Racing at Goodwood
Racing at Goodwood
Return of the " Real Thing" at J.C.C.'s New Track. Eight Excellent Races Parnell Wins the Goodwood Trophy. Gerard Sets Lap Record "Daily Graphic" Backs the Meeting
In beautiful if rather chilly weather, white clouds flecking a clear blue sky and casting shadows on the sun-lit Sussex hills in the background, practice passed off smoothly for the first meeting at the Junior Car Club's new road circuit at Goodwood. We believe one car turned round on a corner, but it all went off without exciting incident. Lap times were recorded by the Club but not announced, but unofficial clocking, at odd times only showed Gerard to lap at about 83 m.p.h., Peter Walker at 80.7, Harrison at around 81 and Bolster at over 77 m.p.h. We got Geoffrey Arisen, who at times fought his E.R.A. at nearly 76.5 m.p.h., Poore at about the same speed. Probably these speeds were later improved on. Johnson was taking it easily in the E.R.A. which still seemed unstable, Salvadori's old four-cylinder Maserati playing games by, passing the E-type on the outside at a corner. Bira flew over, but, alas, his Maserati was absent. Richardson's E.R.A.-Riley had spells of sickness, accompanied by Smoke-haze, Chorlton's i.f.s. " 3.3." Bugatti soon began to protest, Brandon's Q type M.G. was not on form, Wells' blown 750 c.c. M.G. had no real speed, wilily the O.B.M. motored round and round on fewer and fewer cylinders, and left on tow behind a lorry with its engine still running miserably and for some unaccountable reason not allowed to cease doing so. Murray snaked at times in the ex-Parnell Maserati. Lewis' " 2.3 " Alfa Romeo eventually caught Mann's Monza Alfa Romeo, and Smith's Healey saloon proved faster than Miller's. Gibbs was fearful that a gasket had blown on his Riley, Monica Whincop had gearbox Maladies on her "Balilla" F.I.A.T., and C le S. Metcalfe found his "Balilla" F.I.A.T. too slow along the straights in spite of a downdraught carburetter. Buckler's front wheels were having a lively time. Haines' Healey was said to be troubled with tight big-ends, while the engine of Waring's 3-carburetter " Speed Twenty " Alvis switched itself off. after which the starter went on strike. Salvadori had one decidedly exciting skid. Much stir was caused when Parnell (not Brooke as a weekly suggested) was found to have a low-chassis two-stage " works " Maserati on loan, Wilkinson having fetched It from Italy just in time for the meeting. It only did a few laps—a most imposing-looking car, with spotlessly clean engine. The fuel tank was leaking slightly. The practice period closed with Bolster's mechanics holding a post-mortem on the 1.5-litre E.R.A.'s oil-filter to decide where specks of foreign matter were coming from I The loudspeakers and flag marshals were not tested during practice.
Already that Friday we had caught the atmosphere of Goodwood, had experienced a thrill akin to that which vitalised our system in the region of Waybridge before the war, and we went home eagerly awaiting the morrow.
THE J.C.C. admits quite frankly that the meeting at the new Goodwood road-circuit on September 18th was in the nature of an experiment—if you want to get their exact viewpoint, refer to page 12 in the official race programme. Under the circumstances it is hardly fair to make any criticism, and any comments that follow are put down merely as suggestions. The advent of Goodwood track opens up a new era in British motor racing, and next year many happy meetings should be possible at this very pleasant place. The sprint meetings will have to contend with a serious rival attraction, unless petrol rationing is abolished and enthusiasts are again free to attend all fixtures. The course seems compact, but, nevertheless, measures approximately 2.4 miles to the lap, compared to the 2.267 miles of the Brooklands' Campbell circuit and the 2 miles of the Crystal Palace circuit, for instance. As the circuit is laid on the site of a disused aerodrome the ground is level, precluding a view of the far parts of the course. At present no grandstands, paddock shelters or even scoreboards are available, but the organisers were quite frank about this, and hope to provide these things next year. The paddock was grass-grown, but with an anti-skid " carpet " along its centre, sports cars being parked on one side and racing cars on the opposite side. It was rather cramped for the numbers it had to contain. Officials operated with a seemingly casual efficiency during the Friday and a happily informal atmosphere prevailed. In view of the great help which the popular press can be towards selling motor-racing to the masses, the J.C.C. deserves further warm congratulations for enlisting the support of the Daily Graphic, who presented the prizes and trophies, thereby enabling the British Motor Racing Fund to remain intact. They, in turn, thank the Hon. Denis Berry, a director of Kemsley Press.
