FREDDIE DIXON’S RILEY VICT ORIOUS in the “500”
TRACK-RACING PACEY-HASSAN-SPECIAL SECOND -STANDARD T.T. 41-LITRE LAGOND A THIRD RACE WON AT 116.6S M.P.H.ONLY FOUR FINISHERS
Although interest now centres so very largely in road-racing contests, there are still people who derive much satisfaction from a long-distance race fought out at full bore over the outer circuit at Brooklands, so that no mean crowd assembled at the Track on September 19th, on the occasion of the eighth B.R.D.C. 500-Mile Race. Unfortunately the entries for this year’s race were far from encouraging in point of numbers. Although present-day road-racing jobs seem adaptable to sprint and trackracing conditions, 500 miles round Brooklands is a very gruelling business and the fact is unhappily prominent that there are very few racing-cars now in existence really suited to track conditions. True the Riley that won this year can be classed equally as a road-racing motor. But then Freddie Dixon was responsible for it. Of the other finishers, the Pacey-HassanSpecial is definitely a track-type of car, built this year for Brooklands racing, with fully streamlined body, a large unblown Bentley engine and no front wheel brakes, while the Lagonda, a standard sports-car complying with T.T. requirements, nevertheless represents the class of car having a big unblown motor pulling a high top-gear ratio. The AlfaRomeo which came home fourth was an old 2-litre Monza two-seater and some very fine work must have contributed to its splendid showing under conditions to which we should have said beforehand that it was quite unsuited. The only other track-type cars entered were the Barnato-Hassan-Special, the Duesenberg, the Talbot and the Magic Magnette, and as it happened all experienced troubles. The Napier-Railton was away regaining British prestige at Utah and Richard Marker presumably preferred sharing the Barnato-Hassan with Bertram to running his big Bentley. The 12cylinder Delage is getting old, and it is difficult to think of any other suitable cars. The ” 500 ” is an expensive race, anyway, and wrecked cars, even at the close of the season, usually can only be contemplated if some chance exists of netting some prize-money. Further gloom was cast over the prospects when it was announced that the two works Darracqs would not be ready in time and that Ruesch likewise could not run the
12-cylinder Alfa-Romeo. It seemed a pity that the latter driver could not compete with the 3-litre Alfa he drove at Shelsley, especially as his co-driver, Richard Seaman, had returned from his shooting holiday in Yorkshire and was reduced to taking photographs of other cars.
On the day of the race two more nonstarters were posted : Dunham’s Speed Twenty Alvis and E. R. Hall’s 4+-litre T.T. Bentley which had been falsely rumoured to be a 4A-litre. This was most unfortunate, for the streamlined Alvis is known to be capable of around 117 m.p.h., while last year
Hall was a non-runner with the 31-litre Bentley. This left only eighteen starters in a race which has a nasty reputation as a ” car-breaker ” and further sadness resulted from a statement from the B.R.D.C. that the track would quite likely break up as it had done the previous year. This the B.A.R.C. very strongly resented, pointing out that 1,452,000 superficial feet of surface are involved, of which only 72 feet superficial feet broke up in 1935. We wondered how many cars would finish. Arriving at the track on the Saturday morning the excitement of last-minute preparation was evident and largely dispersed the gloom of the practice
period, especially as the heavy mist gave way to a warm September sunshine so that almost perfect conditions prevailed for the race. Bertram, arriving in an Alfa-Romeo coupe, looked very happy, as did Hassan, who, in blue silk shirt beneath a pullover, was in close attendance on Barnato’s entry. The big silver singleseater looked its best that morning, shod with truly immense balloon Dunlops. These tyres have a rounded, plain tread, presumably to reduce rolling friction while allowing the maximum air-cooling of the walls. Bertram, one of whose hands showed signs of a nasty gashing, bound his palms with tape and wore his usual scarf and crash-hat. Dobbs, rather disappointingly, was not running his offset white single-seater which had made fastest unblown time at Shelsley the previous Saturday. Instead he ran the 1l-litre six, which had a separate motorcycle-type carburetter for each cylinder, a huge tank set beside the driving
