Reports of Recent Events, July 1949
Grand Prix De Bruxelles
This Formula II (not “B” as some would have it) race was a battle between the G.P.-type Ferraris with the sports V12 2-litre engines installed, the 1,430-c.c. Simcas, the 2-litre Veritas cars and O. Moore’s O.B.M. Moore made the fastest practice lap in the first session, in heavy rain, but retired in the race itself. The G.P. Ferrari chassis is apparently better suited to 2-litres than to 1 1/2-litres, for in the race Cortese set a record lap of 93 m.p.h. before retiring and Villoresi, appearing for the first time in one of these cars, won some four laps ahead of Orley and Cormet in their Veritas cars, and Modelet’s Cisitalia, after Gordini and Scaron (Simcas) had retired. A 70-mile race for 500-c.c. cars preceded the Formula II race and Aston, confirming the promise he had shown at Silverstone, won in his Cooper at 72.3 m.p.h., from Parker’s Parker, which was 20 sec. behind and Coldham’s Cooper. Villoresi’s time for the big race was 2 hr. 11 m. 17 s., approximately 82 m.p.h.
Marseilles Grand Prix
Over a very tortuous course four heats were run off, only cars up to 4 1/2-litres non-supercharged being permitted. Etancelin’s 4 1/2-litre Lago-Talbot beat Fangio’s Simca and Sommer’s 2-litre Ferrari in Heat 1. In Heat 2 Campos won from Trintignant on another Simca. The final, run off after a heat for the “also-rans,” saw Fangio, the Argentinian, win at 63 m.p.h. (1 hr., 18 m., 33 sec. for 82 miles) in a Simca from Etancelin (Talbot), who was universally popular and only 18 sec. behind. Trintignant, Bonnetto (2-litre Ferrari), Campos and Chiron (Talbot) came home next, in that order, after Sommer had retired due to fatigue.
I.M.R.C. Enniskerry Speed Hill-Climb
In this event, held on May 21st, C. F. C. Lindsay (1,099-c.c. Ford Special) made f.t.d. in 45.49 sec., beating a blown “TC” M.G. Midget. Class winners were O’Hara (Vernon-Derby-Riley), Newell (“12/60” Alvis), Congdon (M.G. Midget), Fitzsimmons (Ford Eight) and Lindsay.
Plymouth M.C. Saloon Car Trial
This novel event, held on May 29th, was won by Scali’s Ford V8, which lost no marks. The runners-up were a Morris Eight and a Morris Ten.
Swedish Grand Prix
On May 29th “Bira” off-set his Silverstone disappointment by winning the Swedish Grand Prix in his two-stage Maserati, averaging 53.1 m.p.h. for the 46 1/2 miles. Again his brakes did not function properly and he finished under 3 sec. ahead of de Graffenried’s Maserati, which had set the lap record to 69 m.p.h. “Bira’s” artistry during the last seven laps undoubtedly won him the race. There was no real opposition, a Kaiser finishing third, and a 500-c.c. Cooper fourth, after a single-stage Maserati, a “3.3” Bugatti and the ex-Widengren Alfa Romeo had retired. In the sports category the O.B.M. non-started and victory went to a B.M.W.
N.W. London M.C. Lawrence Cup Trial
This celebrated event, held on May 28th, attracted 39 entries and was notable for two gradients on War Office ground at Bagshot which failed the entire entry and for another acclivity which only R. Phillip’s Jowett Javelin-engined Fairley ascended. The winner of the Lawrence Cup was E. B. Wadsworth (Ford Ten Special). K. Burgess’ 4-litre Allard took the Ripley Cup, G. W. Best’s “PB” M.G. Midget the Wick Cup, while the team award was won by Messrs. Appleton, Burgess and Faulkner (Allards and Mercury). Other awards:
First-Class Awards: J. Appleton (4,000-c.c. Allard), R. Phillips (1,486-c.c. Fairley), M. Wick (3,917-c.c. Allard), Brayshaw (1,185-c.c. Brayshaw Special), C. Bold (1,172-c.c. Ford).
Second-Class Awards: G. Harvey (3,917-c.c. Allard), C. Yates (1,172-c.c. Austin), R. Faulkner (3,917-c.c. Mercury), W. Mead (3,917-c.c. Allard), E. N. Frost (3,917-c.c. Allard).
Third-Class Awards: Clayton (1,172-c.c. Special), L. J. Tracey (1,172-c.c. Dellow), M. Lawson (1,497-c.c. H.R.G.), B. Ginn (3,622-c.c. Ford), D. Dyer (1,089-c.c. Riley).
