FASTEST RELAY RACE EVER WON BY AUSTIN TEAM
ONLY TEN TEAMS IN THE FIELD. M.G. SECOND AND FRAZER-NASH THIRD
The Relay Race at Btooklands, originated by the Light Car Club in 1932, is a really excellent institution, because it enables amateur drivers to run in a classic contest at reasonable expense, costs being distributed over a team, and with more chance of finishing than if the cars ran as lone hands. The outercircuit alone is used, which allows much interesting work to be done by a stopwatch-equipped spectator, while to us the race always has had about it something of the atmosphere of those pre-1925 200-Mile Races, and an especial fascination in consequence. In. more palmy days the Light Car Club has had thirty teams in the field, but of recent years interest has flagged. Last year cars of over 1,500 c.c. were permitted for the first time, but support from the “heavy metal” was almost negligible. This year “
Jackie” Masters took over the organisatiOn and the race had a place in the International Calendar, but only ten teams materialised. The only apparent reason for this lack of support is the difficulty of drawing up teams of three cars that will be likely to each last the thirty laps, and owned by people who will work together as a team during practice and in the race. So far a one-make team has always proved successful–Wolseley in 1932, M.G., in 1933, Austin in 1934, Singer in 1935, Aston-Martin in 1936, and Austin this time—and the highest race average, prior to this year, was made also by a one-make team, Morgan, in 1934. The rules of the race make things very difficult for a mixed team whose ” A ” or ” B ” cars are singly or jointly =reliable and as the race is primarily for ordinary owners of fairly normal motors the pit-falls that face would-be team entrants can be easily understood.
Nevertheless, we congratulate Mr. Masters on this year’s efforts and sincerely hope that the L.C.C. will run the race again next season. Incidentally the club holds a supper for officials on the Monday preceding the race and provides free refreshment on the day, a splendid scheme, only marred by the lack of response amongst actual members of the organising body.
As if in compensation for the diminished entry, all ten teams started on June 26th.
The works Austin team was on scratch, Hadley and Goodacre driving the o.h.v. cars, Mrs. Petre the side-valve ” C” car of the team. Fifteen-and-a-half minute’s before C. M. Anthony’s AstonMartin team was due away, led by Anthony’s 2-litre, with M. H. Morris Goodall’s I 1-litre, just back from winning the Biennial Cup at Le Mans, as ” B “
car and A. Bevan’s 11-litre as ” C ” car. One-and-a-half minutes previously B. G. Brettell’s ” A ” car left, in the form of J. G. Fry’s” H.M. Bentley conversion” 4&-litre Bentley, carrying a passenger. The ” B ” car was Gladstone’s 41-litre Bentley and the ” C” car R. Massey’s 1,087 c.c. M.G. Six minutes earlier P. A. Richards’s team would be released, his ” A” car being E. Winterbottom’s ‘f-type stripped M.G. Midget and the others T-type M.G.s, driven by himself and E. G. Mobbs. Five minutes had expired since N. A. Berry left in his 11-litre Frazer-Nash, with Miss P. McOstrich’s 11-litre Frazer-Nash and Don ..Aldington, replacing A. Marshall, on a 11-litre Frazer-Nash in the team. The other Frazer-Nash team, composed of J. 0. C. Samuel’s ” six,” running =blown this time, G. D. Claridge’s o.h.c. 11-litre “four,” and Alan Whiddington’s 1.6litre “six,” Marcus Chambers tuned, started two minutes before. Two minutes before that F. A. Thatcher’s blue M.G. Magnette, of Haesendon.ck’s M.G. team. left, the other cars being the Haes=donck brothers’ 939 c.c. M.G. Midgets. Twoand-a-half minutes earlier the ” A ” car of Chaplin’s team would be off— E. H. Sharp’s four-seater if AstonMartin, the B ” car being Macdonald’s
stripped Wolseley-Hornet and the ” C ” car Chaplin’s own, famous, yellow blown Ulster Austin, which laps at over eighty and. comes out of hiding each year for the
Relay. V. H. Tuson, first of the Fiat Balilla team, left three-andA.-half minutes before and H. B. Shaw, of Powell’s team, was limit man in the British-Sahnson four-seater, ” B ” car being Powell’s own 847 c.c. M.G. and ” C” car B. K. Smith’s 847 c.c. M.G. Shaw set off well, the British-Sahnson discarding its fuel filler cap at the Pork after a tithe. After five laps Berry brought his o.h.e. T.T. replica Frazer-Nash in and retired on account of mis-firing, leaving Miss McOstrich fifty-five laps to do. The plugs had been changed on the line. After twelve laps Sharp’s Aston-Martin put a rod through the crankcase and Macdonald’s Wolseley resumed for the team and after the same number of laps Tuson Caine in with the Fiat’s rear near-side tyre fiat and effected a smart wheel change. Anthony’s AstonMartin was going nicely, after a last minute plug change on the line and a wheel-spinning get-away, but