SPORTING EVENTS OF THE MONTH.
THE ESSEX CLUB’S SIX HOUR RACE.
THE Essex Club are to be congratulated on their enterprise in organising the first British race on the lines of the famous Grand Prix D’Endurance. The exigencies of Brooklands prevent the holding of 24 hour races, but as a trial venture, the 6 hour race proved extremely illuminating. A few minutes before 11 o’clock on May 7th the competing cars were lined up
along one side of the finishing straight, while drivers and mechanics fidgetted nervously on the other side of the concrete. At the fall of the flag the crews rushed to their cars and (in the case of the open models) erected the hoods and started their engines by means of the electric starters. Not unnaturally the three closed cars, Meeson (Vauxhall), Bruce (A.C.), and King (Lagonda), got away first, in the order named, but the Bentley team were not far behind. Vernon Balls ‘Amilcar sulked and remained stationery during lap I. ! For ten laps the cars thundered round with scarcely an incident, the order in the various classes being, 3,000 c.c. Clement (Bentley), Benjafield (Bentley), Duller (Sunbeam), 2,000 c.c. King (Lagonda Saloon), Durlacher (Diatto), Bruce (A.C. Saloon) ; 1,500 c.c. : Harvey (Alvis), Dykes (Alvis), Davis (Alvis) ; while in the 1,100 c.c. J. Dunfee (Salmson) held the lead. On completing its tenth lap each car came into the pits and had its hood lowered, while one or two of the less fortunate drivers were compelled to effect adjustments thus early. The first thrill occurred hereabouts, when Meeson’s Vauxhall Coupe burst into flames, thanks to a broken petrol pipe. The conflagration was extinguished before any extensive damage was done, but Meeson retired. Incidentally, his mechanic misjudged the speed of the car, and “stepped out” at some 30 m.p.h.,. and was slightly injured as a result.
At the end of the first hour the position was substantially unchanged, the leading Bentley having averaged over 66 m.p.h., Vernon Balls and G. Hendy (Lea-Francis) changed plugs, and several cars needed ‘cater.
During the second hour, the huge Excelsior retired with a” run” big end, Sutton’s Lea-Francis packed up with transmission trouble, and Clement’s Bentley was passed by Benjafield, Duller, Segrave and H. R. S. Birkin (Bentley) after misfiring badly. Dyke’s Alvis was now leading the 1,500 c.c. class, and as yet Ball’s Amilcar had not had time to wipe out the disadvantage of his early troubles.
During the third hour trouble became more frequent and more serious ; the experimental duralumin rockers on the Bentleys began to break, leaving Birkin as the only ” likely ” member of the team (his car had steel rockers). After a two hour demonstration of how not to change gear (which may or may not have been due to a faulty clutch), Dreyfus’ Salmson was withdrawn with gearbox trouble. Other unfortunates were the Lagonda Saloon (piston), which had been running well, and Martineau’s Salmson, which killed two magnetos in quick succession. At half time the positions were :—
Sunbeam (G. Duller) … … 64.7 Bentley (H. R. S. Birkin, C. A. C. Birkin) 64.0 Alvis (C. M. Harvey) Alvis (S. C. H. Davis)
Alvis (W. U. Dykes, B. F. Russell)… … 59.2 Diatto (C. Durlacher)
Sunbeam (J. W. Jackson, N. Turner) … 57.7
O.M. (R. F. Oats) … … 57.6
Just after half time C. A. C. Birkin relieved his brother at the wheel of Bentley No. II. and proceeded to” treat it rough” ; as it was the chief Bentley hope, the team manager (Kensington Moir) ordered the elder brother to resume the driver’s seat after three laps, and the unhappy C. A. C. was ejected ! Several other Bentleys appeared at intervals, though it was difficult to discover who was driving them. Each car seemed at some time or other to be driven by every member of the team. Eventually, however, all except
Birkins were eliminated by various troubles. The three Alvises continued to run with great regularity, their speed increasing as the race went on, while some fine speed enabled Vernon Balls to force his Amilcar in front of the leading Salmson (George Newman).
Of the two 750 c.c. Austins, that driven by Dingle and Bassett was in front of its rival.
The 2-litre Diatto and Bruce’s A.C. were leading their class in no uncertain manner, the latter perhaps being one of the most impressive performances in the race in view of the saloon body and the previous history of the car.
During the fifth hour the only notable change was that S. C. H. Davies overtook Harvey owing to the latter changing plugs.
During the last hour excitement became intense. George Duller seemed to be travelling as well as ever, but so were the 3 Alvises, while the Birkin Bentley, now driven by P. C. Clement, was having spare wheel trouble, and eventually had only third gear, which was engaged (permanently) with the aid of a hammer. Alter his plucky performance, V. Balls was unfortunate enough to suffer from a run big end, thus leaving the Salmsons in undisputed sway in the 1,100 c.c. class. It was noticed during the last hour that the slowest Alvis (Dykes) was gaining on the slower Sunbeam (Turner), Segrave’s Sunbeam having retired with an empty petrol tank, t3o far to be pushed to the pits ! The final distances, times and results on formula were as follows :—
Car and and Drivers.
m.p.h. 1 4 Sunbeam (G. Duller) 386.0 64.3 9 1 Alvis (S. C. H. Davis) 371.93 62.0 3 8 Bentley (H. R. S. Birkin and C. A. C. Birkin) 358.88 59.8 4 5 Alvis (C. M. Harvey) 358.49 59.7 5 6 Alvis (W. U. Dykes and B. F Russell) 357.77 59.6 (i 12 Sunbeam ( J. W. Jackson and Turner) 357.46 59.6 7 9 Diatto (C. Durlacher) 355.39 59.2 8 11 A.C. (V. A. Bruce) 344.12 57.3 9 2 Salmson (G. Newman) 336.74 50.1 10 3 Salmson (J. Dutifee) 334.54 56.7 11 14 O.M. (R. F. Oats) 332.84 55.5 12 7 Salmson (H. E. Hazlehurst and F. Walter) 326.27 54.4 13 13 Aston-Martin (C. J. Randall and E. Hayter) 318.17 53.2 14 10 Austin (J. P. Dingle and S. J Bassett 250.57 41.7 The awards were as follows :—
BARNATO CUP (for greatest distance covered). G. Duller (Sunbeam).
PASS AND JOYCE CUP (for greatest distance in 3,000 c.c. class). G. Duller (Sunbeam).
” THE AUTOCAR ” EFFICIENCY CUP (for greatest distance above minimum). S. C. H. Davis (Alvis).
HENLYS CUP (for greatest distance in 1,500 c.c. class). S. C. H. Davis (Alvis).
ESSEX CUP (for greatest distance in 1,100 c.c. class). G. Newman (Salnison).
ESSEX CUP (for greatest distance in 2,000 c.c. class). C. Durlacher (Diatto).