TRIALS OF THE 200 MILES SIDECAR RACES. By One of the many Non-Finishers.
FRIDAY is here and finds us at the track, carrying out those last-minute adjustments, and alterations, which always take so much longer than was anticipated. Everything seems well together, so we go out for a few laps more to settle things down before leaving for a good night’s rest.
However, a lap or two shows all is not well. The passenger reports a badly-blowing cylinder-head joint. We curse heartily. Surely by this time we can make joints which don’t leak, or is there some other cause ? Off comes the head, and our worst fears are realised : the head is cracked right across one side. We hand it round the shed for inspection, and our helpers express regret, etc.
The other Motor Sport representative in the race, who is struggling blasphemously with the large tanks on his machine, which, of course, will not fit, indulged in an oath which we had not thought of, and went on with his struggle.
Something must be done, so in a few minutes the wires are humming and new parts are being demanded from the works. Yes, it will send by the next train to Euston. We seize a fast car from a fliend who happens to be there, go up to Euston, and wait for the next train, but nothing doing. We learn there is no other train which could bring it before midnight, so home for a meal and back again at midnight. Still nothing doing, so more work on the ‘phone, and we learn after some difficulty that the precious parcel is still reposing peacefully at Wolverhampton Station, and will not be despatched till next day. So we leap into the super-sports Alvis accompanied by our sidecar passenger, and after replenishing ourselves and the car, 2.30 a.m. sees us “stepping on it” for Wolverhampton.
A clear run, in which a rabbit is the only casualty, lands us at Wolverhampton Station soon after 6 a.m. We obtain the precious package, tear it open to see that it is O.K., and guided by an official at the station, obtain a very welcome meal nearby. Then off again to 4′
Brooklands, arriving with a clear two hours before the race. Willing bands get to work on the machine, while we prop up the wall of the shed and give highly unnecessary instructions, and our passenger goes to sleep on the floor. At last all is complete, and the 350 class is lined up ready to start. We have half-an-hour yet to go so we stand by as pushers-off for one of the peashooters.” The flag drops, the pushers push, and the line of blue outfits bursts into the peculiar “tinny roar,” which only a Brooklands official receiver can produce.
On the first lap Hamilton’s Velocette leads a bunch consisting of J. S. Worters (Excelsior), Handley (Rex Acme), C. W. Johnston (Zenith Blackburne) and W. D. Marchant, with the field well spread out already. These keep together in varying order for many laps. Trouble comes early to several riders, Cobbold (Sunbeam) having engine trouble and Glover pushing home with magneto trouble.
It is now time for us to start, and the machines are lined up in three rows which gives the pushers-off in the front row a chance to show their agility, as the fourteen starters set off on their search for trouble.
The third lap sees the redoubtable Freddie out of it with engine trouble after enjoying himself in his own way by establishing a big lead in two laps. The field soon spreads out, and the track appears comparatively empty.
One reason for this soon becomes apparent as we see more and more riders at the side of the track, some working feverishly on their machines, others pushing resignedly home.
After some half-dozen laps, the engine starts to” die,” as we go on to the members banking, so we stop at the beginning of the straight and change the plug, the condition of which indicates that a bigger jet is required.
This is seen to while machines ioar past, and we lose more time while a tappet is adjusted. Then on again to try and make up some lost time. We pass several machines, and notice the evergreen” Pa “Cowley plodding steadily round. All the same, our stop has put us well behind, and we have to pass him more than once before we are on equal terms even. We are telling ourselves we are going well and don’t require to open up any more, when Zip ! and a blue outfit roars past and disappears into the distance Handley
appears to be in a hurry ! We learn afterwards that he had replaced a rocker only to retire later with tyre troubles.
We also see March ant “packed up” on the Railway Straight. The big twins now keep zooming past, but they seem intermittent and few, which is hardly surprising, considering what a wash-out the 1,000 c.c. race was.
Vic ..kinstice does his best to brighten up the proceedings by passing us right on the inside of the home-banking with his sidecar wheel well off the ground, but otherwise things are getting dull. We shall soon be due for our half-time replenishment. The engine should last easily, we think, as we approach the fork, and with so many retirements we should stand a chance of a place. Why, it’s only a matter of keeping on steadily. . . . Click ! —tinkle–tinkle! and we coast into the pits with the clutch out to join the other unfortunates, and to watch Horsman calmly reel off lap after lap with absolute regularity. Anstice may catch him, says someone ; he is certainly going well, but Victor is not worried, and soon the Douglas fails to appear, and Horsman finishes alone. He still hasn’t had enough, so he goes on and annexes the three-hour record. Truly going quickly for a long way is not easy.
A T.T. Echo.
Those who have followed closely the progress of motorcycle design were not quite unprepared for the shock which Pietro Ghersi sprung upon us in the T.T. Lightweight Race. The remarkable performance set up by the Italian crack, during the most exciting T.T. on record, not only shows that riders of other nations possess great skill, but also proves that Continental designers are fully aware of the vast amount of business to be done once the supremacy of British mass machines can be shaken. There is no time to sit down and gaze at past trophies, and if our designs are allowed to stagnate there are others whose efforts to progress are not baffled by silly notions such as hampering sporting events,