Samuel’s Frazer-Nash, the front springs of which were carefully oiled by a mechanic before the start, did not seem too happy and after twenty laps it retired because the rear off-side tyre had flung a tread and was in ribbons. The car limped in smelling of burning rubber and two jacks had to be used before the wheel could be changed and the car pushed away. Samuel was going very fast at the time of the burst and the mudguard tip showed evidence of the tyre’s fury. Shaw’s Sahnson was the first ” A” car to do its thirty laps and Tuson’s Fiat the second to cover its required distance safely. Fry’s big Bentley thundered round for twenty laps and then retired with a missing big-end. Winterbottom’s M.G. gaily waved a length of bonnet-strap and MorrisGoodall’s Aston-Martin, taking over after Anthony had done his thirty laps, a good deal of tonneau-cover. Hadley got the scratch Austin away fast, doing the standing lap at 98.6 m.p.h., and settled down to a lap speed of around 115 m.p.h., so that one’s admiration for these wonderful little cars grew and grew. The steadiness of the Austin as it crossed the Fork was most notable. The weather, in spite of the pessimists who associate the Relay with torrential rain, not unjustifiably, was warm and rather overcast. Powell’s M.G. did its thirty laps as ” B ” car for the Shaw-Powell-Smith team and at seventy-two laps this team ltd. The Fiat flatilla team, returning laps at 80 m.p.h., was second after sixty laps, with Haesendonck’s M.C.s third and Samuel’s Frazer-Nash team fourth. Powell had just completed his thirty laps when the off-side rear tyre deflated, the pit congratulating him on his luck, and Andrews’s Fiat Balilla made very serious-sounding noises and came in
on its twenty-sixth lap. Andrews was for investigating. but Westwood demanded the sash and carried on, Andrews eventually tracing the bother to propellershaft vii ration. Then Westwood came in for carburetter adjustments and Haesendonck moved to second place. In the meantime Hadley’s Austin had come in one lap early, for no apparent reason, after a magnificent drive, and Goodaere had taken up the chase, some 2 secs. a lap slower, to come in also a lap earlier, releasing Mrs. Petre. Kay Petre showed real agility in running to the ” C” car, which had been pushed to the end of the relay paddock. She lapped at approximately 95 m.p.h., occasionally lifting her foot which resulted in a change of engine note that excited the uninitiated. At sixty laps she was fifth, at seventy laps second and after eighty laps she led the race for the Austin team, thereafter being flagged to run slower and slower. In Powell’s pit anxiety reigned for a while, when Smith cafue in with the sump-plug missing from his M.G. Smith rested in the passenger’s seat while mechanics added more Castrol after replacing the plug, checked the level with the dip-Stick rather more rapidly than they do it at the best service :stations, and shut the oil-sprayed bonnet. Thereafter the pit equipe became happier as Smith maintained a lap at just above 60 m.p.h. worried by acute clutch-slip, which led to a debate in the pits as to whether it was caused by oil or by bearing trouble. Of the others, MorrisGoodall’s fatuous Aston-Martin vanished after four laps with a split valve cap and Bevan carried on. Gladstone found his Bentley’s engine weakening after ten laps and Massey’s M.G. took over, until it retired after thirteen laps with a run big-end. P. A. Richards’s ‘F-type M.G. team seemed to be doing well, bath ” A ” and ” B ” cars doing their thirty laps, but 3.rfobbs’s car disbanded all hope by running a big-end after nine laps. Miss McOstrich’s Frazer-Nash came in for a change of plugs, limped away, and retired after thirty laps, when she had fifty-five to do, arriving at the pits on foot to hand in her sash. Whiddington’s Frazer-Nash took over from Claridge and lapped regularly to get third place for Samuel’s team, behind the winning Austins and Haesendonck’s M.G .s. macdonald’s elderly Wolseley-Homet, carrying a passenger, had visited Chaplin’s pit several times, and retired after fortyone of its forty-eight required laps boiling like a kettle, with low oil-pressure and clutch trouble. That irrepressible enthusiast George Chaplin, in Austin overalls and that immense yellow crashhat that nearly matches the hue of his Austin, cheerily -set off on the remaining forty-nine laps. Unfortunately clutchslip developed and Chaplin removed various bits of the Austin to attack the trouble, working calmly and .systematirally. He eventually resumed but had three laps to do when flagged in. So ended the 1937 Relay Race, with only half-a-dozen cars in action at one time
near the finish. Chief Marshal EasonGibson flagged in Mrs. Petre, who was sent round again on another lap to make sure of it. The magnificent little Austins averaged 105.63 m.p.h. from scratch, the fastest Relay average yet.
