OPINIONS may differ as to whether banning superchargers is or is not a retrograde step, but there could be no doubt of the success of the seventh Tourist Trophy race, held over 35 laps of the famous Ards circuit and totalling 478 mils. At last, it seemed a ” formula ” had been evolved which encouraged manufacturers of cars of all capacities to take part, and the spectacle of the Bentley and the Lagondas thundering round was as fine a sight as one could hope to see, while Hall’s record lap of 81.15 m.p.h. was within a few seconds of the fastest one of all, put up by Sir Henry Birkin in 1932. Dodson’s success on the M.G. Magnette was equally a demonstration of the driver’s skill in this newly-entered sphere of fast motoring, and of the speed and stamina of the Magnette in its unsupercharged form.
Apart from the ban on superchargers, this year’s regulations were framed to exclude ” alternative fittings ” such as oversize crankshafts, special cylinder heads, lightened chassis and the like, and not more than 50 per cent. of benzol was permitted in the fuel. The cars had to be catalogue models and evidence had to be shown that a certain number, depending on the size of the factory, had been produced or laid down. This year, therefore, the chassis really were standard productions, though in many cases the lightweight streamlined racing bodies were fitted ; these of course had to comply with the regulations laid down by the Sporting Code of the A.I.A.C.R.
The list of entries was headed by the three 41-litre Lagondas entered by Messrs. Fox and Nieholl. The cars had the new short chassis with a wheelbase of 10 ft. 3 ins., instead of 10 ft. 9 ins., while the Girling system of brake operation replaced the vacuum-servo lay-out formerly used. The handsome four-seater bodies, which were painted red, had a suggestion of Alfa about the tail, and the hood was supported on two tubular hoops which at a touch telescoped into the body, where they served to stretch the hood fabric over the rear seat opening to act as a tonneau-cover. The cars weighed about 27 cwt., with 28gallon petrol tanks, and had a maximum speed of about 103 m.p.h.
The three V8 Fords were chiefly remarkable for their enormous petrol tanks, which held 45 gallons, but hopes of a non-stop run were defeated by the abrasive surface of the course, which played havoc with the tyres of all the cars. Their maximum was over 90 m.p.h. Hall’s Bentley was the first of the 34-litre cars to take part in competition, and was of course privately entered, and except for friction shock-absorbers, a 26-gallon tank and a streamlined body, was the essence of a standard car. Its
total weight was only 25 cwt., and the maximum speed was just over the century mark.
The two ” 105″ Talbots were two of the old team cars which had been driven in the T.T. race two years before, and Rose-Richards was actually piloting his old mount. Powys Lybbe was making a very sporting attempt on his old Silver Eagle Alvis, fitted with a light body off one of the special two-litre cars. Of the four Frazer-Nashes entered, the two driven by Aldington and Mitchell Thomson were fitted with six-cylinder engines, while Berry and Thorpe had the new overhead-camshaft fours. The Aston
Martins were similar in appearance to the Le Mans cars, but they were compelled to revert to the old position of the petrol tanks, behind the back axle, as this was held to be the standard position, and this also applied to the M.G. Magnettes, which of course were the ” N ” type cars. The Singers were six-cylinder threecarburetter cars with the standard twoseater bodies, while the two 11-litre Rileys had two-carburetter engines in the m.p.h. chassis.
The works team of 1,100 c.c. Rileys and those entered by Dixon and the various private owners were of the new ” Imp ” type, and Class G was coMpleted by Aston Rigby’s L-type Magna and Hodg-e’s Singer Nine. The first day of practise was showery, but in spite ,cif this E. R. Hall on the Bentley put’ in five laps each under
11 minutes, his best time being 10 mins. 33 secs., while Brian Lewis was second with 11 mins. 10 secs. and Earl Howe third on the ” 105 ” Talbot in 11 mins. 12 secs. Thursday morning was more favourable and Hall again made best time with three laps of 10 mins. 36 secs., with Lewis and Hindrn.arsh next behind him. Driscoll, who was driving the
Aston-Martin which Hamilton was to have piloted, beat his handicap by 2 secs., confirming the favourable impression made by the low red cars on the previous day’s practise. Lord Howe had a narrow escape from serious injury. A large bird collided with the windscreen of the car as it was rushing up Bradshaw’s Brae, and completely demolished the glass, but the visor which the driver was wearing protected his face from injury from the flying fragments. Scrutineering took less time than usual,
for nearly all the cars had been strictly examined during • construction. There had been a petition during the week to allow the cars to run without mudguards. owing to the danger of flying treads, but it was pointed out that the pit staffs could easily keep a good look-out for signs of wear. Lamps however were not fitted to any of the cars, as the regulations had failed to lay down a minimum size!
