Rumblings, March 1931
A AST month I suggested that this season would see not a little competition in the
750 c.c. class, but few people can have expected that the scrap would have commenced as soon as it has. However, although we have got to wait awhile before we can see these remarkable little motors in direct competition in a race, we have not had to wait long to see various records being distributed among them at really amazing speeds.
On the 6th of last month Capt. Malcolm Campbell, following his wonderful feat with “Bluebird,” took out the supercharged Austin and put the class H International record for the kilometre up to 94.03 m.p.h. It is very doubtful if sand is really suitable surface for a small car, as even ” Bluebird ” slowed considerably on striking the heavier patches, while the drag is bound to have an appreciable effect on a 750 c.c. machine. The whole performance must have opened the eyes of some of our American friends as to capabilities of the ” i-pint auto” as they dub it. It seems likely that this speed will be considerably raised when the car is run on a more suitable surface.
The sand had hardly settled down after this record had been established than news came of George Eyston’s further efforts on the M.G. Midget at Montlhery. Now that this is supercharged, the Austin will have a competitor on equal terms, and Eyston gave a demonstration of the M.G.’s possibilities by setting up new records for 5 and 10 miles and 5 and 10 kilometres. The highest speed was 97.07 m.p.h. for 5 kilometres, the 10 miles being covered at 96.91 m.p.h. Not satisfied with this performance he went out again on the 16th
of last month and raised the figures to over 100 m.p.h., and is, therefore, the first man to reach this figure in a 750 c.c. car. The actual speeds, subject to confirmation, were as follows : 5 kilometres, 103.13 m.p.h. ; 5 miles, 102.76 m.p.h. ; 10 kilometres, 102.43 m.p.h. ; 10 miles, 101.87 m.p.h. The performance is the more remarkable in that, it is stated, the air pressure on the petrol feed caused leaks, so that the driver was
forced to use the hand pump continually. Mr. Eyston amongst other necessary things, used ” Castrol “, and the car is the property of Mr. J. A. Palmes of Jarvis & Sons, Wimbledon, the well known specialists in M.G. cars.
In the case of these remarkable speeds it is invidious to try and compare one make with the other, as they are both so amazingly good. The really interesting thing is going to be watching what happens to the cars in the larger classes. They will certainly have to look out or they will be getting beaten on sheer speed by their smaller rivals ! The 750 c.c. class in the DoubleTwelve looks like being even more of a dog-fight than was expected at first. No less than 4 teams of M.G. Midgets are expected (all the new 750 c.c. model, in addition to private entries including Randall’s syndicate who won the team prize last year). Austins will be represented by an official team under A. C. R. Waite, and that will not be all, I gather, by any means. The Double-Twelve is not what one might call a complicated sort of event, being rather “round-and-round,” but its great value as a test of cars is being more than ever recognised, and this year’s
event should be the best yet, and worth every effort to get down and see it. The larger classes should also be full of interest in this and the later events, as Maserati will be repre sented in force by a team entered by Mr. M. C. Morris. This entry has
been subject to the usual rumours and excitements attaching to the possibility of such an interesting and formidable marque, but E. M. Fronteras tells me that details have now been settled between Mr. Morris, of R.A.G. Carburettors and Signor Maserati, and that the team will consist of Cav. Campari, G. Ramponi, E. M. Pronteras, and G. E. T. Eyston. This team must be one of the most formidable connected with any make and should brighten up this year’s racing considerably. Lord Howe will be driving a Mercedes in the Double-Twelve, while a 1i-1itre ” Mere ” is likely to appear at Shelsley in the hands of Von Stuck, who at present holds the record on an Austro Daimler. The name of Mercedes is not usually associated with anything as small as 1/-litre, but they are as good at this type as the big stuff, and we ought to see some lively competition in this class if they appear. There
is a very snappy Mercedes at present down at Thompson and Taylor’s Brooklands workshops, which is the property of Lady Dorothy Paget, and it is to be hoped that this will also appear to swell this class.
in the Old Dogs yet. With motorcycle trials held in. every week-end it is only
natural that the general public should have lost interest in them ; but there was no lack of interest in the “Old Crocks” trial which took place recently. Described as the ” Pioneer run to Brighton for motor-cycles, tricycles and quadricycles of historic interest,” the event attracted an entry of 60, of whom, despite the vagaries of old-age mounts, 57 actually started. The start was at Tattenham Corner, of ” Derby ” fame, and the finish at the Aquarium, Brighton. The machines were divided into three classes, according to age, and bonus marks were awarded to the more more
A curious feature of the trial was the number of defunct makes represented. The 57 starting machines were composed of 31 different makes, and of these only 13 are on the market today. The majority of those still manufactured were British.
There was no award for best performance of the day, the better competitors being given plaques and the less successful certificates. All the machines were 17 years old at least, and some were over 30. Yet of the 57 starters, 49 reached Brighton and were thus eligible for award. Only seven of them failed to secure the coveted plaques. Although over a dozen foreign machines competed, most of the premier awards went to British
machines. Triumphs led the field with nine starters, all of whom finished, securing eight plaques and a certificate. In point of numbers the next most popular make was the Belgian P.N., with an entry of five ; three gained plaques but two fell by the wayside. Then the entries slumped to three each for ChaterLea, Kerry and Minerva, each of these makes securing two plaques. De Dion, Douglas, Humber, James, Matchless, Rex and Rover were represented by two machines each, and the remainder were individual entries, mostly bearing names unknown to a post-War generation of motorists and motor cyclists. I was talking to one of the old school about these aged crocks, and he waxed quite sentimental about
the old days. Those were the times, he said, when every hill was an adventure,—jockeying your single-geared belt-drive one-lunger up gradients which meant much wangling of spark and air controls. Now it is all so very cut and dried.
Brooklands This Month.
A programme of eight races has been arranged for the Brooklands Open Meeting on Saturday, March 14th. The first event is at 2 p.m. and there will be three Long and three Short handicaps. Two races will run over the ” Mountain ” course.
The entry fee for the” Mountain” Speed Handicap has been reduced from 5 guineas to 2 guineas. Drivers in all the big International races this season must be experienced, and it is probable that many people will take advantage of this special concession at the Brooklands Spring Meeting in order to qualify for the British Double-Twelve, this being the first race in which this new regulation takes effect.
As a result of co-operation between racing men and the track authorities, the course is now greatly improved. Many thousands of square yards of concrete have been relaid during the win4er months, and the obliteration of the more famous bumps has been Successfully tackled. In consequence there is good reason to believe that the existing lap record of 137.58 m.p.h. will be broken again before the end of the 1931 season.