DONINGTON'S FINEST MEETING
THREE LONG RACES ATTRACT GOOD FIELDS AND A RECORD CROWD. VICTORIES FOR WHITNEY STRAIGHT (MASERATI) RAYMOND MAYS (E.R.A.) AND C. A. RICHARDSON (RILEY). THE LAP RECORD REMAINS UNBEATEN, BUT IS LOWERED UNOFFICIALLY BY STRAIGHT IN PRACTICE. AGREAT step forward in the evolution of Donington Park road circuit was made on Saturday, October 6th, when a programme of three long races were held. The first was a 10-lap event for the regular Donington drivers of 1,500 c.c. cars, run on handicap ; the second was a 20-lap scratch race for ceding the race he easily broke C. S. Stani/and ‘s existing lap record by a margin of five seconds. The other competitors made the most of the opportunity to bring their cars to concert pitch, retiring to their respective hotels at Derby, Nottingham, Tamworth and elsewhere in readiness for the serious business on
cars of unlimited capacity and the third was a 40-lap affair on handicap, for cars up to 1,500 c.c. capacity. In Marked contrast to all previous meetings at the Midland circuit, substantial prize money was offered for these races, and this had the desired effect of attracting a splendid field of the fastest cars in the country. For the first race the awards were E50, £20 and £10; for the second £100 and the Park Trophy, £50 and £25; for the third 4200 and the Nuffield Trophy, £100, £50 and 225. Out of this total of 2630, no less a sum than 2250 was presented by that fine sportsman Lord Nuffield, to say nothing of the magnificent Nuffield Trophy.
For this meeting certain alterations were made in the running of the races, which greatly benefited both the drivers and spectators. To begin with, the starting line was moved from its usual place in front of the Paddock to a point just round Starkey Corner, in full view of the new grandstand. On the road here a ” gridiron ” of white squares was painted in accordance with the best road racing traditions, and a row of wooden pits was erected on the right-hand side of the road. Naturally the greatest interest was aroused by the entry of Whitney Straight in the 20-lap scratch race, for his 3-litre Maserati would he the first 1934 Grand Prix racing car to be seen on the Donington. circuit. Fresh from his experiences abroad in the great races of the season, Straight lived up to the expectations of his many Admirers, and on the day pre
the morrow. In spite of the fervent hopes of organisers, drivers and spectators, Saturday did not promise fine weather. As we made out way to the Park we could at
hut it was not to be. As the cars lined up for the first race a line drizzle began to fall, turning to a steady rain, which caused Geoffrey Dunfee to produce a large golf umbrella and to retire beneath its vast red and blue canopy.
The “limit ” ears were Dunfee’s Midget, N. J. W. Appleton’s ” Special,” with twin tyres at the rear, T. C. Harrison’s I.080 c.c. Ford, C. D. Parish’s singleseater Austin, C. A. Richardson’s Riley, and Fred Allen’s M.G. Midget. The ” Get Ready ! ” was shouted, and frantic efforts were made to start the Appleton ” Special.” Dunfee and Harrison had kept their engines running, and the latter’s Ford was boiling. ” Ebby-” raised his Union Jack, dropped it, and the group of cars leaped away in a squabbling pack. Harrison was the first man to reach the corner, closely followed by Appleton and Dunfee.
