Club news, December 1936
BUGATTI OWNERS’ CLUB The Welsh trial attracted nineteen
The Welsh trial attracted nineteen starters in spite of the start being so far from town. Pen-y-Bryn is a tricky hill with three-quarters of a mile of slippery surface, which eaussd four failures. Treveriog was not troublesome and the whole entry sailed up, and Glynceiriog stopped only one car, though it had some nasty bends. The failure was a Type 1:3 in trouble mechanically. A lit-y-Bad y was very steep 1 tit possessed of a fair surface, which failed five on sheer gradient. The Lion Hotel at Kidderminster has incurred the displeasure of the Bugattistic, having served a disappointing lunch. Little Shurdington was considered a very difficult hill, very narrow, steep and full of gullies and boulders, and here Miss Marshall (G.N.) retired and Monro’s O.M. discovered its clutch grip quite inadequate on reaching Edge Hill. The writer coaxed a14-6 Vauxhall family coach up Shurdington, four up. The stop and restart test on Edge Hill saw Hampton’s 2.3-litre Type 53 record 11 secs., and Walsham’s Railton saloon 11.2 secs. Col. Giles, driving a 5-litre Bugatti saloon, took 1:31 secs., losing his Premier by .3 of a Second, it is alleged because he feared skidding into the marshal on the restart line. Stancombe was in really dry condition and Ferris Court worried none of the survivors, though Bussage, the last hill, caught a Bugatti and a British Salmson, causing our Vauxhall to emulate Little Audrey. The finish was at the Bear at Rodborough Common. This was a worthwhile trial, covering new ground for many, and with some interesting and sporting
hills. J. C. Crowther (Bugatti), Miss Fawcett (Bugatti, Type 57), N. Brockelbank and C. Hampton gained firstclass awards, the last-named winning the Giles Cup with his Type 55 Bugatti. Five second-class awards were gained and five cars retired. Crowther, Hampton Malcolmson and Simmons have been awarded Club Pennants, and R. W. Bear led the Victor Ludorum contenders by thirty-two marks after the Welsh trial. The November issue of ” Bugantics,” as usual beautifully produced, contains Hampton’s account of a 3,000-mile Continental trouble-free tour with his Type 55, a description by Col Giles of his twelve Bugattis, from the esshtvalver which he bought for it35 secondhand in 1920 to his new 3-litre ” Fanny,” and experiences with the latter car in the Welsh trial. The Night trial was held on November 21st. and the Annual Dinner will be held on February 5th next year. Hon. See. : E. L. Giles, 2, Queen Street, Mayfair W.1 .
. GREAT WEST M.C.
Thirty seven starters emerged for the Matcher Trophy Trial. A special award was offered for competitors using ordinary tyres. E. R. King met a watery fate
in the Hogswash water-splash, which grieved the sparking department of his Talbot. Lover’s I.ane was graced with a complex signal and starting system for the timed section.
At Maiden’s Grove, C. M. Anthony, who uses an Aston-Martin for his trials motoring, established best time at 26.1 secs., beating Hutchinson and Allard with potent V8 Fords, Shackel’s McEvoy Special, an M.G. Magnette and the lesser fry. Crowell, the last hill, was a pleasure to W. B. C. Greenleaf (Ford Ten), A. T. K. Debenham (Singer), E. G. S Cook (M.G. Magnette), T. Wagner (Morris Minor), S. H. Allard (Ford V8), and A. T. G. Bochaton (McEvoy Special), C. H. Whittome, S. C. Cutland and F. H. Knight failed to uphold the house of Singer, the last-named sliding off the road. RESULTS Thatcher Trophy : C. M. Anthony (Aston-Martin) Begg-Robertson Cup : A. T. K. Debenham (Singer)* Standard Award : D. H. PerrIng (Talbot). Team Award :h. Mitchinson and S. H. Allard (Ford V8s.)
