Prospects for Dublin.
WHEN these words appear in print the second great British event of the year will be less than a week away—the Royal Irish Automobile Club’s Grand Prix, to be run on the road circuit in Phoenix Park on Friday and Saturday next, June 5th and 6th. Already teams are at the course preparing for the practising—and the hotel keepers of Dublin are preparing for the richest harvest of the year.
A glance at the list of entries for this event will show one outstanding feature, and that is the formidable attack of continental marques on the first pukka road race of the year, a race which may be looked upon as foreshadowing the result of the R.A.C. event in Ulster in September.
The Phoenix Park course has several peculiarities which distinguish it from the Ards circuit—and indeed from any other road circuit, for in many ways it resembles the kind of road circuit to be found as a subsidiary to a great track, such as Monthlery and Monza. To begin with the circuit is very short—only 4 miles 500 yards to the lap, which means that there must be a great deal of overtaking, and that the corners are liable to be somewhat congested during the race. The road, surface is wonderfully smooth and. is as nearly skidproof as it is possible for a road circuit to be—although several drivers in the past have demonstrated their ability to describe a number of the most astonishing and often unnecessary evolutions. This year—no doubt inspired by these self same gyrations—a clause is to be found in the regulations requiring drivers to regain the course at the point of leaving it. The outstanding feature of the Phoenix Park circuit is, of course, the wonderful 2 mile straight past the grand stands and the pits, which has a slightly rising gradient for the first mile and a slightly falling slope to Mountjoy Corner—which, being approached by the faster cars at anything up to 120 m.p.h. is liable to find one or two
drivers either cutting off far too early, which has a serious effect upon lap speeds, or leaving the cut off until too late—with equally deleterious effects upon chassis.
It is unnecessary at this date to recapitulate the regulations for this race. Suffice it to say that it is for standard catalogued sports cars in road racing trim, i.e., complete with lamps, wings, windscreens and, the ordinary paraphernalia . of touring. Added to which bodies must conform to the A.I.A.C.R. regulations on this point, all cars up to 11 litres must be two-seaters and all cars in categories over 1,500 c.c. must carry four seats.
As in previous years—unless the promoting club suddenly decide to the contrary—the Grand Prix will be fought in two separate events. On Friday the cars up to 11-litres will race for the Saorstat Cup and £500, and on Saturday cars over 11-litres will race for the Eirann Cup and the same sum of money. In addition, the car to complete the course in the shortest time will be declared the winner of the Grand Prix—the handsome silver trophy of the Phoenix Park Memorial. Thus there is a separate prize list for each day’s racing and also for the Grand Prix regarded as a whole.
As is now unfortunately an almost universal rule in this country, supercharged cars are handicapped as opposed to un.blown cars of similar capacity, and it is, in our view, regrettable, that the R.A.C. will employ the same principle in the Ulster T.T. At Phoenix Park the handicapping is as follows :—
Class H. (750 c.c.)—Unsupercharged will be credited with 19 laps, supercharged with 13 laps.
Class G. (1,100 c.c.).—Unsupercharged credited with 10 laps, supercharged credited with 8 laps.
Class F. (1,500 c.c.).—Unsupercharged credited with 8 laps, supercharged credited with 6 laps.
Class E. (2 litres).—Unsupercharged credited with 6 laps, supercharged credited with 5 laps.
Class D. (3 litres).—Unsupercharged credited with 6 laps, supercharged credited with 4 laps.
Class C. (5 litres).—Unsupercharged credited with 4 laps, supercharged credited with 3 laps.
Class 13. and A. (8 litres).—Unsupercharged credited with 2 laps, supercharged on scratch.
Distance of the race, 70 laps.
The start will be from a line in echelon before the pits, crews being seated in the cars with the engines dead. Only the electric starter may be used during the race, but of course for the start, engines will be warm.
From these brief considerations of the regulations of the event we may pass to a short review of the entries.
