THE DONINGTON SEASON CLOSES
FOR once the almost proverbially fine ” Donington weather” was absent when the last meeting of the year took place over the Midland road-circuit. Rain was falling steadily from a leaden sky on the morning of Saturday, October 7th, but it cleared away about half an hour before the start. Then, just as the cars came out for the first race, down it came again. Showers fell during the rest of the afternoon. In spite of this initial handicap a fine afternoon’s sport was enjoyed. The entry was good, although there were some important non-starters, the organisation was up to the usual efficient standard one has come to expect from Mr. Fred Cramer and his staff of helpers, and there were no unpleasant accidents. For the first time, as advocated last month in MoToR SPORT, mechanics and passengers were not allowed to travel in the competing cars–a wise move which has the approval of all who have the interests of the sport
at heart. Most of the drivers put in a good deal
of practice on the preceding day, which was reflected in the high standard of driving displayed during the actual meeting. Two cars were in trouble approaching Hairpin Bend, one of them (a Bugatti) leaving the most hectic skid marks on the road and ending well into the grass verge. No damage either to cars or drivers was reported, however. * * * * * * The first race was a level duel between those old rivals, Austin and M.G. R. P. Turner and A. H. piing represented the former, while supercharged Midgets were driven by R. R. Jackson and W. E. Belgrave. On the fall of the flag Jackson and Turner went down to the corner side by side, the Midget just getting there first, and these two would obviously provide the ultimate winner of the race. At the end of the first lap, however, Jackson appeared alone, his grey M.G. sounding very fierce indeed as he accelerated away from Hairpin Corner. Then, to our surprise, came Belgrave, followed by Turner and Jilling. It transpired that Turner had been forced to pull up for a moment at Gallows Flesh Wood in order to make
fast his bonnet. piling had already gone off the road
at Starkey’s Corner, and now proceeded to slither completely round on Hairpin Bend, getting away once more with a certain amount of confusion. Turner was trying hard to catch Jackson, and passed Belgrave on the second lap, but from then on the order remained the same, Jackson finishing an easy winner. piling continued his lurid drive, repeating his gyrations at Hairpin Bend on the third lap, but fortunately the grass was soft and yielded to the broadsiding Austin.
Up to 850 c.c.
1. R. R. Jackson, 828 c.c. M.G. Midget, S., 11 nuns., 40 secs., 56.20 m.p.h. 2. R. F. Turner, 747 c.c. Austin, S., 12 mins,,
54.64 m.p.h. 3. w. E. Belgrave, 746 c.c. M.G. Midget, S.,
12 mins. 45 secs., 51.43 m.p.h. Six cars lined up for the second event, and a good scrap was expected to ensue between E. R. Hall (M.G. Magnette),
RACING SPOILED BY RAIN, AND LAP RECORD REMAINS UNBROKEN. EARL HOWE (BUGATTI) WINS INVITATION RACE. E. R. HALL GETS TWO “FIRSTS” AND A “SECOND.”
P. W. Dixon (Riley) and R. P. Turner (Austin). The remaining competitors were E. K. Rayson • (Riley), R. V. C. Bolster (G.N.) and J. Critcheley-Graham (Riley). Hall got the best of the dash down to Hairpin Bend with Turner and Dixon close behind. By an oversight, however, a large piece of sacking was left covering his radiator, which quickly caused the engine to overheat. On the completion of one lap he pulled up and the sacking was removed, but meanwhile Turner swept by, pursued by F. W. Dixon. At sonic distance from the leaders came Dick Bolster, handling his skeleton G.N. with great skill, Rayson, and far in the rear, J. Critcheley-Graham.
On the second lap the order was the same, but on the third Hall passed both the Riley and the Austin to take the lead once more. Dixon was making frantic efforts to pass Turner, but the Austin driver was more than his match at fast cornering. In fact Turner was easily the fastest of any competitor during the afternoon. in negotiating Hairpin Bend, and he gained yards on Dixon at this point on every lap. His driving was almost uncanny. On the wet road the little Austin just slipped round the corner in a rapid slide ,seeming to have very little contact with the road, and yet being under perfect control.
Lap 4 saw no change in the order, but Hall had by now lapped CritcheleyGraham, and Bolster’s G.N. had shed an exhaust pipe, which trailed along the road. On the last lap Dixon just managed to push his 1,100 c.c. Riley in front of Turner’s 750 c.c. Austin, to take second place by a few yards.
