Last month DSJ reminded us that hand-brakes are no longer required on F1 cars so that on anything less than a level starting-grid drivers have to juggle with brake and accelerator pedals at the same time. This reminded me that hand-brakes were compulsory at Brooklands, as they had been on GP cars at one time. It was Freddie Dixon who tried to get round this rule. When he constructed his very narrow and scientific Riley Nine single-seater “The Red Mongrel”, which he drove on the road from Macclesfield to Brooklands(!) when its final preparation before a race was delayed, he had no room in the cockpit for a hand-brake.
This presented Freddie with a problem, because the starting-area by the Fork at Brooklands had an up-gradient of about 1 in 30 and cars would roll back unless held on the brake, mechanics being prohibited from lending a hand, under penalty of disqualification, after the competitors had come under starter’s orders. It was in 1933 that Dixon made his request to the BARC Race Committee that allowed him to have a chock placed behind a back wheel of “Red Mongrel” at Pond starts. The officials, who had perhaps had enough of the effervescent Freddie, were scandalised. Dixon would be required to have a proper hand-brake on his cars like all the rest of the drivers, — WB.