or four men who were responsible. To a good many of the spectators the task of following the race soon became too intricate and for the most part they simply made use of the Darracqs as lap counters, judging the progress of one or two selected favourites, on which their interest was mainly centred by their position relative to the three slate-coloured leaders.
The Smaller Fry.
In the I,Ioo c.c. class matters were on a different plane. The most spectacular display was that of G. N. Norris on his Morgan. He was going at what seemed to be a terrific pace, being made to appear so largely by reason of the exuberant crackle of his exhaust, and by the low build of his machine. Actually, Wilson Jones and Hawkes, both on Salmsons, were leading, with Norris in hot pursuit. Zborowski, so far, had not been able to improve on fourth position, while Ringwood on the Frazer Nash was fighting him hard for that.
Amongst the little cars, the 750 c.c. class, or, as we may just as well call them, the Austin Sevens, Waite, Hall, Kings and England played a game of general post for some time, first one and then the other taking the lead. Waite, however, who retired after the 22nd lap, appeared to have the fastest car, and was actually going round, at one period of the race, at the astonishing speed, for a car of that size, of 79 m.p.h. Kings had already given up a couple of laps before, and the field was ultimately left to England, Hall and Hendy, who ran in the order named, with very little variation in their relative positions until the 64th lap, when Hall, who had been running consistently and seemingly easily throughout, had to retire, leaving the other two, all that were left of the original eight, to finish, in the order given. Over this inextricable mix up of class with class, car with car, and driver with driver, with machines of 1,500 c.c. coming round on the 21st and 22nd lap with others of ‘,zoo c.c. tearing round on their 15th, ioth and 17th lap, with some of the 750 c.c. class on their
loth, 11th and 12th, and with stragglers in all classes coming round on any lap from 4 to 20, over all this babel, as one might call it, of sight as well as sound, the persistent whine of the Darracqs sung, and the three of them still came round, keeping their stations, man-o’-war fashion, each of them seeming to have a shot in his locker, clearly not required for this battle, but available for some future conflict. It needed but little imagination on the part of the spectator for him to discover, in that whine of the Darracq super-charger, both a challenge and a skirl of triumph. One thing it certainly did, even to the most blase ra.cegoer present, it continually brought his eyes and his mind back to the class in which these humming speed irons were competing, and by this time mechanical calamities of all kinds had occurred to competitors in that class. Both Kaye Don and Coe had had to come in again, seemingly with plug trouble. F. C. Clayton on his Marseal, had to turn into the pits after eight laps, and was some time before he got away again. H. W. Purdy on a Horstman came in again on the ninth. Thomas had already had trouble with one tyre, and J. A. Hall (Bugatti) had to retire in the 13th lap. Calder had been in for repairs, and Purdy, who, after coming in on the 9th, had managed to get going again, retired for good on the 21st.
These little defections cleared the track and the air for a little, making it possible to discriminate, with greater accuracy, between those who were still running, and it then became apparent that the Aston-Martin, driven by H. S. Eaton, was running well, as also was A. G. Miller’s Alvis ; also that Coe had got over the plug trouble and was getting round at something very near 90 m.p.h. The order of competitors in the 1,500 C.C. class was, as regards the first four, unaltered. Lee Guinness was still leading and being followed in the order named, by Duller, Segrave and Joyce. Halford was fifth, which position he was continually losing and gaining from Cushman, and both of them were hard pressed by Miller.
A Thrilling Moment.
About this time the first real thrill occurred, Thomas, who had already shed his tyres, on two occasions, besides being unlucky in other ways, came in with what appeared to be part of the car coming adrift. A closer investigation, as he drew in to the pits for a moment, showed that the scuttle was coming away from the body. That put right, he tore away again, on another lap or two, and then, as he approached the fork his near side front tyre deflated with a loud report. The resulting swerve brought him into such a position that he waS apparently heading straight for the pits, cutting off, in his progress, Coe, who was close beside and inside, him. Nothing but magnificent driving on the part of both of them averted what would have been a terrible disaster. Thomas managed to straighten up, and hold a straight course, leaving just room for Coe to pass between him and the pits, and get away. Almost immediately afterwards the tyre left the rim and raced ahead of the car for some distance. Thomas, in the execution of this manceuvre had got so far past the pits that he could not return, and he, therefore, had to drive another lap on the rim.
The III-Luck of the Morgans. Ware’s Smash.
In the second class the Morgans were simply overNil-whited with bad luck, Norris who, as we have already remarked was putting up a wonderful performance and had been going well throughout the race, broke a gear chain on the 43rd lap and had to come into the pits,
where his fellow driver on another Morgan, Beart, was already in trouble with an engine which refused to fire. Both got away together, Norris perhaps ahead of his mate, but Beart finally retired on the next lap. Ware was very soon in trouble, and had not run far before he was compelled to come in with a broken gear dog, and ultimately this driver was destined to be involved in a serious accident. When coming off the Byfleet banking and approaching the fork, portions of his tyre were seen to leave the wheel and become entangled in the driving chain, thus stopping the rear wheel from revolving. The car then seemed to swing round on the rear wheel as on a pivot, just as a weight might swing on the end of a string, ultimately to shoot forward again and crash into the fencing close to Vickers’ sheds. Both driver and mechanic were seriously injured, and the machine at first sight appeared to smash to atoms. Fortunately, as later events proved, the injuries to these two, although serious enough in all conscience, were not so bad as we first thought, and as we go to press, we understand that both Ware and his mechanic,Allchin, are progressing satisfactorily.
Results and Order of Cars which finished.
The results of this wonderful race, in which many records were broken, not only by the victorious Darracqs, but also by O. Wilson Jones, who eventually ran into first place in the I,Ioo c.c. class, and by E. C. Gordon England are given below.
CLASS III.-1,500 C.C.
M.P.H. Darracq (K. Lee Guinness) I 58 30* 102.27 Darracq (0. Duller) 58 311 102.25 Darracq (H. 0. D. Segrave) I 58 32.k 102.24
A. C. (J. A. Joyce).
Bugatti (L. Cushman).
Alvis (F. B. Halford).
Alvis (A. G. Miller).
Alvis (C. M. Harvey).
9. Eric Campbell (R. C. Morgan).
io. Bugatti (I,. Montant). Horstman (C. G. Coe). 12. Aston-Martin (H. S. Eaton) M
CLASS II.—I,100 C.C. H. . S. z. Salmson (0. Wilson Jones) 2 21 2.4 85.70 2, Frazer Nash (E. Ringwood) 2 43 4o 74.06
(No other car finished before track was closed).
CLASS I.-750 C.C. H. M. S. 1. Austin (Gordon England) 2 40 151 75.61
2. Austin (Heri.d.y) 3 26f 68.55 (No other car finished before track was closed).
Club News, November 1947
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