THE EN 14 THE ” JENKINS CASE”
12 World’s and 2 Class B Records Broken
SELDOM has so much controversy raged round a record performance as that of the ” Jenkins case.” Six months ago, on August 6th, and 7th last year, Ab Jenkins covered a distance of 2,844 211 miles at Saltlake, Utah, U.S.A. driving a 12 cylinder Pierce-Arrow. For one reason or another this performance came in for a good deal of criticism. For example, Jenkins was supposed to have driven the whole distance singlehanded, a difficult feat in a climate of scorching days and extremely cold nights. But what gave rise to most of the doubt about the record was that the necessary papers were not lodged with the International Sporting Commission of the I. A. R. A. C.
The headquarters of the Sporting Commission are in Paris, and although some of the papers had been sent over, confirmation could not be given to the record without the complete set. Now at last, after a delay of six months, the documents have arrived and all is in order.
The new record is a remarkable one. To average a speed of 118,509 m.p.h. for 24 hours requires tremendous stamina on the part of the car, its tyres, and the driver. The old record, it will be remembered, stood to the credit of Messieurs. Marchand, Morel and Kiriloff driving a 12 cylinder sleeve-valve Voisin at Montihery Autodrome, Paris, at an average speed of 113.50 m.p.h. Their record was made on September 26th and 27th, 1927. Some interesting details of the record performance are contained in the American documents. The car ran over a circuit measuring 12 miles on the dried lake bed,
and some idea of the size of this natural track can be gauged by the fact that a duplicate course of the same length was marked out in case the first should become rutted under the constant wear of the automobile’s passage. This second circuit was not used, however.
The course was marked by posts placed at intervals of 30 yards, and the telephone and timing wires were secured to these. Thus any shortening of the course, accidental or otherwise, would have been immediately penalised by the cancellation of the attempt owing to breakdown of the timing gear. At night small fires were placed at intervals of 100 yards, Official cars slowly patrolled the circuit throughout the attempt, while there were 8 observers stationed round the 12 mile course.
Timing was carried out to 100th of a second by means of two series of six chronometers, electrically operated. The names of the officials in charge were as follow : Mr. A. C. Pillsbury, timekeeper and member of the I.S.C. ; Mr. Waldo Stein ; Mr. J. P. Betto, timekeeper and member of the I.S.C.; Mr. T. E. Allen, timekeeper and secretary of the I.S.C. ; Mr. M. Keyes, of Los Angeles ; Mr. Parker Lewis, of Washington ; Mr. D. Titesbraid and Mr. Robert Lindsay Clover, of Los Angeles. The 12 cylinder Pierce Arrow was a stock machine, modified as to compression ratio, back axle ratio, body, and fuel tank. Actually there were three petrol tanks, enabling Jenkins to drive for 500 miles without a stop. Beyond refuelling, the car only made three stops. First of
all the plugs had to be changed, then the valve clearances were adjusted, and finally a tyre blew out. The maximum speed of the Pierce Arrow in record breaking form was 130 m.p.h.
Altogether the record is a very fine achievement, both for car and driver. To break any world’s record with a stock car is most creditable, but particularly is this so when the record happens to be one of the most coveted in the list.
Jenkins is not to remain in unchallenged possession of the record for long. John Cobb is to make a determined effort to regain it for England this year, and it is rumoured that he may go to Murock for his attempt. In France, Cesar Marchand the ex-record holder is planning to capture It for Prance. Here is the full list of records broken., with the previous figures in brackets :
World’s Records. 500 km. 124.00 m.p.h. (Napier-Railton, 123.63
1,000 kms., 133.92 m.p.h. (Napier-Railton, 122.05 m.p.h.). 2,000 king., 122.39 m.p.h. (Delage, 116.08 m.p.h.). 3,000 kiss., 116.65 m.p.h. (Voisin, 113.00 m.p.h.). 4,000 kms., 117.48 m.p.h. (Voisin, 113.07 m.p.h.). 500 miles, 124.05 m.pb. (Napier-Railtou, 123.27
m.p.h.). 1,000 miles, 123.02 m.p.h. (Delage, 116.36 m.p.h.) 2,000 miles, 117.05 nt.p.h. (Voisin, 112.87 m.p.h.). 3,000 miles, 117.98 m.p.h. (Voisin, 113.11 m.p b.). 6 hours, t2z.78 m.p.h. (Napier-Railton, 122.62
12 hours, 120.59 m.p.h. (Voisin, 112.82 m.p.h.). 24 hours, 117.82 m .p.11 . (Voisin, 113.50 m.p.h.) .
International Class B. Records.
200 miles, 123.88 m.p.h. (Auburn, 112.93 m.p.h.). 3 hours, 124.09 m.p.h. (Auburn, 113.14 m.p.h.).