. Penn’s ex-Dixon 2-litre unblown Riley was an astonishing second, in 49.08 sec., and S./Ldr. Gaze’s 2-litre Alta was really well handled, taking 3rd place. Colin Strang tried the Penn Riley and managed 50.30 sec. and Heath, now using twin rear tyres on the Alta, got down to 49.69 sec. In the category for racing cars of over 2-litres capacity, McAlpine really got down to it and showed form out of keeping with his comparative inexperience, to clock a most creditable 48.36 sec. in the blue 3-litre Maserati, after a first run in 48.87 sec. This was second fastest ascent of the day. A very fine change-down before the first corner and excellent acceleration helped the Maserati on its way. Bear’s newly-bodied Type 44 Bugatti was second, using twin rear wheels, while Stubberfield’s Type 51 Bugatti was a close third. That ended a very pleasing day’s sport. The twelve fastest drivers were:
F.R. Gerard (1,943-c.c. E.R.A.) … 47.35 sec.
K. McAlpine (2,900-c.c. Maserati) … 48.36 sec.
Major C.P. Vaughan (1,496-c.c. Fane-Nash) … 48.92 sec.
F.N. Penn (1,986-c.c. unblown Riley) … 49.08 sec.
H. Habershorn (1,496-c.c. Delage) … 49.11 sec.
S/Ldr. F. Gaze (1,950-c.c. Alta) … 49.20 sec.
G.H. Bainbridge (1.488-c.c. E.R.A.) … 49.42 sec.
J.B.Heath (1,960-c.c. Alta) … 49.69 sec.
R.E. Clarke (3,300-c.c. sports Bugatti) … 49.86 sec.
K.W. Bear (2,992-c.c. unblown Bugatti) … 50.10 sec.
P.J. Stubberfield (2,261-c.c. Bugatti) … 50.14 sec.
We observed the first half of the programme from the start, and timed the majority of the cars from the moment of going over the timing contact to the Bridge. These times make interesting reading:
S/Ldr. Gaze (racing Alta).
Mrs. Darbishire (Riley).
B. H. Davenport (“Spider”).
Heath (racing Alta).
Bear (3-litre Bugatti).
Aikens (Aikens 500).
Bear (“4.9” Bugatti).
Major Vaughan (Becke).
Brandon (Cooper 500).
Lones (“Tiger Kitten”).
Strang (Strang 500).
Leo Davenport (Riley).
Rivers Fletcher (M.G.).
Cooper (Cooper 500).
Major Vaughan (Fane-Nash).
No veterans competed, alas, but Pomeroy’s beautiful “Prince Henry” Vauxhall attended. Lones had renamed “Tiger Kitten” the “Lion Cub” and built himself a new “Kitten.” Willis used new elektron wheels on his B.M.W., West had a pet name on the bonnet of his B.M.W. and Richardson diced in his braces, in contrast to Rivers Fletcher, who was in full garb, his beautifully-turned-out M.G. having its number properly painted on its bonnet. Sievwright’s 2-litre Aston-Martin had light wings, and both Finnemore and Wykes used large-section front tyres on their Frazer-Nashes. Stoop’s 328 B.M.W. once carried a Utility body, but is now a 2-seater, while Oscar Moore’s car is, of course, the ex-Johnson car. Oliver’s Type 35B Bugatti had a Type 57S exhaust system with four tail pipes extending from the expansion box. S./Ldr. Gaze drove a racing Alta and the ex-Heath sports 2-litre Alta and drove them well. Norris, in D.R.’s crash hat, took the Norris-Special off well, but missed a change of speed near the Bridge, Davenport’s Alta smelt of “boot-polish” fuel, the Becke experienced violent judder of its stubby tail at speed, while Johnson’s Darracq went home in a lorry. Shakspeare’s odd engine-at-each-end Wellesley-Special is taxed, and left the line with front wheels spinning and rear carburetters flooding, while Buck had a 2-gallon fuel tin strapped to the passenger’s seat of his Bugatti. The “Lion Cub” fell sick on its second run, Aikens was untidy, and they do say Brandon’s fast second run was largely accomplished by going far faster than he intended into Orchard corner and getting round!
Altogether, this was one of the most enjoyable and instructive of Prescott meetings and we look forward to the remaining two this season — on August 31st (V.S.C.C.) and September 14th.
Sports Cars up to 1 1/2 Litres, Unsupercharged: 1st, E. J. Newton (H.R.G.), 51.37 sec.; 2nd, R. C. Willis (B.M.W.), 54.36 sec.; 3rd, D. C. Pitt (M.G.), 54.95 sec.
Sports Cars up to 1 1/2 Litres, Supercharged: 1st, F. W. Kennington (M.G.), 51.33 sec.; 2nd, G. H. Richardson (Bugatti), 52.30 sec.; 3rd, R.C. Shattock (Atalanta-Special), 57.74 sec.
Sports Cars, 1,501-3,000 c.c, Unsupercharged: 1st, G. Tyrer (B.M.W.), 50.81 sec.; 2nd, T. A. D. Crook (B.M.W.), 52.28 sec.; 3rd, O. Moore (B.M.W.), 53.40 sec.
Sports Cars, 1,601-3,000 c.c., Supercharged: 1st, J. B. Heath (Alta), 50.30 sec.; 2nd, R. M. Oliver (Bugatti), 51.32 sec.; 3rd, E. A. R. Landon (Alfa-Romeo), 51.73 sec.
Sports Cars over 3,000 c.c., Unsupercharged: 1st, L. G. Johnson (Darracq), 50.55 sec., 2nd, S. H. Allard (Allard), 51.58 sec.; 3rd, T. L. Allard (Allard), 51.70 sec.
Sports Cars over 3000 c.c., Supercharged: 1st, R. E. Clarke (Bugatti), 49.86 sec.; 2nd, K. W. Bear (Bugatti), 52.51 sec. (Two runners only.)
Racing Cars up to 500 c.c.: 1st, C. H. Strang (Strang 500), 50.99 sec. ; 2nd, E. Brandon (Cooper 500), 51.53 sec.; 3rd, H. C. Lones (“Tiger Kitten”), 51.98 sec.
Racing Cars, 501-750 c.c.: 1st, G. H. Symonds (Austin), 55.12 sec.; 2nd, K. C. Jarvis (Austin), 55.13 sec. (Two runners only.)
Racing Cars, 751-1,500 c.c.: 1st, Major Vaughan (Fane-Nash), 48.92 sec.; 2nd, R. Habershon (Delage), 49.11 sec.; 3rd, G. H. Bainbridge (E.R.A.), 49.42 sec.
Racing Cars, 1,501-2,000 c.c.: 1st, F. R. Gerard (E.R.A.), 47.35 sec.; 2nd, F. N. Penn (Riley), 49.08 sec.; 3rd, S/Ldr. Gaze (Alta), 49.20 sec.
Racing Cars over 2 Litres: 1st, K. McAlpine (Maserati), 48.36 sec.; 2nd, K. W. Bear (Bugatti), 50.10 sec.; 3rd, P. J. Stubberfield (Bugatti), 50.14 sec.
Handicap: 1st, F. W. Kennington (M.G.); 2nd, G. E. Matthews (Jaguar); 3rd, I. Sievwright (Aston-Martin).
Team Contest: Team No. 3: Mrs. Darbishire, Penn, Strang (Rileys and Strang 500).