At the annual dinner at the Savoy the rumour of a rOad-racing section of Brooklands was confirmed, a big plan of the circuit being explained to those present by Sir Malcolm Campbell, the chairman. The circuit makes use of the Railway Straight a quarter of a mile from the Home Banking and will have a lap of about 21 to 2f miles, with semi banked turns. It seems that in spite of the prevailing Doningt.on complex the famous old track which LockeKing built at Weybridge twenty-six years ago may be about to enter on a new lease of life, strengthening its reputation
as the motorists’ Mecca. A. Percy Bradley, clerk of the course, said that under the new management he was having difficulty in keeping abreast of the proposed improvements. Sir Malcolm reminded us that His Majesty the King had graciously con sented to be patron of the club. Sir Archibald Boyd-Carpenter, M.P., and I.t.-Col. Sir F. C. Shelmerdine,
0.B.E., shared the response to the chairman’s speech, Sir Francis emphasising the part which Brooklands Aerodrome has played, and will continue to play, in the training of potential war-time pilots–we hasten to esplain to our many overseas readers who know not Brooklands that the aerodrome is civil, not Royal Air Force, although the Hawker and Tickers fighting aircraft are tested there. And not so long ago we feared the old track might be sacrificed to the interests of the air, which the speeches at the dinner proved to have been an unnecessary fear.
Dance music was provided by the band of Billy Cotton, driver of M.G.. Riley and Sunbeam racing-cars.
M.G. CAR CLUB
Secretary F. L. M. Harris alone could have thought of such a venue for the Downstage Dinner which was held on November 28th–at the London Zoo. Sesretary : F. L. M. Harris, 12, Holborn,
BRISTOL M.C. and L.C.C.
The Bristol M.C. and L.C.C. is building up a good reputation for well-organised events, and the Roy Fedden Trophy
trial was no exception. Four worthwhile hills were located in the Cotswolds and that two of them were unusable on the day was attributable to Nature’s wrath, one becoming a quagmire and a landslide blocking the other. Forty-seven entries were received and forty-three started in sunshine that followed the rain. Mrs. Moss had the misfortune to see her Marendaz-Special offer itself up in commemoration, of the passing of Marendaz Ltd. on the way to the start. Nailsworth only claimed five competitors. A rolling-start brake
test upheld the braking of the PB M.G., W. J. Green clocking 7t secs. and E. H.
Goodenough 7f secs. Macdertnid’s 14-litre M.G. Magnette needed 71 sees. Macdermid recovered his form in the restart test, when his oversize Magn.ette took 71 secs., Goodenough’s and Butler’s 847 c.c. M.G.s being 1 sees. slower. Old Hollow worried only R. Cook’s vintage 12-50 Alvis, in spite of his passenger bumping vigorously over the wedgeshaped tail. Those who got up Middle Drag deserve to be placed on record :— Macdermid (M.G.), C. C. Evans (M.G.), Guy Warburton (30/98 Vauxhall), J. E. S. Jones (M.G.), A. R. Kendrick (PB M.G.), H. L. Hadley (Austin 7), B. Cree (M.G.), P. S. Flower (M.G.), J. W. Thornley (PB M.G.), and A. R. B. Round (PB M.G.). Roy Fedden is, of course, the designer of Bristol aeroplane engines. enthusiastic driver of Alfa Romeo and 1003
Merc6des cars. RESULTS
Roy Fadden Trophy; R. A. Macdermid (M.G.).
Alexander Dueltham Cup E. S. Jones (M.O.
Anthony Cup : H. L. Hadley (Austin). Daphne Trophy : P. 8. Flower (M.(4.),
Club Cup : C. C. Evans (M.G.). Basil Barber Memorial Trophy : A. R. B. Round
Team Prize : Mardermid„Iones and Thornley (M.6.$).
Evidently the Bristol air suits the M. G. marque.
After six years in office ” Bunny ” Dyer is leaving the Junior Car Club. The Double-Twelve, 1,000 miles and International Trophy contests at Brooklands, the revived 200-Mile race this year at Donington, and the American Rally were organised by Dyer, whose actual association with the club covers fifteen years. He is entering the motor trade. The new secretary is H. J. Morgan, who has been connected with the club’s secretarial department for eleven years.
The Donington complex has affected the J.C.C. to such an extent that the 1937 International Trophy race will be run off at this venue on Coronation Day, though this will apparently preclude the use of chicanes for handicapping purposes, while crowds of people who would have spent the afternoon at Weybridge will be unable to manage the 250 miles motoring now involved.
