Freddy Dixon rarely fails to give a touch of interest to any race in which be is entered. In his first appearance in the Ulster race in 1932, he crashed at Quarry Corner in the most spectacular way when in the lead, while two years ago he was at one time second, driving with his familiar fireworks. Last year he was not recovered sufficiently from his crash at Donington to be able to take the wheel, but on this his third essay of the Ards circuit, he drove a perfect race, only once losing the leading position. His four-cylinder Riley proved unexpectedly fast, and a new touch of caution, partly induced perhaps by some of his narrow escapes, allowed him to complete those 478 miles with only a single anxious moment.
No less creditable was E. R. Hall’s performance on the 3/-litre Bentley. which finished just over a minute behind the Riley, once again securing second place. He averaged 80.36 m.p.h., the fastest speed yet achieved on the Ards circuit by an unsupercharged car. Lord Howe on one of the much-fancied 3.3 litre Bugattis was third, then in close company Brackenbury and Penn Hughes en Aston-Martins; these two, with RoseRichards, also secured the team prize. Cyril Paul, on a Riley similar to the one driven by the winner, occupied the last place on the leader-board, while the 41-litre Lagondas, only seconds behind, would have finished higher but for theii two tyre changes.’ Not a single one of the thirteen cars with engines under 1,100 c.c. finished the course, a vast change from the state cf affairs which prevailed at Ulster a few
years ago. And who shall say that the larger cars are not more interesting to watch, at any rate to the average spectator? The number of entries was fewer than last year, but the 35 cars which figured on the list were representative of the most advanced British and Continental design. For the second time and with equal success, the race was confined to
non-supercharged cars. A last minute change of date, which was no fault of the R.A.C., brought the race within a day of the Italian Grand Prix. The T.T. therefore lost its place on the International calendar, and foreign drivers were not permitted to compete, but it is doubtful whether Continental entries would have materialised in any case.
The first cars in the list were the two 41-1itre Lagonda Rapides, two of the three which gained the team prize in last year’s T.T., while Hindmarsh’s victory at Le Mans is too recent to be forgotten. The cars were unaltered from last year, except that an outside exhaust system had now been fitted, and with a. very light body weighing only 2 cwt., they turned the scales at about 28 cwt. The horse-power is about 120, and the all-out speed 108 m.p.h. The Railton unfortunately was not finished in time for the race and had to be scratched. Weighing only 181 cwt., it would have been ideal for the winding roads which form two sides of the course. The Bugattis driven by Lord Howe and the Hon. Brian Lewis were models cf light construction with their duralumin shell bodies, and weighed only 26 cwt. with driver, fuel and water. De Ram shock absorbers were used and the engines were said to develop over 160 h.p. at 5,500 r.p.m., which sounds rather fan
tastic. At any rate the compressionratio was well over 8 to 1 thanks to the efficient shape of the twin combustion chambers. Lord Howe’s car did close on 120 m.p.h. while Lewis’s car was somewhat slower.
Hall’s Bentley was outwardly identical with the car he drove last year. The driver declined to disclose his weight, but it was probably about 23 cwt., and the all-out speed was some 110 m.p.h.
THE ULSTER T.T.—continued.