Allard Wins Lisbon Rally
Godfrey Imhof scored a signal victory for Britain by winning the Lisbon Rally in his Allard. Ken Wharton’s Ford Pilot was second on general classification and Teixeira’s Standard Vanguard third. Indeed, British cars figured prominently, Hansen’s H.R.G. winning the 1 1/2-litre class from Wise’s Jowett Javelin and de Oliveiras M.G. The Standard Vanguard was first in the 1 1/2-3-litre class, beating Goncalves’ Austin A90 and Lacerda’s Citroen. Imhof and Wharton led the over-3-litre class with Lacasta’s Mercury third. Mrs. Cooke (Ford) took the Ladies’ Prize. Simcas driven by de Azevedo, de Meto and Duray dominated the up-to-1,100-c.c. class. Then, in the Concours d’Elegance, Oakley’s Sunbeam-Talbot took first place and the Austin A90 second place in their class, other class-winners being a Lancia and a Hotchkiss.
The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race Won at Record Speed
This year’s famous Indianapolis 500-Mile Race of May 30th was won by Bill Holland’s f.w.d. Blue Crown Special at the record speed of 121.377 m.p.h. This makes the American classic the fastest 500-mile race in the world, although up to this year the B.R.D.C. Brooklands race held that honour, Cobb’s Napier-Railton having averaged 121.28 m.p.h. in winning that race in 1935. In the same car, incidentally, he won in 1937 at 127.05 m.p.h., but in that year the distance had been reduced to 500 kilometres.
Reverting to the American race, after 100 miles Wallard’s ex-Villoresi Maserati led at 120.327 m.p.h. from Rex Mays’ Novi-Mobil and Holland. Already the Grancor Special had broken a half-shaft on the line, an Auto Shippers Offenhauser had crashed, as had an Offenhauser Recliner, more seriously, and Duke Nalon’s f.w.d. V8 Novi-Mobil, which had qualified with a lap at 132.939 m.p.h. and had averaged 127.723 m.p.h. for eight laps, hit a wall and burst into flames. The Maserati developed a fuel leak and at half-distance Holland led at 120.9 m.p.h., ahead of Rose’s Blue Crown and Chitwood’s Wolfe Special. Holland continued at record speed, averaging just over 121 m.p.h. for 300 miles, for instance. Rose pursued him hard until obliged to change both front wheels and refuel, a stop that cost him over two minutes. Holland’s lead was unassailable, and he won after 4 hr. 7 m. 15.97 s., ahead of Parsons’ Kurtis Kraft Special, which averaged 119.785 m.p.h. Connor’s rear-drive Blue Crown was third at 119.595 m.p.h., and Fohr’s Marchese Special fourth at 118.791 m.p.h. The race was full of sensation as usual, but no one was seriously hurt. Out of 32 starters only eight cars completed the full distance, all having 4 1/2-litre four-cylinder Offenhauser motors.
The M.C.C. “Edinburgh” Trial
This year’s M.C.C. Edinburgh Trial, the 34th, was but a shadow of its former self, through no fault of the M.C.C., whose members merely need an adequate supply of petrol to embark on the great all-night-all-day adventure of pre-war memory. This time only two three-wheelers and 41 cars entered. They were required to cover a route of about 100 miles, embracing such hills as Middle Tongue, Park Rash, Askrigg, Summer Lodge, etc., and also some of the pleasant scenery that lies near Harrogate. The vintage award scheme introduced for the last Land’s End” was retained, but this time only Haward’s 1929 Bayliss-Thomas, Morrish’s 1928 Frazer-Nash and Denyer’s 1926 Lea-Francis entered.
First-Class Awards. — R. A. Hellyar (Singer), E. B. Kay (Riley) F. C. Hill (M.G., S.), N. Roundhill (Jaguar), R. J. P. Morley (A.C.), A. O. Gosnell (H.R.G.), H. Lancebury (Singer), P. H. G. Morgan (Morgan), W. A. G. Goodall (Morgan), C. J. McCann (Morgan), G. M. Symons (Morgan, S.), L. A. Moore (Ford V8), G. Dracup (F.I.A.T.), K. E. O. Burgess (Allard, S.), 3. H . Appleton (Allard, S.), J. V. S. Brown (H.R.G.), C. R. L. Nicholl (Magnette), J. M. Richmond (H.R.G.), W. F. Mead (Allard), G. L. Hancock (Allard), B. H. Brown (V8 Special), C. F. Crossby (Vauxhall Special, S.), H. W. Tucker-Peake (Magnette), J. H. Barrow (Barrow Special, S.), J. H. Appleton (Allard).
