Type C Jaguars 1, 2, 4. Gerard’s Frazer-Nash 3rd.
Tony Rolt (Jaguar) Sets Lap Record at 86.4 m.p.h.
At Dundrod on September 15th, the Type C Jaguars consolidated the great victory at Le Mans in June. Stirling Moss won the R.A.C. T.T. outright and on handicap in one of these fine cars, at a non-stop average speed of 83.55 m.p.h. Peter Walker followed him home, second at 82.57 m.p.h., and after Leslie Johnson had handed over the third Type C Jaguar to Tony Rolt, that brilliant driver broke the lap record at 86.4 m.p.h. and, picking up many places, finished fourth, at 81.31 m.p.h. Bob Gerard’s Frazer-Nash, however, was third on handicap, thereby emphasing the prowess of a 2-litre car which recently won the Targa Florio for Britain. Jaguar took the S.M.M.T. Team Trophy and Jowett Jupiter, Frazer Nash, Ferrari and Jaguar were the class winners. The race was punctuated by two crashes on the first lap, in one of which Eric Winterbottom sustained fatal injuries, and in the other Eddie Hail eliminated his 4.1-litre Ferrari. Later, after a series of episodes, Jack Fairman crashed Broadhead’s XK 120 Jaguar. Moss shares with Nuvolari and Dixon the distinction of twice winning the T.T. race.
From the practice times Moss and Jaguar were seen to be very probable winners although, in the wet, Abecassis took the lone DB III Aston-Martin round very fast. The Feltham firm had hoped to run three of these new open aerodynamic two-seaters, but a strike delayed all but one car. This, a very short, exciting two-seater with a rather ugly painted nose grille, had the ” Vantage” engine with three Weber carburetters and was expected to be a menace to the three Type C Jaguars, which in some camps were rumoured to be wrongly geared for the Dundrod circuit.
Of the Ferrari entries, Chinetti’s 2-litre did not arrive, Palmieri crashed the “2.6” between the circuit and Belfast, and after very little practice Baird’s 4.1-litre car lost bits out of its back axle, so that Mike Hawthorn only got a short drive. The Palmieri car was driven in the race by Baird. Tom Cole (Allard) did not get back from the Targa Florio, and Murray (Jaguar), Kelly (Aston-Martin) and Baron de Barry (Simca) were also non-starters.
Before the race the usual worries cropped up. Moss announced that he expected to have to drive very hard to beat the handicap, which gave 11 laps start to the tiny, very lovely D.B.
The Jupiters had a last-minute panic about gaskets, although equipped with the new cylinder head studs—incidentally, remembering the weather last year, their distributors were water-proofed before the race. These cars were rather shamefully dirty in contrast to most of the others. Here and there, green distemper had been applied to render cars International in this race which attracted two foreign drivers!
Allard was disappointed with the speed of his a Allard with its Chrysler Fire Power V8 engine with four small d.d. carburetters on two external four-branch manifolds. He was further troubled by loss of a tappet in practice, the hydraulic Chrysler tappets demanding especially clean oil in a car where there just wasn’t room for the customary oil-filter. The Jupiters had the wheel-changing tools neatly clipped to the passenger’s floor, and a new position for their oil radiators on the front off-side of the engines, the Type C Jaguar’s spare plugs by the driver’s legs and Newton’s Le Mans Fraser-Nash dual nourishment-bottles on its facia. The Lucas/Baird Ferrari showed little signs of its inversion in an Irish ditch; it had a touring all-enveloping body and centre-lock wire wheels. John Wyer, rising from a sick-bed, arrived in the experimental, very large Lagonda Saloon. Eberon von Eberhorst was in this pit.
The weather threatened a bit and one shower fell, but the circuit remained dry for almost the entire race. As the cars were started in groups we marvelled at the 5 sec. gap in a four-hour race between the tiny D.B. and the Aston-Martin/Ferrari group—it was theoretical only, as Gatsonides took his time and the bigger cars left first. Scarcely had the last group been dispatched than Jim Mayers’ Lester-M.G. came through in the lead, followed by Watkins’ Allard, Hadley’s Jupiter, Wisdom’s Jupiter, Lester’s Lester-M.G., Wise’s Jupiter, Skelly’s Jupiter and the rest of the earlier starters.
Already disaster had struck. Going into the severe right-hand bend at Budore, veteran Eddie Hall made a mistake that badly damaged the “4.1” Ferrari, although he received only superficial cuts. Unhappily, at Wheeler’s Corner, Eric Winterbottom hit the bank in Duff’s Frazer-Nash and the car overturned, blocking the road until officials, using ropes, dragged it clear, leaving about a foot projecting. Winterbottom died on the way to hospital, although no official announcement was made during or immediately after the race.
Lap two was much the same, only Wise had swopped a place with Lester. Very soon Moss was in his stride, lifting the lap record to 82.91 m.p.h., 22 sec. faster than his XK 120 time in the rain last year. After half-an-hour he led on handicap from Lance Macklin in the DB III, with Walker’s Jaguar third. The tiny DB was leader on the road, lapping at a rousing 66.74 m.p.h. and covering the timed kilo at 82.77 m.p.h. in spite of a slight misfire – that on two air-cooled “pots” and 747 c.c! Here Moss was doing 126.9, the DB III 114.3 m.p.h. Moss and Walker both lapped at a record 83.43 m.p.h. just before 3 p.m.
