THE LONDON GRAND PRIX
” BIRA ” AGAIN VICTORIOUS WITH THE E.R.A. SPLENDID DRIVING BY ABECASSIS (ALTA) AND ARTHUR DOBSON (E.R.A.). MRS. LACE WINS THE LADIES’ RACE WITH AN ALTA.
THE London Grand Prix meeting at the Crystal Palace circuit attracted quite considerable crowds of spectators, and resulted in some good racing. Practice had been marred by the unfortunate accident to Count Johnny Lurani, who injured himself rather badly when his Maserati somersaulted off the road. Both Mine. Itier and Mrs. Wisdom had gyrated at Stadium Dip without damage to their cars or persons. Very unlucky was poor Wakefield, for in warming up the E.R.A. for the first heat the oil tank split and could not be repaired in time for the car
to run. Lurani’s Maserati, the fourcylinder 11-litre job, was looking none the worse for its crash and was in the care of W. G. Everitt. The little left-hand drive Simca-Fiat had a most healthy exhaust note ; one noticed the lamp leads still in position, wired to the stays.
Major Gardner drove round the course in his palatial Lagonda saloon and Harry Edwards in his very smart Triumph Dolomite, and all was set for the first heat, over 10 laps, or 20 miles, on the class handicap basis allowing 1,100 c.c. cars 70 secs. start, 21-litres 10 secs., with the big stuff as scratch. In the front row were Caddon-Fletcher with Parnell ‘s M.G., Mine. Itier’s Simca-Fiat, Nichols’s M.G. and Stuart-Wilton’s M.G. Behind were ” Bira’s ” Zoller-blown E.R.A., Maclure’s Riley, Brooke’s Brooke-Special, Hanson’s Maserati and, in solitary state at the rear, Gerard’s blue sports-type 8-litre six-cylinder Delage. Overhead, the old banner-trailing Avro stood nearly stationary in the stiff breeze. Brooke’s BrookeSpecial needed vigorous push-starting. As the flag fell Nichols beat the Fiat and Wilton’s M.G. away, and in the second group Maclure actually pipped ” Bira ” and Hanson on initial acceleration.
After one lap the order was CuddonFletcher (M.G.), Wilton (M.G.), Nichols (M.G.), Mine. Itier (Fiat), ” Bira ” (E.R.A.), Maclure (Riley), Hanson (Maserati), Brooke (Brooke-Special), and Gerard (Delage). It was obvious, from the way Maclure was hailed by the onlookers throughout the afternoon, that he is the idol of the Palace spectators, and that the Great British Public appreciates his fine achievements with six unblown pots.
On the second lap Wilton was closer to the leading M.G., and by lap 3″ Bira ” was in fourth place, with Maclure fifth. Hanson drew in to motor slowly round Stadium Dip. The leading M.G.s kept a usefully big lead until lap 5, when ” Bira ” was right on Wilton’s tail at Stadium Dip and passed on Stadium Curve. On lap 6 he was second and on lap 7 the blue E.R.A., as usual brilliantly handled, went into the lead, by dint of passing CuddonFletcher’s M.G. at the commencement of the straight. Gerard, always fairly wild, left the road momentarily at Stadium Dip and at this period Hanson and Mme. Itier were lapped by the leaders. Much cheered, Maclure gradually came
up, to finish a popular place man, the final order being : 1, ” Bira ” (E.R.A.) ; 2, Cuddon-Fletcher (M.G.) ; 3, Maclure (Riley) ; 4, Stuart-Wilton (M.G.) ; 5, Nichols (M.G.). ” Bira ” averaged 57.3 m.p.h., the race occupying 21 nuns. 56.4 secs. of his afternoon. For the second heat, over the same distance, J. H. T. Smith’s M.G. Magnette, Esplen’s R-type M.G. Midget, Everitt in Lurani’s Maserati, and Wilson’s 1,100 c.c. E.R.A. occupied the front row, and Arthur Dobson’s white E.R.A., Peter Aitken’s Maserati and Abecassis’s Alta the second row, with Kenneth Evans behind in solitary state with the big Alfa-Romeo. Wilson tended to creep forward before the flag fell, but made a hesitant getaway, and Esplen led from Everitt and Smith, though Everitt soon went ahead. Abecassis led the second group away, with
Dobson and Aitken almost level. After one lap the order was :—Smith, Everitt, Esplen, Wilson, Dobson, Abecassis,
Aitken and Evans. On lap 2 Wilson passed Esplen and on lap 5 Everitt was close behind Smith, and Dobson and Abecassis were moving up. The Alta was snaking furiously under fierce acceleration from the bends and everyone was doing all he knew how On the very last lap but one Dobson came into Stadium Dip close on the leaders’ tails, and on the last lap he passed Everitt on going into Terrace Straight, and finally caught Smith, having a sufficient lead to glance backwards when rounding Stadium Dip for the last time. So Dobson (E.R.A.) won at 56.51 m.p.h., with Abecassis second, Smith third and Everitt fourth, the Alta having come up also on the last lap.