Up to 1,100 c.c.
I. 1.. R. Hall, 1,087 c.c. M.G. Iklagnette, S., 11 mins. 15 secs., 58.28 m.p.h.
2. F. W. Dixon, 1,089 c.c. Riley, 11 mins. 24 sec., 57.25 m.p.h.
3. R. F. Turner, 747 c.c. Austin, S., 11 mins. 24.4 secs., 57.18 m.p.h.
No fewer than nine cars turned out for the 1,500 c.c. race, Bolster, Dixon and Critcheley-Graham running again, in addition to D. C. Cadbury (Prazer Nash), who had run two bearings in practice and worked all night to get his car ready for the meeting, R. J. W. Appleton (Bugatti), A. Powys-Lybbe (Alvis), S. H. Grylls (Aston Martin), J. CholmondeleyTapper (Bugatti), E. J. Moor (Wasp IV) and Roy Eccles (Frazer Nash).
Eccles, Appleton and Dixon were all in the front row, but Eccles got to the bend first. The pace soon got too hot for Dixon’s Riley, which blew its inevitable gasket after one lap had been completed. Eccles was therefore comfortably ahead of the rest of the field in the following order, Cholmondeley-Tapper, Appleton, Bolster, Cadbury, Powys-Lybbe, Grylls, Moor and Critcheley-Graham. Then Appleton really got going, and his blue Bugatti passed Cholmondeley-Tapper’s white ” Bug” on the second lap. Lap 4 revealed no change in the order, but a minor duel was going on between Cadbury and Powys-Lybbe. The Nash led for three laps, but then the Alvis got by, staying ahead till the end.
Appleton did his best to catch Eccles, and gained a good deal of ground. But Eccles was not worrying, and his fine driving gained him the race. Special praise must be given to Dick Bolster, who was lying fourth when he had to stop for a moment at Starkey’s Corner. His handling of the G.N. was first class.
Up to 1,600 c.c., Non-supercharged.
I. Roy Eccles, 1,496 c.c. Frazer Nash, 11 mins. 40 secs., 56.20 m.p.h.
2. R. J. Appleton, 1,496 c.c. Bugatti, 11 rains. 40.8 secs., 55.90 m.p.h.
3. J. Chohnondeley-Tapper, 1,496 c.c. Bugatti, 11 mins. 45 secs., 55.80 m.p.h. Then came the big event of the day, the 20 lap Special Invitation Race for cars up to 3,000 c.c. It was a great pity that Whitney Straight could not start, the announcer reading a telegram to the effect that neither the Maserati nor the Magnette (which should have raced in the previous event) would be at Donington that day. R. T. Horton, too, was a regretted absentee. E. R. Hall actually came to the line with his Magnette, but owing to the fact that less than six cars were running, and his points for the B.R.D.C. “road star” would not be affected, decided to save his car for the last two races. Noel Carr also turned out with his Bugatti, but for some reason or other reversed back into the Paddock. Dixon was a non-starter, owing to his blown gasket, but by his previous showing would not have been a serious rival to the actual starters, who were Earl Howe, A. H. L. Eccles and T. A. S. O. Mathieson, all driving Bugattis of 2,300 c.c. capacity. Earl Howe’s car, how
car, ever, was the fastest of the three with its twin overhead camshaft engine. The three Bugattis, painted green, black and blue respectively, got away nicely together at the start. Eccles was determined to get to the Hairpin Bend first, and did so, Mathieson dropping back behind Earl Howe. Far away on the other side of the circuit the cars could be heard, and then along the straight to Starkey’s Corner. Then came a burst of sound as the first man came out of the wood and dropped down the hill to the start once more. Earl Howe had passed Eccles, and was Eccles, and was comfortably ahead, Mathieson being about 100 yards in the rear. Earl Howe had covered his stand
ing lap in 2m. 11.8 secs., at a speed of 59.8 m.p.h. For four laps nothing much happened, and then Matbieson’s car began to misfire,
finally corning to a standstill Gate Lodge with ‘flames belching exhaust pipe. He proceeded, at Red from the but the
engine never fired regularly again, so Mathieson retired on the 8th lap. From the fifth circuit onwards Earl Howe took things quietly, not even engaging a lower ratio for Hairpin ratio for Hairpin Bend, but Eccles made every effort to keep up with the green Bugatti. He threw off his scarf as he passed the paddock on his 6th lap, and drove with great vigour and determination. For the rest of the race there was no incident, Earl Howe giving the crowd a display of effortless driving to retain his lead, and finally finishing 48 seconds ahead of the courageous Eccles. The applause which greeted both was well-deserved. The wet surface prevented either driver from seriously at tempting to lower Hamilton’s lap record of 2m. 4s.,
or 63.459 m.p.h.
or Earl Howe’s fastest lap was made in 2m. 6.6s. or 62.16 m.p.h. Similarly, Eccles’ 10 lap record of 21m. 4.6s. was unchallenged, Earl Howe taking 21m. 26.6s. to cover this distance.