After the showers and downpours of the past week, many an anxious eye was turned skywards on Saturday morning. The sky was overcast, but conditions seemed More settled than during the previous few days. Crowded steamers had been arriving in Belfast since the previous night, and their passengers helped to swell the crowds of half-a-Million spectators in cars and on foot making their way to vantage points round the course.
The grand-stand, which was decked with Rowers and was filled from end to end, and the fine entry of forty cars, many of them of makes not seen on the Ards circuit for several years, promised a race of quite unusual interest.
Eleven o’clock drew near, the roads were cleared of their throngs in a surprisingly short time, then all stood uncovered at the arrival of the Duke of Abercorn and other high officials of the Ulster Government. Meanwhile the cars had been moved from the pits to their starting positions, facing diagonally across the road. A final look inside the bonnet to see if the right plugs were in, a pull on the bonnet straps, and the drivers were in most cases left sitting in their cars in solitary state, for mechanics were optional, and the Fords and the Invictas were the only cars which carried them.
The starter took up his usual position on the bank near the Pratt’s bridge, Union Jack in hand, intently watching his chronometer, then after an age of time down it went, and the first group consisting of six M.G. Magnettes burst into life at the touch of their starter buttons, and Everitt, driving the red car which Nuvolari should have handled, took full advantage of his place at the head of the line to shoot ahead. The snarl as this group got away was little less than that of the blown cars of the year before and in the excitement of seeing them take Quarry Corner a spectator fainted ! The 1 Hare group was led by Aldington on his Frazer-Nash, who had gained a thirty-yard lead by the time he reached Quarry Corner. Hodge’s Singer Nine had a group to itself, and Rose-Richard’s Talbot as well, for Lord Howe lost 20 seconds in getting away, then after a further two minutes a formidable group of nine cars up to 5 litres, headed by the powerful-looking red cars of the Lagonda team. As the later groups of cars move off, reports come in from various parts of the course, and a lively struggle is evidently taking place between the M.G.’s. Eyston has taken the lead with Handley second and Norman Black third, but by Comber Dodson has moved into third, second at Dundonald, finally leading Eyston as they sweep past the stand. Fothringham, Penn Hughes and Driscoll lead the 11litre group on their low, streamlined Aston Martins, with Aldington next on a Frazer-Nash, followed by Charles Brackenbury who is driving Dixon’s Riley, as ” Freddy” does not yet feel up to the strain of six hours at the wheel. Frazer
Nashes and Singers were still in close company, then came Lord Howe, who had made up for his bad start by catching and passing Rose-Richards on the way in from Dundonald. A short pause, then the big cars rumbled through with Hall’s green Bentley a few lengths in the lead from Lewis, and the other members of the Lagonda team in formation behind him. Wright and Sullivan on their Fords were close behind, followed by the invictas driven by Rayson, who was at the wheel of Lace’s car, instead of Lace and Fontes.
Two exciting incidents were reported on the first lap, one where Hall skidded at the Moate and narrowly escaped disaster, and the other where the exhaust pipe fell off Powys Lybbe’s Alvis right in front of Everitt, who had to swerve violently to avoid it. On the next lap Hamilton nearly hit the sandbags at Newtownards while Aldington over-shot the corner. I4orman Black, Eyston and Dodson were the first past the stands on their Magnettes, and Everitt fairly shot by Aston Rigby just after Quarry Corner in pursuit of the other three. Fothringham and Driscoll still led the Fifteen Hundreds,” but Penn-Hughes had to call at his pit to reduce his oil pressure. Staniland had already called to change plugs, while Black was delayed at Comber with engine trouble.
