Sidetracked with Ed Foster
An eye on the big picture Teams use various methods to make sure drivers remain…
Raymond Mays (E.R.A.) averages 91.3 m.p.h. over the kilometre to make f.t.d. “Bira” (Maserati) runner-up. Sports Alfa-Romeo clocks 70.34 m.p.h. and Mrs. Monkhouse (Bugatti) 76.61 m.p.h.
The Brighton and Hove M.C.’s Speed Trials were revived after a lapse of seven years and run off over a lengthened course – one kilometre instead of half-a-mile along Madeira Drive, Brighton, on September 7th. A huge crowd at the entry had to he pared down from 500 to 300, and rain held off until the end of the meeting, weather conditions being perfect for fast motoring. The spectators occasionally held up racing because a few of them invaded the danger areas, and the starting area became over-crowded, but actually the course was clear throughout and not single accident occurred.
Raymond Mays, his black 2-litre E.R.A. going magnificently, established f.t.d. in the rousing time of 24.47 sec., equal to 91.3 m.p.h„ which is 1.6 m.p.h. faster than his own British Class kilometre record. “Bira`s” 3-litre Maserati was runner-up, in 25.6 sec. (87.38 m.p.h.). with Poore’s ex-Ruesch “3.8” Alfa-Romeo third fastest in 26.09 sec. (85.71 m.p.h.). Heal’s 1910 Fiat clocked 37.04 sec., or 60.46 m.p.h., and Mrs. Monkhouse, in her hushand’s Type 51 Bugatti, 29.2 sec., or 76.61 m.p.h. Another high-spot was the 498-c.c. Cooper-Special’s 35.81 sec. (62.48 m.p.h.), while fastest sports car was Featherstonhaugh’s Alfa-Romeo, in 31.78 sec. (70.34 m.p.h.). As usual the cars were paired for their runs. From the spectators’ aspect this pairing was not too well done, but actually, of course, times, not heat-results counted.
The happenings, class by class, as we saw them were as follows : –
B. & H.M.C. Members’ Handicap for Standard Sports Cars
Alan Mays’s grand old “30/98” Vauxhall, looking just as it must have done in 1924, won from Len Parker’s “V12” Allard. with Elwes’s 2-litre Aston-Martin 3rd.
1st. A. May (Vauxhall) … 33.54 sec., 61.9 m.p.h.
2nd. L. Parker (Allard) … 34.1 sec.
3rd. Elwes (Aston-Martin) … 36.15 sec.
Cancelled due to lack of entries.
Unsupercharged Standard Sports Cars up to 1,100 c.c.
We arrived to see Lowrey’s H.R.G. establish a useful lead from Holdup’s Riley, but Davidge-Pitts’s “Brooklands” Riley was slightly quicker.
1st. E. Davidge-Pitts (Riley) … 42,47 sec 52.64 m.p.h.
2nd. J. Lowrey ( H.R.G) … 42.62 sec,
3rd. C. Holdup (Riley… 43.46 sec.
Unsupercharged Standard Sports Cars, Unlimited, Lady-Drivers
Mrs. Gerard’s Riley “Sprite” easily left Dorothy Patten’s Peugeot, and Mrs. Ching, in her husband’s “328” B.M.W., was appreciably more rapid than Miss Haig’s A.C. Mrs, Elwes, on a lone run, as Diana Cowell’s Riley had broken a half-shaft, was by far the fastest, in the 2-litre Aston-Martin.
1st. Mrs. Elwes (Aston-Martin) … 34.39 sec., 64.47 m.p.h.
2nd. Mrs. Ching (B.M.W.) … 38.27 sec.
3rd. Mrs. Gerard (Riley)… 39.37 sec.
Unsupercharged Standard Sports Cars up to 1,500 c.c.
Major Palmer, in a white helmet and Meadows Frazer-Nash, started badly but easily overtook Foster’s M.G., and Best’s ex-Imhof 1 1/2-litre six-cylinder Singer beat Whittet’s “TC” M.G. Williams’s very neat, lowered Wolseley “Hornet,” its headlamps turned sideways, was far faster than Render’s Morgan “4/4.” A sticking throttle was investigated on Gerard’s Riley “Sprite,” running on 180/49 rear covers and with four Amals, and he then beat Legg’s M.G. “Magnette” and was much faster than his wife had been on her run. Leonard’s M.G. “Magnette” restored M.G. prestige by beating Willis’s Type 44 B.M.W., and Thursby-Pelham’s “Girl Pat III” (M.G., not boat) beat Dudley’s M.G. Finally, Ching got off badly, but his “Ulster 100,” pointed-tailed Frazer-Nash had the legs of Baker’s Morgan “4/4.”
