R. D. Poore’s 3.8-litre Alfa-Romeo makes Fastest Time. Crook’s “2.9” Alfa-Romeo is Fastest Sports Car. Excellent New Course Allows High Speeds.
The Southsea M.C. received an enormous entry for its Autumn Speed Trials on a half-mile course at Merston airfield on September 20th. The event was well patronised by two mayors, a councillor and, local trades people and proceeds went to a hospital. With a right-hand curve some way from the start and thereafter straight to the finish, this new course had a good surface and enabled high speeds to be attained. Organisation was very good, the electrical timing apparatus functioned effectively with but minor breakdowns, and Seals of Southsea, Ltd., had installed a most effective public address system, over which J. E. C. Moorey gave a commentary which was just what such a commentary should be-but which so few are.
Several sports cars were excluded at the scrutineering because they hadn’t proper hoods, Southon’s H.E., Palmer’s Frazer-Nash and Clarke’s Bugatti amongst them. In the Paddock we noticed Truscott’s Frazer-Nash “Patience” with its very supple i.f.s. formed from an axle of which Standards built two, experimentally, Gyde’s 328 B.M.W. with Type 45 engine installed, and Miss Haig’s now-standard 328 B.M.W. with neat metal cockpit cover, spats over its rear wheels and a “power bulge” in its bonnet. A tiny faired “power bulge” was also observed on Garlick’s Riley, while the J.B.M. even had its wing-stays drilled for lightness. Burton’s Riley, described in Motor Sport during the war, retained its downdraught S.U. feeding a Cozette supercharger with enclosed chain drive. Poore’s big Alfa-Romeo has a little left-hand gear-lever working in a visible gate, its pedals fairly close set, and its brake compensator exposed on the cockpit floor. Ansell had blanked off the lower portion of the K.R.A.’s radiator grille.
The big programme opened very successfully for the smaller sports cars, although Mrs. Fry held her 746-c.c. M.G. too long in bottom gear and blew up. Coles’ M.G. was master of the unblown 850-c.c. class, Lester’s M.G. went very quickly in the next class, and then Newton’s lightened Meadows-H.R.G. managed a rousing 32.15 sec., having to ease up round the bend, but easily beating Uglow’s H.R.G. and Ruddock’s Frazer-Nash. Newton actually made fastest time of the unblown sports cars. Morrish held his Frazer-Nash’s gear-lever in position, “Patience” misfired, and Gordon Woods experienced the first real skid at the corner in his Frazer-Nash, grasping the side of the body as he recovered. Raymond Way’s special 323 B.M.W. won the 2 1/2-litre unblown sports car class by a narrow margin from Tony Crook’s black 328 B.M.W., with Uglow’s H.R.G. 3rd. Tipper’s Healey rolled at the corner, Moss blipped his B.M.W.’s throttle, the Beckenham-Special did not steer any too well, and Miller’s Riley had a rear wing fouling the tyre.
In the class for unlimited unblown sports cars, Crook’s B.M.W. howled its tyres to clock 32.36 sec., beating Onslow Bartlett’s Mercury by .50 sec. Leslie Allard clocked. 33.20 sec. in the o.h. exhaust valve sports Allard, then, after a hazardous ride across country on a motorcycle, came up the course in his own 1946 Mercury-Allard to clock 33.74 sec. Later, however, he did 33.12 sec. in his own car, against 38.18 sec. in the special sports Allard. Butterworth controlled his Bentley very nicely on the corner (33.80 sec.), but Potter’s Allard had quite an incident here (34.09 sec.). Kemp Place, in the ex-Allison 4 1/2-litre Bentley, held a real slide at the corner and was very fast (35.54 sec.), while Wilson-Spratt hung on to 3rd gear in his 3-litre Bentley (40.86. sec.) far longer than did Brierley in his 4 1/2-litre Bentley (83.30 sec.), which was, nevertheless, commendably rapid.
Of the supercharged sports cars, Hanman’s S.U.-carburetted “Montlhèry” M.G. beat the Austins of Trowbridge and Bowles in the 850-c.c. class, and Kennington’s M.G. won the 1,100-c.c. category from Burton’s Riley, although the latter misfired furiously on its first run. Leonard’s M.G. was very fast, clocking 32.22 sec., in the 1 1/2-litre class, beating Jacob’s blown “TC” M.G. and Shattock’s Atalanta-Special. Burton’s Riley was by now very sick, and Edwards’ G.P. Bugatti, carrying a huge Notek and one reversed headlamp, was slow. Templar’s “2.3” Alfa-Romeo went very well to win the 2 1/2-litre class from Leonard’s M.G., although the latter was slightly quicker than before. Bremner’s 1,750-c.c., 1929 T.T. Alfa-Romeo coasted over the line and both Lewis’ “2.3” “Monza” Alfa-Romeo and Mann’s “2.3” Alfa-Romeo slid through 180° at the corner. Templar just got into top gear before the finish.
