” BIRA ” WINS AGAIN
E.R.A. s DOMINATE THE B.R.D.C. ROAD-CIRCUIT RACE. POOR RAYMOND MAYS!
TALBOT WINS OUTER-CIRCUIT RACE AT 111.17 M.P.H. ON September 17th we had two entirely new races at Brooklands, staged by the B.R.D.C. to replace the 500-Mile outer-circuit handicap. The first was a 50-mile outer-circuit, handicap, handicapped B.A.R.C. fashion by ” Ebby,” and, although we have had such fifty-mile races before in earlier years, nowadays such an event is sterner stuff, run at a very high speed, with acute passing problems that call for a flagmarshal at the Fork, and with no time for any pit stops. The second race was a 192-mile handicap over the full Campbell road-circuit, but with the additional hazard of a fast bend, incorporated by letting the cars use the Byfleet instead of the Members’ Banking, so that they came right handed into the Railway Straight to rejoin the road section. This is what the J.C.C. had not been allowed to do for the ” 200. ” The Campbell circuit is very hard on both engines and brakes and this fast bend was probably responsible for the large number of retirements. Sunny weather graced the practice period on most days of the week, and stayed for
race-day. The crowd was noticeably larger than that which spectated at the ” 200 ” and, moreover, more Boy Scouts seemed to have accepted the B.R..D.C.’s invitation of free admission than did the schoolboys and girls invited by the J .C.C. to their big race—these efforts to show the rising generation what motor-racing is like are highly commendable. On the Wednesday the centre of attraction was George Harvey-Noble and Peter Aitken’s 13imotore Alfa-Romeo. George was somewhat interested to find it still unstable round. the outside at 130 per, with tight shockers and as much air in the 7.00″ x 19″ covers as Freeman of .Dunlop’s would permit. Moreover, the Champion plugs needed frequent replacement and mis-firing, owing apparently to fuel starvation, set in at 4,500 r.p.m. along the Railway Straight. Noble said it would be nice to get more speed without using more revs, and said. maybe they would with the scuttle ventilator open— a joke we assume was probably prompted by the enormous wind drag the driver must experience at Bimotore lap gaits, in spite of the small, erect screen. Saturday’s race lost much of its interest when it was learned that Noble would not run, being handicapped too heavily to come through the field and wisely giving up a somewhat dangerous drive in consequence—we believe he would have had to lap at 144 m.p.h. to win. In practice he missed the big bump rather nicely, leaving it to Gordon Wilkins and a V12 Lagonda to remind us of its presence, but the Alfa-Romeo seemed to slide sideways up the Home Banking. The Hotchkiss, which Divo once drove in a “500,” beautifully faired and with open-ended tail, was in R. R. Jackson’s without much engine, but Mays had the 2-litre works E.R.A. cracking well, cornering at the fast bend so that the tyres protested and he had to cut out for the left sweep immediately afterwards. On the Thursday Arbuthnot and Gerard several times overshot the new bend, and never have we seen balder rear covers than those used on the Alfa. ” Bira ” created a sensation by coming unstuck at the new bend and smashing
the E.R.A.s back axle. The car was loaded into the van and taken away and it was said that ” .Bira ” would not run, as he was using the Murray-Jamieson. blown ” Romulus” and the axle from the Zoller-blown car is not, it was rumoured, interchangeable. Previously, Shura had said that they hoped to run through without a fuel stop. On the Friday, about ten minutes before the qualifying period expired, ” Bira’s ” van rumbled into the Paddock and the repaired car went out. Certain people crowded round to discuss whether the same car was being used and it is believed that a protest would have been entered had this not been the case.
