E.R.A. WINS THE CORONATION TROPHY RACE PAT FAIRFIELD’S SUCCESS AT OPENING CRYSTAL PALACE MEETING. SLOW SPEEDS.
On April 24t1i the first meeting was held at the new Crystal Palace Road circuit, watched by some 80,000 people, probably a record crowd at ‘a long car race in this country. E.R.A. cars were .outstandingly successful. The first heat for the Coronation Trophy, limited to 1 -litre cars, was over twenty laps of the two-mile circuit and attracted seven starters, the absentees being 1’. F. J ticker’s new Alta, Austin Dobson’s Maserati that crashed a fortnight before at Doningto:e and Freddie Dixon’s very intereStiitg supercharged Riley. This left three I.R.A.s, driNam by D. H. Scribbans, Ian Connell and Pat Fairfield, F. K. Rayson’s Maserati handled by Charles Braekenbury, Percy Machtre with the unblown 1,087 e.e. Riley, W. F. _Humphreys’s 750 c.c. M.G. and A. M. C. Jameson with the Hon. Peter Aitken’s Shelsley ” single-seater Frazer-Nash. Starting positions on the Continental type of starting-grid before the flagbedecked stands were determined by
practice times, so that ‘five Cars occupied the front row, Fairfield On the inside, and Connell (E.R.A.) and Humphreys
were behind. Motor-cycle patrols rode round the course and Charles Follett iximpleted an initial lap in his LammasGraham, while a very veteran Rover chugged about advertising future meettings and. the .Antif y re Vauxhall fire tenders took up their positions. The Stadium Dip was black with onlookers, the grandstand and directors stand nicely filled. The Frazer-Nash caused some delay but at last came to the start and Harry Edwards was able to drop the Union Jack and release the pack. In the first rush Scribbans’s got ahead, with Fairfield’s E.R.A. after him, followed by Brackenbury (Maserati), Connell (E,R,A.) and Maclure (Riley). But after one lap Fairfield had obtained quite a nice lead from Scribbans, with Connell about an equal distance away in third place. The
average for the standing lap wa3 51.3 m.p.h., irtiL’H’s official lea 1 being 5 secs. Alter three laps, or six miles, Connell experienced carburetter trouble anl retired, letting Brackenbury into third place. Maclure’s Riley had passed the M.G., which gave up after twenty
eight miles with serious back-axle trouble. By ten laps, or half-distance, Fairfield had a lead of 40 secs. Right at the end Scribbaus had the wretched luck to find his exhaust pipe coming adrift. He stopped on the Terrace Straight and again before the Stands, where, there being no real pits, his mechanics strolled over to him and Scribbans himself tried to tie things up with rope, finally going on holding the hot pipe in place as well as he could. Fairfield (1.R.A.) won by 21 secs. with Charles Brackenbury (Maserati) second and the Frazer-Nash third, with
Maclure’s Riley fourth The winning E. R . A. averaged 52.63 m.p.h. Scribbans failed by 1 minute 52 seconds to qualify for the final as fifth finisher extremely tough luck but essentially part of the game, for even exhaust pipes should nOt work loose! The winner was feebly dapped. The weather was warm and sunny, which was lucky in a number of ways, and especially as there appears to be no coycied accommodation for competing cars and drivers nearer than the Paddock. Humphreys wore helmet and goggles, Fairfield, Scribbans, and J ameson used helmets and visors, Brackenbury dnwe bareheaded, with goggles, and Maclure as usual wore nothing cm his head and had his goggles up. The Maserati had a neatly faired front axle. For the second heat, also of twenty laps, Aitken’s Maserati and A. G. Sin clair’s 1,074 cc. Alta were noiv-starters, leaving Whitehead, A. C. Dobson and Raymond Mays with 11-1itre E.R.A.s, R. J. W. Appleton (Appleton-Special), Robin Hanson, sufficiently recovered from his Donington crash to drive Mrs. Hall-Smith’s new Maserati in place of K. D. Evans, W. E. Wilkinson driving Billy Cotton’s un.blown 1i-litre Riley, R. Parnell (M.G. Magnette) and A. EssonScott with his newly-bodied twin cam shaft Bugatti straight-eight. Incidentally, one wonders why a number of drivers’ names did not figure in the programme, inasmuch as such drivers’ nomination was required not later than April 6th, except when subject to special
conditions. Incidentally, the idea that lady drivers will not be allowed at the Palace is refuted by regulation No. 5 which reads ” . . . but the Club reserves the right to invite selected female drivers if it so desires.”
