The Greatest Duel at Brooklands.
By L. H. CADE.
THE Autumn Meeting of the Brooklands Automobile Racing Club is invariably an exciting one, probably because competition is keen at the last meeting of the year. For the meeting which took place on the 13th September, we were promised a duel between J. G. P. Thomas on his magnificent Leyland-Thomas, and E. A. D. Eldridge on the big black Fiat, but to our disappointment, Eldridge did not turn out. However, H. W. Cook with the Vauxhall Rouge et Noir was there to fill the breach and he filled it very well.
In the Lightning Long Handicap he and Thomas put up one of the most spectacular events ever decided at Brooklands, and the fact that only these two competed, enhanced the excitement, because attention was concentrated on them. Starting on the railway straight, Cook got away with a lead of 49 secs. Before Thomas had started, be was well away round the Byfleet banking, and it did not look as though the flying Leyland could get on terms. With a lap to go, Thomas seemed to be well beaten, but the distance between the two cars perceptibly lessened. You could follow them round until Cook disappeared behind the hill at the back of the public enclosure, what time Thomas was at the fork. It now looked as though Thomas would be beaten by the shortest distance, but soon after Cook roared into the straight, Thomas flashed down the hill and overhauled him. Not more than a hundred yards from the finish, the Leyland pushed its bonnet in front and eventually won by exactly a second. It was wonderful, and Thomas had had to average over 120 miles an hour—the fastest race in history—to win. Actually there had been a third starter, Gedge on the Isotta Maybach, but he went out like a damp squib soon after starting. Earlier in the meeting, Cook had beaten Thomas once and Thomas had beaten Cook once, so that it was a rubber match between them.
The rest of the racing was quite exciting, particularly the last race, which went to -Barclay on a Vauxhall. Barclay caught Barnato on entering the straight, and won by twenty yards, but he was very nearly disqualified owing to reckless driving, and the stewards would have been well within their rights if they had awarded the race to Barnato, for any sort of recklessness is to be discouraged at Brooklands. The races resulted as follows :
100 M.P.H. SHORT HANDICAP (51 MILES).
1. R. T. Spencer (Sunbeam) … 52 secs.
2. J. G. P. Thomas (Leyland-Thomas) Scratch. 3. Philip Rampon (Fiat) Capt. Malcolm Campbell (Star)
J. P. Dingle (Austin) … …
A. Boorer (Bora) • • • …
Campbell secured the lead from Dingle late in the second lap, and won by thirty yards at 79i miles an hour. There were fourteen runners.
LIGHTNING SHORT HANDICAP (5/ MILES). I . J. 0. P. Thomas (Leyland
Thomas) owes 3 secs.
2. H. W. Cook (Vauxhall) … 33 secs. With Gedge (Isotta Maybach) dropping out soon after starting, Thomas and Cook fought a keenly contested match in which the former, driving magnificently,
• • • 40 secs.
There were seven starters and of these, Spencer was in great demand by the punters, though Thomas was favourite. Spencer quickly established a long lead, and there was never any danger of his being caught. Eventually he won by about 200 yards at 921 miles an hour.
75 M.P.H. SHORT HANDICAP (5f Muits).
caught his man half a mile from home, to win with something to spare at 116 miles an hour.
90 M.P.ii. SFIORT HANDICAP (51 MILES).
1. Capt. W. Barnato (Wolseley) 52 secs.
2. Felix Scriven (Austin) … … 25 secs. 3. P. H. Gurney (Vauxhall), (Bar
clay driving) • … 3 secs.
An excellent race in which Barnato after passing Malcolm was himself hotly pursued by Felix Scriven and Barclay. At the end, only about sixty yards divided first and second and second and third, Barnato winning at 76/ m.p.h. There were ten runners.
Ioo M.P.H. LONG HANDICAP (81MILEs).
1. H. W. Cook (Vauxhall) … 49 secs. 2. P. H. Gurney (Vauxhall) (Bar clay driving)
75 M.P.H. LONG HANDICAP (8/ MILEs). Capt. A. Waite (Austin)
… 58 sees. E. G. England (Austin)
… 47 secs.
J. P. Dingle (Austin) …
… 58 secs. Dingle was penalised as a result of his earlier running and for some time he and Waite raced in close company,
54 secs. 3. J. G. P. Thomas (Leyland
Thomas) … • owes 9 secs.
Thomas established a record in being asked to owe 9 secs., and he could not do it. Cook and Gurney were soon fighting out the race with Cook content to hang behind until a mile from home, when he went in front to win by a short distance, with Thomas quickly coming up at terrific speed. Won at 98/ miles an hour. There were six runners. • • •
while England gradually caught them. Entering the last lap Waite got in front, and a half mile from home England passed Dingle, but could not quite reach Waite, though only about six lengths covered them all. It was a great three-cornered tussle between the little minnows while the bigger cars struggled abortively in the rear. Won at 74/ miles an hour. There were ten runners.
LIGHTNING LONG HANDICAP (81 MILEs). I. j. P. Thomas (Leyland
Thomas) … owes 6 secs.
2. H. W. Cook (Vauxhall) … 49 secs.
Here again there was a match between Cook and Thomas, Gedge taking no part in the race, though he started. With a second lap at over 127 miles an hour and an average speed of 1201 miles an hour, Thomas won the fastest race ever won by exactly a second, after a magnificently thrilling contest which has already been described.
90 M.P.H. LONG HANDICAP (81 MILES). I. P. H. Gurney (Vauxhall) (Bar
clay driving) … owes 5 secs.
z. Capt. W. Barnato (Wolseley) x min.
3. E. Gordon England (Austin) r min. 12 secs.
It looked as though England on the little Austin would get away with it, but Barnato passed him on the last lap and a little later was overtaken by Barclay, who won by thirty yards at 961 miles an hour. After finishing Barclay drove dangerously and the stewards very properly called him in to explain his behaviour. He was let off with a caution and must consider himself lucky in being awarded the race. There were seven runners.