Harry Edwards having become a clerk-of-the-course in connection with the rumoured Crystal Palace road-circuit, J. D. Scannell has been appointed secretary to the British Racing Drivers’ Club. Scannell has for the past two years held the position of ‘secretary to the Irish Motor Racing Club which has been responsible for those excellent Irish road-races at Limerick, Cork, and Phsenix Park. The 500-Mile race over the outercircuit at Brooklands will be held again during 1937.
BENTLEY DRIVERS’ CLUB
Some very worth-hearing speeches were a feature of the Bentley Drivers’ Club dinner, the speakers including H. Kensington Moir and the president, Capt. Woolf Barnato. The ” Bentley ?Joys ” are supporting the club, and everyone is most anxious that all owners, and past owners, of old-school Bentleys
should join. Peter Robertson-Roger has designed an extremely attractive badge for display on members’ cars.
An ambitious fixture was the handicap outer-circuit race for members. staged at the closing B.A.R.C. meeting. Secretary H. K. Pehnore.
VINTAGE SPORTS CAR CLUB
The postponed Match Trial against the harrow Club for the S. C. H. Davis Cup resulted in a win for Harrovians by a narrow margin, largely because the bigger vintage motors found the
special test a severe handicap. The club team on this occasion was formed of J. Allason (4i-litre Bentley ), Marcus Chambers (41-litre Bentley), I). Kirkman (12-50 Alvis), Miss B. Alarshall (AnzaniG.N.),. R. W. Pitch fort I Vrazer-Nash), and Guy Warburton (30 08 Vauxhall). The dinner to the victors took place at the Mason’s Arms, Maddox Street. on November 25th, a quite informal function open to members and friends.
The Annual General Meeting will be held on January 13th, and S. C. H. Davis will be re-elected president. The club received an invitation to the liugatti Owners’ Club Night Trial and threw their Gloucester Trial open to this dub and the United Hospitals M.C. Harry Bowler has evolved a new system of marking for speed trials, Many members took an active part in the Veterans’ Brighton Outing, S. C. H. Davis, C. S. Burney, E. K. H. Karslake, J . C. Passini, Toni Rolt, and R. G. J Nash driving, while Cecil Clutton partnered Rolt and W. Daddy rode with Nash. Very invigorating bulletins continue to go forth to members and something on more ambitious lines is expected next year. Clutton is putting his s.v. 30!98 Vauxhall into cold storage this
winter, but is running a 2-litre Ballot as a hack. If you own a thoroughbred vintage motor and have not joined, write to him at : The Old Manor House, Litt le t(m, SheppertOn, Middx.
The E.R.A. Club held its first dinner at Lysbeth Hall, Soho Square, on Nov ember 20th. This was a downstage gathering with S. C. H. Davis in the chair. Amongst the speakers were Pat Fairfield, whose E.R.A. finished fifth in the American Vanderbilt Cup Race, R. KingFarlow, T. H. Wisdom, Mrs. T. H. Wisdom, Mrs. K. Petre, Humphrey Cook, and, of course, Raymond Mays himself. Mays; talking of Shelsley, said that he considers the getaway and the concrete strip before the S-bend the two most vital parts
of breaking records at this venue. The 2-litre E.R.A., Mays said, was reaching about 142 m.p.h. before cutting out for the Members’ Corner during the Mountain Championship Race, and touching 150 m.p.h. on the run down to the Fork Hairpin. A cheque for ,1:50 was presented to Mr. Cook by the members to further the support of English racing.
N.W. LONDON M.C.
Some interesting letters are published in the December issue of the ” Gazette.” S. H. Allard advocates Welsh trials and two-day events, and criticises the ” selling-plate ” regulation. Major Montague Johnstone, the only author of a book about ordinary motortrials, suggests. a return to competition versus club conditions, with standard awards only, with yearly championship days for contests involving the special
cups. trophies and team awards. He feels that routes should favour standard cars and eliminate car-breaking hills.
” R W. j.,” writing p.p. Phutson, describes and illustrates a fantastic trials car, based on a Thornycroft tractor and some nightmare bits and bobs.
Hon. secretary • F. H. Whittingham. 9-1 1, Tue Poultry; Cheapside, E.C.2. City 4‘; .
The ersey Cup Trial only appealed to twenty-nine drivers, but they certainly found the event enjoyable. The 60-mile course was covered partly in the dark. H. I. Hadley, the Austin racing recruit, driving a supercharged Austin Seven, put up the most meritorious performance.
