THE "DOUBLE-TWELVE."

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48

THE “DOUBLE-TWELVE.”

M.G. MIDGETS GAIN FIRST FIVE POSITIONS AND WIN BOTH TEAM AND CLASS AWARDS IN UNINTERESTING :: RACE. ::

THOSE spectators who had read the notes on the Double Twelve in the last issue of MOTOR SvoRT came fully prepared to watch an event of technical interest rather than a thrilling race, and so were able to get the most out of watching the performances of their favourite makes in this very gruelling trial. The key to the situation was expressed in the article referred when the Double-Twelve was described as being more in the nature of a high-speed trial, and it is interesting to note that the excellent account of the race given by one of our contemporaries opened with almost exactly similar words.

Looked at in this way, it was possible to appreciate the event in its true light, and there is no doubt that as a gruelling test to destruction of the modern sports car, the race can be said to be ahead of anything that has been staged, and any car which could come through the two days and still be complete in essentials at the end, is a pretty tough proposition, and one deserving of the greatest respect. As regards the actual scale of handicapping used, we may merely hope that the results will give valuable data which will enable this to be adjusted for another occasion. We live and learn–sotrotimes. Prom this it must not be thought that any depreciation is intended of the performance of the winning cars, but merely that it would have been more exciting if the issue had been held longer in doubt and they had not won by such a margin. Their performance, as such, &serves of the highest po:’;sible praise, while Mr. Cecil Kimberis to be congratulated on the progressive policy which has enabled him, to bring the M.G., a few years ago unknown, into the very front of things in the world of racing. The lessons learnt from George

6toa’s record have been well and faithfully applied to long distance work and the new 750 c.c. M.G. Midget looks like enjoying as much popularity as its 850 c.c. prototype, and if it does that, it will do well indeed.

The Austins for once had to acknowledge defeat in the actual results, but as a demonstration of consistent and reliable running their performance should long be remembered. With the tremendous handicap imposed on superchargers (why progress should be thus stifled we cannot quite understand) it was perhaps asking rather too much to enter a supercharged team for this race. However, they had the satisfaction of putting up the fastest speed of any 750 c.c. car and out of the 9 Austin entries, works and amateur, there was only one retirement. The chief interest of the race lay in studying team performances and in noting the troubles that beset the various makes. Talbots put up a wonderfully impressive show and the complete team, as well as Burt’s private owned ” 90 ” ished. Here we had another illustration of the effect of the handicap on the faster

cars. Brooklands is rough at any time, but run in the reverse direction, all the bumps had fresh sharp edges to meet the cars and the result was that speed in itself, apart from engine size, was penalised by the increased smashing and buffeting given to chassis frames, wings, oil pipes, bodies, radiators, tanks, and in fact everything that can be broken by road vibration. The Talbots’ reputation for nonstop running was sometimes interrupted by various troubles of this sort, but the new ” 105″ model has certainly proved itself a fine performer; the experience required to rectify a few minor troubles has been acquired, and they can now feel confident that nothing is likely to hold them up again. The Aston Martin performance was typica I of this very delightful and sturdy car, and although they were eventually robbed ‘of a chance of the team prize by

one retirement, Bertelli had the satisfaction of winning the class prize and is to be congratulated on being able to design, build, and for two consecutive years drive his car into a high place in this most arduous event.

Ashby’s Riley won the 1,100 c.c. with every consistent performance and proved the great value of ample preparation of an already well-tried car.

The organisation of time keeping and results bulletins was a model of efficiency, and ” Ebby ” and his merry men, not forgetting the Royal Signal Corps are to be congratulated on setting up a standard which continental organisers would do well to follow.

Various announcements prior to the race disappointed those who had hoped to see a big car struggle. Howe’s Mercedes was a non-starter owing to its owner contracting tonsilitis, while Campbell’s place in the Aston Martin team was taken by Clive Gallop.

The usual last minute scores and rushes attended various entries, one of the brightest efforts being on the part of Cecil Kimber, who having supervised the fitting of a new engine to one of March’s Midgets, proceeded to run it in by going to Portsmouth and back on the eve of the race, and a beastly night he had for it !

