Six Class Records Fall at Bugatti O.C. Club Meeting
Prescott really is a pleasant place and never more so than under the ideal conditions which prevailed at the B.O.C. Club meeting on June 12th. As usual, the meeting was conducted with 100 per cent. efficiency, and, for that, praise must be distributed between the pleasant and calm demeanour of Eric Giles, the military acumen of Col. Giles, and the watchfulness of Clerk-ofthe-Course Michael Burn.
Although this was a club meeting, a goodly assembly of spectators arrived, the quality of the driving overshadowed that seen at many open meetings, and a great many really excellent times were set up, Gerard’s course record which he established in 1948 with the 2-litre E.R.A. being broken (by 0.63 sec.) by Sydney Allard, in his non-supercharged, V8 Steyr-engined Allard. Allard actually clocked 44.93 sec. in practice, taking the first bend out of control with his brake pedal right down on the floor, all the anchorage having evaporated! The brakes were subsequently taken-up, but Sydney never quite regained his shattering speed round the bottom corner. The Allard —which, incidentally, was first described in Motor Sport for August, 1947 this time used a normal “crash” gearbox, as the ratios of the Clerk electric box employed when f.t.d. was established at the May meeting, was considered a trifle under-geared. The car has, of course, de Dion rear suspension, not i.r.s. as implied last month.
So pleasant is the “atmosphere” at Prescott that many people, after dinner at their hotels, went out to the hill in the dusk of Saturday evening, to wander about the charming orchard which serves as the Paddock, and where the Allard mechanics and “Antone” Curtis were camping for the night.
The next day all manner of vehicles beloved by enthusiasts arrived and young children in gay sun-tops picnicked with their fashionably-dressed mothers and sportingly-garbed fathers, beneath the trees beside stark sports cars while the multi-coloured racing cars were unloaded for practice — a subject that should constitute a heaven-sent opportunity for Picture Post’s colour-photographer, surely. And practice was stirring in the extreme, for, apart from Allard’s great ascent, Poore got the Alfa-Romeo up in 46.14 sec., Mays’ E.R.A. did 46.72, Carr’s Alta 47.0, John Cooper’s Cooper 1,000 47.18, the Freikaiserwagen, blushing under Shelsley honours, 47.14, after David had instructed Joe about which gears and what revs., and Christie’s Cooper 1,000 47.19 sec.
In the Paddock the Freikaiserwagen collected a deservedly admiring crowd after being unloaded from its Ford “covered wagon.” It was on 4.00/ 4.25-15 Dunlops at 15 lb./sq. in. at the front, 5.00-15 Dunlops at 18 lb./sq. in. at the rear, as at Shelsley, and the two-stage, chain-driven Marshall superchargers were prominent on the near side of the V-twin Blackburne engine, matched by the twin, chain-driven Lucas magnetos on the off side. Readings’ Regent-Special was composed of the parts of many different makes in the best “specials” tradition. Its tubular, two-tier chassis has Singer coil-spring and trailing-link i.f.s., independent rear suspension incorporating wishbones and Armstrong-Siddeley torsion bars, the final drive unit on the frame being Vauxhall Fourteen, while a 2,635-c.c. Essex Terraplane engine drives to an E.N.V. gearbox controlled, motorcycle fashion, by a short lever. The rear wheels carried Pirelli 6.00-16 tyres, and the driver sat high up behind the long, flat bonnet.
Wykes’ Frazer-Nash Six boasted six Amal carburetters sharing four float chambers, Allard’s sports Allard, destined to get the sports-car record, had alloy wheels, Edelbrook cylinder heads and dual downdraught carburetters, while Matthews’ 3 1/2-litre Jaguar, besides a horde of club badges, had a Scottish Rally plaque and the name “Blue Shadow” on its bonnet. Trying for the Brescia Cup was the Knights’ Bugatti, with four stub exhausts, the Modified Brescia engine with a single ZF 4 Bosch magneto, a one-gallon petrol tin on the facia feeding to a Solex carburetter, a Type 22 3.43-to-1 rear axle and 5.00-18 Goodyears on the rear wheels. The bodywork was sketchy but there were front-wheel brakes,
Much interest was created by the rivalry existing between the three road-equipped “2.3” Type 51 Bugattis of J. S. Fry, L. Blackburn and A. C. Whincop, which alone were contesting the 1 1/2-3-litre supercharged sports-car class in the absence of Pierpoint’s Type 55 Bugatti.