Hall was pulling up fast on the Talbots, and drawing away from the Lagondas which in turn led the rest of the big ” class, and the 1,100 c.c. cars, usually soon on the leader-board, this year seemed to be eclipsed. Handley led the field on the third lap but pulled into the pits, complaining of difficulty in selecting top gear, leaving Eyston in the van. The 1 flitre cars continued in the same order, while Hall had passed Rose-Richards and Lord Howe, and Brian Lewis, who had been told to open up a little, had also passed Howe. The announcement of the leaders on handicap did not therefore came as a great surprise.
Leaden at 11.30 a.m.
I. Hall (3.669 c.c. Bentley), 77.87 m.p.h.
2. Handley (1,287 cc.. M.G. Magnette), 73.51 m.p.h. (Time behind leader, 11 secs.).
3. Eyston (1,287 c.c. M.G. Magnette), 73.4 m.p.h.
4. Dodson (1,287 c.c. M.G. Magnette), 73.35 m.p.h.
5. Lewis (4,429 c.c. Lagonda), 76.9 m.p.h. (16 secs.).
6. Hindmarsh (4,429 c.c. Lagonda), 76.78 m.p.h. (18 secs.).
Quarry Corner rarely fails to have its accident in the early part of the race, and this time the unlucky driver was Prestwich on a Riley, whose car hit the kerb, dived over the hedge and turned over into the ditch in the field below. The driver escaped with a few cuts and bruises.
There was plenty of activity at the pits from now onwards, ranging from the large job of building up a new exhaust system on the Alvis from a sister car which had been used as a tender, to the brake adjustments on the Frazer Nashes of Aldington and Mitchell Thomson, and changing plugs on Sullivan’s Ford. Meanwhile Hall continued to put on speed, setting up two record laps, one at 10-20 and one at 10-16 or 79.83 m.p.h., which kept him comfortably in front, with a lead of 39 seconds, while as a result of consistent fast lapping Fothringham brought his Aston-Martin into second place at mid-day, with Lewis third.
The race by now seemed to have settled down, so we decided to see the cars at some other points on the course. On the winding descent of Bradshaw’s Brae, Hall on the Bentley looked extremely fast and safe, while the Lagondas needed rather more handling. The Aston-Martins seemed glued to the road, while Eyston and particularly Dodson on their M.G.’s, who were straining every effort to maintain their handicap positions, took the unfavourably-cambered second bend in controlled broadsides. The Rileys were steady though not so fast, while A. P. Hamilton had several awkward moments on his M.G. through trying to take the bends too quickly.
At Newtownards we were particularly impressed by the accurate and faultless cornering of Brian Lewis, who always took the same path right over the levelled footpath within two feet of the corner shop. Fothringham and Penn Hughes were also outstandingly neat. The first retirement of the day is announced when Baird, the North of Ireland driver of a Riley, regains the pits after his car had caught fire at Dundonald. Lord Howe was delayed a short time with ignition switch trouble, while his team mate, Rose-Richards, was lapping fast and silently, his best 10-52 or 75.42 m.p.h. Sullivan has been in
changing the distributer of his Ford, a component which later gave trouble on the other cars of the team, Barnes’ Singer called at the pit with a bad oil leak, and later retired with a blown gasket, while Baker after some wild driving at various points retired with transmission trouble.
The leader card at 12-30 showed an all-round increase of speed, and Dodson had won his way into third place. He recorded the fastest lap in class F, 10-49, while Von der Becke is also hurrying, and Hall completed a lap in 10 mins. 11 secs., or 80.48 m.p.h., which as a performance on a standard sports car speaks for itself.
Leaders at 1 p.m.
1. Hall (3,669 c.c. Bentley), 80.44 m.p.h.
2. Dodson (1,287 c.c. M.G. Magnette), 74.69 m.p.h. (Time behind leader, I min. 6 secs.).
3. Lewis (4,429 c.c. Lagonda), 78.31 m.p.h. (1 min. 24 secs.).
4. Fothringham (1,495 c.c. Aston Martin), 74.9 m.p.h. (1 mins. 31 secs.).
5. Driscoll (1,495 c.c. Aston Martin), 74.6 m.p.h.
(1 Mitt. 59 secs.).
6. Eyston (1,287 c.c. M.G. Magnette), 74.14 m.p.h.
(2 mins. 2 secs.).
