RUMBLINGS, March 1934
Motoring in March. F1VERYTHING, including the date of Easter, is conspiring to promote an early start for the
1934 season. The Brooklands opening meeting is arranged for March 3rd, Southport begins on March 10th, and the first meeting on the enlarged Donington track takes place on the 24th. The R.A.C. Rally which was quickly ” subscribed ” to its full number of 400 entries will be held from the 13th to the 17th, with that hardy annual the M.C.C. London-Lands End Trial to round off the month on the 30th-31st. Easter Monday foils on April 2nd.
The continental programme is less forward with the cancellation of the Grand Prix de Pau and the Swedish Winter Grand Prix and the first event of importance is the “Paris-Nice.” This is, of course, a Rally, followed by a series of tests. The Rally part of it differs from its better known rival of Monte Carlo in that the Controls are only open from 8 a.m.. to 6 p.m., so that a very peculiar schedule is called for in getting through from Tallinn and other distant starting points in the 3 days allotted for the road journey.
The final tests include a variety of measurements of steering-lock, body capacity and the like, not to speak of starting from cold, slow running braking and acceleration, a “Veritable Criterium de Tourisme ” as the organisers term it. Donald Healey is about the only English driver who has attempted it. He finished fourth on an Invicta some years ago, being penalised for having an insufficient lock in proportion to the length of his car. Ever since then he could tell you its wheel-base to a millimetre.
1935 Regulations at Monaco. The Monaco Grand Prix will take place on April 2nd, with the Italian 1,000 Miles Race the following weekend, so that racing enthusiasts who can arrange a fortnight’s holiday at that time will see two of the premier events of the calendar. The order of the events is unfortunate since it will prevent drivers getting the necessary practice on the long-distance Italian event, while the Monaco authorities will only permit cars confirming to the 750 kg. rules to compete. This will mean that Lord Howe and other drivers affected by the Alfa Romeo change of front will scarcely have time to run in their cars before the event, which in any case
is much more suited to sturdy machines such as the 2.3 Bugatti and Alfa. Presumably the organisers value the drawing power of the latest cars from Molsheim and Germany.
The Mille Miglia.
As will be seen from_ the map the course of the 1,000 Miles Race has this year been altered and slightly shortened. Instead of going South-East from Cremona and crossing the Po by the notorious pontoon bridge with its central hump, the route runs north-west to Piacenza before striking south. The other important alteration is that of taking the cars down to Venice
instead of direct to Treviso. In this way a dusty section of the course will be avoided, and the cars will return to Brescia over an Autostrada.
“24 Heures du Mans.”
The Le Mans race continues to exert its spell on English drivers, and Lord Howe, Brian Lewis and T. E. Rose-Richards will be seen on Alfa Romeos. After an absence of some years a Lagonda will once more be seen on the Sarthe circuit, this time a Rapier driven by Lord de Clifford, Some very encouraging speeds have been obtained on the first cars produced, and he hopes later on in the season to form a team for the R.A.C. Tourist Trophy.
Lord de Clifford probably has a knowledge of the Belgian Spa circuit better than that of any other Englishman, for some years ago he took part in long-distance reliability test of a Chrysler which was carried out there, and lasted for ten weeks. He considers the 4i. litre Lagonda ideal for the job, and also thought of entering one for the saloon car class in the Mille Miglia. This class has now been cancelled, but the 4,000 Miles Races offers possibilities.
Off to Tahiti.
• All followers of racing at Brooklands must have wondered what had become of J. Y. Craig, whose two-litre. and.2.3 Bugatti used to go so quickly, some years ago. I met him again at the B.R.D.C. dinner and learnt that he had been out of action for a year after his crash at Lewes, when one of the nerves in his arm was affected. It suddenly got better again and he was able to drive in the Whit-Monday Meeting last year and secured a third on Mathieson’s two litre Bugatti.
• Seoh afterwards he had another piece of bad luck, this time a simultaneous attack of diphtheria and scarlet fever ! He recovered from that, but now has to go on a voyage round the world, with Tahiti as his first objective. There certainly are worse places to be banished to, but it was rather hard at the outset of the world’s most exciting racing season, with a seat awaiting him in one of the latest ” voitures de course.”
The Magic Magna. latest
mount, the Magic Magna, which is a supercharged 1,100 c.c. car with off-set engine and frame similar to that of the famous Midget, is going on well, and it should appear at Montlhery about the beginning of April. Appropriately enough Eyston has now
joined the board of Jarvis of Wimbledon, and will be working with his friend” Jimmy ” Palmes, the owner of the original 100 m.p.h. Midget, so customers of that well-knowii concern will get a good ” kick ” when they see the great George in person.
A ” 2.6 ” in England.
In spite of the ban on the export of single-seater Alfa Romeos, Penn Hughes by some feat of legerdemain has succeeded in getting hold of one of the single-seater Ferrari Alfa-Romeos, which is now in England being fitted with a self-changing gear-box. He has also secured from the Scuderia Ferrari the 2.3 Alfa which was second in the Mille Miglia last year, now fitted with a two-seater body and long-distance tankage. A light racing body will be fitted, also a Wilson gear-box.