A sidecar dice followed, over 5 laps, won by J. Surtees (596 c.c. Norton), with F. E. G. Ratcliff (490 c.c. Norton) second, and G. H. Taylor (490 c.c. Norton) in third place. Next we had the Ladies’ Cup Race, over 5 laps, handicapped with 1,100 c.c. cars
receiving 35 secs., 21-litre cars 5 secs. and others on scratch. Edwards has thought up a lot of good innovations, and is to be congratulated on this very interesting race. We hope it will be repeated at a future meeting. Another idea would be a standard sports-car race, following in Mr. Bradley’s daring footsteps. Only five cars came to the line, Miss Fay Taylor, on Wilson’s 1,087 c.c. M.G., being a non-runner. Mine. Itier’s little Sinica-Fiat led off, followed by Mrs. Lace’s 11-litre Alta, Mrs. Petre’s blown 1/-litre Riley, Mrs. Wisdom’s L1-litre Alta and Mrs. E. M. Thomas’s very handsome sports-equipped 31-litre Delah.aye. Coming into Stadium Dip on her first lap, Mrs. Wisdom spun completely round, the tail pointing downhill and the Alta’s near-side front wheel up the safety bank. She reversed out, spinning the
wheels furiously in so doing, and Mrs. Thomas went through before she resumed racing. By lap 2 Mrs. Lace led from Mrs. Petre and Mine. Itier. On lap 4 Mrs. Thomas overhauled Mine. Itier and so they finished, a race that was a distinct
procession. Mrs. Lace (Alta) averaged 51.43 m.p.h., Mrs. Petre (Riley) was second, Mrs. Thomas (Dela.haye) third, Mme. Itier (Shwa-Fiat) fourth and Mrs. Wisdom (Alta) last. So much for the ladies. The final, over 16 laps (32 ,nailes), group handicapped on a basis of 112 secs. for 1,100 c.c. cars, 16 secs. for 21litre cars and scratch for the big fellows, was a matter of seventeen runners, for anyone completing 6 laps of the 10-lap heats was eligible to start. In the front row we had Wilson (E.R.A.), StuartWilton (M.G.), Mine. Itier (Sinica-Fiat), Everitt (Maserati), Esplen (M.G.), Smith (M.G.) and Cuddon-Fletcher (M.G.). Behind were ranged Aitken (Maserati), Maclure (Riley), Abecassis (Alta), Dobson (E.R.A.), ” Bira ” (E.R.A.) and Hanson Continued at foot of page 269
(Maserati), with the big cars behind. As the flag dropped Stuart-Wilton beat Cuddon-Fletcher and Everitt on initial acceleration.
Incidentally, before the race there was worry over oil spilt at Stadium Dip. Lord Howe arrived in Major Gardner’s I,agonda and asked an anti-fire official to spread. sawdust, which Howe himself swept about the road. The wind very soon blew the sawdust away ; sand should be provided next time, or, better still, a road-brazier to burn the oil Off the surface, or even better, as we said last month, decent underpans on every competing car.
The leaders on lap one were StuartWilton, Smith and Cuddon-Fletcher. The last named ran his M.G. with naked radiator. By lap 3 Everitt had the little Maserati in front. Gerard’s Delage and Brooke’s Brooke-Special were lapped by the leaders after only five rounds. On lap 7 Cuddon-Fletcher slid his M.G. inside Wilton’s at Stadium Dip but held the road, though remaining in third place. By lap 8,” Bira ” was up in fourthplace, and on the next lap Wilton and CuddonFletcher were duelling in earnest, the latter passing on going into Terrace Straight. Came sensation, for on lap 10 Everitt was missing and was shortly afterwards seen to ride in on the pillion of a marshal’s motor-cycle. Aitken, too, was in trouble, -going wide at Stadium Dip and waving on Abecassis and Dobson. This put Cuddon-Fletcher in the lead with Wilton second, ” Bira ” third, A becassis fourth, and Dobson fifth. On lap 12 ” Bira” came through in the lead, passive as ever and master of every situation. Wilton slid wide at Stadium Dip and accelerated amid a smell of hot rubber and then Dobson got past Abecassis in the inside at this difficult corner, Abecassis sportingly shutting off to let the E.R.A. go through. On the 13th lap ” Bira,” now leading comfortably, glanced back, CuddonFletcher, Still second, slid at the Dip, and
Wilton was all smiles. A Maserati stopped at Stadium Curve and was restarted by officials. On lap 14 Dobson moved into third place, and the next round Gerard was shown the blue flag at the Dip to ensure
a clear passage for “Bira.” Dobson swung through inside Cuddon-Fletcher, and on the very last lap Abecassis accelerated furiously into Stadium Curve in a series of immense power slides. He just failed to pip the M.G. on the line and took fourth place. It was noticeable that the crowds reserved the heartiest applause for Arthur Dobson and Percy Maclure. Wilton dropped back towards the end and his M.G. blower release valve was inclined to a busy day.
A very excellent afternoon’s sport, well attended. Edwards is doing it again for you on August 13th, at 3.30 p.m., in the shape of a Composite Meeting, embracing a 20-mile sports-car race under international ruling and the 30-mile car race.
1. ” B. Bits” OAS c.c. E.R.A.) 55.81 m.p.h. 2. A, Doblion (1,488 c.c. E.R.A.) 3. A. Cuddon-Fletcher (1,087 c.c. M.G.) 4. G. Abecassis (1,488 c.c. Alta) 5, H. Stuart-Wilton (1,087 c.c. M.G.) 6. P. Maclure (1,987 e.e. Riley)