Racing in Australia

They have a happy knack of getting down to it, down under. For instance, on Anniversary Day four races were held by the Joint Road Racing Committee at Ballarat aerodrome, by co-operation of the R.A.A.F. By using a taxi-way between two air-strips, a fine 3.2-mile circuit was obtained, with six corners that could he taken at from 30 to 90 m.p.h. Over 35,000 people spectated and in spite of an entire absence of fencing no accidents occurred. The "gate" came to over £2,500.

The first race was a 19.2-mile handicap for cars under 1 1/2 litres. Twenty-one started, from a Fiat "Mouse" to Uffindell's blown "K3" M.G. Eadie's "TC" M.G. won by 5 sec. from Warren's Morgan 3-wheeler, with Nind's special "TB" M.G. third. Fastest time was made by Bartlett's supercharged "TA" M.G., at 67.1 m.p.h. Next came the Wendouree Handicap, for the big stuff. Not only was Barrett's blown "2.3" Alfa-Romeo doing 130 m.p.h. down the long straight, but after four laps it indulged in a stirring duel with Davison's "S.S.K." Mercédès-Benz. In the end the Mercédès, a handful on the corners and slow to pick-up, fell right back, but the Alfa-Romeo was 4th, averaging 77.2 m.p.h. and doing one lap at 80.1 m.p.h. Seeliger's Mercury-Special won easily from Whitford's Ford-Special and Gullan's Ballot-Olds.

The 76.8-mile Victoria Cup Handicap was the event of the day. All manner of M.G.s — Q, TB, J2, TA, K3, P and TC — battled with Alfa-Romeo, American-Specials, Singer, Morgan and an "Ulster" Austin. The inevitable dirt-track car ran, using a 3-speed gearbox and 4-wheel brakes. Half the field of 24 retired and Whitford's Ford won from Bland's Ford and Edie's "TC" M.G. Barrett's Alfa-Romeo had a pit-stop and finished with only top gear available, but nevertheless did a 79 m.p.h. lap and averaged 73.7 m.p.h., against the winner's 68.6 m.p.h.

Fourteen started in the last race, the Ballarat Handicap, over 38.4 miles. Five retired, including the speedway car and a supercharged Bugatti, and Gullan's Oldsmobile-engined 5-litre Ballot won from Prowse's Riley "Imp" and Gray's Mercury-Special, the last named making the best average, at 68 m.p.h.

While all this was going on, 5,000 spectators at Marsden Park airstrip were watching some more exciting, racing. The Championship Scratch Race for the big stuff drew a 3 1/2-litre Delahaye and the Mackellar, which is a Bugatti chassis propelled by a blown Ford V8 motor. A terrific battle took place between Kleinig's Hudson-Special and Murray's Mackellar (they had a 2s. bet who would get the first corner first!) and in the end Kleinig won at 74 m.p.h. from the Delahaye and Mackellar — Kleinig also won his two bob!

A 6-lap scratch race for 1 1/2-litre cars saw eleven M.G.s race against a 990-c.c. Morgan 3-wheeler and,a 1,354-c.c. Morris-Special. McLachlan's special "TA" bored-out M.G. won at 63 m.p.h. from the Morgan, with a "TB" M.G. third. The Morgan's cornering was outstanding. A long handicap over nearly 33 miles saw lots of trouble. A Morgan 3-wheeler lost its worm-drive, an o.h.v. Austin Six-engined special lost its fan belt, while a Chrysler 66, and three "TA" M.G.s lost big-ends. The Mackellar blew off its top hose and seized. Ward's "TB" M.G. was first home, but went faster than handicap, so the race went to Mitchell's 2,195-c.c. Austin-Special, with Emerson's "TA" M.G. second and Johnson's "TC" M.G. third. Johnson's "TA" M.G. punctured after a lap, whereupon he drove into the paddock, changed the wheel and scattered unauthorised personnel as he rushed back on to the course. Kleinig in spite of fuel-boiling, did fastest lap, in company with the Mackellar. A 6-lap vintage sports car race was awarded to a Type 37 Bugatti, and the closing race to an M.G.

Until Britain can stage such race meetings she cannot hold up her head as a mechanised community.