MEETING OF THE ESSEX MOTOR CLUB AT BROOKLANDS. Excellent Racing in the 100 Miles Handicap,
THE patient Brooklands habituees, who have recently become quite used to bad weather, were rewarded by a fine day’s sport on Saturday the 9th May, when the Essex Motor Club provided a short but extremely interesting programme.
Of the five races, three were devoted to motor cycles and sidecars, these being very well supported by representative entries ; but perhaps the greatest interest was aroused by the two car races, if the number of car owners present at the event can be taken as any criterion.
The Essex Junior Long Handicap.
This race, over a distance of about five and a half miles, started and finished at the Fork, and, as usual, the entire length of the finishing straight was crowded with spectators cars. In these days, the racing at Brooklands seems more popular than it has ever been, due to some extent to the R.A.C. ban on road events, which is causing the advantages of the track to be fully realised at last. Mr. Vernon Balls’ ” Amilcar ” was sent off with I minute 15 seconds start, and got away very well for the first lap, but retired very shortly after, owing to a slipping clutch. The driver wisely decided not to con
thine, in order to avoid further trouble which might have spoiled his chances for the big race of the meeting. Miss Lister handled her Aston-Martin with great skill, but did not show the speed of the other lady driver, Mrs. 0. S. Menzies. The Itala, driven by the latter, however, developed trouble and failed. As the cars emerged from the Railway straight, it became obvious that the Alvis, owned and driven by Mr. R. M. V. Sutton, was in for an easy thing, and romped home first at the speed of 76.62 m.p.h. without being challenged.
Miss H. M. Lister (Aston-Martin) was second, and Mr. Aldridge’s Alvis followed closely into the third place.
The Essex Open 100 Miles Handicap.
Whilst the Three-Lap Passenger Handicap for motorcycles was in progress, the attention of the greater part of the crowd was directed to the line of cars drawn up in readiness for the Ioo Miles Handicap, and some excitement was caused by an outbreak of fire from Major Harvey’s single seater Alvis. Fortunately the flames were subdued before any damage resulted, and in a few minutes the engine was running again without hesitation. The race attracted twelve entries, the only absentee being the Thomas-Special, though Lieut. Kidston’s
Bugatti was posted up as a non-starter, but be turned up in time to take his position as scratch man.
The event had all the characteristics of the J.C.C. Two Hundred Miles Race, including the lap scoring arrangements, the replenishment pits, to say nothing of the activities of the bookmakers. Vernon Ball’s” Amilcar,” having recovered from its attack of clutch slipping, started off with the generous allowance of 22 minutes 50 seconds, and made more than a complete circuit of the track before the next car, a Frazer-Nash, driven by E. Ringwood, was released. The latter car ran with remarkable consistence, and put up a very fine show. The Aston-Martin and Miller’s Wolseley started off together, the former showing the latter a clean pair of heels long before the Members’ Bridge was reached. Malcolm Campbell was the next to get away, his blue Itala looking very smart. Looking at this car before the start we noticed the elaborate arrangements for keeping the oil cool, which consisted in a large coil of copper pipe located behind the radiator. Though the Itala ran most regularly, it appeared to be deficie nt in speed, and was not regarded as a serious rival for premier honours.
Peacock’s Frazer-Nash and Purdy’s AIN is followed the Itala, with Douglas’ Aston-Martin a couple of minutes later.
Then with the slower cars well started on their journey, the speedy machines began to face the starter. A. Lanfranchi’s Alfa-Romeo was rather fancied, and began to overhaul the field, but its success was short lived, and after covering eleven laps was towed in, owing to an oil pipe breakage.
After waiting patiently for the signal to go, Harvey tried to engage his first speed, but evidently the clutch would not stop, so after a frantic effort with his grinding gears, he had the car pushed back, and was pushed up to the line with the gear in, just in time to get off the mark as the flag dropped.
W. Barnato, on the Bugatti, got away at a fine speed, and after 2 minutes 20 seconds pause J. D. Barclay set his red Vauxhall going With a roar, and hurried off in pursuit of the others. The Bugatti, handled with admirable skill and daring by Lieut. Kidston, was much admired, and began to lap at a terrific speed, but its chances were spoiled by tyre trouble, one of the rear tyres tearing a tread completely off in the seventeenth lap, and the other back tyre disappeared completely at a later stage of the race.
Miller’s Wolseley was the first car in trouble, and pulled in to the pits. The driver did not seem to know quite what had happened, and after looking at the valve gear appeared to have given up hopes of continuing. Several minutes later he fitted a new set of plugs and got going again, after having lost much valuable time.
By this time the cars were spreading themselves all round the course, but the spectators watched with interest the continuous duel between the Aston-Martin and the sports Alvis, which hung on to each other throughout the race.
Barclay was the next to pull in to the pits, and examination showed that the cylinder head of the Vauxhall had cracked, but the driver pluckily continued, until compelled to retire with the same trouble a few laps later.
The bumps on the track caused the oil pipe of Barnato’s Bugatti to fracture, and this put him out of the race, as was the case with the Alfa-Romeo.
Harvey, on the single-seater Alvis, was getting iaster and faster each lap, and was doing his 97 m.p.h. without turning a hair. At one time it looked as if he would have been well advised to call in for a fresh supply of water, but he continued without a stop, keeping his engine soused with oil from the extra tank.
Purdy’s Alvis was running well for the first place, and it became a matter of conjecture whether Harvey could catch him by reason of his somewhat heavy handicap. As it turned out the standard Sports Alvis, which Purdy had recently bought second-hand, won fairly easily at a speed of 86.77 m.p.h., with the Aston-Martin second, and C. M. Harvey, on the single-seater Alvis, third.