THE IRISH GRAND PRIX
ONCE more we have to congratulate the M.G. Car Company for the fine performance put up by their cars. Following on the speeds achieved by the latest 750 c.c. model in the DoubleTwelve, a victory in the first day’s race was by no means unexpected, but their winning of the Irish Grand Prix, for the best performance on handicap throughout the two days, was rather more of a surprise, and the Earl of March, who entered the winning car, and Norman Black, who drove it so successfully, have every reason to feel pleased with life.
The team prize went to the same make, this time to the team entered by Major A. T. Gardner, who is one of the most consistent supporters of this event and a real enthusiast for the sport, whose success is deservedly popular.
The Rileys put up a very impressive performance, and, although not quite able to overcome their handicap against the smaller cars attracted general admiration for the consistent performance of their team of Sir Malcolm Campbell, C. R. Whitcroft, and W. P. Noble, and also for Gillow’s wild, but valiant effort to repeat his last year’s victory.
A. Frazer-Nash’s performance of averaging over 69 m.p.h. in. the supercharged Austin will long be remembered, while A. C. Taylor’s fine run from scratch in his 1,500 c.c. Alfa-Romeo added to the interest of the race.
Hopes of fine weather for the race faded entirely on the day, and drivers and spectators alike prepared themselves for an uncomfortable though exciting afternoon.
Non-starters included Sir Henry Birkin’s new Alfa, Outlaw’s Maserati, which was withdrawn after the discovery of a crack in the chassis frame, and Staraland’s M.G. The fall of the flag at 3 p.m. sent 26 cars into the fray, and, it soon became evident that the wet roads were not going to cut down cornering speeds, and within a few minutes there was some lurid work at Mouutjoy Corner.
Noble (Riley) took the corner once almost broadside on, while Ferranti (Austin) and Gillow (Riley) took to the grass to get round. The early stages of the race produced a lively scrap between the scratch cars, Delaney’s Lea-Francis and A. C. Taylor’s Alfa-Romeo, with the Lea-Francis drawing gradually ahead. The Rileys were going well except Outlaw and Maclachlan, who made early calls at the pits, but the latter got away soon. Victor Gillow appeared to be driving with his usual dash and by very fast cornering was drawing ahead of his team mates.
The smaller cars with their big handicap were not, of course, ready to appear in the picture, and public interest centred as usual on the cars which were actually fastest, and the Alfa—” Leaf” contest became more marked as the former drew up closer once more to its rival. With close on half-an-hour of the race past, Outlaw’s Riley was the only car at the pits, where he appeared to be remaining until further notice, his trouble being in the valve gear, and causing his retirement. Although the wet conditions were making things none too pleasant for the drivers the course was in really first class con
dition and, nowhere in the least treacherous.
Gillow’s driving was proving every bit as lurid, as last year when he won the first day’s event on a Riley, and more than. once he took to the grass on the corners in his efforts to disregard the weather and wipe out his handicap.
The first M.G. to call at the pits was the 850 c.c. model of the older type driven by Deering Jackson, who retired with a broken valve.
Timing of the cars showed that Delaney’s Lea-Francis was lapping in 3m.. 20s. (76.7 m.p.h.), while the Alfa was only 2 seconds slower. Whitcroft’s speed was 75.6 m.p.h., while Gillow actually managed a lap in 3m. 17s. (77.8 m.p.h.). Among the small cars Frazer-Nash was turning the wick up effectively and lapping at 70.7 m.p.h. The M.G.s were running very nicely but it looked, as if they might have a stiff job to hold their handicap lead from the” blown” A.ustin,s.
The scrap between Delaney and Taylor was closer than ever, and after nearly an. hour’s running they were only a yard, or so apart with the Lea-Francis still just in front. At Mountjoy Ferranti’s Austin shed a front wheel which came to rest in the crowd, without damage. It was duly retrieved and refitted, and, the car proceeded. He came into the pits shortly afterwards and proceeded to change the wheel as a precaution. He used, a wooden axle stand for a jack and lifted the car onto it,—another advantage of a lie was apparently having a little bother
with the front brake on this wheel and spent some time adjusting it, and finally retired with a broken hub.
The race was now developing into a battle on handicap between the Rileys and. M.G.’s, with Frazer-Nash’s Austin following hard, on their heels. Victor Gillow was leading the Riley contingent, though he overshot Mountjoy corner and lost a portion of his lead from Whitcroft. Noble was close behind Whitcroft with Sir Malcolm Campbell a rather greater distance behind. Noble. Norman Black, R. T. Horton and Dan Higgin, were leading the M.G.’s by a very small margin. Increased interest in the scratch cars was now occasioned by the fact that the Alfa, after drawing level for several laps, gained a definite lead of about 100 yards, and it became evident that the pace had, been more than the I,ea-Francis could stand, and Delaney had to pull into the pits with supercharger trouble, which delayed him too long to
have a chance of finishing well, but his had been a very fine effort. With nearly half the race over a better idea of the likely winners was possible, the order at 30 laps being as follows :
1st, Victor Gillow (Riley).
2nd. R. T. Horton (M.G.).
3rd. Norman Black (.MG.).
