THE TWO HUNDRED MILES RACE
THE TWO HUNDRED MILES RACE.
Major Segrave Wins a Magnificent Race with Count Masetti a close Second.
THIS year’s Two Hundred Miles Race will go down to history as the most thrilling of these events and excellent sport was witnessed by the enormous crowd which gathered at the track.
Quite early in the morning the paddock was thronged by interested spectators, who examined the cars with the hope of discovering tips for the race. The nature of the circuit made the result quite problematical and though the Darracq team was considered a sure thing, the chances of some of the “dark horses” appeared to be quite good. In short, the regular habitués of the track pronounced the event as anybody’s race, which is just the sort of condition for an ideal sporting event.
Scenes in the Paddock.
Thanks to a splendidly organized racing sy.stem, the three Darracqs were waiting in their appointed places in absolute readiness. There was no need for hurried last minute adjustments, and indeed, to all appearances, they might have been staged for the Show instead of waiting for a race of the most thrilling description. In contrast to the peaceful demeanour of the Darracqs, Raymond Mays’ A.C. was being coaxed into some semblance of good temper, like a petulant child. Additional feeding arrangements in the shape of an auxiliary radiator and yards of rubber hose stretching from front to rear of the car gave it the appearance of an experimental effort. This, combined with the frantic efforts of a crowd of mechanics, accounted for Mays’ long odds with the “bookies.” He was quoted at” twenties.” The Austins turned up in good condition, as did the Salmsons, though a few other competitors seemed to indulge in final adjustments. The two Alvis (or is it Alvii ?) stood by contentedly, Harvey as usual being conspicuous by his absence, whilst the indefatigable and loquacious George, his mechanic, discussed the prospects with his intimates.
Everyone was waiting for the appearance of the two famous Italians, Masetti and Conelli, who were to pilot two of the Darracqs, but they did not turn up until it was nearly time to go up to the post.
Another interesting feature of the Paddock was the large number of Continental visitors ; and what with that and the fashionable Beret” headgear, there was quite a French atmosphere about the place. Mays having finally assembled his machinery, took a practice spin down to the hangars, but did not look quite happy about the result. The betting at the start made Segrave favourite, with Masetti and Harvey quoted at short odds.
In case we forget to mention it later when handing out the bouquets, we will now place on record the wonderful organization of the J.C.C. No hitch of any kind occurred, everybody knew what was what, where to go and where not to go. All the competitors were clearly instructed and nothing was left to chance. We take off our hats to the J.C.C. officials for giving everyone concerned a most thrilling afternoon’s sport.
At the Start.
All the starters lined up in good order, the Marshals kept an excellent control of the proceedings, so that none of the competitors were bothered by pestering spectators and the posse of A.C. mechanics had heaps of room to continue their entertainment with the Mays’ engine, which lasted until a few moments before the start. Sharp on time the maroon fired, and off they all went. That is to say all but one; for Count Masetti stalled his engine and did not get going until the others were well away round the banking. Some of the small cars, the air cooled Frazer-Nash in particular, showed some exceptionally good acceleration.
Segrave led easily at the first hairpin, taking the corner so fast as to throw up a cloud of rubber smoke from his near side rear tyre. Harvey, who was loudly cheered, took this corner in excellent style, which demonstrated the virtues of the front wheel drive, his cornering being quite a feature at the hairpins, though less spectacular than other drivers who were slower at these points.
Before the race was many minutes old some startling incidents were witnessed. Johnstone, on the FrazerNash, did a spectacular skid, which he corrected just in time. Cook, who was travelling very well and had taken the first hairpin, appeared to lose control whilst swerving to pass another car, struck the curb and turned over, carrying away part of the railings. His
mechanic was removed on a stretcher and the Aston Martin remained where it crashed for the rest of the afternoon. The Austins took the corner wide with the exception of England’s and Hall’s machines, which shaved the posts with wonderful precision.