seat, and a long filler-tunnel running up beside the driver’s left shoulder. Each spring shackle had a lubrication pipe, indicating chassis lubrication while the car was running. Hamilton’s Alfa-Romeo looked normal in every respect, though we noticed remote-control shock-absorbers front and rear to assist in keeping the light chassis on the track. The Pacey-Hassan-Special is a typical outer-circuit car, with cowled radiator and a very narrow single-seater body with faired head-rest for the driver. The tops of the two S.U. carburetters protruded from a small fairing on the off side of the bonnet and on the near side an orifice had been cut to give access to the ordinary small-bore Bentley oil filler. Huge rear covers were fitted and single shock-absorbers were used for the front axle. The cockpit has cut-away sides, which were probably preferable in a long race like this to a slightly wider fully-faired driving compartment, and much sponge-rubber added to the
driver’s well-being. Like the BarnatoHassan, this car has no front brakes. The T.T. Lagonda, in the care of Wileoxon, had the balloon type rear covers of huge dimensions, faired dumbirons, a streamlined tail, a tiny aero
screen and two S.U. carburetters. It ran without front brakes and looked quite a track job, taking the crowd’s imagination at once, though really it was a standard sports chassis. This dispensation with front brakes is interesting. Some people point out that only a tiny reduction in wind-resistance can result, anyway, but actually there are other gains, notably reduction of unsprung weight, which gives the shock
13.1?.D.C. 500-MILE RACE
absorbers an easier time and reduces stresses every time the wheels do jump, and the elimination of parts which might come adrift in the course of the race. The Bellevue Garage M.G. Magnette, =Other car without front stoppers, stood ready for action, though part of the bonnet cowling was being attacked with a hacksaw. The Talbot, in which George Roesch himself was indirectly interested, had a IVIere6des-like body finished silver, the likeness completed by a ringed “‘I'” on the radiator cowling, similar to the Mere. ringed star, and the big brake drums, though Mercales do not hide the tankfiller beneath a strapped-down cover in
the driver’s head-rest. This car has a lap speed approaching 120 m.p.h.
Parnell’s M.G. was resplendent in a polished silver finish and retained the external inter-cooler between blower and engine. We now moved over to the pits, to find Freeman of Dunlops and an assistant
ready with their field glasses and a chart !–ho wing the tyre size.; and pressures_ Of every car in the race. S. C. H. Davis was in charge of the Austin pit, where an immense amount of equipment was laid out, even to a couple of bh)w-lamps. ” Sanurry ‘s “make-up included a padded stick with which to prod out of teach members of the &wipe. This team was very anxious to do yell and had estal) lished a control station away over by the Byfieet Banking. Hassan’, too, had actually rigged up telephonic communication between a distant st3tion and the -Barnato pit. F. j Finclon and King-Farlow climbed their ladder to the broadcasting box hung below the Fork bridge. Fl by arrived and it was evident that Zero hour was at hand. As the flag fell, at I ;Ian., Dodson and Goodacres’ tiny A ustins and linmphrey’s M.G. Midget moyed away. The MG had been extremely carefully prepared at the works in the Hampstead Road and should have run in all the big races this year, but was actually making a first appearance. A full description
appears in the March MOTOR SPORT. We did not appreciate the reason for the ” G.B. ” sign on the tail. It did the standing lap at 89 m.p.h., and the second lap at 102 m.p.h., leaving the Austins until fuel pressure dropped, necessitating a visit to the pits on the fourth lap. At 1.15.5 p.m. the three class Q cars left the line, Tommy Wisdom leading with the which averaged 109 m.p.h. on the standing lap, Billy Cotton’s M.G. Magnette being close behind and Parnell’s M.O. considerably
