Excellent Sport at the First 1926 Meeting of the Southport Motor Club.

THE Southport Motor Club, that live organisation of the North, opened what promises to be a successful season on January the 9th, with a wellattended race meeting on the Sands. The events attracted some eighty entries and the races, as usual, were run off with punctuality and efficient control.

To a large extent the field comprised local motorists who are known to be very “hot stuff,” and we rather suspect that many well-known drivers think twice before trying conclusions with the boys of Southport, favoured as they are with unlimited opportunities for practising on the r natural “motordrome.”

The racing began at 11.0 a.m., but long before that hour the beach was alive with competitors busily engaged in testing their machines in readiness for the contests ; and, though the town was far from full, a good concourse of spectators gathered to witness the sport.

The sands were in fairly good condition, though a trifle wet in places, the latter condition adding to the excitement of cornering during the long distance races, the wonderful work of some of the riders being quite the feature of the meeting. Unfortunately, no timing arrangements had been made, but the Club intends to use electrical timing for all future speed trials.

Seven starters lined up for Class I, a straight mile race for 350 c.c. solos, the entries including H. F. Brockbank, with his curious looking and low built “Brock.” J. H. Stevens (A. J.S.) quickly took the lead, but was heard to cut out before reaching the finishing line, apparently due to plug trouble. This permitted Handley (Rex-Acme) and M. E. Davenport to pass him on the post.

True Sportsmanship.

The complexion of the race might have been altered, but for I,. Hawthorne’s failure to start on his New Gerrard, and, on learning his misfortune, Handley very gallantly offered to give him a race privately, and to abide by the result in its effect upon the 350 c.c. race. This sporting offer was greatly appreciated by the

whole meeting and in the match Hawthorne’s New Gerrard won easily, but, at the time of writing, we have not learned the official view of the proceeding in relation to the rules of the meeting. Whatever the result may be, the incident will long be remembered as worthy of the highest interpretation of “Sportsmanship.”

The second race (Class II) was for novices, mounted on 350 c.c. solos over a mile straight course and resulted in a dead heat between Davenport (A. J.S.) and Cooke (Dot). In the same race Hudson on a Montgomery had a very bad skid, owing to his front mudguard coming adrift, but, fortunately, he escaped without injury. Dempsey on a Cotton, gained the second place. Searle (Norton) won the Class HI race for the 500 c.c. general classification, with Hawthorne (New Gerrard) and Patchett (McEvoy) second and third respectively.

Davenport scored another success with his two-post J.A.P.-engined A. J.S., Lt. H. G. Dobbs, the winner of last year’s Amateur T.T. coming in second in the 500 c.c. solo race for novices. The 750 c.c. solo race, general classification, fell• to Searle (Norton) ; Hawthorne (New Gerrard) being a close second, and Patchett (McEvoy) third.

A Narrow Escape.

Soon after the flag had fallen for the 750 c.c. novices solo race, E. Cussins (0.F,.C.) got into a bad wobble and collided with C. E. Worthington (H.R.D.), both riders becoming badly entangled as they fell. Cussins sustained a few cuts and an oil pipe was broken on the H.R.D., but otherwise both riders escaped from what looked like being a nasty mess. Davenport again walked away with the race on his A. J.S., a Norton ridden by H. Matthews coming in second.

The next two races were for unlimited solos, Class VII for general and Class VIII for novices, the first being won by Baragwanath (Brough-Superior) and the second race by Morton on a similar mount.

The Twenty-five Mile Races.

The three races for the 350 c.c., the 250 c.c. and the unlimited solo machines were run off as a single event

which, though spectacular, was somewhat difficult to follow. T. Simister (Norton) gained an early lead, riding with much skill and judgment, always hotly pursued by the irrepressible T. Spann, who, as usual, indulged in hair-raising stunts on the corners. Handley (Rex-Acme) led the 350 c.c. bunch for some time, but eventually lost his position to Pearce (Dot). Holding (Toreador) stopped in the second lap and Whiston (A. J .S.) collided with another rider early in the race. In the long races both for solo and sidecars Patchett did some excellent cornering on his McEvoy and the duel between T. Spann (Sunbeam) and Gardner (Norton), after continuing for several laps, was interrupted by the former falling off at one of the comers. He was quickly going again and soon resumed his position, but had

difficulty in maintaining his best form owing to a punctured front tyre. Patchett had plug trouble and a chain came adrift on Hughes’ A. J.S.