Penn Hughes and Eyston will drive the cars in Italian races, the former being alone on the 2.3 in the Circuit d’Alessandria, while Eyston will join him on the 2.6 in the Grand Prix de Tripoli and the Royal Prix de Rome.
Altogether the Eyston-Penn Hughes Motor Racing Stable as the new combination will be called, should be well acquainted with the sport abroad before the end of the season. I wish them the best of luck. car
I hear from a friend in the Isle of Man that when Tarufti visited Douglas in December, he rode round the course on a push-bike. There is however no truth in the rumour that Nuvolari will be seen on a tricycle in
I have just received a very interesting letter from a reader in New South Wales wit ii photographs of car dirt-track racing. Apparently they have formed a club at Granville, near Sydney, where they hold meetings once a month. The Track is mile in length. Judging by these photos it looks
as though a little oil on the surface wouldn’t do any harm. My informant tells me that the lap record stands at 31 seconds, and the cars are nearly all “specials most of them. having Ford engines. The dub have constructed a single seater for use of members (what about it Brooklands ?)
To quote my correspondent : “It is a great and thrilling sight to see 4 cars broadsiding at a corner, throwing an avalanche of cinders, leaving the spectators gasping in a cloud of dust muttering ‘has anything happened ? ‘ ” Great fun.
Might I Suggest . . . .
In an attempt to gain some first hand knowledge of the progress of the Crystal Palace dirt track scheme, I arrived at the turnstile in the company of a colleague from another paper, and we presented our cards. ” Wot’s ‘is ? ” said the sentry. I explained that these cards meant that we wished to see what was going on inside, so that we could write about it in our respective journals. This, I explained, would be read by some 70,000 people, some of whom might be persuaded to turn up when the track opened.
” The press ain’t allowed in,” said the sentry. Now, there is another entrance into the Crystal Palace and you can walk there in about 5 minutes. It took us 21 exactly. Casting one and twopence on the other turnstile we rushed down through the grounds and arrived at the speedway. There were all the racing cars lined up before us in the paddock. A standard B.S.A., and an aged Bugatti, and a G.N.
The B.S.A. wasn’t fast enough to slide, the G.N. wouldn’t go and the Bugatti seized up on the second lap.
Might I humbly suggest that this keeping the press out is a bad idea ? No respectable presspan will print anything he is asked not to ; but they like to know what is going on.
Preparing for the Season.
I remember reading some years ago in the catalogue of a famous motor cycle manufacturer the claim “flexibility at speed down hill,” which did not refer, as one might have thought, to the good carburetion of the engine, but to the fact that the frame bent instead of breaking. The IVIaserati chassis is also permitted to flex, which is the reason for converting the rear cross-member on the car which Brian Lewis will drive this year into a box-girder. This car is of course the two-seater which
Sir Henry Birkin drove at Tripoli, and has the ordinary steel chassis. Cast iron is used for the cylinder head and block, and the Alfa-Romeo designers must score quite considerably as regards the saving of weight by using aluminium alloy for these components.
Meanwhile John Cobb has had the cockpit of his G. P. Alfa enlarged to make it more comfortable, and has done a few laps of the mountain circuit to see if everything is to his liking. I hear that he is going to remove the paint from every part of the car except the chassis. With a brass radiator tank, an aluminium body and a steel petrol tank it will certainly be easy to distinguish on the track.
” Spike ” Gets down to it ? For sheer alone I cannot
perseverance alone I cannot help admiring ” Spike ” Rhiando. He came to this country about a year ago, with the intention of starting dirt-track racing for cars. With no resources to speak of he has put in a tremendous amount of work, trying to arouse some enthusiasm for the sport he has his heart in among British authorities and drivers.
After many set-backs he seems at last to have got going, and with the assistance of the Conan Doyle brothers and other helpers he is now busy putting the C.’ireenford Track into shape for a meeting on Saturday, March 24th, starting at 3 p.m. He hopes to have the following drivers there on. that day : R. G. J. Nash, Adrian and Denis Conan-Doyle, ” Babe ” West, W. E Harker, Vernon Balls, Chohnondeley-Tapper, ” Drag ” Johnson, ” Hank ” Sulman, Miss Cynthia Sedgwick and ” Spike ” himself. The proposed programme is to have 10, 15, 20, 25 and 50 mile races, with 12 cars on the track at the same time.
Meanwhile much paint is being applied to the fencing and buildings at Greenford, and a 4 ton roller is consolidating the loose cinders into the necessary state of hard smoothness.
Who Wants a Drive ? A friend of mine wants to enter his car for the British
wants to enter his car the British Empire Trophy Race, in which he considers he has quite a good chance of winni g the 1,100 c.c. unblown class. He also wants to find someone to pay his entry fee of 216 in return for an equal share of the driving. The car has been specially prepared all the winter, including the fitting of an offset streamlined single seater body.
If you are interested I will put you in touch with him.