1st. F. Gerard (Riley) .. 37.72 sec., 59.34 m.p.h.
2nd. A. Legg (M.G.) … 40.60 sec.
3rd. Major Palmer (Frazer-Nash)… 41.60 sec.
Unsupercharged Standard Sports Cars over 1,500 c.c.
A fine duel was fought between Elwes (Aston-Martin 2-litre) and Browne with the ex-Hughes “30/98” VauxhaII, although the modern car finally got clean away. Mays’s “30/98” was then paired with Blomfield’s low-chassis 4 1/2-litre Invicta. The Invicta got away well, wheels spinning, but the Vauxhall was much faster at the end, going over the line in 3rd gear at about 95 m.p.h., to get its second win against many potent moderns, although Alan said he wasn’t getting his usual quota of revs.! Quartermaine’s “30/98,” too, certainly put it across Watkins’s Jaguar. Walker now brought out the Delahaye, in very fine order, but it was disappointing, being beaten by Lipsey’s B.M.W. Seccombe’s Leyland, most imposing and emitting much noise from its long exhaust pipe, was vanquished by C. A. N. May’s rather “poperly” Ford V8, which got off really well. Then Butterworth’s 4 1/2-litre Bentley just beat Ansell’s streamlined C-type Aston-Martin, by a mere .01 sec., and another close run was that between Trimmer’s Invicta and Matthews in helmet, vizor and 2 1/2-litre Jaguar. Wagner’s 2 1/2-litre Jaguar could not bold Mann’s noisy 3 1/2-litre of the same make. Boothby, looking very American speed-king, in his bulbous “J.B.” Ford Special, was left by Palmer’s Frazer-Nash, a slow upward change not assisting, but eventually the Ford won by nearly 2 sec. About the same margin divided Moore’s “328” B.M.W., the passenger’s seat cowled in, from the Price Special, at the finish, in spite of Price’s magnificent get-away. Someone once said a kilometre is a long way! Once again Sydney Allard’s new Allard was absent, having blown a gasket early that morning. So Len Parker ran against Mertens’s 4 1/2-litre Bentley. Although Mertens dropped the clutch in at high r.p.m. he was a victim of the Allard by nearly 4 1/2 sec.
1st. A. May (Vauxhall) … 34.00 sec., 65,79 m.p.h.
2nd. O. Moore (B.M.W.) … 34.11 sec.
3rd. L. Parker (Allard) … 34.52 sec.
Supercharged Standard Sports Cars up to 1,100 c.c.
Bowles’s smart “Ulster” Austin Seven was no match for blue-helmeted Wilcocks in the blown M.G. Innes and Kennington were well paired in two beautiful M.G. “K3s,” of which Innes’s was appreciably the faster in spite of the latter’s exhaust note. Coles’s “746” M.G. had small lamps cowled into the dumb-iron apron.
1st. J. Innes (M.G.) … 34.20 sec., 65.41 m.p.h.
2nd. F. Kennington (M.G.) 37.00 sec.
3rd. D. Wilcoeks (M.G.) … 42.22 sec.
Supercharged Standard Sports Cars up to 1,500 c.c.
Bowles, his little Austin now boiling, whereas before it was too cold, beat Pool’s fine old T.T. “Hyper” Lea-Francis by a big margin. Kennington’s “K3” M.G. was now much quicker than before, Innes only beating it by .2 sec. An interesting runner was Henning’s sports 1 1/2-litre 8-valve Maserati, typical Italian sports car, with Roots blown, racing type engine, Tecnauco i.f.s., and well-streamlined 2-seater body.
1st. J. Innes (M.G.) … 35.60 sec, 62.84 m.p.h.
2nd. F. Kennington (M.G.) … 35.80 sec.
3rd. J. Bowles (Austin) … 41.71 sec.