Second-Class Awards. — S. Black (M.G.), A. W. Morrish (M.G., S.). H. C. Roberts (Allard), F. Morrish (Frazer-Nash), D. C. Bishop (MG., S.).
Car Team Award (One Make). — P. H. G. Morgan, W. A. G. Goodall, C. J. McCann (Morgans).
Mixed Team. — B.H. Brown (V8 Special), A. W. Morrish (M.G., S.), O. F. Crossby (Vauxhall Special, S.).
Vintage Award. — F. Morrish (Frazer-Nash, 1928).
The Chimay Races
On June 5th Marienne’s Talbot won the Formula I race at Chimay at 86.42 m.p.h., also making fastest lap, at 89.28 m.p.h. The Formula II race was a victory for Cornet’s Veritas, at 78.12 m.p.h., ahead of Wagner’s B.M.W. and — cheers! — Oscar Moore’s O.B.M. Cornet made the most rapid lap, at 81.85 m.p.h.
Threee-Hour Coppa Inter-Europa Sports Car Race
After some uncertainties, this race was held on May 29th, the touring-car classes being won by Riccobaldi’s F.I.A.T. “500,” at 59.9 m.p.h., by Facetti’s F.I.A.T. at 71.5 m.p.h. and by Anseimi’s Lancia “Aprilia,” at the same speed. Of the sports-cars, Capelli’s F.I.A.T. won the 1,100-c.c. class at 78.1 m.p.h., Bordoni the 1 1/2-litre category in his Maserati, at 78.2 m.p.h., while Sterzi’s Ferrari led Bianchetti’s Ferrari home in the 2-litresand-over class, at 81.7 m.p.h.
The Leinster Trophy Race
The Leinster M.C.’s Leinster Trophy Race will be run off over the Talleght-Templeogue-Old Bawn circuit, six miles from Dublin on July 9th, starting at 8 p.m. Entries have closed. The race will be over 25 laps of the 5 11/12-mile course, total distance 147 11/12 miles, and all types of cars may compete, running on any form of fuel. Practice will take place from 7-8.30 p.m. on July 7th. The race will be run on a handicap basis and the entrant of the winner will receive the Leinster Trophy and £75, the entrant of the second car home the Holmpatrick Trophy and £40, the entrant of the third car home the Dunlop Trophy and £25, and the entrant of the fourth car home the Englebert Trophy and £10. The first Irish driver to finish will receive the Smithfield Trophy and £10, and the first Leinster Club driver, not qualifying for the above awards, the Frank O’Reilly Trophy and £10. There will also be presented the Mervyn White Trophy and £10 for fastest lap, class awards for 1,100-c.c. s/c-2,000-c.c. non-s/c and over 1,100-c.c. s/c — over 2,000-c.c. non-s/c cars, and Team awards. Promoters: Leinster M.C. Ltd., 27, S. William Street,
At this venue, a dispatch from our Continental correspondent informs us, Swiss National races for Swiss drivers were held. The small sports-car event was dominated by a 1 1/2-litre A.F.M., which was really a small Veritas looking rather like the “Mille Miglia” Frazer-Nash and possessing all the usual Veritas modifications and a re-built 328 B.M.W. engine. Other runners were an ex-“works” K3 “Mille Miglia” M.G. Magnette, a normal pointed-tail K3 M.G., a Nardi-Danese having an unblown 8-valve four-cylinder twin-carburetter Maserati power unit and a “Gran Sport” Cisitalia, the last-named not going very inspiringly. An Alfa-Romeo identical to the car Tony Crooke operates in this country went very fast and walked away with the big sports-car race. An all-enclosed 2-litre Veritas motored rapidly until it blew-up, and another competitor was an all-enclosed 328 B.M.W. looking like one of the 1940 Brescia G.P. cars. During one of the intervals a mock race between Standard Vanguards was put on as an advertising stunt and then a Grand Prix was contested between a horde of 4 CL Maseratis and monoposto Cisitalias. De Graffenried, having a sort of busman’s holiday one presumes, won easily and unchallenged in his last year’s singlestage Maserati.
V.C.C. Eastern Rally
The total entry for the two-day event was 56, of which 27 rallied on Sunday at the Norfolk Broads Yacht Club, Wroxham, where 90 drivers and passengers partook of tea, followed by a two-hour cruise to Horning and back. At 6.15 p.m. the cavalcade of Veteran and Edwardian cars started on the nine-mile drive to North Walsham, where Douglas FitzPatrick entertained the crews at a cocktail party at Bradfield Hall. The remaining cars rallied at Eaton Park, Norwich, on Monday morning. Four Veteran and two Edwardian cars failed to arrive. The Road Safety Drive over a course of 8 1/2 miles round the city was followed by the gymkhana events. These events were watched by a crowd estimated at over 20,000.