Before heat two started Appleton, who had been conspicuous by reason of a resplendent hat decoration and his many lady supporters, oiled plugs in driving the Appleton-Special to the line, but Esson-Scott, attired in his usual black overalls and helmet, was actually the last driver to take up his position on the grid. As they got into position ConnAl’s E.R.A. was towed in from its sojourn in the country during the previous heat. Follett marked off the remaining seconds with his upraised fingers and the
flag fell. Mays simply streaked away, with Whitehead nearly as rapid, and Dobson a good third. After the first lap Mays led from Dobson with -Whitehead third, the last E.R.A. sounding not entirely au point. At first Esson-Scott was last, but he eventually passed the Appleton-Special, a duel of which the crowd obviously approved. It was not to last, however, because after twenty miles Appleton found queer things about his steering and drew to rest before the stands, where he excitedly demonstrated that the wheel went round and round without actuating “the works,” which Earl Howe confirmed. Then, three laps later, Esson-Scott, the slowest driver in the race, got into difficulties at Stadium Dip and shot in highly spectacular manner backwards over the bank in clouds of dust. Fortunately all the Press camera-men save one got clear, and that one was only very slightly hurt, but it could have been a lot worse. Others got some excellent “shots” of the Bugatti thus going off the road and out of the race. The car was afterwards driven in, and apparently only its new tail had suffered. Raymond Mays led throughout, leaving a trail c. f blue oil-smoke behind at the bends, and working hard at the steeringwheel. He slowed after a time, possibly because, as at Donington, the brakes proved temperamental, which allowed Dobson’s white car to close with the black one. But at the very end the Zollerblown, torsionally sprung car regained its former speed, to win by just over a second at 52.55 m.p.h. Dcbson was Fecond, having done a record lap at 53.69 m.p.h., Whitehead was third, W. E. Wilkinson, in an outsize crash-hat, a very creditable fourth, and Robin Hanson fifth. Parnell’s M.G., still running with
the crumpled tail it sustained in practice, failed to finish.
The Coronation Trophy still sat on Its table opposite the stands, and the official Triumph saloon was also intact, but though this is a comparatively safe part of the course, the ways of a racing-car out of control are incalculable, and we hope the sides of the course will in future be kept absolutely clear. The two lap demonstration runs by R. G. J. Nash’s 1912 15-litre LorraineDietrich ” Vieux Charles Trois ” and C. Clutton’s 1908 12-litre Itala ” Floretta ” then took place, the announcer shamefacedly calling them old Crocks, though two more immaculate and potent veterans it would be difficult to imagine. The
Lorraine ticked over faultlessly, and Scott-Moncrieff took the Itala to the line. Nash got away in vast clouds of smoke and showed very masterful handling and fine acceleration, eventually to ” win ” by quite a margin. It is significant of the impression these big cars Made that the crowd actually seemed more awed than amused, though undoubtedly the best fun of all was had by the drivers, who will long remember those four miles! No doubt present-day drivers marvelled, as we always do, at the men who used to race such monsters over 400 or so miles of unknown road, doing repairs to tyres and machinery anywhere as occasion
demanded. Harry Edwards deserves praise for putting on this show when many organisers, for one reason or another, would have said ” No ! ” The final, over thirty laps or sixty miles, saw the following drivers and cars come to the start. Raymond Mays with the latest E.R.A., having the Pors( he front suspension, ‘win downdraught carburetters feeding the rear-placed Zoller compressor and a Bosch magneto ; Pat Fairfield’s similar E.R.A.. P. N. Whitehead’s E.R.A., A. C. Dobson’s E.R.A., Hanson’s Maserati, all in the front row, with C. Brackenbury’s Maserati entered by E. K. Rayson, Wilkinson on Cotton’s Riley, Maclure’s Riley and Aitken’s Frazer-Nash, Jameson up, in the row behind. The get-away was terrific, Mays and Dobson being all but neck and neck, with Dobson in the lead before they were out of sight. As they repassed. the stands Dobson led from Fairfield with Mays a close third. Mays went past Fairfield almost at once in acceleration up Stadium Straight, and on lap three he went into the lead and Fairfield passed Dobson to run second. On lap five Brackenbury, who was holding the Maserati ahead of Wilkinson (Riley) and Hanson’s newer Maserati, had brake trouble at the Dip and just got round
the corner, to hit a sand-bank on the inside of the next bend. He retired forthwith. Mays had a lead now of over 2 secs. with Fairfield about 7 secs. behind Dobson and the bare-headed Whitehead fourth. Then on lap seven the leading E.R.A. started to pop back and soon Fairfield passed into the lead, clapped by the spectators, and shortly afterwards Mays retired with serious engine trouble and. weakening brakes.
