Racing At Whitsun
THE Whit-Saturday Goodwood Meeting of the B.A.R.C. attracted a relatively small crowd, perhaps on account of memories of the Silverstone congestion of a week earlier, possibly because of the Derby. The atmosphere of pre-war Brooklands was most enjoyable and the Sussex constabulary were ready and willing to exercise skill in coping with traffic congestion, should it have arisen.
The main attraction of the meeting was the 500 International Trophy for Formula III cars, to be run in two seven-lap heats and a 15-lap Final. Announced as the greatest Formula III event yet staged in Europe, this event was rendered International by the entry of three Scandinavian Effyhs, to be handled by Ake Jonsson (Swedish champion), Eiler Svensson and Nils Gagner. These cars have rear-placed J.A.P. engines, Jonsson’s with alloy barrel, and front i.f.s. by rather frail-looking transverse leaf springs, two four-leaf at the top and two two-leaf at the bottom on each side, carrying the king-pin assemblies. The brakes had six forward-facing air scoops and six rear-facing extractors on each back-plate. All three cars had crash hoops. The tender car was a smart drop-head D.K.W.
Paul Emery appeared in the first heat, bearing only the slightest traces of his sensational Silverstone inversion. Alas, the front-drive Emeryson lasted only a short distance, after a fine getaway. Brandon’s Cooper-.J.A.P. led throughout to win by 1.4 sec. from Peter Collins’ Cooper with “double-knocker” Norton engine and Dennis Poore, trying his hand, and very ably, in the hastily Robin-Jackson-prepared white Parsenn-J.A.P. Eric averaged 75.92 m.p.h. and lapped at 76.73 m.p.h.
We were treated to another stirring rolling-start conducted by John Morgan from a J2 Allard driven by Sydney, as the second heat went into action. Parker led for a lap, but after three laps Dryden’s Cooper-Norton was comfortably ahead of Whitehouse’s Cooper, also Norton-powered, Parker third. The Rhiando retired and we were treated to a duel between the leaders, ending in “Curly” Dryden beating Whitehouse by 3.2 sec. at 75.24 m.p.h. Parker kept third place. Aikens, hero of Silverstone, didn’t seem entirely happy, but scored fastest lap in the Iota, at 76.33 m.p.h.
While the 500 c.c. machinery was being prepared for the £200 Final, two five-lap handicaps were contested. The first was won by de Lissa’s ex-Brooklands M.G. single-seater, supercharged these days, at 73 m.p.h., from the 1 min. 45 sec. mark. 2.8 sec. later E. J. Haesendonck’s blown PB M.G., most professionally handled, crossed the line, with Tony Rolt in the beautifully re-vamped 1 1/2-litre Delage, Wade blower howling, a fast third. Stowe-Taylor’s B-type E.R.A. lapped at 86.23 m.p.h., from scratch. Shame that the R.A.C. refused this E.R.A. and Delage for Silverstone! Peter Clark had his Vanguard-H.R.G. out of hibernation, but as usual it preferred to rest.
Ruddock’s re-bodied Meadows-H.R.G. soon motored out of sight of all opposition from the 1 min. 32 sec. mark in the next race, winning by 15 sec. at 71.95 m.p.h. from Byron’s beautiful-sounding “2.3” G.P. Bugatti, which seemed to have a bit of a squeeze to pass the third car home, Haesendonck’s re-handicapped M.G. Jason-Henry’s Delahaye lapped at 78.11 m.p.h. Hern’s Amilcar broke bits of its box of gears.