If there had been a prize for endurance, this would surely have gone to Alec Hodsdon, who took eight hours to cover the 50 miles from Lavenham with his 1901 Lifu steam carriage, went round the Road Safety course, and then departed on the return journey.
Rally Results — Veterans. — 1st, 1904 Darracq (R. D. Gregory, from Land’s End, 405 miles). 2nd, 1902 Napier (G. H. Eyre, from Barnsley, 163 miles). 3rd, 1898 Star (F. S. Rowden, from Rainham, Kent, 119 miles).
Oldest Car Prize. — 1896 Benz (Lewis Evans).
Rally Results — Edwardians. — 1st, 1908 Lancheater (F. W. Hutton-Stott, front Newbury, 164 miles). 2nd, 1908 Wolseley-Siddeley (S. J. Skinner, from Basingstoke, 162 miles). 3rd, 1914 Sunbeam (G. Frank, from Little Wenlock, 197 miles).
Ladies’ Prize, — 1910 Zedel (Mrs. V. H. Mawer, from Gerrards Cross, 125 miles).
Road Safety Drive — Veterans. — 1st, 1900 De Dion Banton (J. F. Olorenshaw). 2nd, 1904 Humber (S. J. Humphries). 3rd, 1904 Renaul (C. W. Rowe).
Road Safety Drive — Edwardians. — 1st, 1908 Rover (C. C. Tuffnell). 2nd, 1909 De Dion Bouton (A. F. Carlisle). 3rd, 1909 Lanchester (G. E. Milligen).
Gynkhana — Veterans. — Peg Test: L. Evans (1896 Benz). Width Test: F. S. Bennett (1903 Cadillac). Musical Chairs: D. FitzPatrick (1903 Achilles).
Gymkhana — Edwardians. — Peg Test: H. T. Clarke (1905 De Dion Bouton). Width Test: G. E. Milligen (1909 Lanchester). Musical Chairs: D. R. Gilbert (1908 Renault).
B.D.C. versus Police
Another of those very worthwhile driving-skill contests between the Bentley D.C. and the Metropolitan Police Driving School took place at Hendon on June 12th. The Home Secretary was an interested visitor who did not leave until nearly 8 p.m., while some 12,000 persons spectated. If you saw sensational newspaper headings about a serious accident, don’t believe a word of it, except that a stunt-rider’s Corgi combination hit a stanchion at little more than walking pace and very slightly hurt two onlookers.
For three years the Police had won the Flying Wheel Trophy from the B.D.C., but this year the club beat the police. In the first test, involving sprinting by both car and lady passenger, Burman gained 68 points for the B.D.C., Gray and Mahon 68 points each for the Police, the total score being B.D.C. 180, Police 167. Next came a relay race involving chicanes, the Police threesome winning by 55 points from 49.
“Operation bucket” followed, and although the police-driver Glen and his lady passenger gave a highly polished exhibition, the B.D.C. won by 288 points to 280, Cook scoring 99 for them. The last event was the exciting Gestapo Grand Prix, in which Radford and Marechal tied for best time with 2 min. 22 sec., and Steele drove the police 4 1/2-litre Lagonda and Skeggs the police Railton in a very skilled manner. Marechal finished minus the “Speed Six’s” coil ignition and with a plug-lead adrift. The B.D.C. scored 161 points to 149, and the totals were: B.D.C. 623, Police 601. Altogether a most enjoyable and valuable day’s sport.
Two More Formula II Races
The Prix de Rome, on June 2nd, was run over 75 laps of a 2.1-mile circuit, and Villoresi, handling the latest 2-litre Ferrari, which has the short-wheelbase G.P. chassis and a single-seater body, won by 6 sec. from Taruffi’s Ferrari with Cortese in another Ferrari third. Behind — far behind — came Rhigetti’s Stanuellini-F.I.A.T. and Romano’s Maserati. Villoresi took 2 hr. 34 min. 39 sec., an average speed of 62.55 m.p.h. Ferrari’s also walked away with the longer (266 miles) Bari G.P., Ascari winning at 73 m.p.h. from team-mates Cortese, who was 55 sec. behind, and Bonetto.
Circuit Des Ramparts
Trintignant’s Simca won at 49.2 m.p.h. from the Simca of Manzon, with Martin’s Martin third. Folland came home fifth in his Monaco-prepared Ferrari.