Supercharged Standard Sports Cars, Unlimited
May’s “30/98,” although unblown, ran yet again, this time against Browne’s Type 35C Bugatti, which was started on the handle and emitted much black smoke, but did not finish. Heath’s Alta was then paired with Fry’s Type 51 Bugatti and false-started. Dezsoe’s modern “2.3” Alfa-Romeo then soundly beat Lipsey’s “328” B.M.W., and Innes (M.G.) beat AnseII’s Aston-Martin. Kennington’s “K3” M.G. then vanquished none other than Len Parker’s Allard and, on time, at last beat Innes. Featherstonhaugh’s beautiful 2 1/2-litre Alfa-Romeo then showed exactly how to leave the line and clocked 31.78 sec., best sports car time. Henning’s Maserati was nowhere against the Alfa. Gilbey’s “2.3” Alfa had a great battle with Emery’s Hudson, the latter having enormous 9.00 x 16 tyres on the rear wheels, these wheels consisting virtually of rims welded to the hubs. The Hudson won by just over half a second. Fry’s Bugatti suffered from an excess of benzole.
1st. R. Featherstonhaugh (Alfa-Romeo) … 31.78 sec., 70.34 m.p.h.
2nd. A. May (Vauxhall) … 33.46 sec.
3rd. R. Emery (Hudson Special) … 33.49 sec.
Racing Cars, Unlimited, Lady-Drivers
This was a most interesting class. Wives took over their husband’s cars and two sisters, Mrs. Elwes and Mrs. Monkhouse, competed against each other. The latter, attended by Rivers-Fletcher, wore a blue helmet; Mrs. Gerard had her well-known white helmet perched on her coiffure; Mrs. Bill Wisdom, in black helmet, made a welcome reappearance in the special 3 1/2-litre Jaguar, while brave Mrs. Connell, looking a trifle demure, and wearing white helmet, goggles and corduroy trousers, drove the E.R.A. This has the Dixonised front-end, 6.50 x 16 rear tyres and has apparently been out on the road on test, as it possesses brackets to accommodate wing stays. Mrs. Connell naturally beat Mrs. Heath’s Alta, but when she returned she shook her head sadly when her husband enquired how the car had run. It snaked somewhat on get-away. Mrs. Monkhouse got away with great verve in the Bugatti, wheel, spinning, and on a magnificent run made fastest ladies’ time, in 29.2 sec. The exhaust notes made by Mrs. Mortimer’s Alta and Mrs. Fry’s Bugatti were the hest yet. The former wore a white crash hat, the latter a white helmet. The Alta snaked off in a cloud of smoke, but blew up before the finish, while Mrs. Gerard overwound the Riley, returning on the pillion of Course-Marshal Orlebar’s motor-cycle.
1st. Mrs, Monkhouse (Bugatti … 29.20 sec., 76.61 m.p.h.
2nd. Mrs. Fry (Bugatti) … 30.09 sec.
3rd. Mrs. Wisdom (Jaguar) 31.89 sec.
After this came the lunch interval and we returned to the Paddock. Mays had arrived, in a new “1800” Triumph roadster, and “Bira” was present. The Lord Mayor of Brighton, who had been watching the starts in his Austin, was driven to lunch, and Earl Howe’s “V12” Lagonda was parked by the start, likewise the official Humber. After lunch we took up a position about one-third of the way up the course, safely behind some railings on the inland side of the course. After a while an inspector and a mobile police constable of the Brighton Constabulary rudely enquired what we thought we were doing, told us that because we were allowed in this area before the war had nothing to do with our right to be there now, and ordered us off. This in spite of masses of people without passes who occupied the sea-side of the road, including three people who sat on the kerb near the start for much of the afternoon. We believe Klemantaski was prevented from photographing where he wished by the police. This sort of thing smacks of Fascism in a small way — possibly a nasty straw in the wind? One p.c., whose number we have, actually tore a competitor’s-assistant’s pass off a person’s coat because he wished to return to the Paddock along a few yards of the course during a long lull in the racing. So we had to report the remainder of the meeting by the start, elbowing a view between a press of people, the majority of whom had no passes of any sort. If clubs would issue arm-bands in place of tiny paper badges to responsible people, the public would feel less resentful of certain persons being allowed to remain in good vantage points. When Fred Craner had the German teams at Donington he decided to issue easily visible passes to selected individuals only, but, once they had been given one of these passes, they were allowed to look out for themselves and go where they wished, unmolested. The police, at Brighton and elsewhere, do splendid work in keeping control of the crowd and they are indispensable. We suggest they concentrate on that and leave those with official reasons for being present alone.
