SPRINT FINALE AT BRIGHTON
SPLENDID PERFORMANCES UNDER DISMAL CONDITIONS—V A UXHA LL -VILLI ER S THE FASTEST CAR E. C. FEE NIHOUGH (BROUGH-SUPERIOR MOTOR-CYCLE) ESTABLISHES NEW COURSE RECORD
As so many of our readm hind their copies for reference -purposes, we make no excuse for this belated report of the imporIant fixture which was cr,-,z.ded out 01 the October-November issue.
Torrential rain greeted ua when we broke open the bedclothes. on September 26th, • but driving down. to Brighton in a 2-litre Frazer-Nash-B.M.W, saloon went a long way towards dispelling personal depression, for that motor-car cruised at sixty with an ease and security that vanishes in most cars at much earlier speeds, while the truly high-geared steering which is literally finger-light, and the supple suspension that belies the rapid cornering capabilities, are always a pleasure to experience. And, rain or no rain, the Brighton meeting, with 200 car and seventy-foul motor-cycle entries could not fail to prove interesting, a fitting close to a season of renewed and intense sprint activity. Surprisingly little traffic was about on the journey down from town, though a Frazer-Nash got past when road .-onditions and smoothish treads called for moderation of the loud-pedal on our part and in Brighton itself an old-school Bentley went ahead, its driver presumably not so far having been ” blistered ” for naughtiness in built-up areas, and
consequently clear of conscience. But in the ” paddock “—the wide road along the front—there was already much activity when we arrived at 10 a.m., and even a few knots of curious locals, sheltering under dripping umbrellas, gaping at the curious cars and their curious owners from both sides of the barriers. Subsequently quite a big crowd collected, especially along the bleak terraces which, on a fine day, are an excellent spot from which to view proceedings. Admission thereon was 113d. and we concluded that your Englishman really does enjoy motorracing—and why shouldn’t he, now that so many John Citizens drive and de-coke motors of their .own ? An early disappointment was the news that Pane had been unable to produce the twin-blower standard sports FrazerNash, for the ” Shelsley ” edition of the Isleworth marque has been building up a fine reputation as a potent performer in this year’s sprint. contests. The disappointment was offset by the appearance of the massive Vauxhall-Villiers, recovered surprisingly enough, from its attack on a tree at Wetherby a week previous. This is, of course, the 3-litre car which Cummings has driven with conspicuous success all this season. We believe that the sister car, of 4A-litres, still rests in Arthur Baron’s garage at Dorking,
The first class was due to begin at 10.30 a.m. and proceedings actually commenced .around 11 a.m., wider the :care of Sir Algernon Guinness, the R.A.C. steward, whose Armstrong-Siddeley saloon stood alongside the course. Beforehand we amused ourselves by wandering tip and down the paddock,” where Eason-Gibson, in a really striking pair of trousers, was busy
scrutineering those competitors who had arrived—and causing qualms for some as, with expert intuition, he opened fillercaps, and smelt the contents of standard sports-cars’ fuel-tanks. Lemon Burton’s 2-3 litre double-wipe Bugatti arrived in a Ford van bearing in large white letters an inscription ” Scuderia Lethon Burton,” and on the trailer of the Chohnondeley-Tapper and Eileen Ellison combination we noticed the words ” Automobile Racing Assoc:fation.” Some Motors were proving refractory starters, A.shby’s. Ferarri-AlfaBorneo and Bear’s special Bugatti going for runs ” on the string ” and the Maserati of the aforementioned Association needed some attention, though at the line it recommenced on the handle. Monkhouse spent much time running up the Arnilcar Six in gear, the chassis supported near the rear by a pair of ordinary and unstablelooking jacks. Remembering how crankcases were drained dry by the more earnest sprint exponents in the good (?) old days we imagine there may be quite a lot in getting the gearbox and axle oil warm beforehand. Dick Nash unloaded the Frazer-Nash-Union-Special from its lorry with care, a policeman assisting to push it into its place. Poor Nash, Fate first. of all tried to brain him with a Budgehammerand he was then asked to run against Mrs. Petre’s Riley. Gallantly he allowed the lady to win, or was his