Came the 500-c.c. Final, in which “Curly” Dryden (Cooper-Norton) drove with his head as well as other extremities, leading throughout to win magnificently, at 77.23 m.p.h. from Collins’ Cooper, which, “double-knocker” notwithstanding, just couldn’t pull out the extra horse needed for passing; 6 sec. separated them at the finish. Lots of cars retired, and Leonard cannoned his Cooper off the Parker Special at Woodcote, putting himself temporarily in hospital and the Parker on the grass with a broken suspension arm—unlucky Donald! Aiken trailed a front shock-absorber, which ruined controlability and brought out the Black Flag. Robin Jackson was, meanwhile, unsuccessfully asking for this flag for Poore, because the Parsenn had shed its exhaust pipe and was expected to catch fire. It duly did so, Brandon politely indicated to Dennis that he really should cease motoring, and the car was driven into the Paddock, where it went up well and truly, Poore escaping with scorch marks on his wind jacket and a sweep’s face. He told me the extractor effect of the pipe is so pronounced that be was down 800 r.p.m. after it fell off. John Cooper’s Cooper-J.A.P. annexed third place and Dryden made fastest lap, at 78.98 m.p.h., going home with a fine cup, the historic Andre Trophy, and £220 of Mr. D. M. Glover’s generous prize money. None of the Scandinavians attained the Final.
TIte final handicap saw de Lissa re-handicapped to 1 min. 0 sec. from 1 min. 45 sec., yet still the winner, the M.G. averaging 76.06 m.p.h. this time. Very close behind came the Dunham Alvis, with Rolt’s Delage third, after a lap at 84.7 m.p.h. I can assure you I shall attend the next of these enjoyable Brooklands-style meetings on September 30th-the International day.
On Whit-Monday a crowd estimated at 15,000 saw some good racing at Blandford. The West Hants and Dorset C.C. catered for a variety of tastes. The programme opened with an all-Cooper 500 c.c. 10-mile heat, won calmly and convincingly by “Curly” Dryden, who was using the same Norton engine as he had at Goodwood. He averaged 72.56 m.p.h., and it was followed home by Headland’s Cooper-J.A.P. and Westcott’s Cooper-J.A.P. He also made fastest lap, at 75.17 m.p.h. The second heat was spoilt by having ten non-starters, including the three Arengos and the Rhiando. Alf Bottoms won in his J.B.S. Norton, at 75.22 m.p.h. (best lap 77.12 m.p.h.), from Collins’ Cooper-Norton, and Brown’s Cooper-J. A .P.
Next we had a 48-mile Production Car Race. It was interesting as the first of several which will be run at various venues this season. Once upon a time the sports cars which competed in club catalogue-car contests were nothing like so potent, as a rule, as those you saw in the TT. This year production-car regulations have stabilised, and so each race will produce much the same cars and at the end of the season we van assess the merits and demerits these races reveal and tell our cousins overseas just what to spend their dollars on. Round one, at Blandford, was a Frazer-Nash benefit (shaft-drive Le Mans Replica pattern, of course). Donald Pitt drove Newton’s silver car a length or so behind Tony Crook’s red car until a locking brake literally retarded the latter on the last lap, allowing Pitt to win at 76.33 m.p.h., to his rival’s 75.85 m.p.h. He also made best lap of the race, at 78.84 m.p.h. ln the unlimited class Allards blotted copy books. Sydney’s J2 retired with a blown gasket after a broken cylinder head stud had let out the very necessary cooling water. At that time he hadn’t passed the Frazer-Nashes. Farquharson did his best, tyres protesting, in an Allard coupé, but only covered 14 of the 15 laps, and Clarkson, a letter in his pocket from the organising club saying he would be allowed to race his J2 Allard on “Wyresoles” re-treads, was not allowed by the scrutineer to do so. A “Silverstone” Healey driven by Charles Mortimer, and very well-driven, too, was third, at 72.61 m.p.h., leaving behind the sister models handled by Masters, Watkins Anderson, Sir Francis Samuelson and Onslow-Bartlett—the last-named not cornering so fast as he used to do in his Mercury. The 1 1/2-litre class saw Jacobs’ TD M.G. spring a surprise and win at 68.36 m.p.h., beating Thompson’s and Buncombe’s H.R.G.s (68.1 and 65.65 m.p.h., respectively). But it was a close thing, for Thompson was delayed by motoring off the road. He did make fastest lap: at 70.22 m.p.h. Jacobs slid his corners beautifully and the answer to sceptics who queried whether this TD was standard seems to be that it was, but tuned to the third-degree of M.G. hot-rodedness, as listed in their urge-manual.