20-Lap Invitation, Up to 3,000 c.c.
1. Earl Howe, 2,800 c.c. Bugatti, S., 43 lulus. 5 secs., 80.88 m.p.h.
2. A. H. L. Eccles, 2,300 c.c. Bugatti, S., 43 min. 51 secs., 59.82 m.p.h. A large field turned out for the fifth race, and from the start it was a good duel between A. H. L. Eccles (Bugatti) and E. R. Hall (M.G. Magnette). The first lap was an eventful one, for in the rear of Eccles and Hall a great pack of cars roared and howled up to Coppice Corner. Noel Carr (Bugatti) was leading, but turned completely round. Everyone managed to avoid him, but Mathieson’s Bugatti threw a douche of water from a puddle over A. J. Mazengarb, just as the latter was about to turn the corner. For
a moment Mazengarb lost his sense of direction, with the result that his LeaFrancis made a lete-d-queue and went backwards with great violence into the wall of sandbanks bounding the corner. The car forced its way through these, severely damaging itself, but luckily the driver escaped injury. Eccles and Hall were a good way ahead of the others, the order then being J. G. Smithson (Frazer Nash), Noel Carr (Bugatti), R. J. B. Seaman (Bugatti) and C. H. Wagstaff (Lea Francis). On the last lap Noel Carr made a great effort to pass Smithson on the straight before Starkey’s Corner. The Bugatti just touched the Frazer Nash, and immediately leapt away onto the grass at the side of the road. Carr wisely did not try to get back to the road too soon, rejoining it some hundred yards farther on. Mathieson had retired at this point with a broken prop. shaft. Hall tried very hard to catch Eccles, but the latter was always a
short distance ahead, and as the Bugatti went over the line its back axle gave out !
Up to 3,000 c.c.
1. A. H. L. Eccles, 2,300 c.c. Bugatti, S., 10 ruins. 54.4 secs., 60.17 m.p.h.
2. E. R. Hall, 1,087 c.c. M.G. Magnette, S., 10 miss. 55 secs., 60.00 m.p.h.
3. Noel Carr, 1,996 c.c. Bugatti, S., 11 miss. 46 secs., 55-50 m.p.h. By now the rain was falling heavily, but the quality of the racing was unaffected. In fact the biggest field of the day assembled with much noise and smoke on the starting line in readiness for Mr. Fred Craner to drop his flag. E. R. Hall was a hot favourite, and soon drew away from the rest of the field, looking round after Starkey’s Corner to see whether he was being chased. His Magnette was steady, very fast, and beautifully driven. After one lap the order was Hall, B. K. Rayson (Riley), C. T. Delaney (Lea Francis), S. S. Tresilian (Bugatti), R.. J. B. Seaman (Bugatti), D. C. Cadbury (Frazer
Nash), V. W. Derrington (Salmson), J. Critcheley Graham (Riley), C. H. Wagstaff (Lea Francis) and E. J. Moor (Wasp IV.).
Delaney passed Rayson on the next lap, and Seaman moved up to third place. Then Tresilian came into the picture, passing both Rayson and Seaman. That was the final finishing order, Hall being 14 seconds ahead of Delaney.
After the meeting Hall was presented by Mrs. Bemrose with a picture by Brian de Grineau, in token of his victory in the first road race ever run in England at Donington Park. Incidentally, he also won the last Donington race of the season.
Up to 1,500 c.c. Supercharged or 2,500 c.c. Non-supercharged.
1. E. R. Hall, 1,087 c.c. M.G. Magnette, S., II nuns. 44 secs., 55.88 m.p.h.
2. C. T. Delaney, 1,496 c.c. Lea Francis, S., 1 miss. 58 secs.
3. S. S. Tresilian, 1,998 c.c. Bugatti, 11 miss. 59 secs.