Apart from the Goodwood Trophy, the big race of the day carried a 50-guinea first prize and all other races 20 guinea first prizes, the total amounting to over £500—not, however, to be compared with the prize money put up for Brooklands' first meeting in 1907, which totalled nearly £5,000! Goodwood entry fees were three guineas for the big race and two guineas for the others. Incidentally, bookmakers were present—and probably bewildered.
The racing was likened to that offered at Brooklands by the B.A.R.C. The races were certainly of short duration and for a varied lot of cars, but they were scratch events to definite engine-size classifications, whereas the B.A.R.C. worked to an individual handicap system, grouping cars by their known or anticipated capabilities and not by size. We hope sincerely that, like the B.A.R.C., the J.C.C. will keep a record of all lap-times.
The Goodwood race-groupings were very cleverly worked out, but the large unsupercharged ears were not catered for, while Formula II cars had to run with the blown eleven-hundreds. Whereas at Brooklands ears were lined up across the track and flagged away on handicap, at Goodwood all started together from a grid-formation line-up, as the road wouldn't accommodate twelve cars abreast. In a race of only just over seven miles cars in the front row were at some advantage, especially on this course of many corners, and it is debateable whether grid-positioning on practice laptimes would have been preferable to deciding the matter by ballot. Some people would have liked a Le Mans (drivers out of the cars) start for the sports-car races, but it seems possible the organisers discarded the idea in case some late starter, drawing away, should impede those completing the first lap— remembering that only about 2.5 minutes' hesitation would produce this danger. What we would like to see, and suggest here and now to the J.C.C., is that sports cars be made to lap really slowly behind a pilot car before being started, Indianapolis fashion—as a means of discouraging those entering racing cars endowed with road-equipment, for such cars hate slow going on "hot" plugs !
" Bunny " Dyer was a highly efficient chief marshal at this brave experiment. A Jowett " Javelin " acted as a smart and sprightly official car (its cornering good to observe), backed up by numerous Mk. VI Bentleys. A venerable Austin Six ambulance was standing by. John Morgan used a f.w.d. Citroen saloon.
The programme was in many small ways reminiscent of the Brooklands' race cards, which added to the nostalgia. For instance, the entries were displayed in the type of panel the B.A.R.C. adopted. The "Notes on the Drivers" seemed like a rehash of those in the Jersey programme. The public enclosures offer an excellent view but are rather close to the road in places. Presumably the R.A.C. is satisfied, but safety banks might well be built in the fullness of time. At present the enclosures are fenced-off with wire fences, so easy for small boys to penetrate, but doubtless a paling-fence will replace the wire by next season. We have long agreed with the policy of keeping unwanted persons off the course, but at Goodwood, where cornering could not be observed from the Press enclosure, it was rather unfortunate that only photographers were issued with track passes, especially as wide grass verges existed where reporters could safely be accommodated well away from decidedly interesting corners, and the R.A.C. Press Committee has pared down those eligible for track passes in any case.
As to the course, it is sporting, located in beautiful country, the surface looks durable and it can be lapped really fast— at 83.4 m.p.h. compared to 77.79 m.p.h. for the Brooklands' Campbell circuit.
In short, Goodwood is the best thing that has happened to British motor racing since the war. Warmest appreciations to the J.C.C. and to the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, who has sanctioned the course. With these preliminary ramblings off our conscience, let us see what happened at this historic first meeting.
In spite of an unpromising morning the weather was excellent and a huge crowd attended. In the Paddock Parnell's Maserati (No. 1596, 4 CTL) was a centre of attraction, as its Pirelli tyres were replaced by Dunlops-5.00-17 at the front, 6.50-16 at the rear. After Mrs. Monica Whincop had presented a bouquet to the Duchess of Richmond and Gordon, the Duke opened the course by driving round in a Bristol, followed by two Mk. VI Bentleys. The organisation remained excellent, and the public address system was effective. The races were as follows :—
Race 1 : Non-supercharged Closed Sports Cars up to 3,000 c.c. (3 laps)
Non-starters were the Healeys of Miller, Smith and Allison. Pycroft's weird 2.6-litre Jaguar aerodynamic coupe, its fan-tail part of its tail, got off well and led throughout, making fastest lap in 2 min. 6.6 sec. (68.3 m.p.h.) and winning at 66.42 m.p.h., seeming to hold the roof down as he ran in to the finish. Hall's Healey lay second for two laps, but on the last Downing passed, although experiencing a bad slide at the last corner. Haines' Healey caught Brock's coupe H.R.G.
1st. P. de F. C. Pycroft (2,664-c.c. Pycroft-Jaguar) 66.42 m.p.h. 2nd. K. Downing (2,443-c.c. Healey) 3rd. P. Hall (2,443-c.c. Healey) Also ran: Haines (Healey), R. Brock (H.R.G.). [These " also-rans" are not shown in finishing order.]
