New Course Record of 22.27 sec. Set Up by R. Charlton
Any thought that sprints are losing their appeal is dispelled by the Brighton Speed Trials of September 3rd, for they attracted a total entry of 249. This was the Golden Jubilee of this famous event, for in 1905 the Madeira Drive was built as a special motor track, at a cost of £4,000, for just such competitions.
This year weather conditions were ideal and the course record was broken by R. Charlton (998-c.c. Vincent-H.R.D. motor-cycle), who knocked 1.3 seconds off his own record, the new figure being 22.27 sec., equal to 100.45 m.p.h. over the kilometre from a standing start. George Brown’s Vincent also bettered the old record, but Ken Wharton (E.R.A.) failed by 0.36 sec. to equal his car record.
It seems a pity that while he took home £75 and a big Club Trophy for best car time, Charlton had to be content with the Dolphin Trophy and no cash prize.
The officials seemed rather slap-happy about permitting additional runs after competitors had come under starter’s orders but either failed to move away or to complete the course, Wharton, Walker, Instone, Potter-Moore, etc., being given second chances. — W.B.
Rudd’s A.C. Ace (31.23 sec.) beat Watling-Greenwood’s Cooper and D. W. Davis’ Austin-Healey on time in the Club Handicap class, in which Wilcock’s 1912 Talbot, with Vallier plugs and Bleriot gas-generator, and R. V. Webb’s very nice vintage Amilcar, competed (53.4 sec. and 62.4 sec., respectively). Poorly contested, the 1½-litre Series Production Sports-Car class went to J. Patten’s Porsche in 33.51 sec. The Over-1½-litre Series Production Sports-Car class was a gift for Everard’s DB3 Aston Martin (26.19 sec.), from Bob Walker’s immaculate 300SL Mercedes-Benz (28.79 sec.) and Walter Freed’s Jaguar (30.1 sec.).
The 1,100-c.c. Sports-Car class saw Watling-Greenwood’s Cooper (29.68 sec.) vanquish the Elva (30.86 sec.) and Hayles’ CoventryClimax Lotus (31.2 sec.). All these times broke handsomely the R.W.G.’s class record. The 1,101-1,500-c.c. Category was won by Lt.-Col. (Cider King) White’s Lotus-M.G. (30.19.sec.), again a new class record, L H. Smith’s Lotus being second in 32.61 sec. and B. H. Knight’s Lea-Francis third in 34.6 sec. The 1,501-2,500-c.c. Sports-Car class was more vivacious, Fisher’s Kieft-Bristol doing 29.59 sec, to beat Sir Clive (I love bathing) Edwards’ Cooper-Bristol (30.25 sec.) and Elliott’s Frazer-Nash (30.62 sec.). But the FrazerNash class record just wasn’t broken.
The big sports-car class brought fireworks and Cyril Wick to win on a fine run in the Cooper-Jaguar against strong opposition. His best was 25.3 sec., which broke Sydney Allard’s Allard sports-car record by 2.1 sec. Even George Abecassis in a new H.W.M.-Jaguar took 26.2 sec. on the better of two very consistent runs, which enabled him to tie for second place with Everard’s Aston Martin. The works D-type Jaguar of Dewis (26.73 sec.) was beaten by Alexander’s Cadillac-Allard J2X (26.43 sec.), ski-champion Larrinaga’s very consistent Solex-carburetted Cadillac-Allard JR (26.6 sec.), Wick’s Cadillac-Allard J2 (26.38 sec.) and Sydney Allard in what looked like the same Allard that Larrinaga drove (26.47 sec.). Woozley drove a fierce yellow Weber-carburetted Chrysler-Allard with American engine tune and his own chassis mods., but took 28.8 sec. Lord Ebury, an enthusiastic many-car competitor, clocked 33.8 sec. in a 3½-litre Bentley we have described previously and in error as the T.T. car — it is, in fact, the ex-Fairman one-time saloon. Rob Walker’s Mercedes-Benz was slower in this class.
The Bentley D.C. class was won handsomely by Forrest Lycett in his magnificent 8-litre Bentley with a very sleek dumb-iron apron (28.92 sec.). No other Bentley got anywhere near that and McClure’s 4 ½-litre set up a smoke screen and threatened to fall to bits.
The class for Supercharged Sports Cars up to 2 litres was poorly supported and Haworth’s beautiful Bugatti won comfortably (30.47 sec.) from Potter-Moore’s 1½-litre M.G. (33.15 sec.), which was second only by going away to have a broken half-shaft replaced and for some reason being allowed a third start, otherwise Bishop’s 847-cc. M.G. would have been second (35.0 sec.). The Unlimited Supercharged Sports-Car class received the same luke-warm support and was won by the Jaguara in 28.2 sec., far outside its own class record, and it went wrong on its second run. Sarginson’s 2.3 Bugatti beat Lewis’ 2.6 Alfa-Romeo to second place by 1.57 sec.
A 250-c.c. Cooper turned up as sole representative of the new 250-cc. Racing-Car class and took Arthur Owen along the kilometre in 46 seconds. Raby’s Cooper then won the 500-c.c. class (29.98 sec.) from C. A. N. May’s Cooper (39.06 sec.) and Welton’s Cooper (30.4 sec.). Rupert Instone got his noisy blown Djinn-J.A.P. going well to win the 501-1,100-c.c. class in 25.74 sec., but just failed to beat his class record. Broad’s Cooper-J.A.P. 1,100 was second (26.17 sec.) and the splendid Farley heaved itself away to clock 26.94 sec. and net third place for courageous J. D. Farley.
