Life would be a lot less pleasant without the Brighton Speed Trials, which this year took place on September 6th. The international element of G. Trouis’ two Dyna-Panhards and baby Renault did not materialise and there were a good many non-runners out of the entry of 171. Moreover, many well-known names formerly associated with Brighton were absent and, although weather conditions were ideal, only three class records were broken. It is sincerely to be hoped that this does not mark a decline in these famous speed trials, and we hope greater support will be extended to the organisers in 1953.
As it was, the meeting was run off promptly and pleasantly over the straight kilometre of the Madeira Drive and where once officials and police were a thought surly, nowadays the greatest freedom is extended to visitors-very full marks, Brighton & Hove M.C. in general and F. T. Marchant in particular. Timing is by electric beam, with starting “by Signal “.
Harry Lester improved on his own record by 1.81 sec. in the 1,101-1.500 c.c. sports-car class, Dick Jacobs driving S. G. Greene’s Le Mans Frazer-Nash shattered Raymond Way’s B.M.W. 1,501-2,500-c.c. sports-car record by 1.08 sec., and G. D. Parker’s new tubular-chassis XK120-engined Jaguara with two Arnott superchargers, running very rich, failed to beat Coleman’s 2½-litre s/c Jaguette in the unlimited s/c sports-car class. Coombs’ Beart-tuned tail-less Cooper-Norton led the 500-c.c. cars on the first runs, breaking the class record, but this fell to A. W. Richards’ J.B.S. on the second runs, Don Parkers’ Parker-Special record falling by 0.97 sec. In the Formula II category Rippon’s 1,167-c.c. V-twin Cooper knocked 2.25 sec. off Tony Crook’s old Frazer-Nash record.
Fastest time of the day and a new Formule Libre class record (beating Mays’ E.R.A. time by 0.61 sec.) fell to Ted Lloyd-Jones in his fearsome rear-engined Triangle. Flying Saucer with its 21-litre Rolls-Royce aero-engine. He had a hectic ride and seemed to cut out just before the finish, missing the course-record, held by Mays, by a mere .05 sec. This success is entirely appropriate, for Brighton is the ideal venue for unusual “specials” of this kind, not to mention the less-adaptable vintage vehicles. Long may the Madeira Drive see such motor cars in action! Peter Walker drove the Cooper single-seater with 2-litre E.R.A. engine and might have got the course-record, had a piston not broken two-thirds of the way up the course on his second run, which nevertheless was made in 24.46 sec., after a first run in 24.21 sec. This grand little Cooper would hardly seem to be a lady’s car, so Miss Alabaster can he excused for committing lots of nonsense in it. Peter Walker drove the E.R.A. Delage beautifully, getting up to 8,000 r.p.m. in the gears.
George Brown’s Vincent-H.R.D. actually vanquished Noel Pope’s blown Commerford Pope in the motor-cycle class-24.71 sec. against 26.28 sec. Nice work, George! Mrs. Sarginson’s XK120 took the ladies’ class from Betty Stapleton, who was quicker in the Aston-Martin than her husband had been (!) and for various reasons we were glad to see Jean Ruddock get third place in the Lester-MG., which carried the “Hear no evil” monkey emblem.
Perhaps the closest matched pair were Sears’ 1911 T.T. Sunbeam which twice finished 1½ lengths ahead of Peter Hampton’s Bugatti “Black Bess”- two beautifully turned-out vintage racing cars. But Broad’s ex Machlachlan Austin Seven won this class, with a rousing 29.89 sec., beating the old record held by Raven’s Bugatti by 1.91 sec.
As usual, Brighton attracted some unusual cars, including a Riley-Morgan, Magnani rather heavy Aurelia-like Mille Miglia Lancia Aprilia (just beaten by a Jupiter), the Ford Ten-engined N.T.H., Gammon’s lightweight Plus Four Morgan with the ex-Peter Clark 1.998-c.c. Vanguard engine (which baffled commentator Eason Gibson, who wondered how it could beat Miss Cookson’s 2,088-c.c. Plus Four!), one of the rare straight-eight supercharged H.S.M.s, the Autoria-engined Bentley Special, the old Wharton M.G., and two cars referred to in “Vintage Veerings.”