Race 2: Non-supercharged Open Sports Cars not exceeding 1,100 c.c. (3 laps)
Mrs. Whincop's F.I.A.T. non started . On the line Lester was calmness personified, and as the flag fell he chased Peter Morgan away; after a lap his M.G. was ahead of the former's " 4/4 " Morgan, Gibbs' Riley, Croysdill's Riley Special and Metcalfe's F.I.A.T., the rest behind. Lester increased his lead and positions altered little on lap two, although Gibbs' Riley didn't sound quite so fit. At the end of this lap Joe Lowrey's 1,100-c.c. H.R.G., attempting to pass Cole, slid on to the grass from the last bend, hit a gulley and overturned, the driver having a wonderful escape, for he suffered only a cut thumb. The car had been insured before the meeting. Lester increased his lead, to win by 16.2 sec. Metcalfe's F.I.A.T. fell back and Coles' 750-c.c. M.G. gained a place at the end, but otherwise it was rather processional. Lester averaged over 64 m.p.h. and also made fastest lap in 2 min. 8.6 sec. (67.2 m.p.h.).
1st: H. Lester (1,086-c.c. M.G.), 64.88 m.p.h.
2nd: P. H. G. Morgan (1,098-c.c. Morgan). 3rd: L. B. Gibbs (1,089-c.c. Riley).
Also ran: Kehoe (Riley), Lowrey (H.R.0.), Metcalfe (F.I.A.T.), Render (Morgan), Croysdill (Riley), Coles (M.G.), Marshall (Lagonda), Orlebar (Orlebar), Anthony (Morgan).
Race 3: Non-supercharged Sports Cars over 1,100 to 1,500 c.c., and Supercharged Open Sports Cars not exceeding 1,100 c.c. (3 laps)
Finch's M.G. and Lambton's G.P Bugatti were non-starters. On the grid Buckler had a lone position in the rear, and after lap one Phillips' M.G. led from Ruddock's pointed-tail H.R.G., with Meisl's H.R.G. third. Behind, Buckler was already fourth, Hunter's H.R.G. following up. Some way back Batten's M.G. and Jacobs' M.G. were enjoying a duel, but were last save for Molyneaux's M.G. The next time round both Westwood's M.G. and Jacobs' had dropped back, while Hunter had closed up on Buckler, and Meisl was in third place close on Ruddock's tail. Phillips kept his lead to the end, winning by a mere 0.4 sec. from Ruddock in a fine finish. In the run-in Hunter passed Buckler. Hunter lapped fastest, at 65.9 m.p.h.
1st: G. E. Phillips (1,250-c.c. M.G.), 62.82 m.p.h. 2nd: G. A. Ruddock (I,496-c.c. H.R.G.). 3rd : C. G. Meisl (1,496-c.c. H.R.G.).
Also ran: Hunter (H.R.G.), Palmer (Frazer-Nash), Molyneaux (M.G.), Jacobs (M.G.), Tilling (Singer), Westwood (M.G.), Batten (M.G.), Truscott (FrazerNash), Buckler (Buckler).
Race 4: Non-supercharged Open Sports Cars over I litres to 3,000 c.c., and Supercharged Open Sports Cars not exceeding 1 5: (3 laps)
This was an excellent race, although Tyrer's B.M.W., Hill's Austro-Daimler, Peacock's B.M.W. and Miss Haig's B.M.W. non-started. Waring had reversed the headlamps of his "Speed Twenty" Alvis and this time Miss Patten's Peugeot had drawn the end position of the grid. In a tense start Tony Crook's B.M.W. crept a little ere the flag fell, then Watkins' B.M.W. led the pack away. After a lap Crook led, with Leonard's M.G. waiting a chance to pass, and Jacobs' blown M.G. behind. By the end of lap two Leonard was slowed with mis-firing, and Jacobs now had the lead, although Crook was a close second and waving his arms wildly to indicate that he couldn't get by. Watkins lay third, Leonard next, then Lusty's blown " TC " M.G. On the last lap Watkins, waiting his chance, came through to win by a mere 0.2 sec. from Crook after the other had faltered. Lusty was third. Watkins lapped in 2 min. 12.8 sec.
1st: K. Watkins (1,971-c.c. B.M.W.), 62.79 m.p.h. 2nd: T. A. D. Crook (1,971-c.c. B.M.W.). 3rd: A. S. Lusty (1,250-c.c. sic M.G.).