Wilkinson, doing wonders with the Bellevue-tuned unblown Riley, skidded into the bank on the outside of the road just after taking Stadium Dip bend, a big-end having come through the sump to disconcert him. Billy Cotton ran right across a field and over the railings to. him—evidence of enthusiasm and agility. The Frazer-Nash came in to retire on its fourteenth lap, the reason being given. as a broken oil-pipe, though it also misfired. Fairfield built up a useful lead, lapped Maclure’s Riley and eased up. He opened. the taps again for the final lap, to set the Crystal Palace course record at 54.59, m.p.h. (2 min. 11.9 secs.) winning a
Continued an page 233. beautifully judged and driven race at 53.77 m.p.h. by a margin of 48.4 secs. Whitehead lost third place by spinning round at the Ramp Bend, the sleeperbarrier saving the E.R.A. from striking
the concrete bridge support. He lost two laps trying to restart and accordingly finished last, with Dobson (E.R.A.) second, Robin Hanson (Maserati) third, and Percy Maclure (Riley) fourth.
Lord Howe then presented the Coronation Trophy to Pat Fairfield-the Trophy was given by Jack Barclay, the well known Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealer who used to race T.T. Vauxhalls at Brooklands. It takes the form of a nude figure kneeling down in a high wind and about to heave a spear at someone. In cash Fairfield took L200. The racing was interesting, and quite exciting in patches, and as Edwards had hoped all but the slower cars ran on the same lap throughout the short races. But the fact remains that so far the race-averages and lap speeds are lower than expected. However the attendance was truly
RESULTS HEAT 1 (20 LAPS-40 MILES)
1. P.O. Fairfield (1,499 c.c. E.R.A.), 45m. 37.9s. 52.63 m.p.h.
2. Charles Brackenbury (1,496 c.c. Maserati), 46m. 59.1s. 51.10 m.p.h.
3. Hon. Peter Aitken (1,496 c.c. Fraser-Nash). 47m. 29.9s. 50..38 m.p.h.
4. P. Marlin.° (1,087 e.c. unsupercharged Riley), 47m. 48.2s. 50.07 m.p.h.
HEAT II (20 LAPS-40 MILES) 1. Raymond c.c. 45m. 40.9s.
1. Raymond Mays (1,488 c.c. E.R.A.), 45m. 40.9s. 52.65 m.p.h.
2. A. C. Dobson (1,486 c.c. E.R.A.), 45m. 42.1s. 52.52 m.p.h.
3. P. N. Whitehead (1,486 c.c. E.R.A.), 45m. 59.6s. 52.17 m.p.h.
4. W. E. Wilkinson (1,496 c.c. unsupercharged Riley), 46m. 20.9s. 51.76 m.p.h.
5. Robin llonson (1,484 c.c. Maserati), 47m. 21.1s. 50.67 m.p.h.
FINAL (30 LAPS-60 MILES)
L P. G. Fairfield (E.R.A.), lb. 7m. 8.8s. m.p.h.
2. A. C. Dobson (E.R.A.), lb. 7m. 57.2s. m.p.h.
3. R. Hanson (Maserati), lh. 9m. 25.2s. 53.77 52.98 51.87
4. P. Maelure (Riley). 111. 10m. 18.1s. 51.21
6. P. N. Whitehead (E. R . A .), lb. 13m. 45s. 48.91 m.p.h.
Heat 1 : P. (1. Fairfield E. R.A.), 2m. 15s. 53.33 m.p.h.
Heat 2 : A. C. Dobson (E.R.A.), 2in. 14.1s. 53.69 m.p.h. Final : P. G. Fairfield (E.R.A.), 2m. 11.9s. 54.59
Heat I : I. Connell (E.R.A.), 3 laps, carburation ; W. Humphreys (M.G.), 14 laps, back-axle ; D. Seribbai.s (E.R.A.), loose exhaust-pipe. Heat 2: R. .T. W. Appleton (Appleton-Special), 10 laps, steering ; A. Esson-Scott (Scott-Bugatti), 13 laps, crash ; It. Parnell (M.G.)
Final : C. Brackenbury (Maserati), 5 laps, brakes ; R. Mays (E.R.A.), 7 laps, brakes and engine ; W Wilkinson (Inky), 7 laps, big-end ; A. M. C. Jiameson (Frazer-Nash), 14 laps, oil-pipe.