250 M.C. Brands Hatch



The tranquility of Brands Hatch was not appreciably disturbed on April 15th when the recently-formed 250 M.C. held one of their first race meetings there. The entry list consisted of a dozen cars, each one different in appearance from the last and having almost as many different engines. The events were mostly five-lap affairs, and some of the competitors found it difficult to make their mounts complete even this short journey without some sort of mechanical mishap, but this made the occasion more interesting from the spectators’ angle.

A total of eight races was run off, interspersed with long periods of inactivity; Lord Louth circled the track in a D-type Jaguar on two occasions just to encourage the junior machinists. Racing began with four cars on the starting line, after which an erratic start was made by some, McArdell’s Birsay being away first, with Ball’s Ball Special in line astern. Pickett’s J.M.B. later received the chequered flag first, with the Birsay second and the Ball third. The following event again started with McArdell in the lead; this was a more thrilling race because all the cars were close together, so much so that Bennett’s beautifully-made machine, with three-quarter-finished fibreglass body, nearly bumped Stone’s Special. On the fourth lap Bennett proceeded to beat up the Stone Special and then go on to pass McArdell, but this gentleman wasn’t having any and kept his throttle hard down, just scraping past the winning post in his red “doodle” car with very small wheels. Later examination of these cars, however, showed the amount of time and engineering skill that had been devoted to their manufacture in spite of their quaint appearance.

Three cars came up to the line for the next round of the contest, first away being a Rudge-engined Cooper, with a Triumph-engined Arnott next and the J.M.B. last. The tables were turned later when the J.M.B. won, followed closely by the Arnott.

For the fourth event two rows of cars came up, the Cooper-Rudge being away first again, leaving Bennett on the line with some starting troubles. Running order at the beginning was McArdell, Ball, and later Bennett. Kerridge in the Cooper and Harris in the Arnott unfortunately had to retire, leaving Ball and McArdell a free hand in the leading positions; these two had much fun passing and re-passing each other, the Ball Special being fast on the straights but slow on corners, allowing the others to come through. Bennett was first, followed by the Ball and the Birsay.

Next came the interval during which time a tour was made of the Paddock and its contents. Work was being done to the silencer of the Arnott at this juncture and we passed on to the Anzani-engined Smith, which had a very heavy steel chassis, rubber-band rear suspension, Cooper wheels and a rather massive engine coupled to an Albion gearbox. The Ball Special had a number of Austin Seven components, notably wheels and hubs; rubber front suspension was again featured. Bennett’s Special next deserved some scrutiny, this machine being very well made of steel and fibreglass, the steel components all being beautifully turned and polished, the chassis was of angle iron, and torsion-bar springs were fitted to the rear and i.f.s. to the front. Hydraulic brakes and attractive small wheels on turned steel drums made up the final picture, to the delight of those to whom wheeled vehicles mean so much. Don Haldenby’s Scorpion, with M.O.V. engine, was another well-prepared invader and this was the first outing of this model, which went very well indeed until, in the seventh race, a rear radius-arm broke, necessitating a return to Paddock procedure on the after-deck of a delightful Rolls-Royce breakdown wagon. This racing car was endowed with inboard rear brakes, swing axle, hydraulic brakes with twin master cylinders mounted forward of the driver’s feet. A very ingenious rear suspension system could also be seen using rubber and cable with pulleys. Finally, McArdell’s Birsay. This curious machine had a backbone chassis with transverse leaf-springs at the rear, and very small wheels were fitted. The car was very low on the ground and cornered well, but in spite of the wheels was able to keep pace with the large monsters and win the second race, which was for home-built cars only, at an average speed of 48.00 m.p.h.

Kerridge stalled his Cooper at the start of the fifth race and Stone also failed to move from the line in his J.A.P.-engined Stone Special. The Scorpion came into its own here and kept in close company with the Birsay. Time began to tell on the machines at the end of this event as all the other competitors slowed up towards the finish except the Scorpion, which sailed along in great style to the winning post. Average speed here was 50.16 m.p.h.

Race six had six men on the line and again the Birsay with its small wheels sped to the fore, but Harris in the Arnott had a grand dice and finished up in the lead on the last lap. Ball and Pickett encountered mechanical troubles en route and had to give up. The big race of the day was the 15-lap event which followed. The Scorpion led off, with McArdell and Stone behind, but along came Bennett and Gomm in a Cooper, who had taken over the lead; by this time the field was well spread out and Gomm won at a speed of 50.73 m.p.h., the Scorpion and the Bennett having to retire.

The last five-lap sprint was won by McArdell, with Gomm and Kimber, driving the Stone Special, fighting it out for second place.

And so finished a 250 M.C. race meeting at Brands Hatch, and let us hope we will see them again in greater numbers at Stapleford on May 20th, which is the next meeting. If you are fortunate, then, to have £150, which is the maximum allowed, and you are interested in building a racing automobile, contact I. A. Betteridge, 19, Beverley Court. Wellesley Road, Chiswick, W.4., and have a lot of good fun. — I.G.


1st Race (5 Laps):

1st: H. Pickett (J.M.B.) 48.00 m.p.h.

2nd: F. McArdell (Birsay)

3rd: M. Ball (Ball Special)

2nd Race (5Laps):

1st: F. McArdell (Birsay) 48.00 m.p.h.

2nd: E. W. Bennett (Bennett Special)

3rd: J. Kimber (Stone Special)

3rd Race (5Laps):

1st: H. Pickett (J.M.B.) 49.60 m.p.h.

2nd: R. Harris (Arnott)

3rd: R. Kerridge (Cooper)

4th Race (7 Laps):

1st: E. W. Bennett (Bennett Special) 49.60 m.p.h.

2nd: M. Ball (Ball Special)

3rd: F. McArdell (Birsay)

5th Race (5 Laps):

1st: D. Haldenby (Scorpion) 50.16 m.p.h.

2nd: E. W. Bennett (Bennett Special)

3rd: H. Pickett (J.M.B.)

6th Race (5 Laps):

1st: R. Harris (Arnott) 49.60 m.p.h.

2nd: F. McArdell (Birsay)

3rd: M. Gomm (Cooper)

7th Race (15 Laps):

1st: M. Gomm (Cooper)

2nd: F. McArdell (Birsay)

3rd: J. Kimber (Stone Special)

8th Race (5 Laps):

1st: F. McArdell (Birsay) 50.16 m.p.h.

2nd: M. Gomm (Cooper)

3rd: J. Kimber (Stone Special)