Another Veteran and Edwardian Rally
On August 1st the Motor Traders’ Section of the Hemel Hempstead Chamber of Commerce will hold a rally and Concours d’Elegance at Hemel Hempstead, in conjunction with a procession and Pageant of History organised by the Town Carnival and Pageant Committee. The classes are: Motor-cycles and combinations, pre-1900, 1901-1904, 1905-1912; cars and three-wheelers, pre-1900, 1901-1904, 1905-1908, 1909-1912. The procession will be over two miles of level roads, and a free buffet lunch will be provided.
The concours will be judged on condition, freedom from wear, silence and — what does the V.C.C. say to this — period costume, if worn (changing arrangements are available). All those who drive in the procession will receive a medallion, and class-prizes will be presented by the Mayor. Cars are due to arrive at 11.30 a.m. There appears to be no entry fee and it is to be hoped that veteran-car enthusiasts have given the event liberal support. Details from F. A. Attfield, c/o Boxmoor Motors Ltd. 499, London Road, Hemel Hempstead, Herts. Entries closed first post, July 1st.
A Lost Opportunity
The finish of this year’s Senior T.T. motor-cycle race was truly dramatic, Graham’s A.J.S. running out of sparks mere miles from the finish, so that, push as he did, the luckless rider had to give best to Daniel’s Norton, until then hardly in the picture. The whole episode was full of drama and human interest, and Graham Walker was handling the situation in his usual masterful manner for the B.B.C.’s Light Programme commentary. Then, just before Daniel came in sight of the line, we were returned to the studio, to hear what Molly Thorne does with flowers. True, the Woman’s Hour had been cut into by a matter of about five minutes — but that only proves that it was not imperative to work to time-table, so why another couple of minutes could not be sanctioned for the T.T. is for the B.B.C. to explain. As it was, the result of the race was not given by the commentator and what could have been the most exciting sports-commentary ever broadcast was irretrievably ruined.
The B.B.C. later gave the attendance at the T.T. as 50,000, and it seems logical to assume that for every spectator present at least ten were relying on the B.B.C. broadcast, so 500,000 listeners probably switched-off in disgust. We wonder how many man-hours were lost in engineering factories that afternoon, through workers heatedly discussing the B.B.C. when they should have returned to their tasks stimulated by the exciting T.T. finish, and by office workers slipping out to buy newspapers to end the suspense of wondering who had won. As we have said, another minute or two and the B.B.C. would have been credited with one of the most exciting commentaries in the history of broadcasting. This would have made the Woman’s Hour some seven minutes late in starting, but surely this could have been merged into the two musical programmes, “Music for the Housewife” and “Music While You Work,” which followed, particularly as many workers listening to the latter would have preferred to know who had won the T.T.? We seem to remember occasions when ten and even twenty minutes have been “borrowed” from Woman’s Hour in order to accommodate a horse-race commentary.
The B.B.C. has declared its intention of broadcasting improved motor-racing commentaries. It will have to pull its socks up to fulfil this promise! This year the Senior and Lightweight T.T. races got only a nominal 45 minutes, and Shelsley Walsh wasn’t on the air at all. Last year there was time to bring the T.T. winner into the commentator’s box; this year, even had Graham not stopped, there wouldn’t have been time to see the second and third men home.
During the T.T. session Graham Walker, Editor of Motor Cycling, gave a performance far superior to that of the B.B.C.’s team of commentators, and it wasn’t his fault that such a glorious opportunity as the unexpected finish presented should have been thrown away — indeed, he appealed for more time, but wasn’t permitted quite enough to see the winner right home. A very large number of listeners is asking: “Why?”
Chester M.C. Queensferry Speed Trials
The Chester Motor Club held a sprint for car at Summers Drive, Queensferry, and was fortunate in having beautiful sunshine although a rather strong wind. blew down the course.
Bradnack (Frazer-Nash) experienced oil-pump trouble in the paddock and did not start. Allen Arnold (Bugatti) had magneto trouble at high revs, and only did one run, which, however, gave him f.t.d. Davenport’s G.N. “Spider” produced a good time, being 2.5 sec. faster than last year. John Cooper was a welcome visitor and, driving his own blue Cooper 1,000, treated us to a perfect display of getaway and gear-changing to record two runs within 0.1 of a second of each other. It is of interest that Cooper looked at the course on his arrival, studied the wind awhile, and said: “I should do 23.9.” His first run was 24 sec. dead — his second 23.9!
The H.R.G. of E. G. Holyoake is a Rover-engined special. On the sports-car side, Raymond Way beat Gillie Tyrer’s course record in the non-supercharged 2-litre lightened B.M.W., only for his record to fall to the Allard of H. D. Pritchard in an excellent final run.
The Vintage Sports Car Club, whose members attended the meeting in some strength, forgathered in a local hostelry afterwards for “pint and ponder.”