Disappointment was felt at the nonarrival of the Scuderia Ambrosiana Maseratis. The reason was said to be the political crisis and as Count Lurani is in this country and keen for his ears to run, this was probably true. However, on Friday the Austrian, Herbert Berg, arrived with his white Maserati Six, a charming German blond, and a mechanic with typical cap, faded blue overalls and earnest disposition. Ramponi was helping with Arbuthnot’s Alfa but Rolt’s mechanics seemed baffled by the E.R.A.’s carburation maladies. At 2 p.m. on the Saturday the 50-Mile Race commenced, with eight starters and Noble the only non-runner. The field comprised the Barnato-HassanSpecial, Charlie Dodson’s sports Delahaye, the old 2-litre Hotchkiss, Elgood’s ” Baddeley Trophy” 4i-litre Bentley, Wooding’s Talbot 95, Dunham’s Speed Twenty Alvis with tank beside the driver and fabric racing body, Follett’s sports Railton, and. the old 5+-litre Graham Paige. Naturally, the sports jobs ran stripped. The Bentley-Jackson, PaceyHassan, Bowler-Hofman., Duesenberg and Napier-Railton would have added much to the race, but three of the former were being saved for Dunlop’s Jubilee and Cobb was doing bigger work elsewhere. Follett was soon lapping at over 107 m.p.h., passing the Graham-Paige, which carried a passenger, and. was later passed inside at the Fork by the Alvis. Later still the Graham-Paige and the Bentley, which had smoked in the early laps, both fell out. The Delahaye was doing around 117 m.p.h. and Oliver Bertram was doing stern stuff in a blustery wind at 134 m.p.h., passing below Elgood coming off the Members’ Banking. Indeed all eyes followed the Barnato Hassan-Special, which now lapped at 138.34, then at 140.29 m.p.h., raising a cloud of dust so close to the outer-edge did it go at the Fork. A blue flag waved at the Fork to appeal for a passage for Bertram. The Hotchkiss had never run well, but Wooding’s Talbot got the lead right at the end, winning at 111.17 m.p.h. from the Railton, which averaged 107.8
m.p.h. Bertram eased to 132.8 m.p.h. for two laps and a faint trail of smoke seemed to rise from the cockpit. After some delay it was announced that he had taken third place at 133.58 m.p.h. from the Alvis, with the Delahaye fifth. The big race was the 192-mile full roadcourse affair, handicapped on a group basis. 1,100 c.c. blown and 1i-litre =blown cars got 5 laps credit (78.26 m.p.h.),
-litres blown and 3i-litres =blown 1 credit lap (83.9 m.p.h.) and over litres blown and over 3i-litres unblown were on scratch (85.33 m.p.h.). The actual speeds tallied very well. Some people dislike a handicap and it is true that even the new scoreboard on the Hill lags too much to make the race easy to follow. The International Trophy and ” 200″ are better spectators’ events, but the smaller cars must be fairly and scientifically treated at least °nee in a season, so enthusiasts excuse the B.R.D.C. for putting on Brooklands’ only handicap long-distance racing-car event. An excellent entry came in, but some of the nonstarters were disappointing. Everyone wanted to see Johnnie Wakefield driving, after his victory in the ” 200,” but his E.R.A. had broken a piston, while Tongue wasn’t ready, the Continentals, Teffe and Minetti hadn’t come over, Mathieson’s Darracq had caught fire and Lace was unable to obtain fuel for his Darracq. In the front rank, however, we had Mays (2
litre Howe (11-litre E.R.A.), Cotton (E.R.A.) and Evans (Alfa-Romeo), these drivers having been fastest in practice. Moreover, the Hon. Peter Aitken was handling Tongue’s E.R.A. and everyone wondered if Abeeassis would at last win a big race for Alta. Work was going on on the line to Smith’s M.G., which had blown a gasket in practice, and Wilky. warmed up Cotton’s E.R.A. Ramponi was seen to shake ” Bira” by the hand, Gerard tried his brakes, and, as the flag fell, Dodson’s Delahaye had still to be started. As they streamed off round the Hill bend Mays was seen to be ahead, and after a lap the leaders were Mays, ” Bira,” Evans, Connell, Cotton and Aitken, all E.R.A.s, save for the lone Bellevue Alfa. The next time round there was no difference. Almost at once Gerard’s Delage was in, the driver was out, and the plugs were hauled out. After 2 laps Lord Avebury’s Alta could _go no farther. Rolt’s E.R.A. was soon misfiring, and it had a complete change of plugs in 3 mins„ the driver continuing without a helmet. Ian Connell now retired his E.R.A. and Rolt came in for carburation attention and brake adjustment, Gerard still strove with the Delage, examining the gas-factory, while Smith retired his M.G. owing to an untraceable malady. Cotton called for plugs and N. G. Wilson. commenced the first Of several
