IE. R. A. s 1-2-3 P. G. FAIRFIELD’S FINE WIN IN THE NUFFIELD TROPHY. AUSTIN TEAM’S BAD LUCK
” Who will win the Nuffield Trophy ? ” ” An E.R.A., I suppose ” were the question and answer before: the race at Donington Park on June 12th. Nor were the prophets confounded, for E.R.A. cars, driven by P. G. Fairfield, A. C. Dobson, and Raymond Mays, finished in that order in the first three places.
E.R.A. supremacy in the big race, which was confined to cars up to 1Alitres capacity, and run on handicap, was challenged only by the Austins, none of which finished in the end The little cars had already shown their paces through Hadle-y’s success in the 25-Mile Junior Handicap, which opened the meeting. He and Goodacre held the -first two places throughout, and were never seriously threatened, though interest was provided by Percy Maclure’s efforts to come through the field with his Riley. As the last lap started Maelure was fourth, some distance behind Esplen’s R-type M.G. On the final straight approaching Starkey’s corner, however, the Riley got by, to secure third place.
It was unfortunate that in the Nuffield Trophy, which followed, the two ” dark horses” did not start. Powys-Lybbes Grand Prix 11-litre supercharged Talbot had not yet been completed in its process of rejuvenation, and Charlie Dodson ‘s unlucky supercharged Dixon Special had crashed in practice. ” Bira,” away in Florence on that date, had not entered, nor was the twelve-cylinder Conan Doyle Delage in the field. However, six E.R.A.s, four Maseratis., three Austins, two Rileys, an M.G., and the Rapier Special made up .a brave
field of seventeen starters. While the cream of the Maserati forces was engaged at Florence, the presence of Villoresi, de Graffenreid, and Du Puy, with the Maseratis that they drove in the Isle of Man, lent an international air to the contest. The race distance was sixty laps, or 155 miles, and the Austins, driven by Hadley, Goodacre, and Mrs. Petre, received 9 mins, start from the E.R.A.s and Maseratis. This was equivalent to about four and a half laps, Goodacre
taking the lead and setting an average of just over 60 m.p.h. At the start, it may be mentioned, drivers were warned that the course was slippery in places owing to rain which had fallen previously.
The second group, for supercharged ” 1,100’s ” and unsupercharged ” 1,500’s,” had 4 min. 30 sect. start from the scratch cars, but Maclure at once lost some of this advantage through stalling his engine on the line, so that Eccles’s Rapier got away with a good lead. Finally the biggest group, which included R ax mond .11 ays, driving a 14-litre instead of a 1,100 c.c. E.R.A., as in the programme, got away. Fairfield was in front, but Charles Martin darted through at the side from the second rank, causing the starter; ” Ebbv, and the mechanics watching in front of their pits to press tumultuously backwards. Martin it was who led the I -.1-litre cars, driving his green E.R.A. that had won the 1,500 c.c. division at the Aviisrennen. Fairfield followed him closely, with the black ” works ” l R . A., and soon took the lead. Martin fought back, and on one occasion nearly slipped by right on the :apex of Starkey’s corner. But the pres
sure feed to i;lartin’s fuel system began to give trouble, and a rapid pitstop put him out of the running.
Villoresi’s Maserati was outpaced, and in spite of its independent front suspension was suffering bad ” wheel-flap” as the Italian came down to Starkey’s earner. The other Maseratis, too, were soon left behind.
Miss Turner, driving her blown M. G. Midget, progressed steadily till a large lump of grit struck her in the eye. She called at her pit, where a bandage was applied, and she continued. Obviously, however, she was in pain, and eventually the officials displayed the ominous black flag and hurried her off for a doctor’s ministrations.
Meanwhile Goodacre with his overhead valve Austin led the race on distance in fine style, with Mrs; Petre second driving the side-valve model. Hadley had experienced trouble with his filler cak failing to hold pressure, and was more than a lap behind. On several occasions his engine nearly faded out as he came round Starkey’s.
Villoresi, apparently finding the air of Donington oppressive, cast off his helmet as he passed the pits. Then, a few laps later, he came round Starkey’s slowly, and leapt out of his car in great haste, as though a snake were in it. Running to his pit, he began to cast off his clothes—fortunately there seemed to be a great number of layers—while he explained volubly that the supercharger’s relief valve had come out and was lost. Mechanics went out to ptish his car in, and he retired.
At about half distance a series of disasters befell the Austin team. Hadley came in to change his filler cap for a new one and refuel, and then Mrs. Petre, who had not come by in her accustomed place, drew in to the pits and emerged from the car soaked in oil up to the waist I She withdrew with a broken oil-pipe. Shortly afterwards Goodacre, his car still in the lead and going as well as ever, came in to refuel. So far so good, and the car was pushed downhill in reverse gear to restart the engine.
But four huge men continued to push the tiny car, which remained obdurately silent. Having covered a good space, they began to push up the hill, while the wheels locked at intervals owing to the engine’s compression. At last the engine began to fire, and Goodacre shot off. Conscious that he had lost much time, he clapped on all speed, but at Coppice Corner was going too fast. Goodacre hit the bank and finished up among the trees. Fortunately he was not hurt. Just as news of this disaster reached the Austin pit, it was also learnt that Hadley had retired at the hairpin ! The Austin equipe threw up their hands and packed their tools together. This let Maclure into the lead with his Riley, but the horde of E.R.A.s was catching him up rapidly. Fairfield was already in second place with thirtyfive laps ‘covered, and at fortylaps he had taken the lead. A. C. Dobson was third, and. Raymond Mays fourth. The
leading Mascrati, driven by de Graffenreid, was ‘fifth. Martin was lying sixth, and cornering rapidly in an endeavour to regain ground, working his hand pressure pinup furiously. On one lap he turned round at Coppice Corner, but continued. Fit81’ Dobson and then Mays caught Maclure, and thereafter the order was not changed. E.R.A.s were, however, robbed of the team for the Martin-Scribbans-Dobson
team, the only one left intact, lost Seribbans’s car near the finish with a broken piston. RESULTS Junior Handicap (25 miles)
1. II. L. Hadley (744 c.c. Austin, S.), rec. 455., 61.24 m.p.h.
2. C. L. Goodacre (744 c.c. Austin, S.), rec. 458. 60.01 m.p.h. 3. P. Maclure (1,487 c.c. Riley), scratch, 60.39
m.p.h. Nuffield Trophy (155 miles)
1. P. G. Fairfield (1,5ta) c.c. &ILA.) scratch, 65.89 m.p.h.
2. A. C. Dobson (1,486 c.c. E.R.A., S.), scratch, 65.62 nt.p.h. 3. R. Mays (1,600 c.c. E.R.A., S.), scratch, 65.35
I. P. Maclure (1,487 c.c. 11110), rec. 4m. 30s., 62.07 tn.p.h.
5. E. de Graffenried (1,496 c.c. Maserati, S.), s .rateit, 65.05 m.p.h.
Continental notes, September 2004
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