Powys-Lybbe’s Alvis, an old Silver Eagle with the larger engine, ran in last year’s T.T. The Marendaz Special was making its debut at Ards. The engine is a twolitre Coventry Climax with o.h. inlet valves and side by side exhausts, and the chassis is unusual in having cantilever rear springs. The Aston-Martins were the same cars which distinguished themselves at Le Mans, solidly built and weighing 181 cwt., while the engines now develop over 80 h.p. at 5,500 r.p.m. The Rileys had the new 11-litre four-cylinder engines which are 11-cwt. lighter than the old sixes, in the M.P.H. chassis. The fourcylinder engines give more power, and Dixon considered that his car scaled not more than 131 cwt. No wonder it went so well. ,
The three Magnettes entered by D. G. Evans were last year’s team cars, and Baird’s car was similar. The three former vehicles were fitted as an experiment with wireless receivers, but owing to interference from the ignition, signals could not be picked up when the Cars were running. The last car of the 1litre group was the Lagonda Rapier entered by Davies Millar, a well-known Scottish competitions driver. It was fitted with an extremely neat and light body, improved gear control and other marks of good preparation. The 1,100 c.c. class comprised three interesting teams of cars not previously seen on the Ards circuit, Adlers, Fiats and the new 9 h.p. Singers. The two former makes are now assembled in the Free State. The Adlers had one-litre engines with side-by-side valves, and also of
course front-wheel drive, the Fiats were the usual sprightly two-seaters, while the Singers were all examples of the new Le Mans car with streamlined bodywork. On the first day of practising Lord Howe made the fastest time on his Bugatti, lapping in 10 minutes 16 seconds or six seconds better than handicap time, while Dixon was equally successful on his Riley. Next day Handley, Dixon’s spare driver, further revealed the quality
of the new four-cylinder by lapping in 10 minutes 20 seconds or 79.31 seconds, 32 seconds above handicap, while McClure and Cyril Paul on similar cars also recorded excellent times. Donkin had a narrow escape from serious injury when his Aston-Martin werturned at Quarry Corner. Taking
the corner, which was decidedly slippery after a light shower, at rather high speed, the tail swung round and the car charged up the bank, turned over and fell back on the driver, who was ‘fortunate to escape with nothing worse than a face cut by fragments of glass from the mirror and a scratched hand. A new front
axle taken from a standard touring car was fitted the same afternoon, and the driver was sufficiently recovered to run on Saturday. There was a light mist on the day of the race, but the early sun soon dispersed it. At least a dozen cross-channel steamers were berthed in Belfast harbour, and these added their complement of race-fans to the crowd of 200,000 from the Emerald Isle itself. Police, flag marshals and ambulance men were at their posts all round the thirteen mile circuit and a solid mass of spectators flowed from Dundonald to the Grand Stand and Quarry Corner. At ten-thirty the police performed their annual miracle of clearing the course, and a quarter of an hour later the arrival of the Governor
General of Northern Ireland, who made a short inspection of the cars and chatted with the drivers, showed that zero hour was close at hand. The cars were drawn up in front of the pits, arranged in groups according to their starting times, with drivers in their seats. The first group to be dispatched were the four N type Magnettes entered by Denis Evans and Baird. All four cars got away well, with K. D. Evans and Seaman leading. A minute afterwards the main bunch of the if litre cars were due to start and there was great excitement when Dixon started his engine prematurely and pulled over in front of McCalla on the Marendaz. When the flag did drop the twelve cars
were really thrilling as they roared off in a jostling pack, with Dixon and Paul in the lead and Martin and Brackenbury at their heels. What a spectacle the field of 33 would have made ! The road was once more filled with cars as the ten one-litre machines got under way, or rather nine of the ten, for Stanley Woods, all-conquering on twowheelers, found his Adler slow in re sponding to the call. The start was fit tingly concluded with the six cars of the five-litre class, the higher pitched exhaust
note of the Bugattis of Lewis and Howe contrasting with the powerful boom of the Lagondas and the Bentley. With all the cars away there was the usual babble of conversation on the stand, then quiet again as the first-corners roared into sight, these being the Magnettes of Kenneth Evans and Seaman, which passed the stand almost abreast. Dixon and Paul were obviously making inroads into the 68 seconds start of the 1,300 c.c. cars, which had been fitted with new and rather unsuccessful camshafts. Martin and Brackenbury were the nearest rivals of the flying Rileys. When the big cars flashed through, it was seen that Lewis (Bugatti) and Hall on the Bentley had forced their way past Hindmarsh on Lagonda No. 1, which was followed by
Howe (Bugatti), Dodson (Lagonda) and McFerran, who was taking the first spell on Dwyer’s privately owned Bugatti. The second lap saw Dixon and Paul gaining steadily on the Magnettes, and von der Becke on another Riley was close behind Martin and Brackenbury, the leading Aston drivers. Then came ” Bira,” the Siamese prince, very smart in his pale-blue car, Penn Hughes, Clarke who was driving in place of Falkner, Rose
Richards, rather handicapped by a piston fitted at the last minute and a revcounter which ceased to function after one lap, and last of the Aston-Martin gang, Donkin, bareheaded and with his face swathed in bandages. Brian Lewis had by now gained a lead of a hundred yards from Hall, though the effortless way in which he took Quarry Corner made one feel he was not yet really hurrying. Almost all the drivers took this famous right-angle in good style, the only exceptions being McCalla (Marendaz Special), who was trying to make up for a four-minute stop to adjust his gear-box, Millar on the Lagonda Rapier who was reported as being wild at several points, and
McFerran whose 3.3 Bugatti seemed to call for drastic adjustment of shock absorbers. The small cars were still closely grouped together with ffrench Davis on a Fiat closely pressed by S. C. H. Davis
and Norman Black on Singers. By virtue of their four-lap start, of course, the small cars were due to lead the race for a considerable period.