Dropping Wells caused a great deal of trouble, on account of a deep layer of sand on the surface, but R. J. Richardson’s Austin Seven nearly got up, and both C. I). Buckley and W. H. Sriven proved that the Austin i a worthy trials car. W. C. Butler upheld the house of Singer and G. 1′. I. Taylor got to the summit in hi; wonderful bull-nose Morris, which has a tarpaulin body and has shown up well in several trials of..late. If Taylor is willing to reveal the secrets that we suppose to lurk beneath the bonnet, will he please write to us ? Others to vanquish Dropping Wells were Terry’s Frazer-Nash-13.M.W. and Wise’s M.G. Magnette. In the special
tests Hadley and Buckley (Austins) were the best in the supercharged class ; Eadon’s Singer clocked 21.2 secs. and Taylor’s Morris ’22 secs. in the unblown category.
Only Crawford’s PB M.G. and Wilson’s Triumph disliked Beauchamp Hill, and in the subsequent special tests the Anstins again dominated the blown class, with Terry’s Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. leader of the normally-aspirated automobiles.
Sandy Lane -failed not a single car, but only four competitors completed the halt-commence test within the time limit of 7 secs.
So to the finish, after Mill Lane had stopped four cars and a special test had smashed the rear axle of Mansell’s blown M.G. Magnette and Hadley ‘8 little Austin had proved faster than 1,angley’s and Bastot-k’s MG. Magnettes, with Eadon and Wadsworth (Singers) outstanding in the unsupercharged class. RESULTS
Vesey Cup (best performance) : H. 1.. Hadley (747 c.c. Austin, S.), marks lost ; figure of merit 51.
Carless Cup (hest over 1,100 c.c.): N. V. Terry (1,991 c.c. Frazer-Nash-B.M.W.), 0; 55.8.
Watson -Gwynne Bowl (best under 1,100 e.e.): C. D. Buckley (747 c.c. Austin, S.), 0; 52.4.
Team Prize (Austin team) : Drivers ; II. L. Hadley, W. H. Scriven, and C. D. Buckley.
Runners-up (” doggers ” Singer team) : Drivers; A. F. &Rion, W. C. Butler, and E. B. Wadsworth.
Trial to Trial Trophy : J. A. Bastock (1,408 c.c. M.G., S.), 2.
Tankards : J. 0. Orford (747 c.c. Austin, S.), 5; A. F. 14.1adon (972 c.c. Singer), 13; J. A. Bastock (1,408 c.c. M.G., S.), 2.
Second-class Awards : C. A. N. May (1,292 c.c. MG.), 4 ; W. H. Seriyen (747 c.c. Austin, S.), 5 ; W. U. Illitkr (1,493 c.c. Singer), 11 ; W. J. Green (9:i0 c.c. M .(;., S.), 14 ; R. J. Richardson (747 c.c.
A I is; ill, 1:i: E. B. Wadsworth (972 c.c. Singer), 15.
Fifty-eight competitors started in the Cottingham Memorial Trophy Trial, but only five gained first-class awards—three M.G.s, a Ford, a Frazer-Nash, and a Fiat.
The course was a short one of about sixty miles, with seven observed hills of no great gradient but an abundance of slime.
On Spinning Wheel, Hutchison’s racingtype Ford V8, Jolmson’s Fiat Balilla, Phip’s de luxe Ford, and Maclean and Mrs. Wilcocks with M.G. Magnettes were notably good.
Seven seconds were deemed the necessary standard of rate of upwards ascent on Tunnel Slide restart, only Buckle’s M.G. Magnette, Terry’s Frazer-Nash, Johnson’s Singer and Flower’s M.G. Midget being successful. Symmons, running his Frazer-NashB.M.W. in blown form, overshot badly in the mud of the Be.11ingdon brake test. Walker (Singer), Debenham (Singer), Sandford (Fiat), Lawson (Singer), Miss Dobson (0.M.) and Mrs. Wilcocks (M.G. all did very well indeed RESULTS
Cottingham Trophy (club member): D. K. Buckle (M.G. Magnette).
Best Visitor : J. U. C. Bond (Morris Minor). Team Award : (Harrow C.C. “A”) : W. L. Jackson (Fnlzer-Nash). I). K. Buckle (M.G. Magnette), awl I, M. Maynard (A.C.)