The handicapping this year seems particularly successful, judging by the variety of cars on the leader board, but much would depend on the pit-stops, for in the case of the big cars even two changes of tyres may be called for, as the road surface is this year more abrasive than ever. Mitchell Thomson (FrazerNash) is the first to stop, and takes on 10 gallons of petrol and some oil in just over two minutes, while Hall changed all four wheels and took on petrol in 2 mins. 49 secs. He shot off again at great speed, and again had a bad moment at the Moate, which also nearly proved his Waterloo in his duel with Nuvolari in last year’s race.
The smartest pit-work we saw was that performed on Rose-Richards’ Talbot, when he filled up with 20 gallons of petrol and changed all tyres, getting away in 54 secs. Arthur Fox thought that Brian Lewis and the other members of the Lagonda team could complete the course with only one stop, and so Lewis was not called in until just after 2 p.m., when he took on 24 gallons of petrol, changed wheels, and adjusted brakes in 2 mins. 9 secs. As a result of his pit-stop, Hall fell back to sixth place, and Charlie Dodson led the field, his best lap being at a speed of
Earl Howe (105 Talbot) corners closely on the second bend of Bradshaw’s Brae.
76.36 m.p.h. Hodge on his Singer Nine put in a lap at over 71 m.p.h., but his steering gear collapsed at Ballystockart Bridge, and the car shot into the ditch. The driver escaped unhurt. Everitt, who had been running well, was eliminated by the collapse of a road wheel, Norman Black retired with distributer trouble, and Handley failed to cure the defect in his gearbox.
Speeds continued to mount and Hall lapped in 10 mins. 7 secs., or 81.01 m.p.h.
Von der I3ecke again recorded best time in the 1,100 c.c. class of 11 mins. 24 secs., while Fothringham, Driscoll and Penn Hughes took it in turns to raise the litre speeds. The latter recorded 10 mins. 35 secs., or 77.44 m.p.h., while Driscoll had a lucky escape at the Moate, hitting the bank but bouncing off again.
Leaders at 3 p.m.
I. Hall (3,669 c.c. Bentley), 78.68 m.p.h.
2. Dodson (1,287 c.c. M.G. Magnette), 74.36 m.p.h. (Time behind leader, 1 min. 21 secs,).
3. Lewis (4,429 c.c. Lagonda), 77.65 rnp.h. (2 mins. 51 secs.).
4. Hindmarsh (4,429 c.c. Lagonda), 77.46 m.p.h.
(3 mins. 23 secs.).
5. Fothringham (1,495 c.c. Aston Martin), 74.12 m.p.h, (3 mins. 30 secs.).
6. Driscoll (1,495 c.c. Aston Martin), 73.97 m.p.h.
(4 mins. 2 secs.). After four hours’ running there were still 27 cars in action out of the 40 starters, the latest retirements being Rayson’s Invicta with a broken piston, Wright’s Ford with ignition trouble and the Rileys of Paul and Staniland with defects respectively in the oiling system and the engine. The Lagonda team was still intact, with Cobb a lap behind his teammates, the Talbots were lapping as silently as before, the four Frazer-Nashes were still going well, the Astons con
sistently fast and Dodson and Eyston were 1 eeping M.G.’s well in the picture.
Hall’s pit-staff was standing by for a wheel-change,. and with loud blasts on the horns the Bentley came in at 3.36. Hall quickly rigged the great square petrol funnel and emptied in eight gallons, but the mechanics got rather confused with the wheel changing, and nearly three minutes was taken for the job, and Brian Lewis was only 20 yards behind when Hall finally pulled out. This was the beginning of a Homeric struggle which lasted for the next five laps, but before describing it, Hall’s position is worth considering. Just before he came in the leader board showed him 26 seconds
The V8 Fords made their British racing debut at Ulster, Here is A. S. Wright on Bradshaw’s Brae.
behind on handicap, while after his wheelchange he was actually about 4 minutes behind Dodson on the road. The slow pit-stop had made his task difficult enough, but before he could set off in pursuit of Dodson, Brian was on him.