Dixon’s Riley was the first car round on the third lap, with Lord Howe second behind Lewis in the ” circus ” of big cars, and on the fourth Paul too had overhauled the Magnettes. Howe’s second lap in 10 minutes 3 seconds had broken the record for an unsupercharged Car, but his third was even better and with a time of 10 minutes 1 second or 81.82 m.p.h. he passed Lewis. Hindmarsh and Hall were having a stern fight for third place in the class. Even after six laps not eighty yards covered the two Bugattis, the Bentley and the
two Lagondas, and Hindmarsh showed what the Lagonda could do with a lap in 9 minutes 57 seconds (82.37 m.p.h.) only 6 seconds slower than the late Sir Henry Birkin’s record on the blown 2.3litre Alfa. Then Brian Lewis opened up again on his ninth lap, and with a magnificent time of 9 minutes 56 seconds (82.51 m.p.h.) passed Lord Howe and
again headed the big cars. Dixon too had been creating records, in class F, with laps in 10 minutes 32 seconds and 10 minutes 26 seconds, but E. McClure, finding himself getting left behind as it were, maintained his position with one at 10 minutes 25 seconds and then 10 minutes 21. seconds, the latter giving a speed of 79.18 m.p.h.
The leaders were lapping at speeds quite outstanding for unsupercharged cars, but for other less fortunate drivers troubles set in at an early stage. One of the first to suffer was ” B. Bira ” the Siamese driver. He pulled into the pits with the bonnet of his car smothered in oil, and it was found that a flexible oil pipe had burst. This was replaced, but the same thing happened again, and after a series of pit-stops which grew longer and longer, the car was finally withdrawn. Falkner came in with low oil pressure, which was traced to the same cause, and Charlie Martin, who had been leading the Aston-Martin team, later experienced the same trouble, but was able to proceed after the oil pipe had been replaced, a job which took 16 minutes.
Denis Evans was another victim of low oil pressure, retiring on the seventh lap, while Stanley Woods paid an early call on his Adler to take on oil, foreshadowing his retirement on the tenth lap. The tenth lap also saw a dramatic change in the order of the big cars. Instead of Lewis’s blue Bugatti in the lead, Lord Howe was the first to appear, surprising everyone by pulling into the pits to change his rear wheels. Then came the two Lagondas, with Flail 200 yards behind, and last of all Lewis, now travelling slowly a quarter of a mile behind the others. He pulled into the pits and announced that the clutch was slipping owing to oil leaking from the gear-box. A recurnbrant mechanic applied the usual remedy, fire extinguisher fluid, and tightened up the adjustment. This meant a loss of five minutes, and a further three on a subsequent stop. As though to complete the tale of oil in the wrong
place, Davies Millar (Lagonda Rapier) was reported retired at Dundonald with no oil pressure and a run big-end, and McClure’s Riley suffered the same fate.
The stops made by the two Bugattis naturally favoured Hindmarsh, and 1.4 one o’clock he was actually beating Dixon on handicap. However, in view of the rate at which the tyres had worn in last year’s race Arthur Fox had decided to change them twice in this race whatever happened, so at 1.4 p.m. the big red car was flagged in, all four wheels changed, and 22 gallons taken on board, in the creditable time of two minutes. Dodson’s stop, a few minutes later, took 2 mins. 9 secs. and he shot off with one of the jacks jammed under the rear axle; luckily it dropped clear immediately. Hall reckoned he could get the Bentley through with a single tyre change, a most valuable saving in a closely fought race such as this. Dixon was lapping at about 78 m.p.h.
evidently with plenty in hand. Cyril Paul was going well too, and was only half a minute behind Dixon on the road. Order after two hours :
So far, except for some moments when cars raced abreast across Newtownards Square, there had been no alarming incidents, but at 1.3 p.m. McFerran (Bugatti) was reported as having skidded sideways into the sandbank protecting the Town Hall. The car, which was damaged to much to continue, tipped over at an alarming angle but the driver managed to stay in the car. Le Fanu charged the barrier at Dundonald but was able to back out, and Penn Hughes had a skid but recovered. McCalla had a skid too, this time at Quarry Corner, but his Marendaz Special was making an excellent showing and broke the two-litre class record with a lap of 11 minutes 13 seconds (73.07 m.p.h.). A more disquieting report was that Langley’s Singer had overturned on Bradshaw’s Brae. The driver escaped with a shaking.