First-class Awards : T. B. King (M.G.), W. L. Jackson (Frawr-Nash), P. S. Flower (M.G. Midget), H. C. R. Ballam (Ford de luxe), D. E. Harris (M.G. Magnette), H. W. Johnson (Fiat). Second-class Awards : A. T. K. Deben ham (Singer), It. M. Sanford (Fiat), M. H. Lawson (Singer), K. N. Hutchison (Ford V8), B. Cree (M.G. J2), A. Pentony
GENERAL NOTES The trials season is now in full swing,
and sonic big events have been contested recently. It is interesting that considerable attention is being given to allowing ordinary cars a decent chance, from the ” selling-plate ” idea of the N.W. London to the more usual banning of locked differentials (chaingangsters may smile !) and competition
covets. Another idea is to present standard-car awards, another to divide the entry-list entirely in two, another to let everyone compete only for graded standard awards, as gold, silver and bronze medals (the system favoured by the M.C.C. for its classics) and yet another to use additional bits of course featuring special hazards for the non-standard section of the entry. Which, oh which, is right ?
There seems to have been less trouble over trials this winter. Congestion raises the temperature of disinterested parties and competitors alike, and every effort must be made to overcome it. The provision of horses or a traction-engine is the evident solution at really severe points, but having plenty of helpers is another way out—and it is curious that club secretaries should have bother in this direction, considering that any motor does for marshalling (if you park it sensibly and walk to your post) and you get any amount of fun for quarter the expense, have helped your club, and perhaps learned quite a bit from other people. Would a marshal’s register answer, I wonder, in the form of a list of enthusiasts, with their addresses and telephone numbers, who would be willing to devote free week-ends to helping any ‘secretary who could offer them a teal job of work ? No ! But then sonic clubs pay mileagemoney. Ah ! And the lady friend will often be persuaded into a nice closed motor when wild horses will not make her don a white (?) helmet and enter a trials car. So what about it ? There may be some ” new blood ” in the game soon. About this time last year th? razer-Na 311-B . M. W . was a source of interest, as it was just establishing itself as a potent trials car. Now it is announced that after the Exeter the Musketeer ” team Of oversize M.G. Magnettes and the Autosports team of crab-track 11-litre Singers will both be
pensioned off. The M.G. drivers Will, I believe, be seen thereafter at the wheel of T-type M.G. Midgets, but new Singers are rumoured to be in course of preparation, which will later become production jobs. The ” 4-4 ” Morgan should soon be seen performing in the hands of private owners.
Incidentally, H. (.;. Syntmons has added a new lease of interest, as it were, to Frazer-Nash-B.M.W., by adding a supercharger to his Type 55. Say what you (and I) will about forced-induction, it is not wise to leave the little fuel globules to themselves if you wish to stock your sideboard with trials trophies. The M.C.C. Exeter trial is scheduled for January 1st and 2nd, with a special class for veteran competitors as last year, different starting points to obviate night driving for those who do not like this part of trials participation, and the
usual awards system. Early numbers are an asset!
Writing of the Exeter makes it necessary to again emphasise what excellent events are the three M.C.C. classics. It is strongly advisable to enter for the Exeter. because, apart from the tripleaward, it is the thing to drive in all three, and if you enter for the Land’s End you will wish you had figured in the Christmas classic. Looking back on only last year’s series brings cherished reminiscences. The Exeter : Long walks beforehand to get over Christmas festivities (not hectic, really !) a bus ride across London clad in hordes of curious garments, visit to a picturepalace in the King’s Road to pass the time, where a young lady with long plaits laughed so boisterously at the film that everyone in the place joined in, to the embarrassment of her big brother (?); back to the driver’s fiat, where the two ” Comp ” shod wheels were rolled lovingly out to the Ford and stowed in the back, in masses of brown paper because the upholstery was new, and to humour the writer, who was riding in their company. Then the run out to Virginia Water, a wait in teeming rain, and the long night trek. Breakfast in Exeter and off again in wintry sunshine, looking forward to the hills. A noise which we told ourselves was the fan rubbing on something, but which, sadly enough, was gasket . . .
