ON June 3rd eight clubs—Hants & Berks, Darrow, Cernian, Chiltern, 750, Lagonda, Lancia and A.C. Owners—got together for a race meeting at Silverstone. The day was an immense success, largely thanks to the organising ability of Barclay Ingliss of the first-named club.
Two one-hour high-speed trials preceded the races, the first for 1,100-c.c. and 1 1/2-litre cars, the second for 3-litre and over 3-litre vehicles. Higher averages were called for than in the V.S.C.C. event, of which these were a copy, and during the two compulsory pit-stops front wheels had to be interchanged and then two plugs removed and replaced. Some joyous things occurred. All manner of cars ran, including a pre-war Hillman Minx drophead, one of the old Vernon-Crossleys. a Morris-engined G.N., two new A.C. Saloons, the ex-Cowell Lea-Francis two-seater with vertical magneto protruding through the bonnet, a new 2 1/2-litre and a V12 Lagonda, and many vintage cars and “specials.”
The Barrow Special boiled, Binns’ “20/98” Vauxhall boiled, but Buckler’s 2 1/2 Jaguar boiled more than any of them, sending cascades of scalding water over all and sundry during its frequent pit stops. Allison’s leaky saloon tried to set its upholstery alight (we must remember never to tour the Continent in the back of one!) and the Secretary of the Meeting himself removed rugs, umbrella and seat which might have been fodder to the flames. Haslam, aided by foreign-speaking mechanics in the pits, did a sort of grand tour in his V12 Lagonda, nonchalantly handing in the spare wheel cover to his lady after it had fallen off. Alas, the number disc was attached to it, but the organisers were equal to this—a charming girl was rushed to the spot on the pillion of it motor-cycle, bringing pail of whitewash and brush to make good the omission!
As time wore on Swales’s “Ulster” Austin Seven sounded very sick, as did the Ford Ten engine of Brookes’ E.R.P Special, which was abandoned beside the course. Bingham’s Rover-engined sports Cooper had already retired and at the very end of her run Mrs. Darman shed a rod from the well-roasted engine of her Rapier.
Tyrer in his 1946 Mille Miglia B.M.W. was obviously out for fastest run, a fine sight. Lots of people had to be black-flagged for passing on the right and Nancy Binns was nearly disqualified for losing her bonnet.
QUALIFIED : West (Austin Seven), Hewitt (Austin Seven), Brown (M.G.), Mallock (Austin Seven), Heyward (Austin Seven), Morrish (F. I.A.T.), Buckler (s/c Buckler), Taylor (M.G.), Crossby (Vauxhall Special), Yeates (Yeates Ford), Chapman (Lotus Ford), Parrott (Buckler), Line (M.G.), Pringle (M.G.), Whalen (H.R.G.), Fountain (Aston-Martin), Lawson (H.R.G.), Mrs. Binns (Riley Sprite), Render (Aston-Martin), Buckler (Jaguar), Chandler (Lea-Francis), Barrow (Barrow Special), Waring (Alvis), Burn (A.C. Frazer-Nash), Tyrer (B.M.W.), Moore (B.M.W.), Binns (“30/98” Vauxhall), Andrew (Audrey Ford), Deity (4 1/2-litre Lagonda), Laverick (Jaguar), Goodhew (4 1/2-litre Lagonda), Howorth (Lagonda Special). Henry (4 1/2-litre Lagonda).
The races which followed were keenly contested. The first was a scratch race for Austin Sevens to the new 750 M.C. Formula. It attracted sixteen runners as follows :-
C. H BULMER : Ex-works T.T. team car. Standard coil-ignition engine with Whatmough-Hewitt head, enlarged inlet valves. Nippy inlet manifold; 1 1/2in. d.d. S.U. Carburetter Scintilla Vertex NV 4 magneto. Standard blown Ulster ex-system. Ulster box, 5.66 axle. Standard Ulster front axle. Luvax damped back springs. Winner.
G. B. HEWITT : A. E. W. Austin four-seater with lowered front axle. Standard engine, carefully balanced. Old-type Alta head. Nippy inlet manifold. Close-ratio four-speed gearbox ; 5.25 axle. Finished second.
J. S. FRENCH : Trials-cum-racing car; 1931 chassis with Ruby extensions. Standard engine, Ulster gearbox; 5.66 axle, with Whatmough-Hewitt head and combined L.M.B. manifold, with Bugatti-style exhaust pipes. Nippy carburetter. L.M.B. Suspension. Finished third.
L. H. W. HEYWARD: De-blown Ulster, ex-Bowles. Built-up inlet manifold, Nippy carburetter; new-type Alta head; 4.9 axle, Ulster gearbox. Finished fourth.
D. E. LINCOLN : Early car, 1 1/2 in. crank In magneto engine: 5.25 axle. L.M.B. front axle. Alta head. Nippy inlet manifold. Arnott carburetter. “Speedy” camshaft. Finished fifth.
