rooklands Easter Meeting
HOLIDAY FIXTURE RUN IN THE RAIN
iT is a good thing that all meetings are not run in weather like that of Easter Monday. Apart, however, from the accident to S. C. H. Davis, in which he had the misfortune to break a leg, the conditions were welcome for the insight which they gave us into the respective degrees of controllability of various cars on a slippery surface.
, The Mountain races provided plenty I of excitement for spectators, and though some of the unnatural gyrations were the result of drivers failing to take note of the fact that corners cannot be taken as fast on the wet as they can on the dry, it was obvious that some makes were naturally steadier than others. These races give plenty of opportunity for demonstrating good handling, and the safest and snappiest makes were undoubtedly Frazer-Nash and Bugatti. A particularly worthy performance was that of N. A. Berry (Frazer-Nash) who drove his car through the Lands End trial, climbed all hills and claimed a gold medal, then raced back from Lands End to Brooklands and drove his car, absolutely untouched, in a mountain race and finished 5th. Surely as good a test of an all round sports car as one could well imagine.
The order of this meeting was slightly unusual in that it started with one of the Mountain Speed handicaps, in which the full 15 starters allowed duly got off the mark. Already the track was in a soaking condition and early evidence of lack of adhesion was provided by W. G. Iliffe (Riley), who skidded round at the fork, as did Pauling on another Riley almost immediately afterwards, thereby giving S. C. H. Davis difficulty in avoiding the
sliding car. Hepburn’s M.G. Midget and Elwes Austin Seven were putting up a great race in the small class while D. A. Aldington, on an Interceptor model Frazer-Nash, was coming fast through the field from 10th place.
Davis’ Bad Luck.
S. C. H. Davis (Invicta), starting scratch was travelling well, but on the fast corner under the Members’ Bridge his car appeared none too easy to handle. On the fourth lap it got out of control when well round the corner, and sliding to the bottom of the track struck the stay of a telegraph pole and overturned, breaking the driver’s leg in two places. Driscoll, whose Lea-Francis was travelling extremely well, very sportingly stopped to assist, and so sacrificed his excellent chance of winning the race.
Elwes took the lead at half distance and was chased home by Hepburn, with D. A. .Aldington, who had worked his way well through the field, in third place.
The first of the straightforward spring races was the Warwick Junior Short Handicap, with Munday’s 30-98 Vauxhall on scratch. Philips, on a B.C. Austin Seven caught the limit car (V. P. Horsman’s Triumph) in the first lap. J. A. Robinson and his Bugatti seemed to have fully recovered from his little upset at liwelme Downs, and was going very well, while Clayton’s Amikar was very fast and soon came up to second place to run home a close second to the B.C. Austin. Herrtage (Riley) was third. The Senior Short Handicap proved to be a Bugatti race. The B.C. Austin was this time driven by Willis, but having been rehandicapped 20 secs. was unable
to hold its lead and gave place to Meeson’s Vauxhall, with Purdy ‘s and Selby’s Bugattis in pursuit. Between the fork and the finish on the last lap, however, the two ” Bugs ” slipped past Meeson, and a very close race with Purdy in first place was the result.
Owing to the wet state of the track it was wisely decided to postpone the big stuff for the moment, and the events were put on in such order as the organisers thought fit.
Therefore the next race was the Warwick Senior Long, and this provided the spectacle of a magnificent scrap between Spottiswoode’s Bugatti and Hall’s Bentley. The ” Bug ” had 5 secs. start on the Bentley arid gradually lost this till Hall actually passed hirn near the fork. Spottiswoode, however, managed to get a little more speed, and using the home banking well-passed Hall in the run off to score a very close win. E. R. Hall’s driving was worthy of comment for the skilful and sporting way in which he kept his Bentley well down the banking in spite of the wet track, and so gave Spottiswoode plenty of room.
Another Mountain Race followed, this time for racing cars, and Sir Malcolm Campbell, on his I50 c.c. supercharged straight eight Bugatti, on the scratch mark. He came to grief on the very first lap, however, as the track rod broke approaching the Fork hairpin. On releasing the brakes, however, the near side wheel, which had flown round at right angles, came straight again, and in spite of a sickening wobble, enabled him to carry straight on past the corner and pull up in safety.