Every 1,000 c.c. unblown racer present came out for the lnternational Trophy 32-mile race. High-light was the way in which Eric Winterbottom made up time after a pit-stop early on, to come through the field in his Cooper-H.R.D. to third place, at 71.77 m.p.h. Meanwhile, Green’s sister-car had won at 76.62 m.p.h from another, driven by Martin (74.6 m.p.h.). Eric made fastest lap, of course, at 81.69 m.p.h. Treen’s methanol-exuding Riley went impressively on a 10 to 1 or so compression-ratio, finishing fourth, ahead of Filers M.G., a lap behind and, this surprises me, Richardson’s Riley, two laps behind.
The 500 c.c. Final, over 64 miles, was fraught with thrills. Dryden pushed his way through baulks in a manner that stopped our heart-beats and sent the timid on to the grass. He was black-flagged–for a loose bonnet. Continuing without it he couldn’t make up the time lost so the Champion of Goodwood had to give best to Alf Bottoms, who has graduated from the Speedway, and whose J.B.S.-Norton won convincingly, at 76.62 m.p.h., from Collins’ “double-knocker” Cooper-Norton and A. E. Brown’s Cooper-J.A.P. I say, Surbiton ! There were incidents, naturally. The best concerned David Brake, who appears to be a rather wild young man, and whose Cooper bent its front during a heat and in the Final seized its transmission, caught fire, and was run into by Reece’s Cooper. This resulted in a vast Army ambulance and gargantuan Army fire-engine toiling down the course, drivers coming on this scene and the accompanying forest of yellow flags quite losing heart, for a major disaster could be expected ahead, especially when another Army vehicle decided to go along too. Some, like Brown, being still in the money, hurried by these 20 m.p.h. obstructions. Actually, ’twas a lot of bother about nothing very much. Bottoms made no mistakes and best lap, at 77.95 m.p.h.
The meeting closed with the 64-mile Formula II Blandford Trophy Race. The obvious winner was Shillito’s Riley, until the back-axle broke. Then Lund, uncomfortable but very fast in the Skelly Lea-Francis Special with the modern 1,674 c.c. engine, went out ahead, Dryden having several pit-stops in his shortened Healey and Merrick’s 1,096-c.c. Cooper-J.A.P. trying hard, only to have trouble at the very end, letting Shattock’s Atalanta, now with 1 1/2-litre modern Lea-Francis engine, which sounded it bit, sick at high revs, into third place. Lund averaged 77.7 m.p.h., Dryden 70.48 m.p.h., and Shattock 69.79 m.p.h. Lund and Merrick tied for fastest lap, at 79.73 m.p.h.
There was a holiday-cum-free-petrol spirit abroad, and I noticed some amusing vehicles. A 1923 Calcott two-seater and an 11.9-h.p. Lagonda motored majestically to the official car park, wherein were Barker’s 1909 Napier and somebody’s six-cylinder Belsize tourer, while an aged Austin Twelve fabric saloon was ably conducted about by a lady driver. A happy holiday.–W. B.
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We have received the folIowing, from the Blandford organisers: “The prize for the first car in the under-1,500-c.c. class of the Production Car Race has been awarded to E. Thompson, who drove an H.R.G. Inquiries have shown that the shock-absorbers fitted to the “TD” M.G. driven by R. W. Jacobs were non-standard, inasmuch as the type used had not been fitted to enough car to comply with our regulations. We should like to make it clear that there is absoIutely no reflection on Mr. Jacobs. The car was prepared for the race by the manufacturers for Mr. Jacobs. They overlooked the fact that the shock-absorbers were not the usual type. When the car was scrutineered, it was agreed that the car would run, but that the question of any award would be held in abeyance until we had heard front M.G.s.
“D. F. Truman also asks us to explain that in the final of the 500 c.c. race he did not retire on the 14th lap, but was still running when the race ended.”