"BIRA" THE QUITE INVINCIBLE
” BIRA ” THE QUITE INVINCIBLE VICTORIOUS AGAIN, AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE. HANS RUESCH’S GREAT DRIVE. ” BIRA’S ” DELAHAYE WINS SPORTS-CAR RACE
THE London Road Course opened its doors again towards the end of May. In practice for the Sydenham Trophy Meeting ” Bira ” experimented with single and twin rear wheels on his E.R.A. ” Romulus ” ; Walker did his inimitable cornering in the WalkerWhitehead E.R.A., wheels continually spinning, Mere. fashion ; Rueseh took life seriously, and Bolster thoroughly enjoyed himself. On the Friday the 1907 Renault “Agatha,” Heal’s Fiat, Nash’s Lorraine, the 1914 Opel, a 1920 racing “
T” Ford, a 2-litre Sunbeam, two Le Mans Bentleys, and Dobson’s white E.R.A. had an appointment with the B.B.C. television camera, and the B.B.C., after Heal had helped with the historic bit, staged a 2-lap handicap race between the Opel, Lorraine, E.R.A. and unblown Bentley. Dobson won from the Lorraine amid cries of “what a boy,” and Nash had a nice fire to put out, beyond the finish-” Vieux Charles “escaped damage. The first race on the Saturday was a
Soap Box Derby. These decorative, pedal-propelled boxes achieved surprising velocities, but isn’t it rather pathetic that they were welcome at a meeting where E.R.A., Alta and Alfa were racing ?-which perhaps reflects the British public’s opinion of motorracing and explains why the British Motor-Racing Fund has sagged. These toys will be more appropriate at the Ford Gymkhana on June 17th. For the Sydenham Trophy first heat, of 10 laps, all twelve runners lined-up. Arthur Dobson, once again in his white Roots-inducted E.R.A., drove faultlessly and, making up on handicap, was third on lap 8 and leading one lap from the end, to win from Aitken (E.R.A.) and Wilson (1,100 c.c. E.R.A.), at 57.2 m.p.h. His seventh lap was the quickest, in 2 mins. 4 secs. Aitken drove very nicely, doing one lap in 2 mins. 5 secs. Maclure experienced mis-firing on the Riley, and Wakefield’s Zoller-blown E.R.A. was not placed, although Johnnie did a circuit in 2 mins. 2.1 secs. and came home behind ‘Nichols’s M.G. Hampshire, with one of the six-cylinder Maseratis, went hay-wire at Ramp Bend. ” Bira ” and Ruesch came decidedly to grips in Heat 2. The big Alfa-Romeo got off a trifle faster than the yellow and blue E.R.A. and led into the first corner, and for a long time ” Bira” just could not get by on acceleration. Ruesch slid his corners magnificently and opened up immediately. ” Bira” waved to the flag-marshals in a hope that he could. squeeze past the bigger car, but Ruesch stayed ahead, to win at 57:77 m.p.h., 38 secs. ahead of “Bira,” who averaged 57.63 m.p.h. Beadle drove his Alta quietly into third place and Brooke, now with a 1i-litre blown Alta engine in the Brooke-Special was fourth. Brooke actually closed with ” Bira ” in the early stages, but he turned round at the Pond and later hit the bank at Stadium Curve and stalled his engine-an example of enthusiastic lack of polish, for he seems to corner absolutely on the limit and not know when the limit is going to be overstepped. P. D. Walker seemed much the same in practice, but we had no chance to see what he would do with other cars around him, as he retired early with transmisAon trouble. Smith’s M.G. was reported to have blown its engine up and Dodson’s little Maserati, Mathieson’s big Masexati and. Rolt’s. E.R.A. did not start. We understand that Chula protested about Ruesch’s prompt get-away. Ruesch did his last and best lap in 2 mins. 2.5 secs. and “
Bira” who used single rear wheels, did his fastest circuit in 2 mins. 2.6 sec.
The Sydenham Plate sports-car race was an easy victory for “Bira” with the Delahaye he used to own and with which he contrived to do ample practice lappery. He won at 52.4] m.p.h. and finished Oi sees. ahead of Pane’s FrazerNash-B.M.W. Cooper-Harewood’s M.G. was third-it is a blown PB-and Abecassis managed fourth with the Alta. E. W. H. Dobson came un.tuek at Stadium Dip with the Riley and Aitken’s fast Delage burst a tyre.
The Delahaye’s fastest lap was its third, in 2 mins. 12.1 secs., and Pane did his third lap in 2 mins. 14.3 secs. Abecassis (Alta) did 2 mins. 14.1 secs. The Final was most exciting. There was first of all a delay before the start while the course was treated, not very effectively, for oil-patches. As the cars lined up we noted that ” Bira ” had fitted twin rear wheels to the E.R.A. As the flag fell, again Ruesch got the big Alfa-Romeo off surprisingly well and was first into the first corner, and for three tremendous laps he led ” Bira ” who waved frantically to the flag-marshals, most of them a trifle confused. At last ” Biro, ” got by and he then set about catching the limit cars, Islichols’s M.G. and Wilson’s small E.R.A. Halfa-dozen laps from the end-the race was over 16 laps-” Bira” led, and with plenty of time to spare Arthur Dobson had also got past the big Alfa. ” Bira ” won, at 57.53 m.p.h., Arthur Dobson was second, at 56.87 m.p.h., and Ruesch was third, averaging 56.61 m.p.h.-not so fast as in the heats. Wakefield’s E.R.A. was fourth, and of the others Bolster finally retired, Hampshire gyrated the Maserati twice, Aitken also spun round, Beadle’s Alta had bad engine trouble, and Winterbottom’s Alta turned round and threw oil on the course. This oil caused considerable excitement, and was the signal for Brooke to turn round
twice. ” Bira’s ” best lap was 2 min. 3 secs. So ” Bira” was undisputed victor of the first Crystal Palace Meeting of 1989, which enjoyed perfect weather and drew an excellent gate. Ruesch drove beautifully a car not exactly suited to this slow circuit and Arthur Dobson was very much in the picture, having established a new Lap Record with his white E.R.A. in practice, after sharing this honour with ” Bira” last season. The new record stands at 2 min. 1.2 secs., or 59.41 m.p.h.-which we hope is an omen that A.C.D. will do similar things with a new E.R.A. in the Nuffield Trophy
Race on June 10th. Harry Edwards will repeat his unique short races at the popular Palace circuit on July 1st.