To strike a happier note, Waddy and Millidge, ensconced in a Talbot saloon, had charge of the public address system and made it far more interesting than is usual, while Waddy asked if it wasn’t ridiculous that this country refuses to close public roads for racing, so that Lt.-Col. Goldie Gardner had to go to Italy with his M.G. untested, and yet we wish to export motor-cars. Nice work, Waddy! Metcalfe and Mays were testing up and down the Paddock and a De Soto tow-started Parnell’s Maserati.
Racing Cars up to 850 c.c.
Following on the Vintage S.C.C. Prescott Meeting, this was a great victory for 500-c.c.-class racing machinery. The little Cooper-Special, beautifully turned out, beat seven other runners, of 750 or more c.c. The Lightweight was fluffing Phillips’s M.G. went sick, but Bowles’s Austin got away nicely, driver crouching low. Coles’s M.G. sounded very potent and just beat Hodgson’s M.G., which had uncowled radiator, two bucket seats and strip wings.
1st. J. Cooper (Cooper Special) … 35.81 sec., 62,48 m.p.h.
2nd. A. Issigonis (Lightweight-Special) … 37.50 sec.
3rd. J. Bowles (Austin) … 38.38 sec.
Racing Cars up to 1,100 c.c.
The policemen spoilt our observation of this class. The amazing Westall-Special, with longitudinal A.B.C. flattwin engine blown by a Graham centrifugal blower drawing from an S.U. carburetter, stopped near the start. Metcalfe drove the ex-Eccles Rapier in crash hat and vizor, with his name on the car; it sounded very healthy, as did Finch’s Amilcar Six. Rose drove a yellow ex-Raymond Sommer Amilcar Six “Mephisto,” and Thomson a high, but newly-bodied Salmson.
1st. .T. Dowson (Lightweight-Special) … 32.94 sec., 68.00 m.p.h.
2nd. H. Lones (“Tiger Cat”) … 34.07 sec.
3rd. Mrs. Gerard (Riley) … 36.14 sec.
Racing Cars up to 1,500 c.c.
Gerard won this in the E.R.A., although Clayton-Wright’s Alta, its number board sticking up transversely behind the seats, got away momentarily. Pitt false-started, Parnell’s 16-valve Maserati and Ansell’s E.R.A. had a good race, the former just winning, while Roy Parnell’s Riley-E.R.A. equalled Ansell’s time, but was beaten by partner Brooke’s E.R.A., which, in turn, just bettered the Maserati’s time. Trimmer’s Amilcar “Mephisto” was diffictilt to start and eventually blew up. Abecassis, on the Alta, left a “bootpolish” smell and was 4th.
1st. F. Gerard (E.R.A.) … 28.00 sec., 79.89 m.p.h.
2nd. H. Brooke (E.R.A.)… 29.05 sec.
3rd. R. Parnell (Maserati) … 29.06 sec
Racing Cars up to 3,000 c.c.
A Rolls-Royce ambulance and a dog having left the road, real fireworks commenced. “Bira,” after the big Maserati in its Siamese colours had been persuaded to start, did a most polished run, cutting the curve near the start by going close to the kerb. His get-away was grand He was quicker than Cowell, who had a B.R.D.C. badge on his overalls and ran his 2-litre Alta with solid rear axle. Connell was very rapid in the E.R.A., and Bolster did a stupendous dice in “Bloody Mary,” actually leading Monkhouse’s Bugatti for about two-thirds distance, and being only .50 sec. behind at the finish. This scored for John a very creditable fastest unsupercharged time. Parnell’s Maserati and Abecassis’s Alta were slightly slower than Lefore, but Mrs. Darbishire (Bugatti) showed a vast improvement. Whincop’s Type 51 Bugatti went well but Kidston’s Type 35B was faster. Mays, in the black E.R.A., which was smoking slightly from its bonnet louvres on the line, just made a perfect run — immense getaway and a hurtling dash up the kilometre. The car has new torque arms running from back axle to chassis and we believe it had a solid axle. Heal’s 1924 G.P. Sunbeam did very nicely to be beaten by Hartwell’s Alta by a mere .48 sec., after being ahead for the initial 80 yards or so. Mond ran a Bentley-Special, which appeared to be the old Charlie Martin Special, now with “V8” Autovia engine, two carburetter intakes protruding from the flat-topped bonnet. Fry only got a few yards ere a huge piece of rear-axle casing fell from his Bugatti. Louis Giron, spectating, went off to commiserate! Watson’s Bugatti was towed back but ran well later. After a slow start Gilbey’s Alfa-Romeo easily beat Wagner’s Jaguar. Stubberfield’s Type 35B Bugatti was slow. Taylor’s start was particularly nice to see.