At 1.30, just before the majority of cars were due in at the pits, the order was the following :-Dixon (Riley), Hall (Bentley), Paul (Riley), Hindmarsh (Lagonda), Brackenbury (Aston-Martin) and Penn Hughes (Aston-Martin) who had advanced steadily to support his team mate.
K. D. Evans was one of the first to stop for fuel, . and took on petrol, oil and water in one minute. ffrench Davis, who had at last been passed by S. C. H. (no relation I) and Norman Black cn their Singers, took 31 minutes for his Fiat, changing plugs and rear wheels as well as refuelling. Then Seaman came in in a great hurry and overshot his pit, but so well were things organised that in spite of this he took on petrol and changed all four wheels all in 1 minute 45 seconds, a feat which was loudly clapped.
A few minutes later quite a dozen cars had pulled in at their depots and mechanics were hammering wheels with a sound like riveters in a shipyard.
The Aston-Martin team cars came in at short intervals, but the organisation was equal to the task, and all the cars got away with a stop of less than two minutes each. Not ‘so Brian Lewis, who came in with the clutch again slipping and after a talk with the pit staff lit a cigarette and helped to push his car to the dead-car park. At two o’clock the order was as follows:
Neither Hall nor Dixon had stopped yet, but while we were waiting the news came through that Norman Black, who was the fastest of the small cars and still ahead of Dixon, had crashed at the second bend of Bradshaw’s Brae, the car running half-way up the bank at the side of the road. Driver again O.K. At two o’clock precisely Hall pulled in, leapt from his seat and filled up with water, oil, and twenty-five gallons of petrol, hurling the empty churns back into the pit, while the two mechanics each with a jack had dealt with the back and front wheels in turn. The Bentley got away again in 2 minutes 18 seconds, quite fast considering what had to be done. Hardly had he gone when Freddy shot in, topped up with oil and water and took 14 gallons of petrol, changing only the rear wheels. His time was 30 seconds better than that of Hall, so the latter driver would have to “put on his skates ” as the motor-cyclists say if he wanted to catch the Riley. Paul also favoured a midway stop, changed a punc
tured float, and got away with some difficulty, afterwards, as though bottom gear had gone.
On the twenty-third lap, after refuelling, Dixon was still the leader On handicap. Four other cars were on the same lap, Hindmarsh who was 6 minutes 57 seconds behind, in actual time on the road, Hall 7 minutes 25 seconds, Paul 7 minutes 40 seconds, and Dodson 9 minutes 45 seconds, with Lord Howe and Brackenbury and Penn Hughes on their Aston-Martins just over a lap in the rear. S. C. H. Davis who was leading the small cars on his Singer was just ahead of Dixon owing to his start of four laps, but Dixon caught him at Dundonald next time round. The question was, could Hall pick up some 20 seconds per lap till the end of the race. A report that he had broadsided at the Monte suggested that at any rate he had his foot well down. He was 6
minutes 20 seconds behind on the twentyfourth lap and picked up no less than :3.5 seconds on his next time round.