The 40 seconds which elapsed before the ” scratch ” group was dispatched seemed but a moment, and eight more cars roared away in a tightly-knit mass. The Outstanding getaway was made by Peter Skinner on the little red Morris Minor. This is the identical car which made history by attaining a speed of 100 m.p.h. at Btooklands Track a few years ago. The crackle and scream of exhausts faded away through Holly Wood, and the spectators impatiently awaited the appearance of the first cars coming over the crest of Starkey Hill. There came the sound of approaching cars, and the Appleton ” Special” charged down to
least say it was not raining, but the sky was very, very ominous. At first we believed that the rain which has ruined so many races this year would spare England’s first ‘long-distance meeting, the corner with juddering brakes and engine revving tin as the driver changed down through the gearbox. Next came Richardson’s Riley, then Dunfee (M.G.), Parish (Austin), Allen (N.G.), Skinner
(Morris), T. K. Humber (Bugatti), H. H. Porter-Hargreaves (Frazer Nash), G. Casswell • (Fraser Nash), R. E. Tongue (Aston-Martin), A. Powys Lybbe (Alvis) and J. D. Greaves (Aston-Martin). Already there had been excitement at the tricky Hairpin Bend. Harrison was in the lead at this point on the white Ford, but he was quite out of control all the way down the hill past the Paddock. By the time the corner was reached his plight had become desperate, and the car left the road backwards and finished up on the grass. As the next group came past there was a great battle being waged between Greaves (Aston-Martin) and H. T. H. Clayton (Amilcar). They both tried to get to the corner first, with the result that they made a simultaneous tete-a-queue which landed them on the grass on the right hand side of the road. Tongue was following, but he wisely kept his distance and was not involved in the melie. Greaves re-started and set off to make up lost time, but Clayton’s Amilcar had a sensational ” burst ” when the driver revved up to regain the road. On the second lap the only real accident of the day occurred. Dunfee and Parish had been having a lively duel since the beginning of the race, and as the two cars emerged from the Coppice Farmyard Parish pulled out to pass. At that moment the little Austin struck a bad bump, which pitched it sideways, so that it touched the wheels of the M.G. Both cars immediately took charge, Dunfee crashing through the hedge without hurting himself and Parish being more unfortunate in turning over. The latter was unconscious when he was picked up, and two big dents in his crash helmet showed what would have happened to him without this protection. As it was,
• an examination at the Derby Infirmary revealed only cuts and bruises.
At the end of this eventful second lap the lead was held by C. A. Richardson (Riley). Appleton lay second, but was very slow on the corners, and the acceleration of his ” Special” did not seem to warrant the use of twin wheels. The sensation of the race was the astonishing performance of Peter Skinner, who got into third place on the third lap. His handling of the Morris Minor was superb, without a trace of fluster or hurry, and he picked up places with confident ease. His lap time on this circuit was 2 mins. 29 secs., or a speed of 62 m.p.h.
On the whole, the standard of driving was good, and the drivers kept to the right allowing plenty of room for overtaking cars. On one occasion, however, Powys Lybbe rather pointlessly held off Casswell’s Frazer Nash at .Starkey Corner, forcing the latter to go very wide and lose ground. As the Nash was a good deal faster than the Alvis this manceuvre only hindered Casswell without really benefiting Powys Lybbe. Although the race was actually being run on handicap, the cars had started so closely that it had all the interest of a scratch event. The interest now lay in watching Skinner’s progress through the field, and when he appeared hard on Richardson’s heels on the fifth lap, a spontaneous burst of clapping rose from the packed grand stand. On the next lap the little red projectile was in the lead,
ahead of Richardson, Allen, Greaves, Humber, Porter-Hargreaves, Casswell, Tongue and Powys Lybbe. The Appleton Special came into the new pits, registering the first call there at Donington, and then moved on to the ” Cemetery ” with a broken engine mounting. Skinner did not lead for long, and on the next lap it was Richardson’s Riley that came by alone. After a few moments of anxiety it was learned that the Morris Minor had run out of fuel, an irritating reason for losing the race. From then on Richardson had the race in his pocket, and he continued without hurrying unduly until he received the checkered flag as token of victory. Allen came in a good second, having driven fast and well. The ” 1,500’s ” waged a ferocious battle for the whole race, the Aston-Martin’s, Frazer Nash’s and solitary Bugatti, all being evenly matched. Two laps before the end, T. K. Humber (Bugatti), made an error at Starkey Corner which cost
petitors slowly ‘came up, and soon the scene presented all the atmosphere of a continental road race. In the front row were Straight, Earl Howe (Bugatti) and F. V. Dixon (Riley). Staniland’s Bugatti came next, all by itself, for A. H. L. Eccles’ Bugatti and Raymond May’s 2-litre E.R.A. were non-starters. The next line consisted of C. E. C. Martin and R. 0. Shuttleworth on 2.3-litre Bugatti’s,_ and C. Penn-Hughes (2.6-litre Alfa: Romeo). The field was completed by Austin Dobson (2.6-litre Alfa-Romeo), and Sir Ronald Gunter, with the green supercharged Riley raced previously by E. K. Rayson. When the flag fell Whitney Straight promptly shot forward with Earl Howe right behind. Penn-Hughes pulled close to the pits in order to slip past Staniland, but the latter was too quick for him. Both of them, however, passed Dixon before the corner was reached, as did Shuttleworth and Martin. Straight was not long in
him third place in the race. He led PorterHargreaves, Casswell, Tongue and Greaves down to the corner but took it a shade too fast. He spun right round and slithered on to the grass. Then he tried to restart, and nearly made another gyration before getting away. By this time all the others had passed by, but he managed to overtake Greaves on the last lap..