1st. R. Mays (E.R.A.) … 24.47 sec., 91.30 m.p.h.
2nd. “B. Bira” (Maserati) … 25.66 sec.
3rd. G. Taylor (Alta) … 26.50 sec.
Racing Cars, Unlimited
This class brought out two cars which might have made fastest time – the B.H.W. driven by Wallington, and Poore with the ex-Reusch Alfa-Romeo. However, the B.H.W. started badly and took 33.2 sec. The Alfa had its handle threaded in, commenced easily, and went extremely well, making third best time, in 26.09 sec. “Bira,” chewing gum, got the Maserati along beautifully and was .06 sec. faster than before. However, Mays beat him easily, even though the E.R.A. was .22 sec. slower than in the up-to-3-litre class. Geoffrey Taylor was another who improved his time, by .1 sec. Brooke, too, was better and led Mays momentarily. Watson’s ex-Baron Type 51 Bugatti was difficult to start, and was easily passed by Cowell’s Alta. Grey, in a Type 35B Bugatti with non-standard brake gear and drilled shock-absorbers above the axle, changed up at the same time as Connell, but the E.R.A. was just ahead. Abecassis beat Peter Monkhouse, who now indulged in a wheelspin-start, and Gerard was faster than previously. Heal’s Sunbeam came to the line rugged-up, driver squinting beneath the scuttle at the dials, and James’s “2.3” Alfa-Romeo, going beautifully and sending out smoke, only just pipped the old car. Tommy Wisdom – nice to see the Wisdoms in action again – was 1.27 sec. slower than his wife, in the Jaguar, but with much wheelspin and noise it easily beat Stubberfield’s Bugatti.
Mrs. Darbishire false-started in her Bugatti and, using the handle-brake, slid with near-side rear wheel locked. With wire wheels and silver finish the car looked very smart and it caught the “J.B.” Ford, finishing over 3 sec. to the good. Hawthorne brought out the Semmence, fairly banged the dogs in, got wheelspin, and did 32.43 sec., against Mond’s 32.8 sec. Gilbey, with a fine start, again easily beat the Walker Delahaye. The Hudson and the Leyland, the latter now sans front wings, were level for a while and then the old car went ahead, winning that heat by 1.13 sec. Mann’s Jaguar was faster by far than Buttervvorth’s Bentley.
1st. R. Mays (E.R.A.) … 24.69 sec., 90.57 m.p.h.
2nd. “B. Bira” (Maserati) … 25.60 sec.
3rd. R. Poore ( AIfa-Romeo) … 26.09 sec.
Veteran Racing Cars
In this class much better pairing would have pleased the spectators far more. As it was, Rowe’s 1911 single-cylinder Swift, rather foolishly stripped for racing, its front axle vibrating with the engine, was with the Itala. Heal changed up slowly but actually overhauled the 1914 Mercédès. The Fiat still has its Brooklands expansion box, incidentally. The Itala, now with its make on its radiator, which a spectator described as “an old crock which will probably break down halfway,” beautifully handled by Dr. Ewen, was only slightly slower than the Fiat. Tubbs’s 1904 chain-drive Gobron, now cream with polished aluminium bonnet, and 3-letter registration, took 61.34 sec., the little Swift 72 sec.
1st A. Heal (Fiat) … 37.04 sec., 60.46 m.p.h.
2nd. Dr. Ewen (Itala) … 37.19 sec.
3rd. P. Clark (Mercédès) … 38.60 sec.
Veteran Cars Not Exceeding 20 h.p),
Oliver’s 1903 2 1/4-litre Panhard managed 26.4 m.p.h. The only other runner was Leslie Allard’s 1901 2-cylinder, solid-tyred Napier, a Brighton car he was lucky enough to buy recently for £15. He could not find top gear and, vibrating furiously at speed, decided to give up.