First pit stop was by Gatsonides, to examine the DB’s steering, but he soon resumed. Soon after, having suffered clutch slip for six laps, Phillips retired his TD M.G. Not long afterwards Collen’s TD M.G. came in boiling and, after a long stop, was retired with a blown gasket. Meanwhile Lester had driven slowly behind the pits and retired with a broken rocker and Mayers had done likewise, every bearing in his engine enlarged. These cars had suffered from too-hot oil, Lester reporting only 40 lb/sq.in. pressure. Not M.G.’s day!
Nothing looked like stopping Moss, whose dark green Jaguar did its 18th lap at 84.48 m.p.h. Aston-Martin, however, were in trouble, Baird’s Ferrari being faster than their DB ll’s and the DB lll trailing its exhaust pipe. Macklin was very calm as this was fixed, staying in the cockpit and discussing it with an equally calm Wyer. The tonneau cover was lifted to get at the tools, fuel went in and Wyer ordered a check of the front suspension, bonnet open, before the car proceeded. It was Wyer who reminded them to fasten the tonneau, whose quiet, deep voice called for the can of fuel. Only hitch to an ordered stop was when von Eherhorst ran to speak to Macklin and had to be told to move. Alas, the DB lll was retired later, after the bonnet had been opened and the engine blipped, apparently with a split exhaust manifold – hard Iuck after a hard struggle to get the car finished.
Baird’s Ferrari was running well at 121.2 over the kilo, but spun at Grentislands. After 1 1/2 hours the order, as at 3pm, was Moss, Macklin, Walker, the speed rising, Moss averaging 82.99 m.p.h. and doing the kilo at 126.1, Walker at 125.8 m.p.h., whereas Macklin’s DB III clocked only 109.1. After Macklin’s retirement, at 4pm, Gerard’s steady Frazer-Nash came up into third place, Baird’s Ferrari fourth and Abecassis, doing all he could for Feltham, fifth in the DB ll, ahead of Pitt in Newton’s Frazer-Nash.
There wasn’t much pit activity, but Swift’s XK 120 changed a damaged rear wheel following an episode, Allard refuelled the Chrysler-Allard while Lush unstuck its throttles, Watkins also refuellist his Allard, but Peter Collins’ Cadillac-Allard had stopped with back axle failure, which later eliminated Sidney’s car.
Moss pushed the lap-record to 85.02 m.p.h. on his 20th lap, although comfortably in the lead. Jaguar now turned to trying to get the Type Cs into 1, 2, 3 order, by calling in Johnson and putting in Rolt. Tony proceeded to have a magnificent drive, stamping him as one of the leading British drivers of his generation. He wentover the kilo at 127.2 m.p.h., to Walker’s 126.3 and Moss’ 126.6, and pushed Moss’ lap-record to 85.57 m.p.h., his speed rising as he got into his “groove” until finally he lapped at a stupendous 86.4 m.p.h. (5 min, 9 sec.). This rapidly brought him through the field, but Gerard’s game Frazer-Nash was the “meat” in the multiple Jaguar sandwich and not to be dislodged.
ln the meantime, further snags had developed for Aston-Martin, Abecassis retiring with transmission trouble and Baird’s impressive Ferrari passing Shawe-Taylor’s DB II on handicap, after Brian had “roof-tapped” to Wyer and duly been called in next lap for the fuel he wanted. Fairman and Swift had knocked the XK 120s about a bit, exciting the scrutineers and Jack’s was boiling. Fairman finally smashed his up and slightly hurt himself; he attributed this to the grass on the road. Wisdom’s Jupiter commenced a series of stops, for oil, to reconnect the ignition and for plugs, that blotted Jupiter’s 1, 2, 3 in the 1 1/2-litre class, the car limping round smoking after a piston ring had picked-up. Gatsonides lapped at, 67.59 m.p.h.- how’s that 750 Formula boys ? – but no longer led on the road.
No doubt spurred on by the prowess of their team-mate, Moss and Walker pushed their kilo speeds to 127.2 and 128.2 m.p.h., respectively, whereas Tony slowed to 126.1 – maybe with someone in his way that time! Gerard did 108.1. Alas, out on the circuit the lone Connaught caught fire.
So the 1951 T.T. ran on. Loen’s refuelled the M.G. methodically, in 48 sec (whereas Peacock (Fraser-Nash) took 77 sec.), calling out “In bottom gear, ignition on, oil 80, water temp. 70, oil 60, all O.K.” to co-driver Sparrowe as he worked.
No further incidents of note happened and we could sit back in the sunshine and watch with genuine pride the passage of the beautiful dark green Jaguars – realising that here is a British sports/racing car that really “does its stuff” apart from looking so very correct. Gerard, followed in by Pitt and Peacock, upheld the supremacy which Frazer-Nash has won in the 2-litre class and the Jupiter broke a long spell of trouble by being first and second in the 1 1/2-litre category, although Jack Reece’s ugly but very regular Cooper-M.G. stole their third place. Aston-Martin couldn’t beat Baird’s Ferrari, which won the 3-litre class from Shawe-Taylor and Eric Thompson in Rob Walker’s car, but the DB III looks mighty promising. Without overlooking these fine performances, and the creditable speed of the tiny D.B., the 1951 R.A.C TT was another well-merited and decisive triumph for the Type C Jaguars.
FINAL PLACINGS ON LAPS COVERED.
1st : S. Moss (Jaguar), 43 laps, 3 hrs, 42 min. 6.4 sec 83.55 mph
2nd : P. Walker (Jaguar), 43 laps, 3 hr. 44 min. 41 sec, 82.57 mph.
3rd: F.R. Gerard (Frazer-Nash), 43 laps, 3 hr. 47 min. 20 sec., 79.16 m.p.h.