EASTER MONDAY AT BROOKLANDS
BY a kindly dispensation of Providence the weather, which had behaved in a very inconsiderate manner at Easter, refrained from interfering with the Bank Holiday Brooklands Meeting, and. in place of the dreary outlook of the previous few days we were treated to one of the most brilliant and interesting afternoons racing known for many years. The most remarkable feature of the day’s racing was, of course, Tim Birkin’s successful attempt on the lap record in his 4i-litre Bentley. From the beginning of the meeting it was obvious that he was in. great form, and when it was announced that in place of the match race with Jack Dunfee, he would go out alone for the attempt, everything seemed auspicious for his success. In two consecutive laps he lowered the record, each time his fastest time being I m. 13-315s., or an average speed of 135.33 m.p.h. Readers of MoroR SPoRT will not require it to be emphasised what wonderful driving is required to average such a speed on a track meant originally for much lower speeds, and parts of which are in none too smooth a condition
in. spite of the best efforts of the authorities to improve it. Considering his terrific speed, his steadiness and accuracy was remarkable, and even on the famous bump going off the member’s banking, where his back wheels did not touch the ground within 70 feet of the point where they left it, he held the Bentley on a perfectly straight course. Tim Birkin is already famous as one of the best road racing drivers in this country, and now at one step he has risen. to the highest class of Brooklands exponents.
His performance, however, was by no means the only interesting point of the afternoon, and in nearly all the races there was some excellent scrapping and even when, as in some cases, the winners got home with a rather too comfortable margin, there was some good racing for second place. In the “round the mountain” races there was a marked improvement over the last meeting in the general standard of cornering, and although the course certainly could not be called complicated, it added just that spice of variety to the ordinary Brooklands Meeting which has
been so lacking in recent years ; the organisers are to be again most heartily congratulated on their efforts to . make Brooklands really worth going to see. From the very first race interest was maintained, and Birkin brought his Bentley through the field from scratch to .win by 150 yards from Welch’s Bugatti, Scott’s Delage being third. These two had a great tussle for second place, Welch just getting home in front of Scott.
The second race, another short handicap, proved a fairly easy win forl.A. F. Ashby’s Riley, whose tuning capabilities proved a little too much for the handicappers, and by winning it at 84.6 m.p.h.
he finished mile in. front of Welch’s Bugatti, which was putting up a very consistent performance. R. C. Stewart (Alf aRomeo) came through the field well and annexed third place, just failing to overtake the Bugatti.
H. C. Spero’s somewhat peculiar streamlined Austin appeared in this race, but was not as fast as its appearance would lead one to believe. Captain Waite’s very standard looking car of the same make travelled at a most astonishing speed, and through the afternoon gave some of the larger motorcars something to think about.
The third race proved a close finish, \ D. Scott’s Delage got home by 100 yds. at 106 m.p.h. with Captain Campbell’s Bugatti second and E. M. Thomas in. Mrs. Scott’s Bugatti third.
The Bentley handicap, which is the first of a series of one-make races which will be run during the season was, as a race, rather disappointing, owing to the fact that the limit car, driven by C. F. Hamilton was also one of the fastest in the race, and won easily by of a mile at 82.9 m.p.h., Mr. Durand being second and Major Butler third. Next came the first Mountain Handicap. This race showed Frazer-Nash cars to advantage, their cornering capabilities
and good acceleration standing them in good stead, and the two entrants of this make annexed the first and third places. The winner, Mr. Penn Hughes, is a newcollier to the track, but his driving was considerably better than a lot of the older hands and we could not help suspecting that a few hints from Mr. H. J. Aldington contributed to his success, as his methods of cornering were very similar though not quite so fast. In fact at the bend under member’s bridge no one was as fast as Aldington, although several drivers were considerably rougher. On several occasions he took it so fast that he went perilously near the top of the banking, though he did not seem in the least worried about this, and on one occasion, when he could not have been more than 6 feet from the edge, his passenger looked round and waved cheerfully to the MOTOR SPORT photographer standing at the top of the banking at the point in question. Other drivers who attracted attention by their skilful driving were the redoubtable Ramponi on an Austro-Daimler, W. B. Scott, who was a little rough though undoubtedly fast, and R. P. Oates, who drove as he always does, very accurately and steadily. Birkin, as was only to be expected, put up an excellent show, but was much too heavily handicapped to be able to catch up the slower cars in. front. The car itself was not in the best of form for this particular race and his corner work was unable to make up entirely for the lack of speed on the straight.
After the first mountain race it was announced that, as Jack Dunfee’s Sunbeam had developed rather serious indigestion earlier in the afternoon, the match race would be called off, and Birkin would go out alone to attempt the lap record. This he proceeded to do, and driving faultlessly he circumnavigated Brooklands faster than any motor car has ever done before. The next race provided another opportunity for Mr. Hamilton’s very fast, but perfectly standard looking 4i litre Bentley, which he was quick to take and
won at 100.9 m.p.h. by 150 yards from Thomas on the Bugatti, who in turn wrested second place by a matter of feet from Jack Dunfee (Ballot), with whom he appears to enjoy motoring in close company. During several of the races they repeated their performance of the first meeting by going round neck and neck. Birkin was travelling at a terrific speed but was just unable to overcome his handicap and missed a place by a length. This race was one of the best of the day in the number of scraps that were going on throughout the whole entry, and demonstrated the very much greater interest of a slightly longer race than those of the very sprint variety. There followed another long handicap in which Mr. Hamilton’s Bentley again motored most effectively and won quite easily at 99 m.p.h. Cyril Paul’s veteran Benz was in good form, and this truly amazing motorcar thundered through the
field and just gained second place from Captain Campbell’s Bugatti. A feature of this race was the remarkable number of retirements, about half a dozen starters finding that 9 miles is apt to be a very long way when attempted quickly.
The Brooklands gold vase was won by E. M. Thomas (Bugatti) at 112.28 m.p.h. and Cyril Paul, this time in Captain Miller’s Delage, gained another place, but was not quite able to overtake Craig’s Bugatti, which finished second. The last race of the day, the second mountain handicap, fell to W. B. Scott on the li-litre Delage which came through the field well taking the lead after 7 laps, The latter part of the race provided a good struggle between Scott and Staniland ( Bugatti) who were almost exactly evenly matched for speed, but as Staniland had had to stop on the second lap for minor adjustments he was a lap behind throughout. The little cars put up a good
show, C. G. H. Dunham on his M.G. Midget performing very consistently and cornering very neatly. He was not, however, quite fast enough to hold his lead from Captain Waites’ very fast Austin which beat him for third place, second place going to J. H. Bartlett on a Salmson. Vernon Balls, whom we had hoped would give us his usual spectacular exhibition, was, unfortunately, compelled to retire early in the race.
So ended a very good day’s racing and gave further proof that ” Brighter Brookands ” has come at last.
THE BEDFORD SHORT HANDICAP. Distance : About 6i miles.
THE SUSSEX SHORT HANDICAP. Distance : About 6k miles.
THE DORSET LIGHTNING SHORT HANDICAP. Distance : About 6k miles.
THE BENTLEY HANDICAP. Distance : About 6i miles.
THE MOUNTAIN SPEED HANDICAP.
THE BEDFORD LONG HANDICAP. Distance : About 12 miles.
THE SUSSEX LONG HANDICAP. Distance About 9 miles.
THE DORSET LIGHTNING LONG HANDICAP. Distance : About 9 miles.
THE MOUNTAIN RACING HANDICAP. Distance : About 12 miles.