THE J.C.C. DOUBLE TWELVE WELL ORGANISED EVENT PROVES A TRIUMPH FOR BRITISH CARS
THIS year’s Double Twelve was chiefly remarkable for the overwhelming triumph of the British sports car. In every class, both of price and engine size, British cars put, up wonderful performances, and produced a welcome answer to the pessimists who have been complaining that we cannot hold our own with continental manufacturers. It is true that in some cases the foreign cars were put out by minor troubles, but the fact that these were avoided by the successful makes reflects great credit on the organising ability, and attention to detail, of those who prepared the cars.
In the large class it was evident from the start, that the Bentleys would, barring accidents, have it their own way, and with a large entry they could afford to set a cracking pace, and establish such a lead as to give them a fairly easy race towards the end. This policy proved successful, and though their ranks suffered considerable casualties, the leaders at the end of the first day were never seriously challenged, and took things comparatively easily for the latter half of the race—that is if consistent lapping at well over 80 m.p.h. can be called taking things easily! Unfortunately the Mercedes which was to have been driven by Malcolm Campbell could not be got over in time for the race, so he drove the 2,300 c.c. supercharged Bugatti in turn with Earl Howe. A race between the Mercedes and Bentley would have been indeed worth watching
Small .Cara Do Well.
In the smaller classes the success of the British cars was even more marked. Here they were competing against the cream of continental makes and although they were small in actual numbers their reliability was remarkable in a race of many failures. Whitcrofts’ Riley, which finished third in the race and first in the 1100 c.c. class ran with perfect regularity throughout, as did Bertelli’s Aston Martin, which ran into fourth place after a well judged race. Another make to put up a really good show were the Frazer-Nashs. Two started and both finished without trouble ; the merit of this effort being more apparent when it is considered that out of 59 starters, only 29 finished the race, many of them only after considerable delays. The cars had been prepared at the last minute, as the original two cars which had been earmarked for the race had. been delivered to customers, and Aldington cheerfully proceeded to build two more cars for the event at a few days notice,—a very sporting effort.
M.G. Midgets surprised everyone by their turn of speed, and their winning of the team prize was as popular, as it was well deserved. Five out of their six starters finished the race. The supercharged cars were not seen to advantage in this race owing to troubles quite unconnected with the superchargers, and although the 4 litre supercharged Bentleys set a terrific pace at the outset and were lapping at over 99 m.p.h. they were unfortunately compelled to retire with various troubles ; two were withdrawn owing to valve breakage, and damaged pinions in the rear axles caused
the retirement of another. The supercharged Austin 7 put up a remarkable performance for its diminutive size, but did not have a trouble-free run as it was necessary to change the supercharger thereby losing considerable time. The ordinary un-supercharged Austin 7, however, driven by Captain Waite and the Earl of March won the Autocar award for the chassis price handicap. The arrangement of this price handicap was certainly a brilliant idea, as the average man who buys a sports car is not usually in a position to spend a great deal on it, and a race of this calibre can act as a guide to the best “value for money” sports car. This year’s Double Twelve was probably one of the best organised international car races that has ever taken place. The scoring and announcing arrangements were well nigh perfect, and thanks to the excellent Phillips loud speaking equipment, the pleasant voice of Professor A. M. Low could be heard in every Corner of the track, giving up-todate information of the position. Results were issued every hour with the minimum of delay and it was very easy for everybody to follow the progress of the race on handicap, which in most long distance handicap events is far from being the
case. The ingenious arrangement in the programme also made it quite simple to ascertain at any time from the car’s lap speed whether it was gaining or loosing on another car in a different class. The accident to the two Talbots which unfortunately resulted in the loss of two lives, and injuries to some others, cast a certain amount of gloom over the proceedings at the end of the first day. It was, however, one of those events which are bound to occur on occasion in almost every sport, and it is regrettable to note the unreasonable view of the mishap taken by certain sensational sections of the daily press, who started a tirade against Brooklands and held that it was unsafe. The extreme rarity of any accident at Brooklands, and the fact that this is the first time since the track was opened that a spectator has been seriously injured,
actually goes to show how safe Brooklands really is in comparison with any road or track in the world. Great credit is due to the authorities for the way in which the situation was dealt with, and for the excellent and efficient attention given to all concerned. It was doubly unfortunate in it that eliminated from the race. the team of Talbot cars, which on their first appearance were putting up a performance which astounded everybody, and they had not experienced the slightest trouble. This augurs well for the success of this model in production.
The regulations for the start were changed slightly this year, and instead of having to run across the track and lower hoods, the drivers stood by the cars, which were ready to start. At the maroon, 59 riders leapt into their cars and almost simultaneously the whole bunch were roaring down the finishing straight for the first corner with the Bentleys in the van. It was one of the most impressive sights ever seen at the track, and in spite of the enormous number of cars entering the corner togther, there were no untoward incidents. Within a few laps the leading Bentleys had lapped the majority of the smaller cars. There were many surprises in the way of speeds, and the Talbots and Alvis’ were setting an astonishing pace for their size. Mrs. Bruce in one of the ” Silver Eagle” Alvis’ was among the very fastest at the corner, and looked like being placed high up, but later her car suffered from valve trouble and she was compelled to slow considerably, but managed to finish well in spite of this. The pits soon became a centre of activit, among the first to come in being Mrs. Scott and Ashby on their Rileys to attend to the oil pressure. Ashby certainly believed in preparing for everything, and had a complete portable weld
ing outfit in his pit. With it he soon repaired the leaking oil pipe and got going again. A. S. Watt (Fiat) cattle in after of an hour with two broken pistons. He repaired them, however, by working. nearly all day and managed to get going again in the afternoon. Another example of an almost complete overhaul was provided by Burt (Austin 7) who had the bad luck to shed a crankcase stud, lose his oil, and run two big ends. Nothing daunted he dismantled the connecting rods, sent them over to Thompson & Taylor’s works by the aeroplane sheds