R. J. PICKETT : Blown Ulster engine, with blown camshaft; 1 1/2 in. Ulster crank. Camb, Eng, head, body and Inlet manifold. Standard four-speed gearbox; 4.9 axle. Finished sixth.
T. WEST : 1934 standard engine. Slightly enlarged inlet ports. Horizontal manifold; 1 in. S.U. Truck body. Works hack. Finished seventh.
K. S. JEFFERY : lowered by Z-Bracket. Otherwise normal chassis. Late-type engine. High-lift camshaft. Enlarged inlet valves. New-type Alta head. Finished eighth.
M. A. WRIGHT : Unblown Ulster 1 1/2 in. crank. Ten-stud block; Copperised Ulster head, with extra water outlet in head. Nippy inlet manifold and carburetter; 5.66 axle. Bowden ex-cable brakes. Finished ninth.
A. GUALTIER : 1931 chassis. Camb. Eng. inlet manibild and front axle. Standard engine; 1937 head; 1 1/8 in. S.U. d.d. carburetter. Standard four-speed gearbox. Finished tenth.
K. WELFARE : Early chassis,1930 coil-ignition engine. Nippy manifolds. Ford Eight carburetter. Ricardo head. Ulster gearbox; 4.9 axle; 17 in. wheels. Finished eleventh.
D. E. BALDWIN : Early war, lowered by putting frame under front spring. Standard three-speed gearbox : 4.9 axle. Finished twelfth.
J. PEATFIELD : Riley with Camb. Eng. head and Ford front axle. Finished thirteenth.
D. H. LAWRENCE : Early car, standard head, d.d. Ford carburetter; 4.9 axle. Light two-seater body. Finished fourteenth.
D. L. SWALE : Ex-Birkett T.T. replica. Unblown Ulster engine; 1 1/2 in. Laystall crank. High-lift camshaft. Nippy inlet manifold and carburetter. Ulster ex-manifold. Austin expertmental alloy head with two gaskets; 4.9 axle, Body lightened by former owner. Ulster L.M.B. front axle. Retired lap one.
D. R. WOOTTON: 1928 Chummy. Widened L.M.B. front axle. Ulster gearbox. Standard engine. Ulster ex-manifold and inverted unblown inlet manifold. Ford Eight carburetter; 1937 head. Retired lap two.
Although this was a scratch race, because the 750 M.C. wants data before it handicaps, there was a fine struggle for second place, retirements were few, and the speeds quite exciting. This sort of racing, the least expensive, is thus assured of a future. Hewitt led lap one from Bulmer in the orange T.T. car, but, lapping at a rousing 59 m.p.h., Bulmer soon had a convincing lead. Behind, French worked his way up, just pipping Hewitt for second place on the line. Lincoln’s car boiled and fell back, letting Heyward occupy fourth place. Good fun!
In the following five-lap handicap Waring’s Alvis won neatIy, chased by Gerry Ruddock’s Meadows-H.R.G. Lester’s Lester-M.G. had a startling slide at Stowe and Mrs. Binns (Riley) wisely pulled off, after experiencing fearful front axle tramp while braking for this corner. The Buckler was impressive here, but Haslam scarcely even toured in his vast Lagonda.
A five-lap scratch race came next and featured a really furious duel between Chapman’s Lotus and Gahagan’s G.P. Bugatti. The latter cornering wider at Stowe and duly losing ground, so that they finished in that order. Mallock gave a very fine exhibition, proving that his Austin Seven can be put round a corner in a style which wouldn’t shame a G.P. car. He failed to catch Casefoot’s Lancia Aprilia saloon, which was also cornered on the limit.
In the next handicap, Tyrer’s Mille Miglia came through beautifully fronm scratch, lapping at 75.8 m.p.h. to beat Bender’s Allard. Binns’ “30/98” vauxhall, with fearsome three-brand outside exhaust plumbing, was third. Leo’s 4 1/2-litre Lagonda slid to a standstill astride Stowe, causing the Vauxhall to arch its back with concern–luckily the gap was big enough! A fine dice.
Two more five-lap handicaps saw Carefoot again hold off Matlock in the first, Drew’s touring Hillman Minx a “Brooklands third” from “limit” and the Lotus/Bugatti duel resumed in the second, Gahagan getting Chapman bothered this time, to beat him to second place by 5.4 sec., although Sutherland’s rapid TC M.G. had by then won the race. The meeting concluded with two five-lap scratch races. The first proved Willment in the ex-Ayrton Bugatti to have superior acceleration to Tyrer’s B.M.W. for he won by 8.8 sec., at 75.45 m.p.h., sharing fastest lap of the day-76.78 m.p.h.— with Tyrer. Moore’s B.M.W. was third. Keen’s known-to-be-quick 1 1/2-litre beat Sutherland’s also faster-than-standard TC M.G. by 4.6 sec. in the last race, lapping at 67.66 m.p.h. Leo’s 4 1/2-litre Lagonda was third. Binns’ Vauxhall held that position on the fourth lap, but went amongst the marker cans at Stowe.–W.B.