Conelli was the first to fall under Fortune’s frown and had to retire in the first lap with a damaged rear axle. This was unfortunate as the crowd were anxious to have an exhibition of the skill for which this well-known driver is famous. It soon became obvious that Segrave’s car was capable of terrific speed and he quickly established a lead, closely followed by Harvey. Three-quarters of a minute later the Earl of Cottenham came up with Alvis 2, with Count Masetti close on his tail. Raymond Mays at this stage of the race figured with the leaders. Masetti was very disappointing as an exponent of quick
gear changing and his engine appeared to be missing slightly. The A. C. pulled in on the third lap for new plugs, after which his run of bad luck started.
Marshall on his veteran Bugatti was going well, but without much speed, whilst Harvey was lapping in 2 mins. 20 secs., his titled team mate putting up an excellent show on the other front driven Alvis.
In the sixth lap there was some thrilling corner work as Harvey and Johnstone rounded the second bend in close company, and on this occasion it was fortunate that the Alvis exponent did not repeat the broadside skid he executed a few laps earlier.
The camaraderie of the track was illustrated by the sporting conduct of Depper; who, finding himself being overtaken by Harvey on the seventh lap, purposely
went wide to give the Alvis driver a chance to make up time on the leading Darracq. This sporting action was seen later when Eaton and Depper both gave way to Segrave in his efforts to catch Masetti.
Dash and nerve were illustrated when Ringwood, on the point of being ousted at the hairpin by a Salmson driver, cut behind and taking a very sharp turn got away before his astonished rival had recovered his course. This incident aroused cheers from all those who saw it. Marshall, in spite of repeated stoppages, remained in consistently good humour and ran a losing race throughout.
Ge.pd Cornering by the Amilcars.
Vernon Balls and Pettitt made quite the fastest approaches to the hairpins and got round in spectacular style. In the fortieth lap Pettitt skidded on the wet
concrete, turning completely round before getting away again. The method of the Amilcar drivers when cornering imposed very severe stresses on their near side front wheels; whilst the strains on Segrave’s car appeared to fall more on the near side rear wheel.
Halford’s gear changing was very good and his supercharged engine was conspicuous by the high pitched whine when accelerating.
Lap No. 14 saw Segrave leading easily, with Masetti a good second, and the two Alvis cars third and fourth at a distance of about one lap behind. Marshall now made a call at the pits for fresh plugs and petrol. Just about this time Morgan brought the ThomasSpecial in whilst his mechanic was filling up, beguiled a few minutes in sawing away a portion of his exhaust pipe. Marshall made another call at his pit and it was noticed that his starting handle was broken. Mays suffered more plug trouble and the auxiliary radiator seemed ineffective as the engine was very hot. He got away, however, but after a few more laps was forced to retire with a cracked crank case.
Rain threatened at the 23rd lap, and by this time many of the drivers were appreciably slower, due no doubt to the wear on the brakes caused by the approaches to the hairpins.
Harvey Loses his Position.
Hopes for a British win were at a low ebb when Harvey suffered a very long delay owing to the failure of a push rod. He and his mechanic worked energetically, but it was some time before they got going again. In the meantime Marshall had broken a valve spring and the raising of the valve cover, the easing of a burred valve stein took up so much time as to ruin his chance of finishing within the specified period. About this stage of the race Waite’s Austin was running third in its class, his car touching a good ninety without being fully extended.
Eaton was the next victim of valve spring trouble, but he got fitted a new spring in fairly quick time, then set off to make up for his loss. He, with other Aston Martin drivers, took the corners wide, the cars appearing to have less lock than most of the others.
Progress of the Race.
At about the thirty-fourth lap Segrave led Masetti with Halford in third place. Goutte’s Salmson was
first in the 1,100 cc. Class, with de Marnier second, and Waite on the Austin third. In the Baby Class Depper led, with England and Hall second and third. Marshall was gamely struggling with his valve springs in a very hopeful fashion and was still busy when Vernon Balls came in with an “all speed neutral” gear box. Investigation proved that the clutch cone rivets had sheared, which accounted for his retirement. Cottenham flashed by with one of his front wheels wobbling badly, this defect being of an intermittent nature and did not appear to worry the driver.