slower. After running only four laps Parnell’s -car retired for ‘good with piston trouble. The class I: cars left at 1.21.7 p.m., when Dixon’s famous silver Riley gradually drew away from Fairfield’s-sister car, until Cyril Paul Caine past them both on Victor Riley’s independently-sprung Riley, which was lapping at around 123 m.p.h., leading everyone on handicap at an average of 118 m.p.h. and worrying those who had hoped to keep their ears
below schedule to begin with. At 1.21,8 the Alfa-Romeo accelerated away yell, but Staniland could not :get the Talbot to respond so nicely. In the next group, dispatched at 1.27.9 p.m., the Hon. Brian Lewis (Lagonda l drew slowly ahead of the Pacey-Hassan-Special on initial acceleration, with R. la Duller’s Duesenberg quite unhurried. At I 3n 1 I p.m. Bertram moved away in the Barnato-Hassan and the full field was in action. The Talbot bad serious olug trouble almost at once, and though its mechanics attacked it with an immense plug-spanner. no hing much resulted and after only 15 laps it went out for good with a defective fuel feed. The bonnet sides seemed to hamper plug-changing. Dobbs visited his pit to change plugs and Duller realised that the Duesenberg was slowing with clutch-slip, a malady dealt with by injections at the pit. About 1.45 we took unofficial lap times of the big fellows, and found that the Barnato was doing about 124 inp.h, shortly
increased to 127.70 m.p.h., the Duesenberg nearly 120 m.p.h., the PaceyHassan 118.58 m.p.h. and the Lagonda about 11.5 m.p.h. As the first three cars are capable of 142, 137 and about 130 m.p.h. respectively it will be Seen that engineswere being carefully nursed. Amongst the smaller cars the Monza Alfa was at 120 m.p.h., and the Dixon Riley and Paul’s Riley around 122 m.p.h., so the big cars would need to hurry if things lasted. As engines warmed speeds rose and at 1.30 p.m. the position was :—
1. Paul von der Beeke (Riley) 117.19 M.p.h.
2. Dixon-Martin (Riley) 11(5.78 M.p.h.
3. Dul1er-54ra. Stewart (Duesenberg) 105.97 m.p.h. Dixon now got down to some serious motoring, passing Paul, his speed going up to 122.22 m.p.h., while Fairfield’s Riley came up to third place. Behind the fleeting Rileys Bertram held fourth placek putting the big Bamato up to 126 and waiting to see how things Nvere planning out. The Duesenberg wanted more oil in its gearbox and fell back, attention also being given beneath the bonnet, which was raised after preliminary inspection beneath the scuttle flap. Mrs. Petre had a stop of prolonged duration when it was found that a valve-rocker would have to be changed to cure really dismal misfiring. Goodaere was called into the Austin pit by the reflector-glass arm of Davis’s signal,
suffering from carburetter flooding and for a time Duller took over, seemingly a trifle worried on his return to a racing Austin’s cockpit. By 2.30 p.m. the position was :—
I. Dixon-Martin (Riley) 123.28. m.p.h., 411. 2s. ahead of handicap. 51 laps completed.
2. Paul von der &eke (Riley) 122.52 m.p.h., 3ni. (s. ahead of handicap.
3. Bert rai I Nlarker ( Barnato-Haasan) 127.21 m.p.h., 2m. 43s. ahead of handicap.
4. Dodson-liadlcy (Austin) 108.51 m.p.h., fai. 7s. ahead of handiCap. Note that these were average speeds. Intrigued, we timed a few cars around :1 p.m. and found the Barnato to be lat).pii4:; at Over 129 in ph., the Duesenberg at 122.9i m.p.h., the Pacey-Hassan at 117 m.p.h. and the Lagonda at 115
1 Hi m.p.h. The Hassan and Pacey vent past very steadily with a patter of tyres and deep-throated roar, but Wisdom had some swerves on the By-fleet in the light Riley, and Hamilton had on occasion to fight the Alfa. The Austins were probably the noisiest ears on the track, Dodson, using cotton-wool car plugs. Excitement increased when Dixon came in to re-fuel, change tyres and hand over to it pent-up Charlie Martin. At first Dixon ‘appeared not to see the signal. When he did come in he brought his cushion to the pit with him, just as the vt.rs do, and ” Dunlop ” Mac., as Diiyon ,xuuplained that he had not known he was leading, said ” No, you
were last, Fred.” This stop took two minutes, allowing Bertram to go into the lead, but the Riley position seemed pretty hopeful, for Wisdom was now fourth and Paul third.