the slower car ? The ladies generally were made the subject of special study by the residents, who were fully repayed by the novelty of Miss Weekes’s get-up. Mere man seemed a little intolerant towards the fairer sex, for Tapper did not appear too pleased with Miss Ellison’s handling of the Maser–though she did beat all her opposers—and Whiddington’s face was noticeably distorted during the rather curious get-away performed by Mrs. Marjorie Lewis and his Frazer-Nash Six. The first we saw of Mrs. Petre was when she enlisted Pane’s aid in coaxing the Frazer-Nash to reverse into its bay. She wore her usual smart attire and apparently has no use for umbrellas. Dennis A. Smith turned up with a really early Amilcar, with huge central accelerator pedal, and the Emeryson-Special, which somehow contrives to run as sports-car, boasted a truly immense rev. Counter. IL L. Pownall was running, it the sports .classes, a Grand Prix Bugatti with lamps and wings plated and highly polished and small rear wheels, presumably to lower the gearratios. A fierce-looking gentleman named Framroze Sorab Mehta produced a fine four-seater 30/98 Vauxhall and a solo Rudge and Viscount Curzon ran his blue Alfa-Romeo and the big-bodied single-seater Mercedes-Benz, and another Alfa was run by H. Kidston. Spikins’s Spikins-Hudson-Special looked curiously wide at the rear on account of twin rear covers, with inadequate wings above them. Crowther competed with a rather unusual-looking Alfa-Romeo from which the doors and bonnet sides had been removed. Notable absentees included the Shelsley Frazer-Nash, the small Singer, Bainton’s Bugatti, and the big )elage. There were two humorous incidents. When the morning events were cver save for one class a breakdown lorry returned down the course towing an M.G. It attempted to pass beneath the wires running from the starting-lights to the time-keeper’s .coach, and dragged the whole apparatus over. Much work by police, their every movement reported faithfully by broadcaster Denton, restored sand to the big barrel in which the apparatus supported itself. Feverish work with the masses of tangled wire, and the sand-filled box condescended to recover its dignity and show a dim 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, on request, and even the false starting-lights, now at a drunken angle, were working. Drevvitt breathed normally again. This timing apparatus is Col. Loughborough’s new equipment, which registers to hundredths of a second, timing commencing from the appearance of the green ” go ” light, so that the driver’s skill is called for in moving off. Pads inserted before the cats’ front wheels by marshals looked after too eager starters. The other incident, humorous to us, occurred when Arthur Baron—he was driving the G.P. Bugatti with Brescia engine, running supercharged— let in his clutch at his customary 4,000 r.p.m., whereupon the car crawled forward a few feet, an ominous pool of oil appearing beneath it. ” I think Baron has false started,” quoth the loud-speakers. In
fairness to Denton, he obviously could not see too well What was happening at the start, and had already confused Capt. Taylor with Baron. A praiseworth feature was a semaphorearm at the finish, used to indicate to all and sundry which competitor had won his duel. The Brighton police turned out in force and fine men they were—even the officer who took exception to our Paddock Marshal’s Pass that was doing duty as
an all-powerful Pressman’s Pass. The Duke of Richmond and Gordon was an interested spectator and was heard to express the wish that he was riding his B.M.W. motor-cycle, also to eulogise the new Lancia Aprilia. The genial Baragwanath was doing yeoman service as a scrutineer.
Space naturally does not enable us to mention every one of 200 runs, so the report which follows merely gives the outstanding performances in each class, together with impressions gained during our long vigil by the seaside. The first class was that for standard unblown sports-cars driven only by members of the organising club and under handicap. Lycett averaged over fifty-six miles per hour with his 41-litre Bentley, winning comfortably. 0. S. C. Matthews (Ford V8) got away from Mehta’s fine 30.198 Vauxhall to gain second place, though immense initial wheelspin allowed the veteran to lead at first. SPRINT FINALE AT
Club Members, Standard Sports-cars :1. F. Lyeett (44-litre Bentley) 56.07 m.p.h.
2. G. S. C. Matthews (3.6-litre Ford V8) 54.71 m.p.h.
3. A. S. Whiddington (1.6-litre Frazer-NashSix) 54.38 m.p.h.
Class 2 was not held owing to insuffident support and class 3, for standard sports-cars up to 1,100 c.c., allowed Tuson’s Balilla Fiat to shine, though its competitor, Smith’s ancient A milcar, vastly overshadowed, nevertheless ran nicely. 1,100 c.c. standard sports-cars:
1. V. H. Tuson (955 e.c. Fiat Balla) 52.02 m.p.h.
2. Mrs. Jean Jackson (1,087 c.c. M.G.) 49.86 m.p.h.
3. J. 0. Stuart (1,020 c.c. Erneryson) 45.11 m.p.h.
Vide the programme, unsupercharged ladies in unlimited standard sports-cars dominated class 4. Mrs. Petre, driving a four-cylinder Frazer-Nash, was paired with Mrs. Marjorie Lewis on a FrazerNash Six, the latter hesitated momentarily on the get-away, feeling confusedly for the gear-lever and Mrs. Petre got well away to uphold the marque, winner of the class. Miss Patten, who was driven down to the course, took the driving seat of her smart British Salnison Six to get second place, and Miss Joan Weekes’s Ford was third. The other runners were Mrs. Jackson’s M.G. and an Alta. Ladies Only. Unlimited standard sports-oars :
1. Mrs. K. Petre (14-litre Frazer-Nash) 52.48 m.p.h.
2. Miss M. D. Patten (24-litre British Salmson) 52.08 m.p.h.
3. Miss J. Weekes (1,172 c.c. Ford Ten) 51.72 m.p.h. Class 5 was for unblown standard sports-cars up to 1 l-litres, and against keen competition G. -Bagratouni, with his ex-Eyston T.T. Magnette, upheld M.G. honours. J. G. Clark produced a FrazerNash called “Patience,” which had a stumpy tail and proved as fast as Pane’s 1I-litre of like marque, so that these two tied for third place, both being beaten
by Monkhouse (M.G.). Actually Pane seemed not quite ready when the ” go ” lit up. J. F. May’s M.G. was boiling on the line and had a lady passenger as handicap ‘and both the occupants of Stapleton’s T.T. Aston-Martin solemnly wore crash-hats. 14-litre standard sports-cars, unsupercharged :
1. G. Bagratouni (1,287 e.c. M.G.) 55 m.p.h.
2. P. R. Monkhouse (1,270 e.e. M.G.) 54.71 m.p.h.
3. A. F. P. Fane (14-litre Frazer-Nash) and J. G. Clark (14-litre Frazer-Nash) 52.48 m.p.h.
So to the unlimited unblown sports class, when Matthews (Ford V8) made a splendid run, almost equalled by Monkhouse’s M.G. Unlimited standard sports-cars, unsupereharged :
1. G. 8. C. Matthews (3.6-litre Ford V8) 55.73 m.p.h.
2. P. R. Monkhouse (1,270 c.c. M.G.) 55.21 m.p.h.
8. F. Lycett (44-litre Bentley) 54.88 m.p.h.
The supercharged sports-cars followed. In the 1,100 c.c. category five M.G.s, of which two were P.B. Midgets, did battle against two Altas. 1,100 e.e. sports-cars:
1. G. Taylor (1,074 c.c. Alta) 57.14 m.p.h.
2. W. B. 0. Leith (747 c.c. M.G.) 54.88 m.p.h.
In the next class Innes beat the Alta by 41 secs., driving a blown M.G. As before the Alta ran unblown. 1,650 sports-cars:
1. I. N. limes (1,087 c.c. M.G.) 57.51 m.p.h.
2. G. Taylor (1,074 c.c. Alta) 56.60 m.p.h. S. W. Leith (747 c.c. M.G.) .04s. slower, taken as 56.60 m.p.h.
R. F. Oats and the four-seater Maserati won the unlimited unblown category with a fine run, much faster than previous cars, the straight-eight, double-wipe engine revving very high on the indirects. Beadle’s blown 2-litre sports Alta was second, beating Fane’s blown 11-litre Frazer-Nash and banes (M.G.) was third.
Three .Alfas and a massive, modern supercharged Graham were amongst the vanquished. Unlimited 8/0 sports-cars:
1. R. F. Oats (2.8-litre Maserati) 66.42 m.p.h.
2. A. H. Beadle (2-litre Alta) 61.02 m.p.h.
3. J. N. Irma (1,087 c.c. M,G.) 56.60 m.p.h. A run of solo motor-cycles, when Ferni did wonders astride a 250 c.c. Excelsior J.A.P., and the damp officials were released to eat. Racing resumed with a class confined to the weaker sex,
on anything but weak motors. Miss Eileen Ellison, driving the Maserati that Tapper handled in the 200-Mile Race, had things quite her own way.