Back into Exeter. making a most incredible racket, and much toiling in a deserted garage, removing the blower and head, during which time Chaplin cheered us with characteristically dry remarks, his Fiat having broken an axle shaft. Eventually he got back to London before we did. The Land’s End : Leaving the driver to his bath and taking a trolley-bus to a very stuffy restaurant, where we eat a very mixed and hearty meal. Return in gay mood (why mustn’t you talk to a trolley-bus driver ?). Discovery that our driver has gone to bed and locked us out. We make him get up . . . diffi cult. Set alarm clock and tell tele phone operator to ring us at zero hour—. the alarm wins. Driver wrathful ; they charge you ad. to ring back ! Coffee at a deserted coffee-stall. Off at last, the blown Ford V8 in fine fettle. Big breakfast and dispatch of telegrams to the ” works.” Oct into a sister VS at car park in error—forcibly ejected. Nearing Minehead in glorious weather, with memories Of holidays and countless drives strengthened by every signpost. Rest at top of Porlock, in perfect air and
warm sunshine. Struggle to get tea at Bude and just time to admire the sunlit bay in between discussions on our chances. All wings buckled, Very tired. hand’s End and no accommodation—midnight. Back to Penzance in company with a fellow competitor driving an older VS. Queer meal and vivid conversation : all doting, but no one wants to retire. Finally, our crew all accommodated in one room, in a couple of immense fourposter beds. Up rather late. Amazing breakfast, concludes with marmalade. jam and Devonshire cream on every piece of bread. Wonderful drive over Dart moor, to Torquay, in a snowstorm, Late lunch. On to Bournemouth, where one member of the crew wants to call on friends and the rest of us only just find accom modation. Abandonment of bridge party when we call on relations, who don’t recognise us in our trials clothing. Off early for Brooklands. Hectic ride for two of the party to see the racing from
the start. Meeting abandoned. The Edinburgh : Anxious day in garage watching preparation of friend’s Bugatti for Whitsun Brooklands Meeting. Off at last to the track., in dickey of Ford V8, with the Bug behind in its huge two-wheeled trailer. Glad to be wearing trials rig. Some spots of difficulty with the Bug. Realisation that friend had better cancel the Edinburgh. Com mandeering of the V8 to return to town ; it boiled furiously and stalled repeatedly in traffic. Arrival of second driver and disposal of a huge meal. Phone call from member of the crew who stayed on at the track and now saw his Whitsun adven ture evaporating into thin air. A late start, because another car decided to have its shockers tightened as we were due to leave the garage. Missing member of crew located at Marble Arch and hauled aboard. Fed him with sandwiches, while he told of begging lifts in a FrazerNash-B.M.W., and Billy Cotton’s 41-litre Lagonda, followed by horrid adventures in trains, tubes and taxis. Terrific drive to Barnet, where we had ‘a few moments to spare. (Remember that chalk-overnumbers hint ?) Then the night drive, as fascinating as ever. Ham sandwich at Doncaster pub removed stopping from writer’s tooth, but that molar behaved very well. Hectic last hour’s run over fine roads, after lingering too long over tea, a run partly spoilt by a brute of a coach driver, who blocked the way. Loss of big-end near the end. Off to our booked accommodation in Edinburgh. Extremely welcome baths
member of crew so tired we only just stopped his undressing in bathroom while maid was attending to bath. Brief tutu to Princes Street. Sunday : up early, visit to very pessimistic Ford agent. Decided to run down in spite of big-end malady and reached London in quite nice time. Used car to get to -Brooklands on the Monday, after frantic efforts to hire a substitute had failed. Yes ! These M.C.C. classics are very good fun, though I suppose non-motoring folk who regard them as races would not believe me if I said that not one of our crew .considers himself a ” tough guy,” we are all practically T.T. (not Belfast) and lead quite ordinary existences at other times. Oh well
The other day a few of us were discussing the happy associations which Brooklands can have for people whose names are quite unknown in the racing world. Personally, I recall one worth-while day when something very extraordinary in racing cycle-cars was hitched on to a Studebaker coupe and taken down to Weybridge. As usual on such Occasions we were late in starting, and, arrived at the track, the twin-cylinder racing machinery showed no inclination to
function, though before darkness fell we had one brief and exhilarating sprint down the Railway Straight, at what the lucky owner said was 90 m.p.h., though, busy with the fuel pump, the writer remembers only a front wheel of spidery aspect dancing wildly at the end of a corded quarter-elliptic. There have been merry winter days going round in the fog, notably with an M.G. Magna coupe and an Aston-Martin, the latter motor being required to dodge numerous obstructions into the bargain. We have ventured on to the concrete saucer with quite ordinary cars when the urge to emulate the speed-kings was especially potent, a Standard saloon even giving nearly 70 m.p.h., though an old ArmstrongSiddeley saloon smelt fearful and destroyed its rear covers.