The unlimited class was won by Crook’s ex-Hunter “2.9” Alfa-Romeo, which easily beat Templar, with Lewis, now making no mistakes, but with his blow-off valve occasionally protesting, third. Crook’s car was noticeably steady, even under heavy brake application at the finish. It made easily the fastest sports-car time. Crozier’s 7,020-c.c. Mercédès-Benz coupé was a grand sight, and made a grand sound with the blower well and truly engaged (33.27 sec.). Templar nearly missed second place, as on his first run he experienced a complete about-face at the corner, the inner wheels lifting and clouds of earth rising-which doubtless the rather small crowd of onlookers thoroughly enjoyed.
Brandon won the 500-c.c. racing class with his usual masterful run in the Cooper 500, after spirited cornering, and seemed faster over the line than Cooper, who was .94 sec. slower. Hartwell’s Monaco took 3rd place and is, we hear, to have its chassis lengthened, after having “sat-up-and-begged” in leaving the start at Poole. The G.S.I. misfired on its only run (35.50 sec.), and the Marwyn, in spite of revving freely, was slow (35.0 sec.). Wharton won the 850-c.c. class, going far better on his second run than on its first appearance, after which clutch slip seemed to bother his Wharton. Martin’s M.G. sent out big puffs of smoke from its blow-off valve whenever its driver wanted extra engine speed (34.15 sec.), and Symonds’ Austin, having reached the limit of its performance with its present boost-pressure, was not very quick (34.38 sec.), so that Brandon was 2nd, and faster than before, with Cooper 3rd. David Fry in the Freikaiserwagen, with G.N. chassis and Morgan i.f.s. from the Watkins-Nash, but its original Marshall-blown Blackburn engine, tank and transmission, made a fine start and snaked to the finish in 28.82 sec. on his best run, convincingly winning the 1,100-c.c. class and upholding Robin Jackson’s engine re-build. Finch’s Amilcar Six, sounding most inspiring, ran well to get 2nd place in 30.40 sec., and the Wharton was 3rd. Westall’s Westall-Special just wouldn’t run properly. R. C. Rowland, driving the beautifully turned-out ex-Rayson Maserati, had a slight incident at the corner on his first run, but beat George Ansell in his brother’s E.R.A., the latter, using single rear tyres incidentally, nearly stalling at the start on his first run, and only coming within .69 sec. of Rowland on his second. Baring’s ex-Hampshire Maserati Six made third best time in the 1 1/2-litre class. Newton’s 31.79 sec. in the H.R.G., rear wings still in place, definitely deserves emphasis, its acceleration good to see, but Barry Woodall’s ex-Palethorpe twin-rear-tyred Frazer-Nash was an exceedingly sick motor-car (38.72 sec.), and Rivers Fletcher’s M.G. couldn’t better 37.35 sec. in Mountford’s hands, but had clocked 34.56 sec. in its owner’s hands in the 1,100-c.c. class. Richardson’s 51A Bugatti looked and sounded as a good French car should. Ken Hutchison, who had driven down in his Rolls-Royce, cornered sensibly and displayed real get-away thereafter to win the 3-litre class in his twin-rear-tyred Alfa Romeo, from Geoffrey Taylor’s 2-litre Alta and Salvadori’s Alfa-Romeo. Salvadori had a tail slide at the corner on his first run — he was not one of the twin-rear tyre exponents. Taylor drove impeccably, going very fast over the line; he also used twin rear tyres. Bolster couldn’t sort “Bloody Mary’s” gears out on his first run, but thereafter did a cracking 29.12 sec., Fairman’s 35C Bugatti doing a very clean run (29.75 sec.), but Whincop spinning round in his Type 51 Bugatti before the corner, although he later managed 29.56 sec. Ansell clocked 31.88 sec. in the E.R.A., and Oliver, of Continental Cars, Ltd., 30.93 sec. in his 35B Bugatti. Hamilton’s Bugatti was a non-starter, having crashed during a brake test the day before.