The support for the second day’s racing is very poor, and what there is comes chiefly from foreign rivals. In the largest category of all the stage is held by two Mace:Us, of which Rudolf Caracciola’slast year’s winner—may be expected to be the faster. Major F. H. Cairnes’s Invicta is the sole occupant of Class C. which at one time was the preserve of the 4i-litre Bentley, and in Class D. the British banner is borne by two Talbots, opposed by no fewer than four Maseratis and an Alfa Romeo, and a car unspecified.
The Talbot drivers will have foemen worthy of their steel in the Maserati array, for these fleet cars-4-litre supercharged straight eights—will be handled by Campari, Eyston, Ramponi and, Fronteras. We may expect that the cars will be really in trim for this event, and if the unprepared car handled by Ramponi and Eyston in the “Double Twelve is anything to judge by, we may expect to see a cracking pace set in the over l fare race from the word ” go.” The other dangerous entry in this class
is, of course, Sir Henry Birkin’s 21-litre straight eight Alfa-Romeo, racing for the first time in this country, but bringing with it a tremendous continental reputation. Was it not on one of these cars that Tazio Nuvolari took the Targa Florio ?
Birkin is racing a 1,500 c.c. Alfa in the 11-litre class, and has against him another similar car entered by an Irish firm and a Lea-Francis. It is doubtful whether he need fear either of these cars.
Class G. promises to be interesting, for we have six Rileys and two supercharged straight eight Maseratis which are in effect 1,100 c.c. replicas of the more famous 21-litre .
Henkin Wiclengren who drove really well in the ” Double-Twelve ” on a brand ntw car is to drive again, and this time we may suppose the car will be right, as it certainly was not in the J.C.C. event. R. S. Outlaw will handle the other Maserati—a driver with Alfa Romeo experience.
Victor Riley has entered four cars, one to be driven by Sir Malcolm Campbell— his first road race for too long a time— Victor Gillow, who won the Sa.orstat Cup last year in a dashing manner, C. R. Whitcroft who knows how to handle a Riley and W. P. Noble. These cars are the new type Rileys produced for racing in the light of past experience with a very successful design.
The 750 c.c. class of course holds the largest entry of them all, and carries the Midget-Austin duel one stage farther, still unfortunately with the blower barrier between them so that they still do not meet on level terms. There are ten M.G. Midgets down to start, numbering among their drivers such veterans as Major A. T. G. Gardner, R. T. Horton, R. R. Jackson, C. S. Staniland, F. S. Barnes, Dan Higgin., and S. A. C.rabtree. Six supercharged Anstins will attempt to avenge the ” Double-Twelve ” result, and one is pleased to see among the drivers Capt.
Archie Frazer Nash and Leon Cushman.
It is, of course, a somewhat difficult task to attempt a forecast of the results of this great event. The Austins certainly have a much better chance of catching the Midgets than in the Double Twelve, but with such fast machines as the Rileys and the Maseratis it is doubtful if a 750 c.c. car can win this part of the race. With the name of Campbell in the Riley team we are inclined to look to this quarter for our winner of the Saorstat Cup—for the new Rileys are very fast.
In the second part of the race there will be a tremendous tussle between the Maseratis and the 3./lerced: s, the former having four laps start of the scratch cars, and being very little—if any—slower. Caracciola will have to drive very, very fast indeed to repeat his success, and we are inclined, writing so far ahead of the race, to award first place in the over 1,500 c.c. category and in the race as a whole to one of the meteoric Maseratis.
The bigger picture
Andrea de Cesaris reckons the British press only homed in on the trip-ups in his 14-year, 10-team Formula 1 career. We flew to Rome to let him paint the wider…
The VSCC Welsh week-end
(October 17/18th) This year's Presteigne Rally and Trial, postponed a fortnight at the mercy of the RAC, escaped continuous rain but ran into frosty fog, although mainly run in autumnal…
Letters from Readers, February 1969
N.B.—Opinions expressed are those of our correspondents and Motor Sport does not necessarily associate itself with them. — Ed. Stupid Prices Sir, We have been increasingly concerned at the out…