RESULT OF 10-LAP HANDICAP. (Cars up to 1,500 c.c.).
1. C. A. Richardson (Riley, 1,089 c.c.), 50s. start, 58.53 m.p.h.
2. F. Allen (M.G. Midget, 747 c.c. S), 50s. start, 55.62 m.p.h.
3. H. H. Porter-Hargreaves (Frazer Nash, 1,496 c.c.), 10s. start, 56.89 m.p.h.
4. R. E. Tongue (Aston-Martin, 1,495 c.c.), 10s. start. S. T. K. Humber (Bugatti, 1,496 c.c.), 10s. start.
6. Lt. J. D. Greaves (Aston-Martin, 1,495 c.c.). 10s. start.
7. A. Powys Lvbbe (Alvis, 1,496 c.c.), 10s. start. Fastest lap.-15. G. Skinner (Morris Special, 846 c.c. S), 2m. 29s., 62.05 m.p.h. The first car to take its place on the starting line for the next race was Whitney Straight’s black Maserati. Ramponi changed all the plugs of the spotless 8-cylinder engine, and then covered the whole car with a blue-and-white striped dust sheet. Meanwhile the other corn
coming round at the end cK his first lap, travelling so fast over Starkey Hill that the black Maserati hopped about on the road. His standing lap had been covered in 2 mins. 23 secs. (64.65 m.p.h.). Not so very far behind came Chris Staniland, hurtling along for all he was worth, and handling the twin-camshaft Bugatti with skill and dash. Then came Earl Howe, Shuttleworth, Penn-Hughes, Martin, Dixon and Gunter. Dobson bad retired on this first lap, having only reached the Paddock.
Straight was still well ahead on the second lap, and Staniland was clear of the others. Shuttleworth got past Earl Howe on the short straight in front of the grandstand, but his speed was too great for him to take the corner. He swung wide on to the grass, and Howe repassed him, but both were overtaken by PennHughes, who cut in neatly behind them. At the tail of the procession Gunter’s Riley was misfiring badly, and was quite out of the running. For the next Live laps the order of the field remained the same, and Straight lapped Gunter. He continued his lightning
progress without showing the slightest signs of hurry in his driving, and demonstrated to the 12,000 spectators who lined the course exactly how the gentle art of road racing should be executed. Then, on the seventh lap, Staniland’s Bugatti began to back-fire loudly as it swept down to Starkey Corner—and the sternest opposition to Whitney Straight’s otherwise foregone victory was removed. After two more laps Staniland pulled in to the pits to change the faulty plug, but the stop put him right out of the race. Actually he carried on for sixteen laps before retiring. This was particularly bad luck for Staniland, and also for Mathieson, the owner of the car, and Papworth, who had performed a minor miracle in getting the car to the line at all, for a ball-race in the back axle broke during the morning, and had to be repaired at almost impossibly short notice. But replaced it was, and to lose an almost certain second place was really too bad. The rest of the race was uneventful in so far as the lead was concerned, but apart from Straight’s magnificent driving there was plenty to find interest in the terrific scrap that was waged between Shuttleworth and Martin. In spite of his extra camshaft, Shuttleworth could not shake off Martin, who on one occasion even scraped past. For the whole race they were never more than 50 yards apart, giving a clever display of good driving. For some time they were separated by Staniland, after the latter’s pit stop, but they finished as they began—in close rivalry. Behind Straight, Penn-Hughes drove his green Alfa-Romeo in a calm manner that was nevertheless quick, and he finished second. Earl Howe made up a good deal of ground on the Alfa in the last few laps, finishing third. Incidentally,
Straight did not break Staniland’s lap record daring the race. Dixon finished last, his Riley being inferior in speed and acceleration to the other cars.