At the May meeting Fry’s smart ex-Bear, ex-Tyrer car had taken the absolute sports-car record from Whincop’s ex-Shuttleworth Bugatti, leaving it at 49.15 sec., so the rivalry was known to be intense. Fry’s car arrived in a van from Shelsley, where it had run on twin rear tyres. It has the standard engine-speed supercharger, was using a 3.85-to-1 axle-ratio in conjunction with 7.00-16 rear tyres, and had 5.00-19 front tyres. Its dynamo is driven by a flat belt off the magneto-drive from the rear of the nearside camshaft, a small battery lives under the passenger’s seat, and it was not apparent where the spare wheel was accommodated. As with the other two cars, the handle constitutes the ” starter.”
Blackburn’s ex-Staniland car was using the engine-speed blower, a 4.5-to-1 axle-ratio and alloy-spoke wheels shod with 5.25-19 tyres all round. Its dynamo is properly boxed-in above the gearbox and driven by whittle belt from the cardan shaft. The battery is carried beneath the driver’s seat and equipment includes spare wheel correctly strapped to the near side of the body, and an electric horn. Whincop’s car was using a Type 40 4.5-to-1 crown-wheel and pinion, his wife’s Type 37 rear hubs to accommodate wire wheels carrying 6.50-19 tyres, alloy wheels at the front with 5.25-19 tyres, and has the 1.1-to-1 supercharger drive. The dynamo is driven by a whittle belt from the cardan shaft, a motor-cycle battery lives by the passenger’s feet (you should hear Monica Whincop object!), and a tiny bulb horn is strapped to the spare wheel on the passenger’s side of the car. Ansell’s B-type Wade-supercharged E.R.A. was on 6.50-16 rear tyres.
A distinguished visitor was Donald McCullough, of the’ B.B.C., and Chairman of the B.R.M. Fund. He was taken up the hill in a Type 49 Bugatti. Other official cars were Major Dixon Spain’s aged Austin Ten and Burn’s Type 40 Bugatti.
Sports Cars up to 1,500 c.c., Non-supercharged
Delingpole’s H.R.G. won in a series of tyre howls and tail slides, but on its second ascent was delayed through leaving the course near the start. Willis’ smart B.M.W., with alloy wheels and very light body shell, was second, smoking somewhat on the over-run and also protesting, from horn as well as from tyres and brakes, at its driver’s abandon. Third place went to Major Lambton’s Type 37 Bugatti, which he threw fearlessly at the corners. Greig seemed to lose time leaving the Esses, but Buckler as usual drove very neatly and displayed to the full his car’s road-glued progression.
1st: K. C. Delingpole (1,496-c.c. H.R.G.) 62.16 sec.
2nd: R,. C. Willis (1,490-c.c. B.M.W.) … 52.74 sec.
3rd: Major Lambton (1,496-c.c. Bugatti) 54.46 sec.
Also ran: Buckler (Buckler), 55.77 sec.; Greig (Frazer-Nash), 59.42 sec.
Sports Cars up to 1,500 c.c., Supercharged
Marshall’s Amilcar Six, displaying admirable acceleration where it was straight, won easily from Bowles’ Austin, which was skilfully held on its first ascent, when the driver’s foot momentarily jammed the throttle open and this covetable little car struck the bank going into the Esses and shot across the road – Bowles got out, explained his difficulties to your Editor, got in, restarted his engine and continued, all in 88.69 sec.!
1st: Marshall (1,100-c.c. Amilcar) 52.14 sec.
2nd: J. V. Bowles (747-c.c. Austin) 54.20 sec.
Also ran: Johnson (M.G.), 57.31 sec.
Sports Cars, 1,501-3,000 c.c., Non-supercharged
McAlpine, using plenty of revs., demonstrated that the compact new Connaught has admirable roadholding qualities, but did not approach the class record held by Tyrer’s lightened “328” B.M.W. Marris did fierce work at the tiller of his Jaguar, which seemed prone to slide about.
1st: K. McAlpine (1,767-c.c. Connaught) 53.05 sec.
2nd: C. W. S. Marris (2,663-c.c. Jaguar) 66.38 sec.
3rd: W. E. Wykes (1,657-c.c. Frazer-Nash) … 57.39 sec.
Also ran: Binns (O.M.), 63.93 sec.
Sports Cars, 1,501-3,000 c.c., Supercharged
This intensely interesting class went to Fry, although he wasn’t quite up to his class-record form. Whincop tried very hard but found a 4.5-to-1 axle-ratio too low and also had trouble with a detached brake lining, so that he missed his second run. Blackburn drove neatly but a slight fluffiness held his revs. back.
1st: J. S. Fry (2,270-c.c. Bugatti) … 49.36 sec.
2nd: A. C. Whincop (2,270-c.c. Bugatti) 49.96 sec.
Also ran: Blackburn (Bugatti), 51.72 sec.