Martin proceeded to drive like one possessed, and Ise caught him doing 126 m.p.h. one round. Dodson’s Austin had meantime retired after 73 laps, with engine trouble following a fluctuating oil-pressure which the
B.R.D.C. 500-MILE RACE
addition of lubricant from a huge gun
did nothing to cure. Poor Fairfield, taking a breather from E.R.A.s, had a conrod come with great vigour through the sump of the works Riley, after 31 laps. Then Bertram brought in the Barnato for a rapid re-fill and change of rear covers, Marker then taking the wheel. Four minutes were lost ; Martin led. Then apprehension rose to fever pitch when Marker disappeared behind the Members’ Hill very low on the banking. Hassan furiously worked the handle of his portable telephone, mechanics ran down the track, Leslie Wilson looked sympathetic, and the crowd pressing against the wire mesh called for enlightenment from those in the pit. Bertram’s lady friend ceased plying him with lemonade and came for news. Alas, the fastest car in the contest had broken a connecting rod in its 8-litre Bentley engine . . . and about breakages like that there is nothing you can do. At 3.30 p.m. the leaders were :
1. Dixon-Martin (Riley) 120.63 m.p.h.
2. Bertram Marker (Bamato-Hamsan) 124.04 m.p.h.
8. Paul-von der Beeke (Riley) 116.64 m.p.h. 4. Hamilton-Belleroehe (Alia-Romeo) 116.11 m.p.h. Mrs. Petre’s Riley, Mrs. Wisdom up, experienced more rocker-trouble and retired at 106 laps with a sheared rocker-shaft. Cyril Paul came in for tyres and fuel and the Monza Alfa-Romeo, beating Wisdom’s Riley. took second place behind Martin. Speeds now began to drop and only the leading Riley was ahead of handicap. Martin screamed to a standstill, that wonderful 2-litre was again re-fuelled and the tyres changed, and in 2i minutes it left with Freddie back at the wheel. Dixon now began to ease up, and at 4.80 p.m. the placings were :
1. Dixon (Riley) 119.15 m.p.h.
2. Wiadom-Daybell (Riley) 111.85 m.p.h.
3. Bamilton-Belleroche (Alfa-Romeo) 115.55 m.p.h.
4. Paeey-liaker-Carr (Pacey-Haman) 116.3€ m.p.h.
Daybell, ex 30198 driver, then found the Wisdom Riley going sick and soon that car was reduced to touring round on a few cylinders in a cloud of smoke. The Alfa was consequently running second, when poor Belleroche was struck by a piece of flying concrete which shattered the right glass of his goggles. The mishap appeared to happen at the beginning of the Members’ Banking, in which case he drove a lap in fearful agony and nearly blind. Hamilton continued and Charles Follett laid Belleroche, his jacket covered in blood, on a pit-counter, wrapping his eye with lint. Very bravely that driver assisted in the removal of the binding he had used to brace his stomach muscles. collected his helmet, refused brandy, and after drinking a glass of water and removing his blood-stained jacket,
walked to the ambulance. Mercifully the cut was above the eye and his sight saved. We believe the goggles had no approved form of safety glass ; no trade mark could be found. A man in the crowd felt it time to throw a faint. The remaining Austin was in and out of the pit, though running well again at the end, and Humphrey’s M.G. had chronic plug trouble, though leading the class The Alfa was running second, and many people hoped it might win, following Belleroche’s plucky effort, and as we have said, the car was doing rather surprisingly, having, indeed, finished last year at a slightly higher
average than it managed this. Earl Howe had taken over the Lagonda and put its lap speed up to around 118 m.p.h., but its danger to the Alfa evaporated when a plug had to be changed. Moreover, it was now a most interesting position, because Freddie was said to be worried about the head-gasket and was further reducing speed.
Then trying very hard, Hamilton heard fearful reports issuing from his car and brought the Alfa in, whereupon the Pacey-Hassan, running somewhat irregularly, took second place. lt had run through so far with only one stop, to refuel, but was slower than expected, though Baker-Carr now took it round at 118 m.p.h.
