WHITNEY STRAIGHT WINS THE INTERNATIONAL TROPHY AMERICAN DRIVER’S NARROW VICTORY OVER THE HON. B. E. LEWIS, BOTH DRIVING 3-LITRE MASERATIS -A RACE OF THRILLS AND EXCITEMENT-MANY CARS RETIRE WITH MECHANICAL TROUBLE.
FOUR seconds between first and second at the end of 250 miles! Even the most bitter critic of long distance races at Brooklands will have to admit that the Second International Trophy Race was a thoroughly exciting affair, holding the interest of a fine crowd right up to the very end.
When L. F. Dyer, the Secretary of the Junior Car Club, introduced his new handicap-corners last year, there were many who doubted the possibility of arranging the respective “channels,” through which the three Groups pass, in a sufficiently accurate manner. In 1933 the winner was a Group 3 car, the Hon. Brian Lewis’s Alfa-Romeo, which finished some 11 minutes ahead of E. R. Hall’s M.G. Magnette, a Group 2 car. Satisfactory though this was, the pessimists still doubted the system of handicapping, and foretold an uninteresting race in 1934. The answer lies in the first sentence of this account, for no one can complain about a 4 seconds’ gap between the two leading cars I And the smaller machines were not handicapped out of the race, as has been suggested. The only reason why the Group 1 and 2 cars were not more highly placed at the end was that the fastest of them experienced a good deal of trouble mechanically, causing pit-stops, which are fatal in a 250 mile race.
During the morning of the day of the race the weather was showery and altogether unpropitious. About an hour before the start a downpour set in, but when the time came for the cars to be moved from the paddock to the starting line the rain ceased and the sun actually emerged to brighten the scene. There were five non-starters. Sir Malcolm Campbell, although present at the race, did not feel fit enough to compete after his recent illness. T.A. S. 0. Mathieson was still away cruising in the West Indies, in an endeavour to recover from his attack of diphtheria. The 122 m.p.h. Austin did not arrive at the track in time to put in some qualifying laps, and R. J. W. Appleton’s Riley-cumMaserati was not fast enough to qualify
The 37 cars were drawn up in tines of 8, the order being determined by the practice lap-speeds. Thus the front row consisted of Straight andLewis (Maseratis), Hamilton, Horton, and Handley (M.G. Magnette,$), A. H. L. Eccles and Esson Scott (2-litre Bugattis) and Charles Brackenbury (M.G. Midget). Most of the cars were beautifully turned out, and Straight’s team were outstanding in this respect. The single-seater Maserati was running in the American colours, with the stable’s insignia neatly painted on the side.
The track was covered with huge puddles, and some exciting corner-work could be expected for the first few laps. Zero-hour approached, and the drivers climbed into their seats. One by one the cars were started up, until the rise and fall of the 34 exhausts were merged into a chaotic roar.
The National Flag was raised, and on its fall the whole pack leaped forward, with Straight’s white Maserati in the van. Actually, with the corners immediately ahead of them, the cars were not unleashed with quite the fury one associates with a massed start, but the spectacle was nevertheless a fine one, and added to by the fact that the cars threw up huge clouds of spray as they traversed the pools of rain water on the track.
In what seemed an incredibly short space of time they were round again, and by now Whitney Straight was a clear leader from Brian Lewis and W. L. Handley, the famous motor-cyclist, who was to-day making his first appearance in a motor-race at the wheel of an M.G. Magnette. Then came Kaye Don, very calm and self-possessed, driving the AlfaRomeo once owned by Raymond Sommer, H. C. Hamilton (with his streamlined aluminium M.G. Magnette), and Earl Howe (Bugatti). On the second lap the first four held their places, but Freddie Dixon (Riley) displaced Hamilton. First to call at the pits was PennHughes, who had to tighten the radiator cap of his Magnette, and a moment later Simister pulled in with a zero oil-pressure on his Midget. A broken oil-pipe was discovered, and he decided to retire. Shuttleworth thought he heard queer noises in the transmission of his 2-litre Bugatti and made a hasty stop for investigation, and at the same time Chinetti, the only Continental driver in the race, was forced out with a broken back-axle. The pits were evidently going to be a scene of considerable activity, for Shuttleworth pulled in again, this time to adjust his magneto, Lace was remedying petrol starvation on the Invicta, Dudley Froy was worried by a dangerously low oil pressure on his Maguette, and Rayson
proceeded to change the gasket of his supercharger Riley Nine.