stops, to change brake shoes, Cotton came home for more fresh plugs and Gerard sorted out jets. Meanwhile, Mays set out to wash out his one lap handicap over the other E.R.A.s, and we timed him to lap at 84 m.p.h. Berg now retired With bad valves in the Maser. Wilson and Cotton both had sick cars, and Wilson had a plug change, a valve on the tank also being tightened. Then Percy Maclure, Who had been extra busy on plugs and brakes and things during practice, coasted his Riley down the finishing straight with dead engine, to retire with engine trouble. By now the race was really settling down, and ” Bira” led from Mays on handicap, by a bare 2 seconds or so. By 4 p.m. Cuddon-Fletcher’s M.G. came up to third place on handicap, Howe falling down a place to fourth position, until the M.G. paused for a change of jet, So that the placings immediately reversed. Abecassis, who is keen to keep in the running for the B.R.D.C. Bonus Award, now went out because the Alta had trouble with its blower drive. Retirements were coming in furiously, for Arbuthnot’s Alfa was out with engine trouble, Cotton’s E.R.A. with a smashed piston, and Rolt’s E.R.A., after losing two cogs, with general depres sion. Teddy Rayson with his old 4cylinder Maserati put some fuel in, leaving the cockpit and changing his goggles, though it was a rapid stop. Wilson again came in, and sponged his face while the valves were examined and soon he was in again for fuel and more plugs. Evans’s Alfa was out, Hanson had refuelled in 2 mins. dead, and Cuddon-Pletcher had a terrific refuel in 1 min., pumping up pressure furiously as he left the pit.. Gerard’s Delage went out with a broken rear axle—he drove the car down, so we hope the B.R.D.C. found him a lift to his hotel. At 4.30 p.m. things became most exciting, for Mays and ” Bira ” had both stopped—note that 11-litre as well as 2-litre cars need tyres and fuel during a 200-mile race whereas in 1936 Seaman went non-stop this distance in his 1i-litre Delage. Mays stopped first, the fuel funnel was clumped over the tail wrong way round, whisked the other way, the engine Stopped and fuel was thrown in while the off rear wheel was -changed and Mays wiped his visor. There were cries of ” oil, oil, oil ! ” that was seen to, and off went the 2-litre blue-green E.R.A. in about 55 secs., ” Bira ” now ahead of it. Then ” Bira” came in for a change of both rear tyres and fuel, a beautifully done job, occupying 57,1 secs. Mays led again. Meanwhile, as the crowd concentrated on the leaders, Howe came in for a lengthy pause, for plugs and much work on a fuel filter, and Fletcher changed another jet. This gave Aitken his chance, and he came up to third place, racing an E.R.A. for the first time. Early in the race Dodson had spun the Delahaye round at the Hill corner and now ” Bira” similarly gyrated. Th:race was on, in earnest. Rayson now retired with supercharger trouble and Wilson again kept his pit busy. Aitken did his refuel in 11 mins, By 54 laps Mays had wiped out his lap handicap and ” Bira ” and he were on the same lap. The bigger E.R.A. was gaining about 2 secs. per lap, having passed coming onto the road course. It repeatedly drew away round the Byfieet, but ” Bira ” closed on the wiggly section. Then, two laps before the finish, Mays’s car banged as it left the Banking turn. Apprehensively it was watched all round the course. It still led next round, but was obviously slower. Then, near the end of the Byfleet, smoke gushed out, Mays dropped from the rim, and” Bira’s ” blue E.R.A. ran on to win yet another big race, at 83.41 m.p.h. Mays coasted in, both arms signalling his inability to motor fast, in second pl?ce, at 84.8 m.p.h.— truly foul luck that he wasn’t the victor. Apparently the car lost all its water for 3 laps, but whether it finally succumbed to engine or geerbox trouble is rot con
firmed. Once again the Brooklands public had had a breath-taking finish. The Hon. Peter Aitken drove a lire race to finish third at 81.05 m.p.h., and Lord Howe was fourth at 80.25 m.p.h. There were twelve retirements. Gerard’s Riley won the group A award ; Howe tle gioup B award. Prince Chula, ” Bira’a” entrant, won E250 and the ” Wakefield ” Trophy.