” BIRA ” TWICE BEATEN
SENSATIONAL RACING AT THE CLOSING CRYSTAL PALACE MEETING FURTHER ENHANCES ALTA PRESTIGE
IN spite of torrential rain, the last Crystal Palace Meeting was immensely enjoyable. It is now a confirmed fact that one does not notice the slowness of the Palace circuit and that Harry Edwards’s short races go down very well. The meeting was very fully televised and Dick Seaman started the Match Race and presented prizes. The Match Race was in our opinion a foregone conclusion before it was con tested. Although Arthur Dobson’s white E.R.A. is a 1936 B-type car and ” Bira’s ” ‘f Romulus” was built in 1935, both having the Murray-Jamieson Roots blowers, Dobson’s car has been none too fit lately, while ” Bira ” has the distinct advantage of de Ram dampers, which were fitted last year. So we were not surprised that ” Bira ” led away and was fairly comfortably ahead after two laps. Then the near-side rear tyre deflated and Dobson ran on to complete the distance alone, averaging 55.51 m.p.h. The lap record was not challenged (it is held, jointly by ” Bira ” and Dobson) and some indication of how outclassed is Arthur’s car nowadays is evident from his winning average in his heat of 53.85 m.p.h. against ” Bira’s ” heat average of 57.01 m.p.h., and his defeat in the final by Abecassis, ” Bira,” Minetti, Rolt, Beadle and Wakefield. We sincerely hope Dobson justifies his ability next year by handling a better car. It is of interest that ” Bira ” finds his Roots-blown “
Romulus” more suited to the Crystal Palace circuit than his Zoller-blown C-type ” Hanuman.” This is rather a case of practice disproving at any rate broad theory, for we are told that Roots blowers work more effectively in the higher r.p.m. range whereas a vane-type compressor delivers more punch at low speeds. And the Palace circuit is essentially one of slow corners and continual acceleration out of them. In the first 20-mile heat ” Bira ” won comfortably, lapping within less than a second of his lap record time. He was followed home by Abecassis on the 1ilitre Alta, with John Wakefield’s E.R.A. third. N. G. Wilson drove his E.R.A. with more abandon than usual, Berg’s Maserati, which had been tended by Robin Jackson, retired with no feed pressure, Gerard’s T.T. Delage retired with transmission trouble, and the Talbot-Plate
was misfiring. Wilson’s and Connell’s E.R.A.s were prone to axle judder. Dobson’s E.R.A. won the next heat, but not so fast as ” Bira ” had won his. Cuddon-Fletcher’s M.G. was second, and Rolt’s E.R.A. third, Rolt sliding in beautiful fashion into Stadium Curve on a sodden track. Ashby’s Alfa-Romeo lost a wheel without serious damage, Hadley’s Austin retired and Aitken drove his E.R.A splendidly, but turned round. and lost his lead. He did not run in the
uncomfortably wet final. Hanson.’s Maserati stopped and Maclure’s Riley broke a half-shaft. The E.R.A. trio made a fierce sight in the wet. The final, over 32 miles, provided a surprise, for George Abecassis won for Alta, averaging 52.08 m.p.h. in teeming rain, and beating ” Bira’s ” E.R.A. by
25.5 secs. ” Bira’s ” supporters point to the Alta’s twin rear tyres, but it must be emphasised that the car was sliding wide out of Stadium Curve (very exciting, viewed from the Stand) where ” Bira ” was close in, and that on one lap the Alta misfired. It seems that the if litre Alta is now superior to the E.R.A.s, and if it can show the same superiority next year over six times the distance, then the E.R.A. Club will have to consider handing some ” boni ” out to Geoffrey Taylor as well as to the gentlemen of Bourne. Eugenio Minetti’s six-cylinder ii-litre Maserati was a beautifully steady third. It has new rear suspension with normally disposed quarter-elliptic springs and deep torque members parallel to the springs. Rolt’s E.R.A. was fourth and Beadle, much improved, was fifth with the 2-litre Alta. Wakefield was sixth and Dobson seventh. We also had a sports-car race with a Le Mans start, the excellent entry for which argues well for such racing in
1939. Pane’s Type 328 Frazer-NashB.M.W. won easily, with Abecassis on au Alta second and Couper-Harewood’s.
PB M.G. third. Pane averaged 46.78 m.p.h. The rain came down in earnest before this race and Miss Joan Richmond and Miss Dorothy Stanley-Turner called for umbrellas, as did a few mere men. Miss Richmond went very well on an old Frazer-Nash, until she rammed a tree on the last lap.
One lap equals 2 miles. Distance of Final : 16 Lys (32 miles).
1. G. B. Abecassis (1,600 c.e. Alta), 38m. 27.8s., 62.08 m.p.h.
2. “B. Bira ” (1,500 c.c. E.R.A.), 38m. 58.8s., 51.49 m.p.h.
3. Eugenio Minetti (1,500 c.c. Maserati), 39m. 17.1s., 50.95 m.p.h.
4. A. P. R. Rolt (1,500 c.c. E.R.A.), 39m. 19.5s., 50.89 m.p.h.
5. A. H. Beadle (2,000 c.c. Alta), 39m. 31.3s., 60.63 m.p.h.
Handicapping (by Groups) Heats : c.c. receive 70s. to
Heats : 1,100 c.c. receive 70s. start, up to 21-litres receive 108., over ’21-litres: scratch.
Final: 1,100 c.c. receive 1m. 52s., up to 21-litres 16s., over 21-litres : scratch.
Sports-Car Race : 1,100 0.0. 111$: 35s. start. 1,500 c.c. U/s and 1,100 c.c. 8: 15s. 1,500 c.c. S and 2-11tres U/s : 10s. 2-litres S and 3-litres U/s 5s. Others scratch.
Distance: 10 laps (20 miles).
1. “B. Bun” (E.R.A.), 22m. 2.9s., 67.01 m.p.h.
2. G. B. Abecassis (Alta), 22m. 9.7s., 56.74 xn.p.h.
3. J. P. Wakefield (E.R.A.), 22m. 23.4s., 66.11 m.p.h.
4. I. F. Connell (E.R.A..), 22m. 38.7s., 55.43 m.p.h.
5. H. L. Brooke (Riley-Brooke), 22m. 49.3s.
Heat 2 (same distance) 1. A. C. Dobson 23m. 53.85
1. A. C. Dobson (E.R.A.), 23m. 17.2s., 53.85 m.p.h.
2. A. Cuddon-Fletcher (M.G.), 23m. 20.8s., 51.39 m.p.h.
3. A. P. It. Rolt (E.R.A.), 23m. 21.1s., 53.69 m.p.h.
4. E. Minetti (Maserati), 24m. 1.3s., 62.14 m.p.h.
6. A. H. Beadle (Alta), 24m. 7.1s., 61.91 m.p.h.