RESULT OF DONINOTON PARK TROPHY. Twenty Laps for Cars of Unlimited ex. 45in.
I. Whitney Straight (Maserati, 2,992 c.c. S), 45in. 56s., 67.09 m.p.h. 2. C. Penn Hughes (Alfa-Romeo, 2.600 c.c. 5), 45m. 45.4s, seconds and one credit lap start, and consisted of W. G. Everitt, K. D. Evans and T. Simister on NI.G. Midgets, Cyril Paul and P. Maclure on Rileys, and R. F. Turner on a ” works ” single-seater Austin. The chief rivals here, of course, were Everitt and Turner, both of them first-class drivers who are thoroughly acquainted with the Donington circuit
3. Earl HOsite (Bugatti, 2,300 c.c. 5), 46ni. 48s.
4. R. 0. $huttleworth (Bugatti, 2,263 c.c. S).
S. C. E. C. Martin (Bugatti, 2,263 c.c. S).
6. F. W. Dixon (Riley, 1,985 c.c.). Fastest lap.—Whitney Straight (Maserati), 68.688 Before the next race began the announcer called for silence from the competitors, who were warming up their engines on the line. Then, in the absence of Lord Nuffield, Mr. Cecil Kimber made and piloting the fastest products of the M.G. and Austin factories. Everitt jumped away from the start and was leading at the end of the first lap from Turner, Maclure, Evans and Simister. Meanwhile, 16 seconds later, the blown 1,100’s and the unsupercharged 131-litres had got away, the leader of this group being C. E. C. Martin (M.G. Magnette),
a few remarks about the racing and about the Nuffield Trophy in particular. Then final adjustments were made to some of the cars by sweating mechanics and the flag was dropped for what was considered by many to be the event of the day. The first group received 56
followed by C. J. P. Dodson (M.G. Magnette), F. W. Dixon (Riley), T. P. Cholmondeley Tapper (Bugatti), H. W. Cook (E.R.A.) and R. J. B. Seaman (M.G. Magnette). R. T. Horton was left on the line and lost a whole lap before he got going on the offset-streamlined M.G. Magnette raced by the late H. C. Hamilton. Forty seconds after the second group, the scratch men set off in pursuit, composed of Earl Howe (Delage), Raymond Mays (E.R.A.), C. S. Staniland (Riley Six) and E. K. Ravson (Bugatti). The last-named, however, only covered one lap.
Everitt was Obviously going to take a lot of catching. His ” Q ” Midget was in perfect tune, and his driving just about as fast as possible. On corners he was especially impressive, never wrestling with the steering wheel, but driving round. in a smooth power-controlled slide. Turner did not seem so fast with the white ” monoposto ” Austin as he is on his own car, and we noticed this particularly on the downhill curve past the Paddock—a point where he used to excel all other drivers. Simister fell out after a few laps, giving Evans third place. followed by Dodson, Martin, Dixon and Seaman.
In the previous races enough rain had fallen to make driving conditions not too pleasant, but now the heavens opened and a perfect deluge descended. For the first two laps Mays did not hurry, but then he made a spurt and passed Staniland, who was driving the white Riley Six handled so successfully by Mays at Slielsley Walsh. On the fifth lap he caught up with the group ahead, and overtook, first Cholmondeley-Tapper (Bugatti) and then H. W. Cook (E.R.A. 1,100 c.c.). He had aso passed P. MacClure (Riley), who steadily fell back to last position owing to misfiring. On the next lap Mays passed Seaman and Martin, whose Magnette was not going too well, and a further two laps saw the 1.500 c.c. E.R.A. lying fifth behind Everitt, Turner, Evans and Dodson. The three first-named, though, had one credit lap in hand as well. After ten laps, then, the order was :
I. W. G. Everitt (M.G. Midget S).
2. R. F. Turner (Austin S).
3. K. D. Evans (M.G. Midget S).
4. C. J. P. Dodson (M.G. Magnette S).
So far there had only been two retirements, those of Simister (M.G. Midget) and Rayson (Bugatti). Several people called at the pits, however, among them being Kenneth Evans and H. W. Cook. On the 13th lap Freddie Dixon retired. A few laps later Dodson toured into the pits with his cream Magnette-a big-end gone. Up to this point he had revealed himself to be one of the fastest drivers in the rain, and stood a good chance of a place, if not a win.