Having recorded the troubles of the unfortunates, let us return to the cars which were fighting for the lead. On the fourth lap Dixon slipped past Kaye Don and Handley to take third place, and for a few laps he even got ahead of Lewis’s red Maserati, but returned to third place almost immediately. After 10 laps had been covered, then, the order of the leaders was as follows :
1. Straight (Maserati) 87.04 m.p.h.
2. Dixon (Riley).
3. Lewis (Maserati).
4. Handley (M.G. Magnette).
5. Kaye Don (Alia Romeo).
6. Hamilton (M.G. Magnette).
Thus far the handicap was working well, for there were cars from all three groups in the first six. The driving was first-class, but one or two men had difficulty in negotiating the S bend in the Finishing Straight. Its appearance was certainly a little confusing, being a medley of flags, barrels and arrows. The danger lay in the last kink of the ” S,” and the officials on the spot were kept busy replacing the hinged arrow, while Lord Brecknock waved the blue warning flag to approaching drivers. Whitney Straight just grazed a barrel, and had the bad luck to damage a tyre. He made a quick stop at his pit on the next lap, and also took on some fuel, but the delay sent him
right back to 10th place.
Others who Sent the arrow flying or hit the tub were Horton, Lace, Roy Eccles, Black, Dodson and Esson Scott. The pits continued to seethe with activity, Lace changing plugs on his Invicta, as did Brackenbury on the single-seater Midget, Esson Scott refixed the floateh amber of his black Bugatti, Brackenbury came in again to adjust his brakes, PennHughes found that he had broken a shock absorber bracket, Richardson paused to remove the radiator cover of his Riley, and Grant’s 4-seater Alfa-Romeo needed water and fuel. With Straight out of the picture Lewis might have been able to ease up a little, but Dixon was running a close second and these two fought hard for the special prize given to the leader at 30 laps. After 20 laps the order was :
1. Lewis (Maserati) 87.20 m.p.h.
2. Dixon (Riley).
3. Spottiswood (Bugatti).
4. Rose-Riebards (13ugatti).
5. Kaye Don (Alfa-Romeo).
6. Hamilton (M.G. Magnette).
A feature of this race was the splendid running of the old 2-litre Bugattis, many of which were 5 or 6 years old. Spottiswood, making a welcome return to racing, was actually lying third, and the J.C.C. handicapping system has to its credit the merit of giving 2-litre unblown racing cars a good chance of success. Meanwhile Esson Scott, Richardson, Shuttleworth, Ra.yson, Paul, Donkin and Dobbs all called at their pits, in some cases the trouble being the beginning of the end. Donkin, for example, had valve trouble which was later traced to a cotter which had come adrift, causing him to
retire. The £10 bonus for the leader at 30 laps went to Dixon, and at this stage the order was as follows :
1. Dixon (Riley), 88.16 m.p.h.
2. Lewis (Maserati).
3. Rose-Richards (Bugatti).
4. Straight (Maserati).
5. Kaye Don (Alfa-Romeo).
6. Earl Howe (Bugatti). It will be seen that Straight was steadily retrieving his lost fortunes, and had already got into 4th place. George Eyston was the next retirement, when for some obscure reason the clutch of the Magic Magna burnt out. The refuelling period saw many cars at the pits, Dixon being among the first and taking three valuable minutes to do the necessary work. Brian Lewis was next due, so we moved along to his pit to see how pit work should really be done. As usual, Wilcoxson was in charge of Noel ReesArthur Fox pits, and he had his mechanics trained to the last .degree of speed and neatness. The warning signal was held out, and a period of tense waiting ensued. Then Wilcoxson, leaning far out, said “Brian coming in. Board out ! ” In a moment the red two-seater had slid to a standstill and Lewis was sitting on the counter of the pit, gulping down a drink. His face had been cut by stones and both cheeks were smeared with blood. In much less time than it takes to write the
shock absorbers had been changed, oil and water levels brought back to normal, and 18 gallons of petrol put into the tank— without apparent fuss or hurry and absolutely no splashing of petrol on the ground. Actually the wheels of the Maserati were revolving once more in 46 seconds—a magnificent example of thoroughness and team work. This stop caused Lewis to be passed by Straight, and consequently at 50 laps the order was as follows
