Success for ingenious JCC

The caption relating to the lead picture with my discourse on small French sportscars last month was of the 1925 JCC High Speed Trial, not the 1926 Production Car Race, which prompts me to recall this happy event, when amateurs could compete against works cars, another idea of the Junior CC. The cars were allowed to run stripped and the tuning rules were lenient, but otherwise they were sportscars, and had to carry ballast equal to one, two or three passengers, in the 750, 1100 and 1500cc classes. The course was that of the 1925 ‘200’, which involved two hairpins, one in the finishing-straight, the other round the Fork, at Brooklands. The duration was three hours.

The entry contained three Brooklands-model A7s and four 12/50 Alvises, C M Harvey driving the works beetle-back, the others being ducks-back two-seaters. They were opposed by an OM, two Lea-Francis, Aldy’s Frazer Nash, an Ansaldo and Randall’s four-seater side-valve Aston-Martin.

Of the 1100s, Vernon Balls’ latest low-chassis Amilcar was up against five twin-cam Salmsons with Jack Dunfee, Dr J Benjafield and George Newman among their drivers.

The 1.1/2-litre cars accelerated rather slowly out of the corners due to carrying 3961bs of ballast, but Harvey’s Alvis was the quickest Harvey and Norris in a Lea-Francis led at first, with the Frazer Nash well up, and passing went on, even in the bends.

The first pitstop was by Oates, who retired the OM with a blown gasket. Then on lap two, Arthur Waite was in, the works A7 misfiring. He went on, then changed the magneto, a total loss of 25 minutes. Green’s Alvis ran a big-end and McDonald stopped because a ring had hurt his finger (the oddest pitstop reason ever?) before the engine of the Alvis blew up. Three out in eight laps.

The spectators had more pitwork to watch, but Harvey with a lead of almost four laps was the obvious winner — until he came in with a broken valve spring. This let Hazlehurst’s Salmson close up, although its slim tyres had hampered it on the hairpins against Balls’ better-shod Amilcar.

Now the long race became exciting, as Harvey spluttered round and the Salmson closed right up on the Alvis, which had had another stop. The Aston-Martin broke a valve, and as the finish maroon boomed (the 1907 semaphore signal having started this ingenious race) it was Hazlehurst’s Salmson which won, at 62.9mph, two laps ahead of Bagshawe’s Frazer Nash and Balls’ Amilcar. Harvey was fifth, behind a Salmson.

The JCC did it again in 1927, as the four-hour Sporting Car Race, when Harvey got his revenge, his ‘beetle-back’ 12/50 Alvis winning, at 63.2mph.