Gerard's E.R.A. wins Jersey race

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Bill Boddy

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From the Maseratis of Abecassis and Parnell

Gerard drove his E.R.A. non-stop —  not pausing to refuel  —  to win the Jersey race at an average speed of 87.33 m.p.h. Abecassis worked his way into second place with his recently acquired six-cylinder Maserati; Parnell was third, electing to drive his Maserati and to let Fred Ashmore handle his E-type ERA., and “Bira,” after an early stop to change rear tyres and refuel, another brief stop for additional fuel and yet another for oil, was fourth.

Non-starters were Sommer, Johnson, Woodall, Chorlton and Rolt. As the flag fell the roads were dry, after a morning of heavy rain, and the sun shone for most of the race. From the front row Parnell ‘s Maserati got away by a small margin from Gerard, who was overtaken on acceleration by Abecassis. But after a lap Parnell led from “Bira”, followed by Abecassis, Gerard, Mays, Brooke, Ansell, Bolster, Gilbey, Emery, Benett, Heath, Baring, Cowell, F. Ashmore, Harrison, Joe Ashmore, Hampshire, and Richardson.  G. Ansell’s E.R.A. went almost at once to its pit. A great disappointment was the gearbox trouble experienced by Villoresi’s two-stage 16-valve Maserati, which caused him to start a lap behind the field and very soon, after the rear wheels had been changed, resulted in his retirement.

It was “Bira’s” blue and yellow Maserati which led lap 2, folllowed by Parnell, Abecassis, Gerard, Brooke, Ansell, Bolster, Emery, Gilbey and the rest.

Ashmore, in Parnell’s E-type E.R.A., almost, at once commenced a series of pit-stops that continued throughout the race, leading to his ultimate retirement. Mays, who had had his E.R.A flown over on the Monday only to experience much trouble in practise, experienced engine trouble early in the race, although it was some time before he gave up.

After 5 laps “Bira” still led from Parnell, but Gerard had moved to 4th place, ahead of Abecassis.

After 11 laps “Bira” had built up a lead of 14 sec. and Gerard was closing on Parnell, whose car suffered from rear-axle bounce.

At the hairpin before the pits we noticed that Abecassis had very flexible i.f.s.; Richardson’s RiIey came out slowly, misfiring; Heath cornered the new Alta jerkily, with tyres protesting; the E-type E.R.A. went wide; Salvadori seemed cautious with the ex-Mortimer four-cylinder Maserati; Benett’s Talbot, which had engine trouble in practice, was another that came out wide, tyres howling. “Bira” used a power slide to leave the corner, and Baring came close in, then power-slid away in the middle of the road. At 15 laps “Bira” led by 22 sec., Parnell 2nd, Gerard 3rd. By 10 laps “Bira” led by half-a-minute, Mays was in trouble and Joe Ashmore’s E.R.A. had retired, far too hot. A lap previously Gerard had passed Parnell, to occupy 2nd place, but on lap 20 Parnell had temporarily picked up his lost position.

Heath now pushed in from the hairpin, but was able to continue, although he retired before the end.

Came drama. “Bira” had to stop.for a rear-tyre change.  He got out of the car and fuel was put in, the pitwork looking ragged and occupying 1 min. 35 sec., which dropped “Bira” to 3rd place, a lap behind the leaders.

By 24 laps Parnell had lost first place to Gerard, whose E.R.A. was running beautifully and, had we known it, with no need to refuel. Once Gerard was baulked by the E-type and waved madly!

Baring now retired his Maserati, “Wilky” left Brooke’s pit to inspect Harrison’s sick engine, and Salvadori jerked to a standstill for fuel to be put in with more abandon than judgment.

Abecassis refuelled on lap 31, and he was off again in 38 sec., retaining 3rd place. “Bira” also made a brief stop for more fuel and seemed bothered by oil on his goggles, but did not lose 4th position.

Parnell was shown where to pull in by “Wilky,” and while the rear tyres were changed and fuel put in he left the cockpit.

On lap 34 Abecassis moved up, in consequence, ahead of Parnell, although he was still a lap behind Gerard. Cowell meanwhile lapped steadily and expressionlessly in the big VI2 Lagonda„ although Benett’s Talbot had the legs of it when going on all six cylinders.

Came news that Gilbey had overturned his Maserati at Le Marquand’s corner, Earl Howe crossing the road from the pits to tell Mrs. Gilbey that her husband had suffered facial injuries, which were not serious.

Gerard, given a thumbs-up each round from his pit, was still a lap ahead after 40 rounds, the other positions unaltered, although Parnell’s Maserati seemed unable to close on Abecassis’ older car, and a stop for oil still further delayed “Bira.” At this time Ansell held 5th place in the 16-valve Maserati going well, and Benett, Salvadori, Harrison, Cowell, Richardson, Heath, G. Ansell and Bolster were still going, the last-named very well indeed.

Nothing troubled Gerard. He lapped at 89.3 m.p.h. and showed no signs of coming in. Indeed, apart from Bolster annexing 6th place, the leading positions remained unchanged to the end. Brooke and Heath finally gave up, Salvadori’s engine sounded very unwell, and Benett’s bonnet was raised.

But nothing stopped Gerard, who came over the line a deservedly popular winner. His race-time was 2 hr. 0 min. 58.4 sec. Like Parnell, he used Lucas electrical equipment, and the winner and the place-men all used Lodge plugs.  —  W. B.

Results

1st:. F. R. Gerard (E.R.A)  —  87.33 m.p.h

2nd:. G. E. Abecassis ( Maserati)  —  85.62 m.p.h.

3rd: R. Parnell (Maserati)  —  85.39 m.p.h.

4th: “B. Bira” (Maserati)  —  83.31 m.p.h.

5th: R. E. Ansell (Maserati).

6th: J. Bolster (E.R.A.).

(This report was written in an Air Contractors, Ltd., Dakota D.C.3.)

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