Sports Cars over 3,000 c.c., Non-supercharged
Sydney Allard cut the Esses close and handled his low Allard magnificently, not only breaking Johnson’s long-established class-record with the Darracq by 1.63 sec., but improving on Fry’s absolute sports-car record by 0.23 sec. Miles’ Ford V8-engined Frazer-Nash had almost too much power for its weight, blipping up to secure second place; Mansell’s knock-off-hub Allard was third. Matthews placed dreadful loads on his Jaguar’s front tyres and Sir David Gamble’s big Invicta was nicely handled.
1st: S. H. Allard (4,375-c.c. Allard) 48.92 sec.*
2nd: K. H. Mlles (3,622-e.c. Frazer Nash) … 51.52 sec.
3rd: G. N. Mansell (3,917-c.c. Allard) 53.59 sec.
Also ran: Matthews (Jaguar), 54.24 sec.; Monro (Invicta), 64.72 sec.; Price (Price), 55.20 sec.; Sir David Gamble (Invicta), 55.74 sec.
Sports Cars over 3,000 c.c., Supercharged
Imhof, in his special sports Allard, improving after an initial wild ascent during which he clipped the banks and lost his cap, broke the class record, held by Clarke’s road-equipped “3.3” G.P. Bugatti, by 0.15 sec.
1st: A. G. Imhof (4,375-c.c. Allard) … 49.71 sec.
2nd: J. M. James (4,840-c.c. Bugatti) 62.93 sec.
Also ran: Burgess (Allard), 54.01 sec.
Bugatti Saloon Cars
The only runner was Stubberfield’s Type 46, which magnificent car tows his racing-car trailer. It pinked up in 67.31 sec.
Racing Cars up to 750 c.c.
Brandon’s Cooper had the “legs” of everyone in this class, and he displayed magnificent style through the Esses, accelerating with a fine single-lunger exhaust note. He actually improved on his 500-c.c. class record by 0.62 sec., but this is unofficial, as the 750-c.c. limit was recognised, where Hadley’s remarkable pre-war ascent in the twin-cam Austin in 47.76 sec. still stands. Reece was a creditable second and C. A. N. May rounded things off for the Coopers with a very polished exhibition of how-to-do-it. Watch this man in future! Adams had bad luck when his gear-lever came off in his hand, Lones cornered professionally, but Phillips (blown M.G.) faded on the second run. Truman’s Barden had gearbox trouble, hit the bank and stopped at Pardon Hairpin on its second ascent, but Kearon clearly knew what he was about, while Bowles, that indefatigable Austin Seven exponent, clocked a neat 53.42 sec.
1st: B. Brandon (497-c.c. Cooper)… 48.18 sec.
2nd: J. G. Reece (497-c.c. Cooper) … 49.00 sec.
3rd: C. A. N. May (497-c.c. Cooper) 49.14 sec.
Also ran: Lones (Tiger Kitten), 49.49 sec.; Watkins (Cooper), 50.09 sec.; Kearon (Cooper), 50.10 sec.; Collins (Cooper), 50.27 sec.; Truman (Barden), 50.55 sec.; Ebdon (Halldon), 52.30 sec.; Tipper (Monaco), 52.77 sec.; Bowles (Austin), 53.42 sec.; Derrick (Cooper), 54.69 sec.; Adams (D.M.R.A.), 61.46 sec.; Phillips (M.G.), 64.77 sec.
Racing Cars, 751-1,500 c.c.
Fry took the Freikaiserwagen up in a series of frightening slides, fairly fighting to maintain control on the final bend of the Esses and experiencing vast powerslides all the way from there to the Semicircle. He improved on his last year’s class record by 0.45 sec., but, coming rather wide from the Esses on his next run, was a trifle slower that time. John Cooper put up a prodigious run for second place in the Cooper 1,000, so neat that he looked slower than he really was, but the acceleration stupendous to observe. Christie nailed home Cooper honours with third place, his driving-style a thing to note. The Stafford-Special was slow, but nevertheless contrived to motor off the road momentarily, leaving the Esses.
1st: J. G. Fry (1,098-c.c. Freikaiserwagen) 45.76 sec.*
2nd: J. N. Cooper (996-c.c. Cooper) … 46.97 sec.
3rd: M. A. H. Christie (994-c.c. Cooper) 46.84 sec.
Also ran: Ansell (E.R.A.), 49.11 sec.; Marshall (Amilcar), 50.98 sec.; Turner (Turner), 51.78 sec.; Lady Mary Grosvenor (Alta), 53.00 sec.; Blomfield (Bugatti), 54.60 sec.; Buckler (Buckler), 55.34 sec.; Chambers (Bugatti), 55.82 sec.; Shakespeare (Stafford), 57.77 sec.; J. Knight (Bugatti), 60.13 sec.; V. Knight (Bugatti), 62.41 sec.
Racing Cars, 1,501-2,000 c.c.
