by T. G. Moore
The Grand Prix de l’Albigeois, which takes place on the St. Juery circuit on July 13th, promises to be an interesting race. In pre-war days English cars and drivers put up some fine performances on this course. Buddy Featherstonehaugh won the race in 1934, driving Whitney Straight’s 2.9-litre Maserati, “Bira” took first place on an E.R.A. in 1936, and the late Johnnie Wakefield was successful just before the war. Wakefield’s driving is still remembered at Albi, and last year at the prize-giving there was tremendous cheering when his name was read out as one of the former winners. This year, too, English drivers will be seen in fair force. Firm entries have been received from Parnell (“E “-type E.R.A. — this is the car which Whitehead ran at Jersey), Hampshire (Challenger) and Ashmore (Maserati). Ansell has applied for an entry form for his “Maser,” and Brooke has entered an E.R.A., which will be his “E “-type if this can be got ready in time after its return from Indianapolis. Whitehead is not running at Albi.
Sommer has entered his Maserati, but may be running the new 12-cylinder Ferrari, which made its debut at Rome. Villoresi, Wimille and Raph will also be driving Maseratis, with Raph and Plate as probables. Wimille had hoped to bring along an Alfette, but this now seems somewhat doubtful.
The heavier metal will also be well represented, with a team of Delages entered by the Gersac stable and driven by Etincelin, Trintignant and Loyer, the latter the well-known motor-cycling star. L’Ecurie France have entered Chiron on the single-seater Talbot (Darracq), while Chaboud, Trillot, Pozzi and Giraud-Cabantous will pilot Delahayes.
The race will consist of 40 laps of the 5.5-mile circuit, which is twisty in parts, but which has a 140-m.p.h. straight on the east leg, which will even things up for the big cars. An account of this race will appear in the August number of Motor Sport.
British Empire Trophy
With Brooklands and Donington no more, the B.R.D.C. has had to turn to one of “John Bull’s other islands,” in this case the Isle of Man. The course to be used is the one on which the 1936 R.A.C. Car Race was run. At that time there were strong criticisms about the bad road surface and the narrowness of the “back leg,” but these objections no longer stand. The road is now surfaced with skid-proof tarmac, and an awkward corner and bottleneck sliced back to give a width of 24 feet. Lesser widening operations are being performed at other points.
From Onchan village to the T.T. stands there are two fast stretches, and in 1936 Seaman reckoned he was getting close on 130 m.p.h. on this section. Scannell hopes to get 20 entries for each of the two races, which should produce a worth-while spectacle on a 3 1/4-mile circuit.
Grand Prix de Nice
There was some doubt early in the season as to whether the famous “Round-the-Houses” race at Nice would take place on July 20th, but I have now received the regulations, though the entries are not yet to hand. Very much of an “invitation race,” like the G.P. de Monaco, entries are limited to 19. The race consists of one hundred laps of a two-mile course along the Promenade des Anglais. The race is run under present Grand Prix regulations, but the course should favour the “blown” cars. More about it in the August issue.
Results of T.T. Races
The island took on something of its pre-war aspect with the revival of the T.T. motor-cycle races in June. Velocettes beat up the Nortons and captured the first four places in the Junior, which was won by A. H. Foster at a speed of 80.3 m.p.h.
Barrington had a runaway win in the Lightweight at 73.2 m.p.h., on his Guzzi, with Cann (Guzzi) and Drinkwater (Excelsior) second and third. The Senior Race was a terrific battle between Daniell and Bell on Nortons, only one second separating them on the sixth lap. Daniell won at 82.8 m.p.h., a magnificent performance on “Pool” petrol. In 1938, running on “dope,” he won at 89 m.p.h. It would be interesting to know how racing cars would compare on this course.
Amongst old-timers at the start was Freddy Dixon, who appeared on the Senior day wearing a grey “topper,” just to give the proceedings some “class.” Unfortunately he does very little tuning nowadays, apart from a little “tickling-up” of Tony Rolt’s cars.
Attempt on International Class I Record
Lt.-Col. A. T. G. Gardner, M.C., has written to us about his forthcoming record attempt: —
“Engine tests having proved satisfactory, I am taking my M.G. across to Belgium on Tuesday, July 22nd, to commence record attempts at dawn on Thursday, July 24th, weather permitting; my headquarters will again be at the Osborne Hotel, Ostend. “Quite a number of alterations and modifications have been carried out to the car since it was last out in October, 1946, and my targets now are:
“1. To beat the existing record in Class I of 106.7 m.p.h. at present held by Italy.
“2. To be the first to exceed 120 m.p.h. in A. 5-h.p. car.”