Among the other drivers the neatest and steadiest were B. C. Lewis, on the single seater Talbot, Agabeg on a Salmson, and Purdy (Bugatti), while Robinson’s old Brescia ” Bug” was in excellent form. Willis (B.C. Special) was fast but rather wild on the corners, while Black turned his Salrnson right round on the wet track, as did Bartlett on a car of the same make. The race developed into a great duel between B. E. Lewis and Agabeg, the latter eventually winning an excellent race. The third man home was Horton (Riley).
The Junior Long Handicap, which followed, saw Purdy once more reliandicapped and the B.C. Special was similarly treated. This gave Brackenbury an opportunity which he was quick to take, and he brought his unsupercharged 4cylinder Bugatti home at 92 odd m.p.h.— a very stout performance indeed. Willis was second and an Invicta, driven by G. Field, was third. As the two fastest races were now definitely postponed to the following Saturday,
the day’s motoring concluded with another Mountain Speed Handicap. This was chiefly notable for the remarkable exhibition of completely uncontrolled skidding given by H. L. Roberts, on W. G. Iliffe:’s Riley. On the first lap at the Members’ Bridge bend, he entered th.e corner too fast and turned completely round, losing his engine and getting generally in the way. Instead of profiting by this experience to take it more soberly next time, he did exactly the same, only more so, and did his best to get run into by Berry’s Frazer-Nash, which was, however, far too steady and well-driven to have any trouble in avoiding him.
On the next lap at the same spot Roberts surpassed even his previous efforts, while at the Fork hairpin on his first two laps he gyrated considerably. On his second lap he actually came into sight hatkwardS, and would probably have continued in this strain indefinitely, had the Stewards not decided that this nuisance must now cease, and he was flagged off.
Aldington, on the Ulster Frazer-Nashon scratch as usual—had a spot of troulle in the motor in the third lap and pulled out of the race. He must be getting a little tired of goingfast without a chance of winning, and perhaps his handicap might receive attention. In this race he would have had to have averaged a higher speed than the present lap record, to win, and this on a wet track. Rather a stiff proposition ! The race proved an easy thing for the small cars and Vernon Balls brought his Austin into first place after a good race, with Randall and Searle, also on Austins, second and third. The afternoon was concluded with an exhibition of towed gliding by Mr. Lowe-Wylde, who acted up to his name, and furnished the spectators with an example of hair
raising aviation by diving his machine under the bridge across the finishing straight. Reasons given—(a) the track was not clear beyond it, or (b) he had insufficient height to clear it. Whatever the reason it was a good effort, as in spite of removing a portion of wing in his passage under the arch, he made a perfectly good landing, and with hardly a glance at the damage took off again. What would the Air Ministry say if this sort of thing was done with normal aircraft ?
The two races held over from the Bank Holiday were run off on Saturday, April 11th, when perfect weather attracted a surprisingly large crowd to see them. Another attraction which was almost equally powerful and should not be lost sight of, is the very much reduced fee allowed for this particular occasion. The first race was for the Founder’s Gold Cup, with J. R. Cobb and the big Delage on the Scratch mark. Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bugatti, Grant’s Bugatti, and Field’s
[Results of this meeting are given elsewhere in this issue.]
TalbotTwere non-starters, while kBout’s Sunbeam gave trouble on the line. After one lap B. E. Lewis (Talbot) was caught by Craig (Bugatti), while Cobb was coming up very fast from scratch and closing up on Lewis, who was just holding off Selby’s Bugatti. On the last lap Cobb dropped down from the banking just behind the Talbot and swept past to gain a fine second place. Craig got into trouble with the Stewards for failing to observe the line at the fork correctly, and was required to swell the official coffers to the extent of RS. The win was allowed to stand however.
The Warwick Lightning Short Handicap followed with Craig and Selby (Bugattis), Hall (Bentley) and Cobb, all re-handicapped on account of previous wins. Selby set off after the Bentley and after a good race caught him and held the lead to the end. Scott on the G.P. Fare Delage was 3rd. And so the meeting begun in rain was finished five days after in sunshine.