* New class record + Fastest time of the day
Sports Cars up to 1,500 c.c.
1st: R. Watling-Greenwood (R.W.G.) 35.50 sec.
2nd: S. K. Rolfe (Fiat) 35.53 sec.
3rd: C. le S. Metcalfe (Fiat) 35.80 sec.
Sports Cars 1,101-1,500 c.c.
1st: H. Lester (Lester-M.G.) 31.89 sec.*
2nd: G. A. Ruddock (Lester-M.G.) 32.41 sec.
3rd: P. D. Gammon (M.G.) 33.20 sec.
Sports Cars 1,501-2,500 c.c.
1st: D. Jacobs (Frazer-Nash) 30.07 sec.*
2nd: E. Stapleton (Aston-Martin) 31.63 sec.
3rd: D. Hely (Frazer-Nash) 32.20 sec.
Sports Cars over 2,501 c.c.
1st: E. P. Scragg (Alta-Jaguar) 29.13 sec.
2nd: G. Gale (Darracq) 30.22 sec.
3rd: J. H. Sarginson (Jaguar) 30.74 sec.
S/c Sports Cars up to 2,000 c.c.
1st: D. W. Davis (M.G.) 33.86 sec.
2nd: M. Potter-Moore (M.G.) 34.04 sec.
3rd: D. C. Bishop (M.G.) 34.97
S/c Sports Cars Unlimited
1st: W. Coleman (Jaguette) 29.60 sec.
2nd: G. Parker (Jaguara) 28.45 sec.*
3rd: D. Lewis (Alfa-Romeo) 31.30 sec.
Bentley D.C. Class
1st: F. Lycett (8-litre) 29.14 sec.
2nd: S. H. Richardson (8-litre) 30.80 sec.
3rd: J. H. Bailey (4½-litre) 33.42 sec.
Racing Cars, Formula III
1st: A. W. Richards (J.B.S.) 30.43 sec.*
2nd: J. Coombs (Cooper) 30.80 sec.
3rd: R. D. Biss (Cooper) 31.58 sec.
Racing Cars, 501-750 c.c.
1st: J. W. Broad (Austin) 30.32 sec.
Racing Cars, 751-1,100 c.c.
1st: B. E. Bradnack (Cooper) 28.97 sec.
2nd: D. C. T. Bennett (Cooper) 29.37 sec.
3rd: H. J. Goldschmidt (Kieft) 30.01 sec.
Racing Cars, Formula I
1st: F. C. Le Gallais (L.G.S.) 27.31 sec.
2nd: R. R. C. Walker (E.R.A.-Delage) 27.40 sec.
3rd: A. S. Raven (Bugatti) 29.87 sec.
Racing Cars, Formula II
1st: A. Rippon (Cooper) 30.20 sec.*
2nd: Sir C. Edwards, Bt. (H.R.G.) 31.52 sec.
3rd: D. H. Gashgan (Semmence Special) 32.16 sec.
Racing Cars, Formule Libre
1st: E. Lloyd-Jones (Triangle Special) 23.91 sec.+
2nd: P. Walker (E.R.A.-Cooper) 24.21 sec.
3rd: F. A. Norris (Alta Special) 26.58
1st: G. Brown (Vincent) 24.71 sec.
2nd: N. B. Pope (Commerford Pope Special) 26.28 sec.
3rd: F. J. Williams (Cotton) 27.04 sec.
Vintage Racing Cars
1st: J. W. Broad (Austin Seven) 29.89 sec.*
2nd: A. S. Raven (Bugatti) 30.10 sec.
3rd: D. Clare (Semmence Special) 31.20 sec.
Racing Cars, Lady Drivers
1st: Mrs. R. Sarginson (Jaguar) 30.76 sec.
2nd: Mrs. B. Stapleton (Aston-Martin) 33.00 sec.
3rd: Mrs. J. Ruddock (Lester-M.G.) 33.39 sec.