Haesendonck’s team of two PB. Midgets and a T.T. bodied M.G. Magnette was second with a combined average of 85.87 m.p.h. and Samuel’s Frazer-Nash team was third at 83.14 m.p.h. Tuson’s That Balillas were next, then Powell’s British Salinson M.G. team, followed by Anthony’s Aston-Martins and Berry’s Frazer-Nashes, an oil-spattered Don Aldington having kept going for fifty-five laps for the last-named team, in spite of a queer exhaust note and some worry over dropping oil-pressure. Chaplin was still running and only Richards’s T-type M.G. team and Gordon Brettell’s Bentley-M.G. team had retired. Lord Austin took the M.G. Challenge Trophy and Lord .Nuffield’s prize of 100, Haeseudonck’s M.G. team the Wakefield Cup, Tuson’s Fiat team the Duke of Richmond and Gordon’s trophy, D. Powell Denton. and Down’s trophy and Lord Austin -The Light Car” Challenge Cup. There are all sorts of prizes for the Relay Race, and Powell gained souvenirs for his drivers because his team was the first to run to schedule. The blue H.R.G. course-car driven by
E. A. Halford came home, “Jackie ” Masters brought ” Ebby “to the Paddock in his Austin, and Mrs. Petre emerged from the Club House, in a frock, carrying a huge, blue hat-box, and drove away with Major Petre in a V8 Ford-and the Light Car Club started discussing what is to happen next year. We hope they will run the race again, and that better entries will ensue. Also that the Morgan threewheelers will return, for this used to be a chance for those who only attend car races to see these remarkable twoinners at work at well over 100 m.p.h. Incidentally, the o.h-.v. Austins now seem ripe for an attack on Class H long distance records, which we should not be surprised to. see before the season closes, while after the race rumour was busy with tales of a 4-litre pukka Austin Grand Prix car to be . . •
Drivers wore the following head protectors: bare-headed, goggles, Macdonald, Smith, Powell, Claridge ; helmet and goggles, Massey, Hadley, Whiddington, Goodacre, Mrs. Petre, Don Aldington crash hat and goggles, 3/1.obbs; Tuson, crash hat and visor : Chaplin, helmet and visor ; Thatcher, beret: and i.gogples E. J. Haesendonck-all good for Uncle Lewis ! After the race much good work and
hearty was in progress in the Paddock as the “racing ” cars resumed wings and lamps, and two of the ‘F-type M.G.s were towed away behind the EmerysonSpet ial and a Rover saloon respectively. An excellent afternoon’s racing.
RESULTS Distance : 90 laps, about 250 miles
: 1. Lord Austin’s team of Austin Sevens..(single seaters): H. L. Hadley (o.h.c.)„ G L. Goodaere
(o.h.c.), and Mrs. K. Petre (s.v.). 3h. lm. 568.
2. E. J. Hacsendonck’s team of .31.G.s : F. A. Thatcher (1,287 c.c. M.G.), B. C. Haesendonck (939 c.c. M.G.). and E. j. Haesendmick (939 .c.c. M.G.), $h. 5m. 558. 85.87 m.p.h., 32m. Start. 3. J. 0. C. Samuel’s team of Frazer-Nestles:
L 0. C. Samuel (1,057 c.(%), G. D. Claridge (1,496 c.c.), and A. S. Whiddington (1.657 c.c.). 3h. 10m. 15s. 83.14 m.p.h. 30m. start. 4. V. H. Tuson’s team of Balilla Flats: (995 c.c.) :
V. H. Tuson, B.. Y. .Andrews, and A. C. Westwood. 3h. 15m. 10s. 77.03 m.p.h. 38s. start.
5. D. Powell’s mixed team 11. B. Shaw (1,470 c.c. British-Salm-son). D. Powell (847 c.c.
and B. K.. Smith (847 c.o. M.G.). Sh. 20m. 23s. 74.75 m.p.h. 40m. 30s. start.
6. C. M. Anthony’s team of Aston-Martins : C. M. Anthony (1,949 c.c.), M. H. Morris-Goodall (1,494 cc.), and H. &van (1,494 c.c.). 3h. 24m. 15s. 83.35 m.p.h. 15m. 30s. start.
7. N. A. Berry’s teem of 1,496 c.c. Frazer-Noshes: N. A. Berry, Miss P. 21/1e0strich, and Donald Aldington. 3h. 28m. 15s. 76.33 m.p.h. 28m. start.
Still Running at the End : G. H. R. Chaplin’s mixed team : E. H. Sharp (1,494 c.c. Aston-Martin), I. N. B. Macdonald. (1,316 c.c. Wolscley-Hornet), am! G. H. It. Chaplin (Supercharged Austin 747 e.e.). Team covered 87 out of 00 laps. Retired :
P. A. Richards’s team of 1,292 c.c. : B. Winterbot tom, P. .1. Richards and B. G. Mobbs.
B. Gordo’, !sot t cl ‘s IniNed team : J. (1. Fry (41-litre BenticY). P..1. Gladstone (41-litre Bentley), and It. C. N. Massey (1,087 c.c. M.G.).