Mrs. Petre’s Riley beat Mrs. Jackson’s Alta. Racing-cars unlimited, Ladies only :
1. Miss E. Ellison (3-litre Maserati) 66.91 m.p.h.
2. Miss B. Skinner (14-litre Alta) 65.93 m.p.h.
3. Mrs. K. Petro (14-litre Riley) 63.83 m.p.h.
The next car class was for 850 c.c.
racing-cars. Hadley’s works Austin went off with the off rear wheels spinning wildly to snatch a narrow win from Denis Evans’s old Montlhery M.G., which he drove with the aid of a big visor. Maclachlan’s black Austin was third after a poor start, the driver failing to get bottom gear engaged at the vital moment, while’ Elliott’s blown Austin seemed reluctant to commence. 850 c.o. Racing-cars :
1. H. L. Hadley (Austin) 60.4 m.p.h.
2. D. G. Evans (M.G.) 60.2 m.p.h.
3. A. N. L. Maclachlan (Austin) 58.82 m.p.h. The 1,100 c.c. class was notable for the truly splendid showing of Waddy’s twin-engined four-wheel-drive FUZIL The mechanics brought to the line a starting motor mounted on a toy pram. At last both motor-cycle power units were running-the rear one seemed uncomfortably near the moulded-metal back-rest of Waddy’s seat. Running alone, the tiny white car leapt from the line and devoured the half-mile quite steadily, in 25.8 secs., a really stirring show. Those on the line could hardly tolerate the racket as Waddy awaited
the signal. Charlie Martin was a bad second after a bad start on the AppletonRiley and Hadley, much faster than before, could only manage third place. HarveyNoble drove a track-type M.G. Midget of Magnette dimensions, with no front brakes, an isolated radiator and supercharger. He ran against Elliott’s Austin and had a bad skid across the wet course, for which he was subsequently crossexamined by the stewards. 1,100 c.o. Racing-cars :
1. R. A. Waddy (1,000 c.c. Fuzzi-J.A.P.) 69.77 m.p.h.
2. C. E. C. Martin (1,098 c.c. Appleton-Riley) 66.67 m.p.h.
3. H. L. Hadley (747 c.c. Austin) 65.93 m.p.h. The 11-litre class Saw the tables turned, for, after stalling on the line, Martin was allowed another try and beat everyone with the Appleton-Riley. Waddy performed again, the Fuzzi very steady with a slight tendency to drift sideways on the wet surface, and he clocked exactly the same time as before. Fane was third with the single-place Frazer-Nash. Mrs. Roy Eccles beat the Sumner-J.A.P. with her Lagoncta Rapier, though the blown V-twin was in good form. G. H. Symonds was repaid for the work he has put in on the ex-Davenport B.H.D.Special by a run on which the big V-twin really got going, while on the line it seemed
to idle without anxiety. Baron was engaging his Bugatti’s clutch at some 4,000 r.p.m. and Cormack’s blown Alta was assisted in commencing by a removable battery on the body-side. Dick Nash did not get his ratio engaged until the ” go ” had almost appeared, but he ran very well. 14-litre Racing _-cars :
1. C. E. C. Martin (1,089 c.c. Appleton-Riley) 70.3 m.p.h.
2. R. A. Waddy (1,000 c.c. Fuzz14.A.P.) 69.77 m.p.h.
3. A. F. P. Pane (14-litre Frazer-Nash) 69.23 m.p.h. For participation in the 3-litre class S. E. Cummings brought forth the imposing, though very dirty, VauxhallVilliers, after every official and scrutineer had closely examined it to see if it were safe after its recent smash. In spite of big twin rear covers, the wheels spun and Cummings made an immense get-away winning the class by .15 see. Charlie Martin was second fastest with the monoposto Alfa-Romeo, which got off slowly, as these cars seem to require, but picked up very splendidly with spinning rear wheels and little noise. Third place went to Oats and the wonderful Maserati ” tourer,” ” revving ” to extremes. Lemon Burton was disappointing with the twin rear-tyred twin-cam Bugatti. The B.H.D. Special again went nicely, snaking from the start. On the line its rear-drive casing wobbled happily. The engine is a V-twin of 1,493 c.c. and the o.h. camshafts are driven by chains. Symonds must now be something of an authority on this form of drive. Poor Bear, well-known Bugatti owners’ club councillor, had no luck with his special 3-litre Bugatti, which just managed to rim up the course, finishing long after the B.H.D. Bolster was held rather long at the start with “Mary,” who seemed a trifle unwell, though it was good. anyway, to see the brothers in action. Beadle had one of the worst power-slides from the line, which the sports
2-litre Alta corrected instantly. Pane’s Frazer-Nash seemed to be in difficulties, and Baron’s Bugatti was pushed from the line in dire trouble. 3-litre Racing-cars :
1. S. E. Cummings (2,098 c.c. Vauxhall-Villiers) 73.77 m.p.h.
2. C. E. C. Martin (Alfa-Romeo) 73.47 m.p.h.
3. R. F. Oats (2.8-litre Maserati) 71.43 m.p.h.
The first run of the unlimited racing-cars awarded best time to Martin’s Alfa, with Lemon Burton second and Tapper third. The road had dried fairly thoroughly. Unlimited Racing-cars, &it runs :
1. C. B. C. Martin (Alfa-Borneo) 77.25 m.p.h.
2. .T. L. Burton (Bugatti) 74.69 m.p.h.