On Bradshaw’s Brae the red car was right on the Bentley’s tail, and on the Newtownards the slightly superior speed of the Lagonda told, and “No. 1 ” gained the lead. At the stand all eyes were fixed on the last bend, and much waving of blue ag s proclaimed that the fight was still on. Round they came, the red car almost overlapping, and right in front of the stand Lewis overhauled his rival. He was en yards ahead at Bradshaw’s, five at Newtownards, a bare length at Comber and only a yard at Ballystockart. Almost abreast they took Dundonald and passed the stand a second time, but Lewis increased his lead, a yard at a time as it seemed from the excited messages which came from the different telephone boxes round the course. The struggle of a lifetime So intense was the excitement that few people had time to study the 4 o’clock positions, but the board showed Dodson now with a lead of 46 seconds over Lewis and 47 over Hall. Neither driver had been given the all-out signal, though it was learnt after the race that Lewis actually
had his foot hard down between Ards and Comber. Hall’s acceleration was not sufficiently superior as to allow him to pass his rival on the winding section, at any rate until he was given the ” all-out” signal. For two more laps the cars were never more than four lengths apart, and on the fifth Lewis roared through Comber
still with this advantage. Hall had, however, by this time received ” the gun” and wrenching and sliding the submissive Bentley along the snaky and dangerous section towards Dundonald, at last caught the Lagonda, and taking the now-slippery hair-pin as fast as he dared, roared on past the Stands to set up a record lap of 10 mins. 8 secs., or 81.15 m.p.h. The neck-and-neck struggle was at an end, for there was a patch of white on the Lagonda’s near-side tyres, gradually spreading though Lewis eased his furious pace, till with only two laps to go he had to pull into his pits for a second change of tyres. Hall had won the fight, but could he catch the flying Dodson ? On handicap he was 16 seconds behind at 4.30, but on the road 1 mins. 42 secs., with three laps to go. 34 seconds a lap would have been
possible at the speeds the cars were travelling, even though Dodson had opened up a little more, and was skating round the corners like one possessed.
Eyston, incidently, had dropped out near Newtownards with engine trouble. In the excitement of watching the two leading ones one almost forgot what was going on lower down the list. Lewis’s
pit-stop cost him several places, but by some very rapid driving won back to fourth, just over a minute behind Fothringham who had held that position
up to the last half-hour, with Hindmarsh steadily fifth.
I. C. J. P. Dodson (1,287 c.c. M.G. Magnettel, Ob. 13m. 24s., 74.65 m.p.h.
2. E. R. Hall (3,669 c.c. Bentley), 6h. 13m. 41s., 78.40 m.p.h.
3. T. Fothringham (1,495 cc. Aston-Martin), Oh. 16m. I5s., 74.53 m.p.h.
4. Hon. Brian Lewis (4,429 c.c. Lagonda), 6h. 17m. 31s., 77.57 m.p.h.
5. J. S. Hindmarsh (4,429 c.c. Lagonda), Oh. 18m. 29s., 77.38 m.p.h.
6. L. P. Driscoll (1,495 c.c. Aston-Martin), Oh. 18m. 47s., 74.03 m.p.h.
7. C. Penn-Hughes (1,495 c.c. Aston-Mart ill), Oh. 20m. Ss., 73.78 m.p.h.
8. John Cobb (4,429 c.c. Lagonda), Oh. 32m. 23s.„ 74.58 m.p.h.
9. A. W. K. Von der Becke (1.,087 c.c. Riley), Oh, 33m. 27s., 70.32 m.p.h.
10. T. E. Rose-Richards (2,969 c.c. Talbot), Oh. 34m. 56s., 73.76 m.p.h.
II. E. McClure (1,087 c.c. Riley), Oh. 37m. Os., 69.68 m.p.h.
12. P. G. Fairfield (1,087 c.c. Riley), Oh. 43m. 28s., 68.54 m.p.h.
13. The Earl Howe (2,969 c.c. Talbot), Oh. 46m. 20s., 71,67 m.p.h.
14. A. P. Hamilton (1,287 c.c. M.G. Magnette), Oh. 48m. 28s., 68.24 m.p.h.
15. The Hon. Mitchell-Thompson (1,496 c.c. Frazer. Nash), 6h. 48m. 41s., 68.58 m.p.h.
16. S. H. Newsome (1,087 c.c. Riley), 6b. 49m. Ss., 67.57 m.p.h.
17. N. A. Berry (1,496 c.c. Frazar-Nash). Oh. 52m. 22s., 67.95 m.p.h.