Also ran: Waring (Alvis), Jacobs (M.G.), Miss Patten (Peugeot), Titchmarsh (Jaguar), Leonard (M.G.), Jane (Lancia.), Rowe (M.G.), Baker (Alfa-Romeo).
Race 5 : Racing Cars not exceeding 500 c.c. (3 laps)
Non-starters were Sparrowe, Page, Smith, Saunders, Pulliblank, and Collins, but the quality of the race held. Brandon's silver Cooper was favourite. Lord Strathcarron had blown-up his engine in practice, but Pulliblank had sportingly lent his. On the line Freeman examined Moss' rear Dunlops and a hasty inspection was made beneath the engine cover of the Monaco. Sir Francis Samuelson's Cooper needed a second push to start its engine, but two were officially allowed. Moss' engine showed a little smoke from its exhaust. As the flag came down Brandon's Cooper jerked sickeningly and stopped—its engine stalled. Moss built up a vast lead, was given a slow signal by Father Moss, and was never challenged. Coldham's Cooper was second, Dryden's Cooper third after a lap, but Brandon was going like a bomb after his engine had been restarted, and after two laps was second, Dryden third, Truman's Marwyn fourth, Coldham and Samuelson behind, Hartwell's Monaco last. Lord Strathcarron had lost his driving chain and Bacon pushed the F.H.B. in. Moss won by 9.4 seconds, at nearly 72 m.p.h., his best lap being done at 73.2 m.p.h.—which would have earned him a heavy re-handicap at Brooklands! The positions held throughout the third lap.
1st : S. Moss (497-c.c. Cooper), 71.92 m.p.h. 2nd : E. Brandon (497-c.c. Cooper). 3rd : It. M. Dryden (499-c.c. Cooper).
Also ran: Lord Strathcarron (Marwyn), Hartwell (Monaco), Sir F. Samuelson (Cooper), Truman (Marwyn), Coldham (Cooper), Bacon (F.H.B.).
Race 6 : Racing Cars up to 1,100 c.c. Supercharged and up to 2 litres Nonsupercharged (3 laps)
The non-runners were Sir Clive Edward's H.R.G., Appleton's Appleton-Special and Brandon's Q-type M.G. De Lissa's ex-Bellevue M.G. had a hasty plug change in the paddock and Folland's M.G. was attended on the line by a battery on a trolley. Folland got away nicely at the fall of the flag and John Cooper's V-twin Cooper nosed its way through to the front. After a lap Folland led Nichols' Parnell, with Kennington's M.G. third, followed by the Spikins-Amilcar and the Cooper. Already Baines' M.G. and the O.B.M. had vanished, and, after two laps, the Parnell sounded odd, Kennington having passed it, and the Cooper, fallen to sixth place, also seemed to have lost some of its urge. Poor Nichols' trouble developed, so that he pushed his car in, the Spikins-Amilcar, a huge Gallay tank keeping de Mattos company in the cockpit, taking third place. Folland won an excellent race at just over 74 m.p.h., lapping at 77
1st. D. Folland (1087-c.c. s/c M.G.), 74.09 m.p.h. 2nd : F. W. Kennington (4086-c.c. s/c M.G.). 3rd : B. G. P. de Mattos (Spikins-Special).
Also ran: Baines (M.G.), Hobbs (M.G.), de Lissa (M.G.), Dunham (Alvis), Wells (M.G.), Moore (0.B.M.), Mackie (Rover), Nichols (Parnell), Cooper (Cooper).
Race 7: Supercharged Racing Cars over 1,450 c.c. (3 laps)
This was a magnificent race. Baring's Maserati, Tyrer's Bugatti, and, in spite of its appearance in practice, Fotheringham, Parker's Delage, were non-starters. Peter Walker handled Brooke's E.R.A., which needed a last-minute check-over on the grid. In the front row were Geoffrey Ansell, in his blue E.R.A., pumping up pressure, attended by Ching, Murray in the ex-Parnell 16-valve Maserati, and Nixon's E.R.A. Mann and Lewis, the latter in yellow jersey and white helmet, were paired behind in their Alfa-Romeos ; Foster's Bugatti, A. G. Whitehead's E.R.A. and Poore's AlfaRomeo occupied row three, and the E.R.A.-Riley, Bolster in his 2-litre E.R.A., and Chorlton.'s " 8.8 " Bugatti were at the back. As the Union Jack fell Murray stalled his engine, Whitehead swinging over to pass him. As they came past after a lap Poore was already in the lead, the big Alfa-Romeo really travelling. Poore had been indisposed the day before but now seemed fully on form. Nevertheless, Walker was pressing him hard, while Nixon just had third place ahead of Bolster. Already Foster had pulled in. At the close of lap two the three leaders were in a tight procession, Bolster now third and challenging Poore strongly, while Richardson had picked up some places. On the last lap they roared up to the finish excitingly bunched, Poore holding off Walker by a second, while John made fastest lap, at approximately 81 m.p.h., to get third place 0.8 sec. behind Walker. Murray had worked up to sixth, with Whitehead right behind him, but Ansell spun off the road going into Lowrey's Corner.