On the same lap Earl Howe pulled up and complained that the flag marshals were not doing their work properly of signalling to slower cars that someone wished to pass. On the 18th lap Mays caught up with Everitt, and set about reducing the latter’s lead of one credit lap. His hopes of winning the race were small, however, for he had already taken 18 laps to cut down Everitt’s start of 56 seconds. Taking the lap speed of the M.G. at about 2i minutes, it will be seen that Mays’s chances of wiping this out in 22 laps were pretty remote. This was the order after 20 laps :
I. W. G. Everitt (M.G. Midget S).
2. R. F. Turner (Austin S).
3. R. Mays (E.R.A. S).
4. K. D, Evans (M.G. Midget S).
Signals were now hung out by those in charge of the Austin pit, and were duly noted by Turner. If he was instructed to put on speed in order to catch Everitt they might have saved themselves the trouble, for on the 24th lap the Midget came to rest at Starkey Corner amid a cloud of steam. Everitt’s fine driving was rightly applauded by the crowd in the grandstand. The little white Austin now led the race, but Turner was not to have his lucky day. He pulled into the pits on his 29th lap, and remained seated while the plugs were leisurely changed. After a long delay he got going again, but retired on that lap with a broken gearbox. Everyone would liked to have seen this fine driver gain a success on his first drive on an official ” works ” car. And so Mays found himself unexpectedly in the lead, a position from which he was not to be displaced. The position at 30 laps was :
1. R. F. Turner (Austin S). 2:R. Mays (E.R.A. S).
3. K. 1). Evans (M.G. Midget S).
4. R. J. B. Seaman (MG. Magnette 5).
Earl Howe continued to express disapproval of the flag marshals, for one or two drivers were flagrantly selfish in their complete disregard of overtaking cars. On one occasion Earl Howe made vigorous signs to the flag marshals at the position of H. W. Cook on the Starkey Straight, for the latter was firmly sticking to the centre of the road and preventing anyone from passing. Earl Howe has an impeccable reputation among the leading Continental drivers for his courtesy in “giving the road” to faster cars, and the Donington authorities would do well to act on his advice in this allimportant matter.
The last ten laps of the race passed off uneventfully. Raymond Mays was taking it fairly easily on the E.R.A., being content to rely on his acceleration without recourse to the fastest cornering in order to maintain his lead. In second place came R. J. B. Seaman, driving Whitney Straight’s M.G. Magnette. In view of his Continental record this year, including 1st place in the Voiturette class of the Swiss Grand Prix, Seaman was watched with great interest. His driving bore the stamp of experience, being precise, determined and calm. Third place was taken by Kenneth Evans, after a good run in his blue “Q ” type M.G. Midget, during which he never made a mistake in spite of the difficult conditions. Earl Howe finished fourth, speeding up in the last few laps and making up ground rapidly-but too late.
Altogether the meeting of October 6th can be rated as quite the finest ever staged at Donington. The organisation was splendid (except for the flag marshals), the arrangements for the public were comfortable and efficient, and three long races were keenly contested by a representative field of fast cars. A fine effort, and one which we should like to see repeated several times next season.
RESULT OF NUFFIELD TROPHY RACE. Forty Laps for Cars up to 1,500 c.c.
I. R. Mays (E.R.A., 1,488 c.c. S), scratch, 1h. 41m.8s. 61.51 m.p.h.
2. R. J. B. Seaman (M.G. Magnette, 1,087 c.c. S), 40s. start, Ili. 44m. 41.6s., 59.02 m.p.h.
3. K. D. Evans (M.G. Midget, 746 c.c. S), 1 lap plus 56s. start, 1h. 45m. I8s., 57.06 m.p.h.
4. Earl Howe (Delage, 1,484 c.c. S), scratch.
5. H. W. Cook (E.R.A., 1,090 c.c. S), 40s. start.
6. C. E. C. Martin (M.G. Magnette, 1,087 c.c. S), 40s. start.
7. R. T. Horton (M.G. Magnette, 1,087 c.c. S), 40s. start.
8. T. P. Chohnondeley Tapper (Bugatti, 1,496 c.c.), 40s. start.