At :3.3(1 p.m. the leaders were. :—-
1. Dixon (Riley) 117.33 m.p.h. 2. lialier-Carr (Pacey-Hassan) 115.08
3. Hamilton (Alta) 115.24 m.p.h.
4. Earl Howe (LAmnia) 112.30 m.p.h. The Duesenberg went fast in between attentions to its clutch, and it seems that had this trouble shown up in practice, Street and Duller would have done some thing about it. Racing luck Paul’s Riley finally went out at 106 laps, concluding its tour. The Magic Magnette had been in and out after fast lappery with plug troubles and had fallen by the wayside after 100 laps with a cracked cylinder-head. Denis Evans wore a visor in the cramped cockpit and looked uncomfortable, his father instructing the mechanics to help him out when brother Kenneth took over, a reflection on the hardships of spending prolonged spells
in an outer-circuit car. Billy Cotton’s M.G. had also paid several visits to the Bellevue pit. The Alfa was still third and the Lagonda fourth, spluttering none too happily, when the former car experienced more
trouble and came in for work on the fuelline. So Howe took third place and just when it seemed that the Alfa was out it re-appeared to take fourth position. Towards the end there came a scare, for Dixon came in, worried about that gasket. Feverish work was performed and Freddie tried to move away with the radiator cap open, but was stopped and considerable water added. He eventually accelerated off with goggles still on his forehead-but it was not an ill omen. The race finished sooner than most people expected, for the average was high. So that wonderful man had won again, with a rather sick Riley that is equally at home on the road, following up his win with a similar car on a wet track at 104.8 m.p.h. in 1934. Dixon averaged 110.86 m.p.h.-fastest Riley victory and the third fastest ” 500 ” win-with an unblown 2-litre car not even boasting a super-streamline. What, one wonders, will Freddie do next season ? It is interesting to speculate. Will he ever accept that L:20,000 which rumour says Victor Riley has offered him to join the Riley Company ‘
The Pacey-Hassau-Special was second at 115.96 m.p.h., a fitting finish to a creditable first season and a tribute to Hassan. it stopped only for replenishment and a change of plugs ; its average was far higher that those of the blower .1.1-litre Bentleys of previous years. The Lagon da was third at 113.02 m .p.h ., a splendid show for a sports-car quickly prepared and a credit to Fox and Nichol] Ltd.
The Alfa managed fourth place at 111 m.p.h., finishing its second ” 500 ” and we have already praised the performance. Six cars were still running at the end : one Austin, the M.G. Midget, Cotton’s M.G., Dobb’s Riley, Wisdom’s Riley, and the Duesenl’erg. The winning Riley and Pacey-Hassqn„ Lagonda and Alfa which were placed used B.P. Ethyl
B.R.D.C. 500-MILE RACE
fuel (special) and Castrol oil, Dixon using Champion plugs. Incidentally, up to fiftyone laps the winning Riley averaged 123.28 m.p.h. and the Barnato-Hassan had averaged 127.22 m.p.h. up to sixtysix laps. Rileys took the team prize.
Amongst those watching from the pits we came across Hornsted, and the racing could not have seemed so fast to him, for he was getting 122 m.p.h. out of the 200 h.p. Benz on Brooklands in 1914.. And he remarked that he considered that a chain-driven car to be quite as safe, if not safer, than present-day ” heavymetal.”
So ended a very instructive race, worth while in spite of the popularity of roadracing, having about it something of the glamour of the early 200-Mile contests.
The track did not break up, and Dunlops proved to have completely mastered the tyre troubles that beset the Rileys and other cars last time. We hope that next year’s event will receive a greater number of entries. Dixon nets the Wakefield Trophy, valued at ;6100, and £250 cash, a B.A.R.C. cup, ” Field ” Medal, ” Field ” Gold Trophy. value 13110, and the ” Follett “
Trophy. Pacey takes the Dunlop Trophy, pm in cash, £,100 from Messrs. J. Lucas, Ltd., and the Mitchell Thompson Trophy. Arthur Fox, entrant of the Lagonda, wins the Walton
Trc.phy and £50 in cash. Hamilton receives the By fleet Trophy,
£25 in cash and the K .T.. C. Trophy.