1st: R. D. Poore (3,800-c.c. s/c Alta-Romeo), 77.74 m.p.h.
2nd: P. Walker (1,488-c.c. s/c E.R.A.). 3rd : J. Bolster (1,980-c.c. s/c E.R.A.).
Also ran: Richardson (E.R.A.-Riley), Mann (Alfa, Romeo), Whitehead (E.R.A.), Foster (Bugatti) Lewis (Alfa-Romeo), Chorlton (Bugatti), Nixon (E.R.A.), Murray (Maserati), Ansell (E.R.A.).
Race 8: Goodwood Trophy Race (5 laps)—Invitation--Up to 1.5 litres
This was one of the best struggles seen in this country since the war. Parnell's new Maserati was a centre of pre-race attraction, attended by Mrs. Petre and Charles Martin on the grid. Last minute air-pump trouble caused a sensation and sent " Wilky " hurrying for tools, but all was well. Hamilton's Maserati, which had spun into the infield from the finishing straight in practice, was having its rear brakes attended to before the start. They lined up, a brave splash of colour on the grey road, with Harrison's E.R.A. and Baring's Maserati in front, Hampshire's E.R.A. beside Hamilton's Maserati behind, then Gerard and Parnell, then Salvadori's four-cylinder Maserati and Ansell's E.R.A., with Walker alone at the back. Bolster was unable to run in Bell's 1.5 litre E.R.A. and Johnson's E-type E.R.A. was yet again an absentee, as were " Bira's " Maserati (he flew to spectate in his Gemini, complete with terrier) and Brooke's Maserati. As they left the start in a magnificently bunched turmoil Parnell nosed through, Geoffrey Ansell right beside him. Soon the red low-chassis Maserati was out ahead, but Hamilton was a close second, Hampshire third, Gerard fourth, Salvadori fifth, Harrison sixth. That was the lap one order—after two laps Hampshire was second, Gerard third. The crowd— estimated at 25,000—was on its toes by lap three, for Gerard was right behind Parnell and gaining on him into the corners, so that at Lowrey's Corner they were all but side by side. The Maserati drew away on acceleration, but not by very much, and if Parnell were "driving on his mirror" he certainly displayed immense restraint. The same thing happened on lap four, the crowd yelling to Gerard and a great ripple of comment floating from the tightly packed enclosures as the two cars went out of sight. However, try as he might, Gerard just couldn't do it, being a mere 0.4 sec. behind as they roared over the line—an immensely exciting race. Parnell averaged fastest speed of the day – 80.56 m.p.h. – and Gerard set the lap record for the course at 1 min. 43.6 sec. —84.0 m.p.h. Hampshire came strongly into third place behind Gerard, Harrison, Hamilton, Ansell and Salvadori following.
1st: R. Parnell (1,496-c.c. s/c Maserati), 80.56 m.p.h.
2nd: F. R. Gerard (1,488-c.c. s/c E.R.A.). 3rd: D. A. Hampshire (1,486-c.c. sic E.R.A.).
Also ran: Harrison (E.R.A.), Baring (Maserati), Ansell (E.R.A.), Salvadori (Maserati), Walker (E.R.A.), Hamilton (Maserati).
Parnell was presented with the Goodwood Trophy by the Hon. Denis Berry ; he and Parnell had a drink from the cup, and, not to be outdone, the Duke of Richmond and Gordon did likewise.
All three then made delightfully informal speeches, "God Save the King" was played, and the first Goodwood motor-race meeting came to a highly successful conclusion. This programme of short races offers excellent value to all concerned. Please, Mr. Morgan, let us have a repeat just as early as possible in 1949. It is significant that this keenly-contested racing on a new circuit cost, in casualties, only a cut thumb, whereas in " Battle of Britain " Air Displays on the same day fifteen people lost their lives and thirteen were injured. One hesitates to make this unfortunate comparison, but just visualise the fuss that would have arisen had a car gone into the crowd at Goodwood. The Sunday Graphic gave a centre-page illustrated report by Mrs Petre, in which she described the meeting as the J.C.C.'s first post-war meeting (forgetting Jersey, etc.) and Lowrey, delightful, as a veteran-driver. The main thing, however, is that Goodwood was a great success–we want more ! – W.B.