The dawn of Friday was thoroughly discouraging as mist and rain had settled down with the appearance of never lifting. However, the weather could not be helped and in good time the cars, drivers, and mechanics were lined up waiting for the start..

As all the engines were thoroughly warm there was no need to go off gently apart from the rain, and at 8 a.m. a crowd of cars burst into life and roared away to the Byfleet banking. The 2i-litre Maserati did not get away at first, and all eyes turned to see the first car round. A few moments and then, quite alone, Birkin’s Bentley arrived at the corner, the steering wheel flickered as he held the slipping car to a steady curve, and he had disappeared up the straight by the time the

roaring pack, headed by the Talbots, followed, and the race had definitely begun.

The Maserati got going after a short delay and set out in pursuit of the Bentley. It soon became evident that we were to be shown what one of these cars can do, and, although only 2i-litres, it was soon seen to be gaining on Birkin on actual speed. This interesting duel was soon brought to an end however by the Bentley coming in with a bearing gone, and it had to be withdrawn.

trl From the very first it was obvious that the Midgets were going to have things all their own way in the general classification as the fastest were lapping at about 70 m.p.h. and filling all the places on the leader board. The bend itself produced little incident, even in the wet, and being of a form and contour quite unlike anything that would ever occur in any normal motoring offered no great chance of cunning tactics on the part of drivers. T. G. Moore (Frazer Nash) disregarded the wetness of the track a trifle too much and skidded slowly round till he was facing forward again and proceeded.

Soon after 11 it.131., when Dan H:ggin was leading, and Hamilton, of University Motors, was lying second, we observed a few lap speeds to see how the teams were running. By this time the track was drying fast and cars were settling down to a definite speed. Brian Lewis (Talbot) was lapping at 89.7 m.p.h. with the other two Talbots some 2 m.p.h. less. The Invicta, which had been lapping at over 84 m.p.h. slowed to just under 80 m.p.h. Bertelli was doing 77.8, Harvey (Frazer Nash) 74, Oats on the 1,100 c.c. Maserati 75.9, Ashby’s Riley 73.5. Hamilton, although not actually in the lead, appeared to be the fastest M.G. at this point, lapping at just on 70 m.p.h., while Frazer Nash on a supercharged Austin was doing 71 m.p.h. Gibson, better known at the track at one time as a performer on Sunbeam motorcycles, had expressed himself before the

race as delighted with his M,G. and was now lapping at 67 m.p.h. to show it.

The race, as such, having, so to speak, settled down for the day, tile pits were the chief point of interest. The appalling condition of the track was reflected in numerous broken wing stays, Eyston’s Maserati, coming in for repairs to this part, while H. J. Aldington’s and Mrs. Wisdom’s Frazer Nashs were suffering from this trouble, and a very long delay was caused while the broken stays were removed, quickly welded by Thompson and Taylors, and refitted. Rose-Richards’ Talbot was in trouble as well with a broken inlet valve, but fortunately no dainage was done to any other part, and after nearly 2 hours’ hard work under Mr. Roesch’s able directions the car shot off again, and thereafter continued to function in the true Talbot manner.

Jeffrey’s Alfa-Romeo passed out of the race with a broken valve, Chaplin provided the only Austin retirement of the race with a broken crankshaft, and Bertell came into the pits on 3 cylinders. His trouble was a broken rocker, and the accessibility of the valve gear is well shown by the fact that he was away with a new rocker in place in 5 minutes.

Braidwood’s Frazer-Nash broke a chain and fitted another. Chain trouble being almost unknown with these cars, it was all the more remarkable that all three cars suffered from this trouble in the race, and this was eventually traced to the fact that the exhaust pipe had been led too close to the top gear chain and so caused the lubricant to bum off and cause the chain to tighten up. One more thing to remember another time !

Oetzmann took his engine right down, to fit a new gudgeon pin, but eventually withdrew the car.

The very high pace which the M.G.’s were setting was causing a certain amount of trouble with valves, but the leaders kept on.

HOW THE LEADERS FARED.

The Earl of March was drawing up steadily, and when Dan Iligg,in retired after a wonderful run at 68 m.p.h. for 10 hours he took the lead, to hold it to the end.

