BREAKING RECORDS AT NIGHT.
HOW A LAGONDA 2-LITRE SPEED MODEL LIT THE WAY FOR A MOTOR-CYCLE COMBINATION IN A LONG DISTANCE RECORD AT BROOKLANDS.
AN unusual spectacle was witnessed at Brooklands on October 19th during the course of
an attempt by Messrs. W. M. Couper, A. E. Dussek and P. Brewster on Mr. J. J. Hall’s 350 c.c. B.S.A. sidecar to break the Class B.S. Double 12 hour record. Owing to an early sunset, the last
two hours of the attempt had to be carried out in darkness, and the problem of illumination was solved by using a 2-litre Lagonda Speed Model to show the way. The car and motor cycle presented a most eerie sight as they lapped the Track, for the car followed closely on the bike’s wheels. But let us tell the story in full, for it concerns motor-cyclists who are also well known for their exploits on four wheels, or should it be the other way round ? W. M. Couper is the well known Lagonda driver, who has taken part in the first “Double Twelve, and many other
events, including this year’s Alpine Trial, while last year he drove a 4i-litre Bentley in the “500.” P. Brewster, that veteran of speed, is more renowned among motorcyclists, but he has had a useful hand in not a few long distance car records. A. E. Dussek has had most of his experience on motor-cycles. ‘
These three, then, took it in turns. to ride J. J. Hall’s B.S.A. 350 c.c. motorcycle and sidecar, with the intention of lowering the class record for two spells of 12 flours. They did it, but what an adventurous ride it was—just like any other long distance record attempt They started on Tuesday, October
18th at 8 a.m., Brewster taking the first trick, with the weather windy and cloudy, and for a long time nothing untoward happened. Dussek took over after two hours, and then Couper, and the only anxiety in the minds of all three was caused by the gradually increasing frequency with which the gear slipped out. The day wore on, and then at ten minutes to six Couper started off in the Lagonda, keeping the motorcycle about a length in front so that the driver had full advantage of the powerful beam of his Lucas P80 lamps. Just when those in
the replenishment pit were congratulating themselves on a trouble-free day, or to be precise, at 7.15 p.m., the gear-box seized, and all became confusion. Having ascertained from an official that the rules allowed the gear-box to be changed, a lurid trip was made to the local agent in Weybridge, a gear-box taken from a new machine, and fitted to the outfit on the Track. By this time all the time gained on the old record had been lost, but the crew were satisfied that as their troubles were over they would easily be able to regain it on the next day.
Imagine their consternation, then, when they were informed at 8 o’clock on Wednesday that a mistake had been made, and that the fitting of a new gear-box was not allowed ! Nothing daunted, the old box was repaired with parts from the new one, and once more the machine resumed its steady progress round the Track, Brewster up.
It was a glorious morning, and this served to encourage the drivers that all would be well. The next enforced stop was at 12.30 for a broken petrol pipe, which was quickly remedied. As the afternoon drew on, the nerves of all concerned began to get jumpy, each man thinking “this is the time when anything might go wrong. And sure enough it did. At a quarter to six Brewster failed to appear, and a dash was made round the Track. In the Railway Straight a slimy figure waved a despondent arm in the direction of the sewage farm, and the dreadful truth was revealed. The side-car wheel spindle had snapped, the wheel had shot off, never to be recovered, and the whole outfit had followed it into the sewage. Brewster was unhurt, as was the machine, and once more a hair-raising trip was made to the garage in Weybridge. Back again, the new wheel and spindle was fitted, Dussek mounted, and the machine was away. They still had some
time in hand, and the machine eventually finished its checkered run by breaking the existing record by 27 minutes.
The Lagonda ran. with Rrds of its radiator blanked off and kept perfectly cool throughout the run. Incidentally, it is interesting to recall that this is the second occasion on which a Lagonda has performed this service, for in 1928 one of the early speed models assisted a Norton solo machine on a Double 12 hour record.
The B.S.A. 350 c.c. motor-cycle used Sports Filtrate oil, which proved completely satisfactory, as was seen by the excellent condition of the engine when it was taken down for official examination. Other equipment used was Pratts petrol, Lucas magneto, Firestone tyres, and a Bosch plug.