1st. G. Oliver … 84.55 sec.. 26.4 m.p.h.
That concluded things so far as the cars were concerned, as the fastest car/fastest motorcycle match did not take place, the motorcycle being unable to play. As the course was covered in one direction only, no World’s, International Class or National Class records are affected; when we published the British kilometre records in the last issue we did so merely as a matter of interest.
The fastest motorcycle was Berry’s unblown 996-c.c. Brough-Superior, with the very calm Theresa Wallach’s 500-c.c. Norton second – 28.13 sec. and 29.08 sec., respectively. Actually, Berry had his front mudguard mingle with the front wheel, and coasted in. Poor Noel Pope had not run the engine of the blown 908-c.c. Brough since 1939. He oiled-up twice, once because his helpers didn’t take the grip while he lowered his goggles, and then because he was held on the line while Berry got going and the B.B.C. van got clear. He slid badly over to the off side of the road on getting away, held it skilfully, but oiled again. clocking 29.88 sec. Norman Sharp, riding his vintage 1,000-c.c. Brough for the first time, held a straight-line away, but suffered carburetter flooding and took 33.2 sec. Tait’s fine old Martinsyde went up on its back wheel in starting a 36.8 sec. run, and Taylor (Norton) started in the wrong gear. Fastest sidecar outfit was Collins’s Velocette, in 34.95 sec. The only Morgan was that of Evans, he and his nicely-attired lady passenger both wearing crash-hats. It was a 3-speed w.c. J.A.P. with headlamps, etc., in place, and caused amusement by blowing the “pipe cleaners” out of its silencer – time 39.8 sec. The motorcycle class winners were: –
Sidecars and 3-Wheelers, up to 600 c.c.:
L.Collins (Velocette) … 36.32 sec.
Sidecars and 3-Wheelers, unlimited:
L.Collins (Velocette ) … 34.95 sec.
Solos, up to 350 c.c. (Experts):
D. Gray (Velocette) … 33.46 sec.
Solos, up to 600 c.c. (Experts):
E. Oliver (Oliver-Special) … 29.90 sec.
Solos, Unlimited (Experts):
B.Berry (Brough-Superior) … 28.13 sec.
Solos, up to 350 c.c. (No Experts):
R. Hogarth (Velocette) … 32.32 sec.
Solos, up to 600 c.c. (No Experts):
A. Leveson Gower (Norton) … 30.58 sec.
Solos, Unlimited (No Experts):
A. Lewis (Norton) … 31.02 sec.
The Best Dozen-Racing Cars
R. Mays (E.R.A.) … 24.47 sec.
“B. Bira” (Maserati) … 25.60 sec.
R. Poore (Alfa-Romeo) … 26.09 sec.
G. Taylor (Alta) … 24.60 sec.
F. Gerard (E.R.A.) … 27.75 sec.
R. Cowell (Alta) … 27.80 sec.
H. Brooke (E.R.A.) … 28.40 sec.
H.Kidston (Bugatti) … 28.42 sec.
P. Monkhouse (Bugatti) … 28.64 sec.
I. Connel (E.R.A.) … 28.66 sec.
R. Parnell (Maserati) … 29.06 sec.
G. Abecassis (Alta) … 29.20 sec.
J. Bolster (unsupercharged “Bloody Mary”) … 29.20 sec.
Mrs. Monkhouse (Bugatti) … 29.20 sec.
The Best Dozen-Sports Cars
R. Featherstonhaugh (Alfa-Romeo s/c) … 31.78 sec.
A. May (Vauxhall) … 33.46 sec.
P. Emery (Hudson-Special s/c) … 33.49 sec.
J. Fry (Bugatti s/c) … 33.78 sec.
H. Dezsoe (Alfa-Romeo s/c) … 33.80 sec.
S. Gilbey (Alfa-Romeo s/c) … 34.00 sec.
L. Parker (Allard) … 34.10 sec.
O. Moore (B.M.W.) … 34.11 sec.
J. Innes (M.G. s/c) … 34.20 sec.
Mrs. Elwes (Aston-Martin) … 34.69 sec.
F.Kennington (M.G. s/c) … 35.05 sec.
C. Mann (Jaguar) … 35.24 sec.
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