Instone did it again in the 1½-litre class, getting down to 25.63 sec, but, still outside his own class-record time. Broad’s Cooper was second (26.0 sec.) and Peter Hughes’ 1,219-c.c. blown Cooper third (26.28 sec.), a triumph of sprint special over multi-cylinder racer, for various E.R.A.s, including Good’s ex-Billy Cotton R1B, which he drove well in spite of a deformity rather like that from which Archie Scott-Brown suffers!
The 2-litre class produced Ken Wharton’s E.R.A., looking rather scruffy, and, after Ken had inspected the starting-area, fastest car time in 23.99 sec. On his first run. Wharton seemed put off by a false start on his second run, got lots of wheelspin, and took 24.17 sec. Peter Hughes came a grand second in 25.45 sec. and Broad’s E.R.A. was third (26.3 sec.), after being very close on both his runs. The unlimited class saw Wharton really whistle away, snaking so much that he had to wrestle with the wheel to keep to the course, but his 24.32 sec. wasn’t fast enough, for Rob Walker in his F.1 Connaught managed 24.17 sec. after spinning round and across the course on take-off at his first attempt at driving this car, nearly ending up in the gents’ toilet. Leslie Marr’s stripped Connaught (allowing a view of its beautiful construction) took third place with a run of 24.4 sec., Pirelli-shod, using an axle ratio between that used for Shelsley Walsh and the one used for circuit racing. His mechanics wore B.R.D.C. badges on their overalls. This class produced also three historic cars, Stanley Sears’ 1914 G.P. Opel, so very splendidly restored, which, paired with his son Eric in the 1914 T.T. Sunbeam, clocked 37.13 sec. to the letter’s 37.2 sec., and Sir Ralph Mallais’ ex-Campbell V12 4-litre Sunbeam, which, precariously unloaded from an old van, was driven once only by J. Smith, but failed to record a time. How pleasing it is that Mr. Sears not only restores his old cars so beautifully but drives them on as many occasions as possible.
The motor-cycles performed with the magnificent results described in the introduction to this report. Sadly, the Jubilee Racing class for pre-1906 cars brought only two entries and one runner, Stanley Sears perfect 1905 T.T. Rolls-Royce emerging from under its rain-cover to silently cover the kilometre in 55.49 sec. (Mr. Sears had previously driven his Continental Bentley and taken 34.6 sec.)
The last class to be contested was the ladies’ and very interesting it was. Angela Brown, in George Abecassis’ H.W.M.-Jaguar instead of her usual Aston Martin, won with a fine run lasting 26.8 sec. and felt no need to have a second go. Rosamund Sarginson proved mistress of a Bugatti’s upward gear-change, to take second place (27.8 sec.), and little Joan Broad, no glamour-pants visible for she donned white overalls, did a brave 28.6 sec. to take third place, nearly losing the E.R.A. on her second run but not being much slower in spite of turning the power right off to regain control.
Fay Tatam sat at arm’s length in the Semmence, which now has twin three-branch outside exhaust systems (31.8 sec.), Mrs. Lewis managed 29.4 sec. in the yellow J2X Allard, Veronica Richmond’s Ardun-head Allard managed 30.44 sec., and 30.46 sec. on its second run, and Miss Hockenhull drove splendidly to clock 29.72 sec. in Alexander’s Cadillac-Allard. In contrast. Sally Hogg found Woozley’s fearsome Allard “Butch” a handful (31.8 sec.) and, after lots of Paddock-lappery in Welton’s Cooper Pauline Brock covered up a rather nice sun-top and blue trousers with some oil-soiled overalls and appeared to take off very well indeed, to return 31.0 sec. An interesting run was that between Pat Brown in an Aston Martin-engined sports Cooper and Rosemary Seers in another sports Cooper with three-S.U. Zephyr engine and M.G. gearbox (29.75 sec. and 33.4 sec., respectively).
The Brighton kilometre is an interesting study and the Brighton & Hove M.C. might well sell the published times for all competitors, by which our readers could learn many enlightening things from study of them in the long winter evenings.
O. A. Batten obviously likes Bentleys and we counted twenty badges on Pownall’s 8-litre Bentley (45.2 sec.) — weight doesn’t affect it! Best smoke screen was laid by Morgan’s 3-litre Bentley.
* * *
George Abecassis drove over the White line which divides the course in two. Was he in a brown-study?
* * *
R. M. Smith’s M.G. had a circular radiator cowl, four-branch external exhaust system. rev.-counter reading to 8,000 and even the ears of its hub-caps were drilled.
* * *
I. H. Smith’s Lotus had at magnificent bonnet “power-bulge” inscribed “Lotus 1,500.”
* * *
The blipping record was broken by the Century Stable’s Austin.
* * *
Even the brake drums of Bishop’s M.G. possessed lightening holes. A few cars used twin rear wheels, including Broad’s Cooper-J.A.P.
* * *
When Farquharson’s Allard broke down a bevy of motor-cycle marshals towed it back.
* * *
S.T.D. seems to have been made by No. 232.
* * *
We missed the Swandeon Spitfire Special, but instead F. M. Wilcock drove his Edwardian Talbot.
* * *
R. Charlton went over the line at about 143 m.p.h.