M.G. VICTORIOUS AT CORK
BIRA ” CRASHES THE MASERATI. H. B. PRESTVVICH’S FINE WIN AT 76.33 M.P.H.
The Cork Race, run by the Irish Motor Racing Club, is contested over one of the best road-circuits in our Islands, and consequently attracts a fine, if varied, entry. This year fourteen cars came to the line and the bigger machines went away first on account of the system of credit lap handicapping employed. The course has a straight of two and three-quarter miles at Carrigrohane, where the big fellows went past the grandstands at over 130 m.p.h. Charlie Martin on the Alfa-Romeo was confidently expected to lead on the first round, but actually ” Bira ” with the 3-litre Maserati, winner of the Campbell Trophy Race at Brook lands, first came into view, with the Alfa some fifty yards away. Gradually ” Bira ” drew away, until he led by 7 seconds. By lap four Martin had dosed to 5 seconds, and on. the sixth lap he was sitting on the Maserati’s tail. Between the corners that follow the straight the
Alfa-Romeo went by, and” Bira ” at once made a determined effort to repass. As he went through the second of the downhill S-bends right behind Martin he swung too far to the near side of the left-hand bend. The Maserati leapt the kerb, just missed a road-sign and went into a series of slides that culminated when it struck a stone wall. The front axle was broken and the rear-axle casing and fuel-tank split, but ” Bira ” himself was unhurt. • He is said to have eaten something the previous evening at dinner with Reggie Tongue that made him ill most of the
night and which caused him temporary body paralysis going into the bend. On. the other hand, it should be taken into consideration that the late Sir Henry Segrave, in the chapter on “Accidents” In his classic work, The Lure of Speed,” says that : “Towards the end of a race, when all the senses are dulled by hours of speed with nerves at breaking-point, there comes that momentary lapse when the mind ceases to function in unison with the hands and feet, the accelerator pedal is left depressed of a second too long ” It seems possible that ” Bira ‘ experienced this momentary lapse of
control at a difficult point on the circuit, early in the race, perhaps on account of his lowered physical condition. Martin clid that eventful lap in 3 mins. 58 secs., a record, at a speed of 92.08
m.p.h., which indicates the nature of the circuit and the speed at which” Bira ” was driving when he crashed. Martin was the only driver to gain an Increase on his handicapped speed, and
he led from H. B. Prestwich (M.G. Magnette), J. H. T. Smith (M.G. Magnette), P. Maclure (Riley) and A. PowysLybbe (Alfa-Romeo). It had now started to rain in earnest, and Martin slowed visibly. The Alfa’s
lap speed dropped by as much as 20 m.p.h. Powys-Lybbe maintained 76 m.p.h., or 7 m.p.h. more than Martin, under motor
boating conditions, and Prestwich seemed quite unworried by the wet, continuing at approximately 74 m.p.h. By half-distance Prestwich had reaped his due reward and was leading on handicap with Martin second and Percy Maclure’s Riley third. Tongue’s E.R.A. suffered from oiled plugs on account of slow cornering in the rain, making a pitstop necessary, and the Alfas were likewise troubled, though less seriously. MacRobert (M.G.) was indulging in plugchanging orgies, and let Falkner take over, Smith put fresh plugs in his M.G. before Soames took his place and O’Boyle handed the Ii-litre Alta over to W. E. Wilkinson, who drove very fast despite the rain. Madure’s Riley still led on distance, but Prestwich’s M.G. was
rapidly overhauling it and passed just as the Riley retired with a broken crankshaft. Incidentally, Madura had been up replacing burnt-out pistons to within a few hours of the start. Manders had crashed his R-type M.G. Midget, Watson’s Aston-Martin had retired with enginetrouble, and as the rain ceased and the road began to dry the Alfas speeded up -too late. Prestwich drove a splendid race and won at 76.33 m.p.h. with PowysLybbe second at 79.28 m.p.h. and Martin third at 79.42 m.p.h., the best race average. No one had beaten Martin’s record lap at 92.08 m.p.h. J. H. T. Smith’s M.G. Magnette, partnered by M. S. Soames, was fourth, at 71.88 m.p.h., and Reggie Tongue’s E.R.A. was fifth at 75.12 m.p.h. Prestwich drove a fascinating 1,087 c.c. blown M.G. Magnette with single-seater body and a square shape, uncowled radiator. He is a Cheshire driver who used to run the G.N. ” Spider ” at Southport. Lybbe drove his famous 2.3-litre Alfa-Romeo, Martin his 2.9-litre car. E. W. H. Dobson’s Riley Nine, O’Boyle and Wilkinson’s
Alfa, Sir A. W. MacRobert and Falkner’s M.G., J. A. Thompson.’s Ford Eight Special, and A. P. MacArthur’s M.G. Magnette were all still functioning when flagged off. In practice a very unfortunate accident occurred, when poor Mervyn-White crashed the ex-Howe 2.3-litre Bugatti at a particularly difficult S-bend where he had come to grief the previous year. He died in four days as a result of his injuries, chiefly concussion. To his relatives and friends we extend our sincerest sympathy. He had begun to make a name for himself with the Bugatti and was contemplating having a small operation to rid himself of a fatigue
experienced in the longer races. Neill crashed his Bugatti on the opposite side of the course during the second day’s practice, but he escaped serious harm.
1. H. B. Prestwich (1,087 c.c. M.G. Magnette),
handicap, three laps less ; time 2h. 25m. 33s.; speed 70.33 m.p.h.
2. A. Powys-Lybbe (2,364 c.c. Alfa-Romeo), one lap less im. ; 2h. 28m. 26s. ; 79.28 m.p.h.
3. C. E. C. Martin (2,904 c.c. Alfa-Romeo), scratch ; 2h. 31m. 46s. ; 79.42 m.p.h. Fastest time of the day. 4. J. H. T. Smith (1,087 c.c. M.G. Magnette,
6. R. E. Tongue (1,488 c.c. E.1t.A.), one lap less ; 2h. 36m. 35s.; 75.12 m.p.h.
6. E. W. H. Dobson (1,Q86 0.0. Riley).
7. F. O’Boyle (1,485 c.c. Alta).
8, Sir Alastair MacRobert (M.G. Magnette).
9. J. A. Thompson (948 c.c. Ford).
10. A. P. MacArthur (M.G. Magnette).
Class Winners: Martin, Powys-Lybbe, Prestwich and Dobson.
Sealed Handicap Result : 1, Dobson; 2, O’Boyle 3, Thompson ; 4, Tongue ; 5, MacRobert.
three laps less ; 2h. 32m. 27s.; 71.88 m.p.h.