The Lobethal “50” and South Australian “100” Events
New Year’s Day saw road-racing resumed on the Lobethal Circuit after an enforced lapse of seven years. This circuit of 8.9 miles is situated in hilly country 22 miles from the city of Adelaide and includes both fast and slow bends, up and down grades and fast straights. The average width of road is 30 feet and includes the main street of the town of Lobethal.
Two races were held, the main event being the “South Australian 100” over 12 laps and the other the “Lobethal 50” over 6 laps. A total of 44 entries was received for both races, but the number of starters was somewhat less owing to petrol cuts imposed just prior to the event. The first prize was £100 and Trophy in the 100-mile event and £50 and Trophy for the 50-mile race.
Practice took place on December 28th and 29th and caused several mishaps and consequent withdrawals. A.N. Davison hit a telegraph pole in his TC M.G., escaping with abrasions but considerably damaging both car and pole. The Q-type M.G. of P. Vennermark suffered a cracked supercharger housing and F.A.0. Gaze had the misfortune to have piston trouble with the ex-Whitehead Alta,, which now has a 2-litre engine.
The 12-lap event was won by J. Gullan driving a G.P. Ballot fitted now with a new Oldsmobile Six engine, which ran with wire gauge in front of its radiator as a protection against grasshoppers and or locusts. G.T. Harrison was second in a Ford V8 Special and R. Edgerton third in a TC M.G. Fastest time was made by Harrison, in 79 min. 49 sec.. the winner’s time being 81 min. 5 sec. for the 106 miles. The race was devoid of incident apart from the 110 m.p.h. crash of J.A. Denniston’s Itala-V8 (Ford engine) driven by E. Seeliger. This very sleek car, which looked rather like a G.P. Mercedes, hit two trees and was completely smashed. Apart from the engine there was little worth saving, but Seeliger escaped with bruises.
The other back-markers had trouble. D. Whiteford lost the tread from a rear tyre of his Ford V8 Special and N.J.T. Andrews had obscure troubles with the Stewand Special. This is an interesting car which consists of a specially-built chassis powered by an Austin Six truck engine, suitably altered.
Some of the driving showed distinct lack of road racing practice and baulking was somewhat prevalent.
The 50-mile race was won by D. Whiteford’s Ford V8 Special in 37 min. 3 sec.,-which was also fastest time. Edgerton was second and Harrison third. The fastest lap of the day was made by Whiteford in 6 min. 3 sec., which is an average of nearly 89 m.p.h. The lap record is held by A. Barrett’s “2.8” Alfa-Romeo, at 93.2 m.p.h.
The limit car was W.A.S. Jolly’s Morris Minor, which made a surprising standing lap in 7 min. 44 sec., but overturned on its second lap without damage to car or driver. The Stewand Special lost a rear wheel on its final lap, resulting in injuries to several police and spectators.
Gaze’s Aerodynamic H.R.G. was silent and fast, but could not finish higher than sixth. A.D. Turner’s Talbot 105 suffered from overheating and retired early, while G. Sandford-Morgan’s C-type M.G. had fuel-feed trouble. The TC M.G. clan were reliable but not fast enough, and Burnett-Read’s Brescia Bugatti retired at half distance. L. Johnson’s blown Lea-Francis went very well but suffered from a lack of the correct fuel.
The team prize in the 100-mile race was won by Harvey, Hamilton and Ohlmeyer, driving TA, TC and TA M.G.s in that order. In the other race the winning team was Whiteford, Gullan and Harrison. Davison’s “36/220” Mercedes-Benz did not start, due to differential trouble. Other entries included Skinner’s Ballot V8, Tribe’s Mercury-Special with Willys engine and Amilcar axles, Barradough’s T.T.-type M.G. Magnette which lost oil-pressure, an o.h.c. Morris Minor, an “Ulster” Austin Seven, a Fordengined Bugatti and an old G.N.