Everyone wondered if the big racing-car class would produce fastest time, and it did, Poore getting away splendidly and using all the acceleration of the 3.8-litre Alfa-Romeo up the straights, to clock, first 26.46 sec., then 26.33 sec., equal to an average speed of nearly 68 1/2 m.p.h. Hutchison got down to 27.06 sec. to take 2nd place, and Taylor was 3rd. Bolster improved his time to 28.85 sec., making best time by an unsupercharged car, McAlpine’s Maserati, curiously entered as being 3,062-c.c., so missing the previous class, clocked 28.09 sec., and Salvadori 28.36 sec., Rodney Clarke taking .60 sec. longer in the “3.3” Bugatti. Appleton’s Allard indulged in a nasty slide at the corner (34.34 sec.), and Lowrey’s MercuryNash did 31.08 sec.
Unsupercharged Sports Cars:
Up to 850 c.c.: 1st„ G. Coles (M.G.), 38.42 sec.; 2nd, J. Bowles (Austin), 49.15 sec.
Up to 1,100 c.c.: 1st, H. Lester (M.G.), 35.07 sec.; 2nd, K. Couper (M.G.), 37.74 sec.
Up to 1,500 c.c.: 1st, E. Newton (H.R.G.), 32.15 sec.; 2nd, W. Uglow (H.R.G.), 33.05 sec.; 3rd, G. Ruddock (Frazer-Nash), 36.15 sec.
Up to 2,500 c.c.: 1st, R. Way (B.M.W.), 32.25 sec.; 2nd, T. Crook (B.M.W.), 32.36 sec.; 3rd, W. Uglow (H.R.G.), 33.05 sec.
Unlimited: 1st, T. Crook (B.M.W.), 32.36 sec.; 2nd, L. Onslow-Bartlett (Mercury), 32.86 sec.; 3rd, L. Allard (Allard), 33.12 sec.
Supercharged Sports Cars:
Up to 850 c.c.: 1st, J. Hanman (M.G.), 36.24 sec.; 2nd, D. Trowbridge (Austin), 37.08 sec.; 3rd, J. Bowles (Austin), 37.38 sec.
Up to 1,100 c.c.: 1st, F. Kennington (M.G.), 33.17 sec.; 2nd, G. Burton (Riley), 35.46 sec.; 3rd, A. Mortish (M.G.), 35.87 sec.
Up to 1,500 c.c.: 1st, L. Leonard (M.G.), 32.22 sec.; 2nd, R. Jacobs (M.G.), 35.06 sec.; 3rd, R. Shattock (Atalanta Special), 36.30 sec.
Up to 2,500 c.c.: 1st., G. Templar (Alfa-Romeo), 32.02 sec.., 2nd, L. Leonard (M.G.), 32.16 sec.; 3rd, D. Lewis (Alfa-Romeo), 33.23 sec.
Unlimited: 1st, T. Crook (Alfa-Romeo), 30.81 sec.; 2nd, G. Templar (Alfa-Romeo), 32:68 sec.; 3rd, D. Lewis (Alfa-Romeo), 33.23 sec.
Up to 500 c.c. (Unblown): 1st, E. Brandon (Cooper 500), 31.50 sec.; 2nd, J. Cooper (Cooper 500), 32.24 sec.; 3rd, G. Hartwell (Monaco), 32.84 sec.
Up to 850 c.o.: 1st, K. Wharton (Wharton), 30.82 sec.; 2nd, E. Brandon (Cooper 500), 31.20 sec.; 3rd, J. Cooper (Cooper 500), 31.95 sec.
Up to 1,100 c.c.: 1st, J. Fry (Freikaiserwagen), 28.82 sec.; 2nd, O. Finch (Amilcar), 30.40 sec.; 3rd, K. Wharton (Wharton), 30.82 sec.
Up to 1,500 c.c.: 1st, R. Rowland (Maserati), 29.24 sec.; 2nd, G. Ansell (E.R.A.), 29.93 sec.; 3rd, A. Baring (Maserati), 30.26 sec.
Up to 3,000 c.c.: 1st, K. Hutchison (Alfa-Romeo), 27.06 sec.; 2nd, G. Taylor (Alta), 27.96 sec.; 3rd, R. Salvadori (Alfa-Romeo), 28.18 sec.
Unlimited: 1st, R. Poore (Alfa-Romeo), 26.33 sec.; 2nd, K. Hutchison (Alfa-Romeo), 27.06 sec.; 3rd, G. Taylor (Alta), 27.96 sec.
[N.B. — Due to the large entry, only one second run was allowed each competitor, this counting In all classes entered.]