3. T. P. C. Tapper (Maserati) .02s. slower74.89 m.p.h. On their second runs Cummings scored fastest time of the day, the Vauxhall
Villiers roaring away down the halfmile into the murk like a projectile. The time was 22.89 secs.-78.6 m.p.h. This time single rear tyres were used. Ashby with the Ferrari Alfa created immense interest and it is good to see him back at a racing-wheel. One reporter is alleged to have told his paper that Nuvolari was the driver ; he might have been excused had he written Cam pan. Martin retained his second place with Ashby third. Dick Nash on the immaculate Union-Special made another poor start and all day his mind seemed to be more on the care of the clutch thrust race than on the ” get
ready ” lights. The Maserati went off with steaming tyres, Miss Ellison requesting Tapper to raise his little screen before the run. Griffiths produced the ex-R. G. J. Anztati-Nash, attended by Bainton, though it was not in the programme. It had twin rear tyres and made two thunderous runs, though not fast enough to get a place. Griffiths did not lower his goggles until well under way. Unlimited Racing-cars, second runs :
1. B. R. Cummings (Van:dual-Villiers) 22.89s. 78.80 m.p.h., fastest car run of the day.
2. C. E. C. Martin (Alfa-Romeo) 23.44s. 78.92 m.p.h.
3. A. F. Ashby (Alfa-Romeo) 23.82s. 78.27 m.p.h. Hereafter more motor-cycles performed, for the most part well. Sidecar
outfits were placed at 4.5′ to the course on the line and the ” chairmen ” did wonderful evolutions in reaching their ” chairs ” from the pillion when the machines had ceased spinning their wheels. There is no space in which to mention these performances in detail, but ” Ferni’s ” remarkable runs cannot be left unsung. After splendid rides on a 250 c.c. Excelsior and a 996 c.c. BroughSuperior sidecar mount he brought out the hlOwn Brough solo. Two carburetters are bolted to the supercharger, which feeds via an unribbed pipe with no balance chambers. On his first attempt ” Ferni ” had a nasty slide getting away and the big-engined machine misfired to some extent. Then he made a demonstration ride, after trying the starting surface with his foot, and asking the opinion of an R.A.C. scout. This time he got away like lightning and, with his long figure tucked well down, man and machine roared bullet-fashion into the gloom, the war-song of the big twin still punctuated by an occasional misfire. Fernihough had clocked 20 sees. dead,an average of 90 m.p.h. over the standing half-mile. He estbnated his speed over the finish as 150 m.p.h. This augurs well for his forthcoming attempt on the motor-cycle world’s speed record. ” Ferni ” received a great reception on his return, and in a
brief broadcast said he wished the Brighton and Hove M.C. could manage two meetings along the Madeira Drive every year, a hope we heartily endorse, for the weather has been unkind too often, and a meeting in mid-summer, when holiday crowds would be able to attend— and Brighton has ample a_ coinmod ation for them—would be a truly enjoyable fixture. So ended an instructive meeting. It was interesting that the old VauxhallVilliers proved able to beat a cluster of modern road-racing motors. In the sports classes Frazer-Nash, M.G., and Alta upheld their sprint reputations. Cummings’s time beats every one of last year’s runs bar that of Shuttleworth’s AlfaRomeo which averaged 79.41 m.p.h. Last year Fernihough clocked 88.7 m.p.h. and his 90 m.p.h. run this year represents a course record. A match between the Broug,rh and the Vauxhall-Villiers was planned, but after making fastest car time the Vauxhall decided it had had enough and Cummings had started for home before he could be asked if it would condescend to function against Fermihough,
The meeting was well organised. But Brighton is no place to linger in at 7 p.m. on a dismal September evening, and we gladly made use of the luxury offered by the little B.M.W. and rapidly transferred our presence to London town, passing on the way certain mysterious-looking lorries and trailers containing precious racingcars, many of which will not be raced again until 1937.