1. Straight (Maserati), 88.24 m.p.h.
2. Lewis (Maserati).
3. Handley (M.G. Magnette).
4. Hamilton (M.G. Magnette).
5. Earl Howe (Bugatti).
6. Rose-Richards (Bugatti).
Dixon was having trouble with fuel feed, and called at his pit once or twice. Featherstonhaugh, in his first longdistance race, was making an excellent impression. The black Maserati was not running too well, but his cornering was neat and fast, while at pit stops his manner was calm and free from any flurry.
At this stage Lace’s Invicta was withdrawn with a broken con-rod, and Richardson’s Riley was out of the race with a valve gone. Straight continued his consistent leadership, his driving being marked by a neatness and smooth control due to no small extent to a bolt-upright seating position some distance from the steering wheel.
One by one the cars came in to refuel, and the various pits gave an interesting contrast in methods. John Cobb’s mechanics were clumsy in the extreme. First the petrol funnel was put in askew with the result that a vast quantity slopped into the cockpit of the car. The next man with a churn of fuel also moved the funnel and got a splashing all over his face for his trouble. And finally the last churn was poured into a full tank, which spouted like a fountain and flooded the track to a depth of about an inch! Rose-Richards made a quick stop, and the work was carried out quickly and tidily under the compelling orders of Kensington-Moir. Shuttleworth seemed to be more interested in explaining the faults of his Bugatti than in getting on with the race. Brian Lewis made another stop, this time changing his rear-wheels into the bargain in a time of 75 seconds, with the result that at 70 laps he was 1 min. 49 secs. behind Straight. The order was :
1. Straight (Maserati), 89.26 m.p.h.
2. Lewis (Maserati), 1 min. 49 secs. behind.
3. Rose-Richards (Bugatti), 3 wins. 46 secs. behind.
4. Earl Howe (Bugatti), 4 wins. 7 secs. behind.
5. Hamilton(M.G.Magnette),4 wins. 24 secs. behind.
6. Dodson (M.G. Magnette), 5 mins. 17 secs. behind. The duel between Straight and Lewis
naturally occupied the attention of spectators in the closing stages of the race, and tended to overshadow the performances of the following drivers. Nevertheless some very excellent work was being done by such drivers as RoseRichards and Earl Howe on Bugattis, John Cobb and Kaye Don on Alfas, and Hamilton, Handley and Dodson on Magnettes. Straight would have to make one more stop for fuel, to say nothing of tyres, and so we walked to his pit in good time to see the preparations being made. Clive
Gallop was in charge, with Lambert attending to the time schedule and our old friend Ramponi “0.C. Mechanics.” Ramponi, by the way, is a more placid and distinctly older person than the fiery driver of 1 flitre Alfa-Romeos we used to see some five years ago. The actual pit work did not seem quite as fast as Lewis’s, but no time was wasted.