1. F. W. Dixon and C. E. C. Martin 1,986 c.c Riley) 4h. 38m. 15s. 110.86 m.p.h.
2. E. W. W. Pacey and C. T. Baker-Carr (41-litre Pacey-Hassan-Special) 4h. 46m. 15s. 115.96 tn.p.h. 3. Lord Howe and Hon. Brian Lewis (41-litre
Lagonda) 4h. 53m. 1.4s. 113.02 m.p.h.
4. A. P. Hamilton and Marquis de Belleroche (2.3-litre Alfa-Romeo) 4h. 54m. 45s. 111.05 m.p.h.
Won by eight minutes with Om. 40.4s. between second and third.
First British Car to Finish (2100 presented by Joseph Lucas, Ltd.) : E. W. W. Pacey and C. T. Baker-Carr (41-litre Pacey-Hassan-Special).
Team Prize : F. W. Dixon’s team of Rileys H. G. Dobbs and Arthur Dobson, T. H. Wisdom and G. Daybell, F. W. Dixon and C. E. C. Martin.
750 c.c. : W. E. Humphreys and A. Denly (M.O. Midget), 171 laps.
1,100 c.c. : Billy Cotton and N. Black (M.G. Magnette), 176 taps.
1,500 c.o. : T. It Wisdom and G. Parboil (Riley). 2,000 c.c.: F. W. Dixon and C. E. C. Martin (Riley).
3,000 c.e. : A. P. Hamilton and Marquis de Bellcrocile (Alfallonlf-‘0).
5,000 ex. : E. W. AV. Pacey and C. T. Baker-Carr (Paccy-B assan4;pecial).
FINISHED OUTSIDE TIME LIMIT
Distance : 181 laps (approximately 500 miles). Billy Cotton and N. Black (M A4. Ma gnet te). 176 laps. T. H. Wisdom and G. Daybell (1,480 c.c.
Riley), 174 laps. R. L. Driller and Mrs. G. M. Stewart (4.3-litre Duesenherg), 172 laps. W. E. Humphreys and A. Doily (M.(1. Magnette) 171 laps. H. G. Dobbs and Arthur Dobson (1.486 c.c. Riley), 164 laps. C. L. Goodaere and George Duller (744 c.c. Austin), 103 laps.
RETIREMENTS 4 laps : R. Parnell (M.G.), broken piston.
4 laps : R. Parnell (M.G.), broken piston. 15 laps : C. S. Staniland (Talbot), fuel teed trouble. 31 laps : P. 0. Fairfield (Riley), broken con-rod. 73 laps : C. J. P. Dodson (Austin), engine trouble. 87 laps : R. R. X. Marker (Barnato-Haasan
Special), broken con-rod.
100 laps : K. D. Evans (M.G.), cracked cylinderhead.
106 laps : Mrs. E. M. Wisdom (Riley), sheared rocker-shaft.
100 laps : Cyril Paul (Riley), engine trouble.
Dodson and Hadley (744 c.c. Austin) Goodacre and Duller (744 c.c. Austin) Hmnphreys and Denly (746 c.c. M.O.) K. D. and D. G. Evans (1,087 c.c. M.G.) Billy Cotton and Manby-Colegrave (1,087 c.o. M.G.) Parnell and Wilkinson (1,087 c.c. M.G.) Dobbs and Dobson (1,486 c.c. Riley) Wisdom and Daybell (1.486 c.c. Riley) Mrs. Wisdom and Mrs. Petre (1,480 c.c. Riley) Paul and Von der Becke (1,986 e.e. Riley) Fairfield and Maclure (1,986 c.c. Riley) Dixon and Marlin (1,986 c.c. Riley) Hamilton and Beileroche (2,511 Alfa-Romeo) Staniland and Couper (3,377 c,c. Talbot) R. L. Duller and Mrs. Stewart (4,376 ex. Duesenberg) Lewis and Howe (4,453 c.c. Lagonda) Pricey and Baker-Carr (4,487 c.c. PaceyHassan-Special) Bertram and Marker (7,963 c.c. BarnatoHaesan-Special)