There are pleasant memories of soulsatisfying runs in open editions of the 3f-litre Bentley and Railton, and much fast work in an assortment of M.G.s.
Particularly high-spots were rides in an S.S.K ” 38-250 ” Mercedes-Benz twoseater and the blower Bentley four-seater, the former car touching 120 m.p.h. for one magic moment on the Byfleet, though, having no goggles or helmet, I could scarcely see the speedometer, let alone the landscape, albeit there was no mistaking a purposeful siren-scream of the blower. And the Bentley, apart from the fact that it was a Bentley, gave a wonderful feeling of security allied to latent power. Quite a different experience was provided by a drive round in the 1903 Gordon Bennett Napier, which worked up to about 70 m.p.h., when, sitting on the floor with one’s face inches from the glass-fronted distributor box, life is far from seeming tame. Attempts to broaden this experience by going round in the Lorraine “Vieux Charles Trois ” and Clutton’s 1908 ltala were heavily frowned on by authority (who wears a trilby hat) and” Chitty-Bang-Bang” could not even get as far as the Paddock. Then there was a Frazer-Nash which burst its chains going on to the Members’ Banking, apparently resenting its driver’s intention to change down into third, and the amusing episode of a saloon 3-litre redlabel Bentley which developed expensive noises in the rocker-gear after a friend, professing that Brooklands is “easy meat,” had lapped for a while at around
73. Some carefree high-speed work in a Type 55 Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. showed that that car could be held amazingly close to the inside edge at as much as 85 m.p.h., and, later, a whole J.C.C. high-speed trial in a Type 13 proved the smaller job to be equally stable.
A curious Sunbeam with a 20-25 RollsRoyce engine contributed an interesting ride, because it was said to be the most uncomfortable car at the track, though it wasn’t very fast, and there was a drive down in the Mercedes ” Softly Catch Monkey ” with poor Tommy Hann, that somehow recalled those fascinating days of the early nineteen twenties, and if the big black and yellow two-seater only got round at 71 m.p.h., it nevertheless gave a sensation of travelling much faster. Afterwards we worked on it late on the eve of a ” 500,” going home in a painfully lethargic 7.5 Citroen almost devoid of brakes. Brooklands is a great place on non-race days and can provide the amateur with sonic of his happiest experiences whether it be systematically cutting down his lap times with his own car, or taking some thing really fast round for the first time— and subsequent times, for the thrill of 100 m.p.h. does not quickly abate. At Weybridge every aid to efficiency and control can be practised without mockery, and racing kit is never out of place if you are more than merely
spectating. Brooklands is not always the place you know in summer. I have seen it enveloped in mist so thick that driving along the Aerodrome road was unpleasant, and ground-engineers got lost between the hangars. I have been there on lazy spring days when no sound broke the stillness save the song of birds, the tramp of a horse slowly ploughing near the farm buildings, and the occasional arrival of a school” Moth.” The sewage farm shimmered in the sun and Francis Grenfell took me to see a swan’s nest. I have gone down on a Boxingday when the place was completely deserted, save for a miserable groundengineer awaiting in vain the possible arrival of an aeroplane, seeking fuel on its withdrawal from Christmas festivities. Often, standing on West Weybridge station, I have seen aeroplanes landing with eerie bursts of throttle, in the dusk or heard the lonely exhaust note of a belated racing motor-cycle echoing through the shadows. I appeal to the new owners not to destroy these old associations that lurk down Weybridge way. Incidentally, big fires seem the fashion and you may have forgotten that there was once a big grandstand at the Fork, facing the Vicker’s sheds. It was burnt down on the eve of a J.C.C. 200-mile race. The Paddock stand caught alight during a 1925 B.A.R.C. meeting, though not seriously, and this year, of course, several hangars were destroyed.