The race was most interesting and exciting to watch, especially as it seemed that anything might happen, the issue being a matter of conjecture until the line was actually crossed.

The results were as follows : 350 c.c. Class, 1. Pearce (Dot) ; 2. Empsall (Velocette) ; 3. Whiston (A. J.S.). 500 c.c. Class, 1. Gardner (Norton), 2. Spann (Sunbeam) ; 3. Barker (Sunbeam). Unlimited, 1. Gardner (Norton) ; 2. Spann (Sunbeam) ; 3. Barker (Sunbeam).

Miss N. Cunliffe Wins Car Race,

The standing kilometre for four-seater touring cars up to 3,000 c.c. was won by Miss N Ciinliffe, who got

away well with her smart looking Bentley ; C. R. W. Jackson (Sunbeam) being second and Mrs. Pemberton (Prazer-Nash) third.

Two Morgans, a Frazer-Nash and a Salmson lined up for the first straight mile race, Carr’s Morgan being left at the post, but the other driven by J. M. Bullough showing a clean rear wheel to the other competitors and running home a fairly comfortable first.

B. F. Mucklow (Frazer-Nash) had his own back by beating the other Morgan, which ran third to Higgins’ Salmson in the Novices’ race.

The 1,500 c.c. General Race.

B. H. Davenport proceeded to demonstrate the meaning of the word ” acceleration ” on getting away with

his Frazer-Nash ” Spider” in the 1,500 c.c. General Race, which he won quite easily from J. M. Bullough and D. Higgin on a Morgan and a Sahnson respectively. The ” Spider ” is certainly an ideal machine for sprint work and proved a formidable rival for acceleration to Major Segrave’s 2-litre Sunbeam, until the latter got into its stride in subsequent races.

The 1,500 c.c. Novices’ Race.

In this race A. J. Bamaby drove his little red Salmson to victory with the Frazer-Nash driven by B. L. Mucklow running to second place, both drivers exerting every effort in extracting the last ounce of power from their machines.

A. J Barnaby also won the 2,000 c.c. Novices’ race on the Salmson besides being placed in other events.

With the exception of the Unlimited General for Novices, won by E. L. 11/Leeson, on his Vauxhall, all the races fell to Major Segrave; who delighted the spectators with his speed and gear changing. His corner work was accomplished in characteristic style, though in the long distance race his skill was closely emulated by R. V. Fontes, whose cornering on a sports Alvis attracted universal admiration. As near as one could judge by stop-watch, Major Segrave’s speed was in the neighbourhood of 120 miles per hour, which was exceptionally good considering the nature of the sand. In the long race he had C. Needham, the well-known motor-cyclist, as his passenger.

Patchett’s Magnificent Ride.

The Ten Mile Sidecar Race included two classes, i.e., the 600 c.c. and the unlimited, and an excellent race ensued. The performance of Patchett on the McEvoy sidecar was an outstanding feature of the whole meeting and on every lap he brought his machine round the flags at a very high speed and with mathematical precision. He certainly deserved to win, but, of course, his machine

could not hope to cope with the ” beef ” of Baragwanath’s Brough, or of Hudson’s Montgomery, who were first and second. The 600 c.c. class was won by Talbot on a Dunelt with Lord (Sunbeam) second and Reynard (Royal Enfield) third.

Club Dinner and Dance.

In the evening the Southport Motor Club held its annual dinner and dance at the Royal Hotel where the prizes were presented by the Mayor. Mr. Loughborough, of the A.C.U., made an interesting speech, touching upon the question of ” dope ” fuel in the T.T. races, and the evening passed off most enjoyably for all present.

Mr. Halsall, the energetic and popular secretary of the Club, was presented with a Silver Tea Set as a mark of appreciation for his untiring services in promoting the interests of the Club, which is certainly an example in every detail of organisation.