Gillow was only holding his lead by the most desperate driving and it hardly seemed possible that he could last the race without a crash. His engine spat flame momentarily at the corners, as did some of the other Riley’s, but apparently without harm, but his driving seemed to get wilder, and he was using the brakes to their absolute limit. He overshot Mountjoy corner more than once completely, and at Gough did some terrific skids, on one occasion coming to regron the path after the corner, with the tail of the car only inches from the barrier.
His efforts finally proved too much for his sorely tried engine, and he slowed with bad, misfiring, finally to retire with valve trouble. Hard luck after such a plucky effort!
Gillow’s retirement let the M.G.’s firmly into the picture and after 40 laps the order was :
1st. Norman Black (M.G.).
2nd. R. T. Horton (M.G.).
3rd. H. D. Parker (M.G.).
Cooke’s Austin had, developed dutch slip and, could hardly get away from Gough corner, but Frazer-Nash on another Austin was still going magnificently.
Widengren’s Maserati appeared to have developed some rather intricate leak in the water system, for he came round each lap with clouds of steam belching from the exhaust manifold. At 50 laps the order of the first three was unchanged, but Black had increased his lead, and M.G.s now held the first five places. Whitcroft was driving a splendid race and his cornering was very fast, but always accurate and, steady. He was lying sixth after 50 laps but was only 4 seconds on handicap behind the fifth
man (Dan 1 iggin.)-aucl-30-seciands behind Major Gardner who was 4th at this point.
At 60 laps Parker had taken second place from R. T. Horton, but there was no chance of anything but an M.G. win.
The fate of the team prize was far less certain, however, and lay between Gardner’s M.G. team consisting of himself, Horton and R. R. Jackson, and the official Riley trio.
Whitcroft and Noble were doggedly pursuing the M.G.s, but Sir Malcolm Campbell’s car was not going so happily and had lost a few hundred revs., though still running perfectly consistently. Proof of the state to which the latest Riley engine has been brought is to be found in the fact that they were running continuously at 6,000 r.p.m.., for the whole race.
Urgent signs to the two leading teams to do all they knew, produced a great spurt at the end and R. R. Jackson while endeavouring to catch up the rest of his team had an anxious moment at Gough corner when he went into it close behind W. Kehoe (M.G.), who skidded round in. front of him and drifted bodily sideways towards the barrier and stopped broadside on with the tail on the raised path which runs alongside the corner. Jackson, however, took neatly to the path, shot behind the stationary car, careered along the path and then drove down the grass bank into the road.
Competitors rounding rounding Mountjoy corner. Above is seen Sir H. Birkin, in the centre is Earl Howe’s Mere. and below-Davis (Mercedes) leading Esplen s Talbot.
The Rileys made a great effort and. Whitcroft and Noble pulled up to 4th and 5th places respectively at the finish. Norman Black got himself and his car half drowned by a shower of spray from
another car and some found its way into the ignition system and for a few minutes he missed badly. It soon cleared, however, and he came home a winner of the first day’s event at 64.76 m.p.h., a very fine performance for such a small engine under such wretched weather conditions. Results of the first day’s race for the Saorstat Cup were as follows :
I. M.G. Midget, Norman Black, 3h. 21m. 20s. (64.76 m.p.h.).
2. M.G. Midget, It. T. Horton, 31i. 24m. 5s. (63.88 m.p.h.).
3. M.G. Midget, A. T. G. Gardner, 3h. 24m. 15s. (63.83 m.p.h.).
4. Riley, C. R. Whitcroft, 3h. 25m. 55s. (74.49 m.p.h.).
5. Riley, W. P. Noble, 3h. 25m. 57s. (74.48 m.p.h.).
6. M.G. Midget, H. D. Parker, 3h. 26m. us. (63.23 m.p.h.).
7. M.G. Midget, Dan Higgin, 3h. 26m. 38s. (63.10 m.p.h.).
8. Austin, A. Frazer Nash, 3h. 29m. 13s. (69.61 m.p.h.).
9. Riley, Sir M. Campbell, 3h. 29m. 20s. (73.27 m.p.h.).
10. M.G. Midget, R. R. Jackson, 3h. 32m. 9s. (61.45 m.p.h.).
11. Alfa-Romeo, A. C. Taylor, 3h. 37m. 22s. (75.27 m.p.h.). 12. M.G. Midget, F. S. Barnes, M. G. Midget, W. Kehoe, 313.. 38m. 27s. (59.68
14. Austin, Leon Cushman, 3h. 40m. 40s. (66.03 m.p.h.).
15. M.G. Midget, R. Watney, 313. 41m. 54s. (58.75 m.p.h.).
The team prize went to Major Gardn.er’s team, as the Riley hopes were rather spoiled by the fact that Campbell mistook the number of laps and came in a lap too soon, and lost time before proceeding. Team Results and aggregate times : I, Major A. T. G. Gardner’s M.G. Midget team, 10h. 20m. 29s. (A. T. G. Gardner, R. T. Horton and R. R. Jackson.) 2. Mr. Victor Riley’s Riley team, 10h. 21m. 12s. (Sir M. Campbell, C. R. Whitcroft and W. P. Noble.)
3. The Earl of March’s M.G. Midget team, 10h. 291n. 25s. (H. D. Parker, N. Black and R. Watney).