Davis’s run on the Singer ended in dramatic fashion on the second bend of Bradshaw’s Brae. The car crashed into the bank not more than six feet from, No. 38, Norman Black’s car, and actually ended partly on top of it, the driver being flung out over the tail but fortunately without injury. As in the case of the other two Singers which crashed, the accident was caused by the failure of the steering arm. The case-hardening of the ball-joint had extended further than it should have done, and the arms snapped with the strain of sliding the bends on Bradshaw’s. Another moment of anxiety just then occurred when a horse escaped on to the course near Dundonald, and several cars had to slow down to avoid it. The two Lagondas came in for their second wheel-changes which put paid to their chances of challenging Dixon and Hall, while Dixon had been warned of
the Bentley’s challenge and put up a record lap of 10 minutes 20 seconds and followed it with one in 10 minutes 19 seconds (79.44 m p.h.). Baird electrified his countrymen by turning completely round in New townards Square, while von der Becke bumped the sandbags of the long-suffering Town Hall. PowysLybbe, who had been putting up a fine show on his veteran Alvis, came in for plugs, and set off again on five cylinders. His pit manager thought the irregularity was caused by the disappearance of a piston, so the gallant old motor was withdrawn. Hall continued to peg away, reducing Dixon’s lead to 5 minutes 58 seconds on the twenty-seventh lap, 5 minutes 9 seconds next time round, 5 minutes 14 seconds on the twenty-ninth and 5 minutes 4 seconds on the thirtieth. It then became certain, barring accidents, that the big car could not overhaul the 1 Hitre, so interest transferred to the other cars on the leader board. Hindmarsh, who was lying third at 4 o’clock had the bad luck to break a petrol pipe,
hich cost him 4 minutes arid a probable place. Brackenbury and Penn -Hughes were still going great guns, a few lengths apart and averaging 75.7 m.p.h. The retirement of ffrench Davis put the Fiat team out of the running, and the Aston folk had some consolation for their mysterious oil pipe failures by securing the team award. The last laps were marked by the applause which greeted the stout-hearted Dixon, now slowing to avoid any lastminute mistake, and no less so Hall on the Bentley, who concluded with a lap in 10 minutes 5 seconds which brought him home only 1 minute 13 seconds behind his fellow-Yorkshireman. Lord Howe had been making splendid progress on the Bugatti, and on the thirty-third lap caught the two Aston-Martins to secure third place, while last-minute laps of 9 minutes 57 seconds and 9 minutes 59 seconds by Hindrnarsh and Dodson brought them within seconds of Cyril Paul on the works Riley. “Ebby’s” handicapping had once more ensured a fine finish, and with the task of the smallest cars
somewhat reduced, next year will no doubt see some of them taking their place amongst the first six.
1. F. W. Dixon (1,496 c.c. Riley), 6h. 3m. 31s. 78.90 m.p.h.
2. E. R. Hall (3,669 c.c. Bentley), Oh. 4m. 44s. 80.36 m.p.h.
3. Earl Howe (3,255 c.c. Bugatti), Oh. 7m. 37s. 79.72 m.p.h.
4. C. Brackenbury (1,495 c.c. Aston-Martin), Oh. 8m. 52s. 76.78 m.p.h.
5. C. Penn Hughes (1,495 c.c. Aston-Martin), 6h. 8m. 53s. 75.77 m.p.h.
6. Cyril Paul (1,406 c.c. Riley), 6h. Hut. 28s. 76.26 m.p.h.
7. J. S. Hindmarsh (4,451 c.c. Lagonda), 6h. urn. 29s. 78.87 m.p.h.
8. C. J. P. Dodson (4,451 c.c. Lagonda), Oh. 11m, 30s. 78.86 m.p.h.
9. A. W. K. von der Becke (1,496 c.c. Riley), 611. 14m. 5s. 74.71 m.p.h.
10. R. J. B. Seaman (1,287 c.c. M.G. Magnette), 6h. 18m. 12s. 73.68 m.p.h.
11. T. E. Rose-Richards (1,495 c.c. Aston-Martin), Oh. 22m. 20s. 73.11 m.p.h.
12. W. R. Baird (1,287 c.c. M.G. Magnette), Oh. 25m. 24s. 72.31 m.p.h.
13. K. D. Evans (1,287 c.c. M.G. Magnette) Oh. 39m. 55s. 69.68 m.p.h.
Team Prize won by Aston-Martin No. 1 Team-C. Brackenbury, C. Penn Hughes and T. E. Rose-Richards.
Morgan v. Hispano
Sir, Mr. C. J. Turner's letter in the May issue prompted some reminiscing by my father; R. McV. Weston, who was riding mechanic to A. J. Mulder in the 1926…
Letters from Readers, February 1953
N.B.— Opinions expressed are those of our correspondents and Motor Sport does not necessarily associate itself with them—Ed. Poske comments.. and Poske replies Sir, I have just received my November copy…
Cars in books, May 1973
Usually these references to cars which figure in non-motoring books are based on what I come upon in old volumes found on library shelves, or lent or donated by sympathetic…