Peter Walker was right on form here! The 2-litre E.R.A. had dropped a valve at Shelsley on the Friday but the engine was now in one piece again. Peter drove really fiercely, going fast enough along the brief straights for the wind to all but remove his cap, and the inner wheels lifting as the old E.R.A. was flung through the corners. Raymond Mays, who held this class record since pre-war with his E.R.A. (because Gerard’s course record had been established when he was driving for a team), now losing the honour by 0.81 sec. Merrick, in spite of a “moment” at the Esses, was giving the Alta all he knew and he, too, beat Mays, although Ray was as hectic as we have ever seen him through the upper bends.
1st: P. D. Walker (1,979-c.c. E.R.A.) 45.33 sec.*
2nd: R. Merrick (1,998-c.c. Alta) … 46.30 sec.
3rd : R Mays (2,000-c.c. E.R.A.) … 46.41 sec.
Also ran: Carr (Alta), 46.61 sec.; Whitehead (E.R.A.), 47.10 sec.; Neale (Bugatti), 48.97 sec.; Wilks (Rover), 49.66 sec.; Perkins (Bugatti), 50.04 sec.
Racing Cars over 2,000 c.c.
It was in this class that Allard took the absolute course record, also improving on his own class record, by 1.08 sec. The Steyr-Allard, non-supercharged remember, was steadier than usual, even seeming to have set a poor time, although one slide at the Semi-Circle made the second ascent 0.27 sec. slower than the first. But the way in which the lower bends were negotiated, in particular, stamps Allard as a sprint master, and you should watch him at the Esses if you want to see the correct way to take those tricky corners! Poore tried very, very hard, while never looking unsafe, in the almost too-big Alfa-Romeo, his second place never more richly deserved, and Peter Stubberfield, a trifle wild on his forceful ascents, also deserved his third place in his Type 51 monoposto Bugatti. J. S. Fry hit the outer bank hard with his off-side front wheel leaving the Esses on one run, but his first ascent was done in 48.91 sec., and Imhof’s sports Allard, water pouring from the radiator vent, was only slightly slower. Reece, moreover, in spite of excessive wheelspin all the way up, beat both Fry and Imhof in his Type 37 ex-Darbishire Bugatti, now with a Type 43 engine fitted with an extra water gallery.
1st: S. M Allard (3,700-c.c. Allard) 45.04 sec.*
2nd: R. D. Poore (3,800-c.c. Alfa-Romeo) … 46.04 sec.
3rd P. J. Stubberfield (2,261-c.c. Bugatti) … 47.71 sec.
Also ran: Reece (Bugatti), 48.01 sec.; Fry (Bugatti), 48.91 sec.; Imhof (Allard), 48.97 sec.; Neale (Neale), 50.88 sec.; Whincop (Bugatti), 50.56 sec.; Readings (Regent), 51.29 sec.; Mansell (Allard), 53.76 sec.; Monro (Invicta), 54.43 sec.
1st: A. G. Imhof ( 4,375-c.c..Allard).
2nd: M. A. H. Christie (994-c.c. Cooper).
3rd: J. Marshall (1,100-c.c. Amilcar).
1st: J. G. Fry (1,098-c.c. Freikaiserwagen)
2nd: P. M. Wilkes (1,996-c.c. Rover) … 49.66 sec.
3rd: D. W. Neale (3,828-c.c. Neale Special) 50.88 sec.
* = New class record.
Driving in this contest Carr improved to 46.51 sec., C. A. N. May to 48.83, Sydney Allard to 48.72 in the sports Allard, and Poore to 46.00 sec. Mays clocked 46.51 sec. Whitehead left the road at the Semi-Circle, but the E.R.A. escaped damage and Walker had his run, clocking 45.66 sec.
1st: R. D. Poore’s team (Poore, J. G. Fry, J. S. Fry) … 141.05 sec.
2nd: N. Carr’s team (Carr, May, Merrick) … 141.76 sec.
3rd: D. Monro’s team (Monro, Blomfield, Sir David Gamble) … 167.60 sec.
Also ran: R. Mays’ team (Whitehead failed).
The Best Dozen
S. H. Allard (Allard) … 458.04 sec.
P. D. Walker (E.R.A.) … 45.33 sec.
S. G. Fry (Freikaiserwagen) … 45.76 sec.
J. N. Cooper (Cooper 1,000) … 45.97 sec.
R. D. Poore (Alfa-Romeo) … 46.00 sec.
R. Merrick (Alta) … 46.30 sec.
R. Mays (E.R.A.) … 46.41 sec.
N. Carr (Alta) … 46.51 sec.
M. A. H. Christie (Cooper 1,000) … 46.84 sec.
P. N. Whitehead (E.R.A.) … 47.10 sec.
P. J. Stubberfield (Bugatti) … 47.71 sec.
P. B. Reece (Bugatti) … 48.01 sec.
Photographs appearing in this article are MOTOR SPowr copyright.