The 1,500 c.c. class was notable for the consistent running of the Aston Martin team, sometimes with a Frazer-Nash keeping them company.

It now became a question of keeping going more to find things out and try and keep an eye on the team award, than to try and catch the Midgets, while the public were entertained by the terrific speed being put up by Eyston’s and Raniponi’s Maserati, which actually lapped several times at over 100 m.p.h., the highest lap speed ever attained in a DoubleTwelve. Unfortunately this fine performance was brought to an end by the back axle breaking, towards the close of the day’s

running, and one more car was out of it. Couper’s solitary Lagonda was still running well and although he had various troubles, nothing stopped him and the car was still running at the end of the race.

The closing moments of the first day’s racing were used by many to have a look round and to do odd jobs in preparation for the morrow while the matter was fresh. At 8 p.m. the cars were wheeled under cover in the paddock and competitors went off to wonder whether the starter button would produce the desired result in the morning.

The start on the second day was much less a mass affair, as many cars were under treatment, and others proved refractory. R. R. Jackson’s Midget proved so obstinate that it was 3 hours before it would function, but in the main the cars got under way soon. The first car away on Saturday was

Couper’s Lagonda, while others within 30 secs. of the start were Cobb’s Talbot and Benjafield’s Aston-Martin, with Bertelli’s Aston-Martin following. The remaining Talbots were fitting strengthening plates to their wing supports, the same having being fashioned at Fox and Nichols during the night.

The Invicta had burnt a piston on the previous day and were fitting a complete new set and finished their terrific task soon after the start on Friday. Later a stone punctured the tank, but this was repaired and the car proceeded to put up a very good show, having a great scrap with the Talbots, although naturally hopelessly behind on actual distance.

The ” blown ” Frazer-Nash, which had avoided any wing trouble, made up for this by coming in soon after the start on Saturday with two big ends rm. Dropping the sump exposed a broken oil pipe in the engine as the cause of the trouble.

However two new bearings were duly obtained and the fitting of same proceeded.

The leaders seemed now to be settled and did not alter, while the Earl of March’s team had worked themselves up into a stronger position than ever and were obviously going to make a strong bid for the team prize as well as winning the race.

Radiator troubles were now overtaking several cars, and Brian Lewis brought his Talbot in and radiators were changed, and Rose-Richards and Cobb, in spite of their stop for a broken valve on the first day, were now leading the class.

The Aston Martin hopes of the team prize were dashed when Benjafield’s car came in with valve trouble, and after due examination had, to be withdrawn.

A car which was running very well at this time was Cuthbert’s Riley, a normal chassis and not a Brooklands model, which later had the misfortune to break a chassis member, and had to crawl round gently to finish.

Just after 1 p.m. Braidwood and his mechanic finished fitting the two big ends, and after a couple of anxious laps to see that all was well proceeded to push the Prazer-Nash round at 84 m.p.h. in an effort to make it appear that a race was in progress. Froy on the Invicta seemed to have similar ideas, and chased the Talbqts with great vigour.

Interest begin to wane as many of the cars were now out of the race and others were actually hopelessly out of it although still running. Hamilton, who drove his car himself right through both days, came in to rectify a defective induction washer and lost a place, but pulled up later to his original position.

Ashby was in an unchallenged position in the 1,100 c.c. class, and there was little to do but wait for the finish, and watch the larger cars putting on a final spurt. Shortly after 5 p.m. D. A. Aldington’s and T. G. Moore’s Frazer-.Nashes went out with engine trouble, while H. J Alding,ton carried on with the third of this make in company with the Aston Martins.

With nearly two hours to go Searle’s Austin refused, to progress further under its own power and as it had only another lap to cover to qualify, the driver and in :chanic set out to push it in the boiling sun, and, achieved the very excellent lapunder the circumstances-of 3.54 m.p.h. It was now all over bar shouting, an-I no further incident occurred to interrupt the steady progress of the victorious Midgets, and at 8 p.m. the maroon banged once and another Double-Twelve was over. The Earl of March’s team collected

the team prize ; there was Much jubilation and stretching of tired limbs. And now for Dublin and Ulster where those defeated may have a chance of revenging themselves.

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