Harvey was now driving magnificently in a valiant attempt to make up lost minutes, and at the time appeared to have good chances of gaining a place.
Eyston, who had previously suffered valve spring trouble, called in again to readjust a tappet which had slacked off.
Grey’s Austin Crashes.
The attendants at the Austin pit now became anxious as Grey did not put in an appearance according to schedule, which anxiety increased as the ambulance van speeded along the track. It appeared that Grey had burst a front tyre on the members’ banking and turned over, his mechanic being reported to have sustained a fractured skull. Just at this time the Alvis, driven by Cottenham, packed up on the Railway Straight with big end trouble, possibly due to the fact that his car had served as a practice hack prior to the race.
Segrave Loses his Lead.
Rounding the first hairpin on the forty-fourth lap, Segrave burst a rear tyre and limped in to the pits, where both rear wheels were changed, this incident losing him over two minutes, or the equivalent of one lap.
Masetti was now leading and Halford, who was well placed, was seen to be pushing his car into the pits.
Segrave made up his lost time in a wonderful fashion and from thence onwards the race became a SegraveMasetti duel, though at one point we noticed Masetti wave his team mate on, and on other occasions he appeared to give way to Segrave.
Eyston now retired with big end trouble and Marshall was still in the pits as his engine refused to start after the recalcitrant valve spring had been replaced. He would not give in however, and after fitting more new plugs got going. The Bugatti was evidently in a bad temper, possibly blue pa,intwork does not agree with the machinery, or with its driver’s sombre raiment.
Waite who had been travelling very consistently now pulled up for juice and learned of Grey’s mishap. Monsieur Bovier called upon Newman to retire as he was obviously out of the running and the Salmson was wanted for some business at Montlhery.
Harvey Loses more Time.
Luck did not favour Harvey, who came in again for new plugs and lost valuable time as a result. Waite had the misfortune to tear up the fabric joint at the rear end of his cardan shaft and had to retire. On the fifty-seventh lap Segrave overhauled Masetti on the corner, after which they ran in close company for the rest of the journey, which now partook of the nature
of a high speed tour. De Manlier on his Salmson stopped for petrol and demanded ” lunettes ” and ” a boire,” which he duly received before continuing.
Smart Pit Work.
Stopped with a blown gasket Hall (Austin) did some splendid pit work by removing the cylinder head and fitting a new joint; this mishap losing him a place in the finish. His pluck in this adversity being rewarded by cheers when he re-started.
Marshall got going again, his persistence in face of adversity being very commendable. Segrave now passed the line on his last lap, with Masetti a few yards behind, and on pulling up these two stalwarts looked on to see who would come in third. For a time it seemed as if Halford was certain of the position, but running out of juice on the Byfleet Banking had to push his car from there all the way to his pit to fill up. This left the Frazer Nash No. 7 in the third place, and as a standard production chassis this machine did wonders and was finally classified as third.
1500 c c. Winner and Placings.
The first home in the r5oo c.c. was Major Segrave (Darracq Special) with an average speed of 78.89 m.p.h. Count Masetti was second with an average speed of 78.88 m.p.h. The third place was gained by C. W. Johnstone (Frazer Nash).
1100 c.c. Winner and Placings.
I, M. Goutte (Salmson), 68.55 m.p.h. 2, M. de Mamier (Salmson). 3, R. Pettitt (Salmson).
750 c.c. Winner and Placings.
I, Gordon England (Austin), 61.16 m.p.h. 2, Gordon Hendy (Austin), 61.15 m.p.h., and 3, Depper (Austin). The placings for the general classification are as
follows Segrave (Darracq). 2, Masetti (Darracq). 3, M. Goutte (Salmson). 4, de Marnier (Salmson). 5, Johnstone (Frazer Nash). 6, R. Pettitt (Frazer Nash). 7, Half ord (A. M. Halford). 8, Gordon England (Austin). 9, Gordon Hendy (Austin). I”, Depper (Austin).