Then came three retirements in rapid succession. Shuttleworth’s Bugatti broke an exhaust rocker, Grant’s Alfa-Romeo developed incurable ignition trouble, and Wal Handley had, to withdraw his Magnette with a broken back axle. At 90 laps Straight was still hi the lead, and it looked as though he would be a comfortable winner. Brian Lewis was
23 seconds astern, and this distance was being increased on every lap. But then an unexpected factor crept into the battle, for the right-hand front tyre of the monoposto Maserati began to show its white breaker strip. Straight was forced to drive through the corners in the manner least likely to place a strain on his tyres—all the time knowing that Lewis was hot on his heels. On successive laps the gap between the two Maseratis was reduced from 18.6 secs., 16.6 secs., 13 secs., 11.6 secs., 9.2 secs.,
9.6 secs., 8.6 secs., and finally on the very last lap to 4 seconds. The anxiety on the part of Straight and his pit-staff must have been difficult to bear, and just after the finishing line had been passed the tread did fly off the tyre, so that their victory was a narrow one indeed. Of the rest of the field, Rose-Richards deserved his third place, and Paul had a nasty moment before finally being flagged home fourth. At the Members’ Bridge corner he misjudged his speed and spun right round, only restarting his engine by pushing the car himself. During the rest of the half-hour in which cars were allowed to run after the winners had finished, two more retirements were announced. Dudley Froy, whose Magnette
had suffered from lubrication trouble all along, dropped out with a run big-end, and Dobbs (Riley) retired with a fallen oil-pressure. Special praise must be given to Fothringham’s Singer, a hybrid 1 i-litre enlarged to 2-litres, which ran with extreme regularity throughout. Altogether the race can be recorded as one of the most successful ever held at Brookla.nds, containing just that element of suspense at the finish which can make a
motor-race a spectacle unsurpassed for excitement. H.N. RESULTS AND AWARDS.
1. Whitney Straight (2,992 c.c. Maserat1), 89.62 m.p.h., 2 hrs. 55 mins. 8 secs.
2. Hon. B. E. Lewis (2,992 c.c. Maseratl), 89.59 m.p.h., 2 hrs. 55 mins. 12 secs.
3. T. E. Rose-Richards (2,263 c.c. Bugatti), 87.62 m.p.h., 2 hrs. 59 mins. 7 secs.
4. C. Paul (1,633 c.c. Riley unsupercharged), 86-05 zn.p.h., 3 hrs. 2 mins. 24 sees.
S. Earl Howe (2,263 c.c. Bugatti), 85.91 m.p.h., 3 hrs. 2 mins. 42 secs.
6. Kaye Don (2,336 c.c. Alfa-Romeo), 85.46 m.p.h., 3 hrs. 3 mins. 39 secs.
7. John Cobb (2,336 c.c. Alfa-Romeo), 85.45 m.p.h., 3 hrs. 3 mins. 40 secs.
8. C. J. Dodson (1,087 c.c. M.G. Magnette), 84.87 m.p.h., 3 hrs. 4 mins. 56 secs.
9. N. Black (1,087 c.c. M.G. Magnette), 84.36 m.p.h., 3 hrs. (3 mins. 3 secs.
10. E. R. Hall (1,087 c.c. M.G. Magnette), 82.55 m.p.h., 3 hrs. 10 mins. 8 secs.
11. C. E. Martin (1,087 c.c. M.G. Magnette), 82.37 m.p.h., 3 hrs. 10 mins. 32 secs.
12. A. Esson Scott (1,990 c.c. Bugatti, unsupercharged), 81.77 m.p.h., 3 hrs. 11 mins. 37 secs.
13. C. Penn-Hughes (1,087 c.c. M.G. Magnetic), 81.00 m.p.h., 3 hrs. 13 rains. 46 secs.
14. C. Brackenbury (747 c.c. M.G. Midget), 78.88 m.p.h., 3 hrs. 18 mins. 58 secs.
15. T. V. G. Selby (1,990 c.c. Bugatti, unsupercharged), 78.34 m.p.h., 3 hrs. 22 mins. 3 secs.
16. T. S. Fothringham (1,930 c.c. Singer, unsupercharged), 77.22 mp.h., 3 hrs. 23 mins. 15 secs.
17. R. H. Eccles (1,087 c.c. M.G. Magnette), 76.90 m.p.h., 3 hrs. 24 mins. 5 secs.
GROUP PRIZE WINNERS.
Group 3 (over 1,750 c.c., supercharged). Whitney Straight (Maserati), 89.62 m.p.h.
Group 2 (1,750 c.c. supercharged and over 2 litres unsupercharged).
C. J. Dodson (M.G. Magnette), 84.87 m.p.h.
Group 1 (up to 750 c.c. supercharged and 2 litres unsupercharged).
C. Paul (1,633 c.c. Riley), 86.05 m.p.h.
Bugatti Team : Earl Howe, T. E. Rose-Richards and A. Esson Scott.
Prize for But Performance by All-British Gar. C. J. Dodson (M.G. ..Magnette).