BRIGHTON SPEED TRIALS
Car E.T.D. by Parker’s H. K.-Jaguar Special. Allard Dragster Beaten by Three Pre-1914 Motor Cars
IT is traditional that in September the Brighton National Speed Trials take place over the historic Madeira Drive,and it would be most unfortunate if this fixture were to disappear from the calendar. This year weather conditions were perfect but the event rather dragged, for the morning session; commencing at 9.15 a.m., was occupied by countless sports cars, many of them not particularly exciting, and even small saloons. Each competitor gets two runs per class and at 5 p.m., when some local by-law says the road and adjacent beach must be re-openedtrust the English to build the Madeira Drive expressly for such competitions, some 60 years ago, and then introduce a by-law to limit its use on the only day in the year when it reverts to its original purpose 1—a half-hour extension had to be granted—or perhaps the Mayor and police looked the other way, out to sea.
In future a shorter programme of really fast sports cars, racing cars and motorcycles, perhaps allowing practice runs in the morning, might revitalise this excellent institution, at which a splended variety of sprint machines is unleashed over the historic kilometre (formerly a 3-mile). The start is by signal lights, so that times are apt to be slower than if the ” start when you ta ish ” system were in use.
On September znd under a hot sun tempered by a mild breeze, competitors and holiday-makers mingled—Motorcyclists in jerseys and leathers with briefly-clad girls—to watch, as the main attraction, Allard’s blown 5.7-litre Allard-Chrysler dragster. They were in for bitter disappointment. This smartly-finished freak, now wearing pointed-nose bodywork—a sort of gentleman’s touring version of the skeleton American slingshots—for which the optimistic, Allard himself included, predicted a time in the region of 221 sec. withput exceeding 15o. nip. 11. Worm SPORT took a more cautious view) sounded healthy in the Paddock but proved temperamental on the line, took .off, hesitated, gathered speed, to complete its run with the mixture delivery pipe to one bank of cylinders adrift,. a trouble experienced in trials at Boreham—time, 37,91 sec. The three pre-1914 cars in the same class, Sears’ ex-John Norris Benz, the Fiat ” Mephistopheles.” and FitzPatrick’s Metallurgique easily bettered this, averaging 34.65 Sec.! On his second attempt Allard fluffed out in a matter Of yards and, granted a third run, plugs again changed, couldn’t even get the engine to start. The I3.13.C. cameras waited in vain, up the course, to see him Stream his parachute. Fiasco! Less preBrighton publicity would have made it less of a disappointment.
Goodhew’s Lagonda having won the 13. & H.M.C. I Iandicap from Exley’s 1,172 Bart-Rodger and Wilcock’s S.S. Jaguar, Class t, for Marque sports cars up to law c.c., Was run off. Triumphs had it all their own way, Hamblin’S TR3A winning from the TR35 of Braithwaite and Parr. But amongst marque sports cars over 2,000 e.e. Duncan’s A.G. Ace led Burnanet’s Ace and Appleby’s Healey. Hartwell used his Sunbeam Rapier to good advantage to win the 4-seater saloon class from Palmer’s Riley and a BOrgward.
Amongst the 1,100 c.c. sports cars Derisley’s Lotus beat Barnes’ Lotus and Appleby’s Lotus 7A, hut the Lotus benefit didn’t extend to the i.6o0 c.c. sports-car class, for Wilkinson’s Lola-Climax was faster than the Loti of Playfbrd and Broad. Randles’ Cooper did a tine run in 24.91 sec. in the t,601-2,500 c.c. sports-car class, which was much too fast for a 328 B.M.W. and Hurrell’s ‘I’R3A, and this remained faster than Mike Anthony’s Lister-Corvette that took the over-2,5o I-c.c. sportscar class. Runners-up were Batten’s 8-litre Bentley 2-seater, with dirty chassis and small front wheels, and Goodhew’s David Brown-type all-enveloping VI2 Lagonda.
The ladies had their own class, Vivienne I…ewis of the boyish hair style winning in a Tojeiro Jaguar, on her first run, so presumably escaping her husband’s wrath when she stalled the engine on the line next time. She waS comfortably quicker than Sheila Park’s 3-litre Tojeirta and Mrs. Richmond’s big Allard. Some blown sports cars always turn out at Brighton and this time Coleman’s Jagueue Special was fastest, second fastest being Wall’s ” 2.3 ” O.P. Bugatti, third Russ-Turner’s blower-46 Bentley, which was far faster than Jack Sears in his father’s exBirkin blower-46 Bentley team car, perhaps because Sears dropped-in the clutch at very low revs. Optimistically running amongst these sports cars was a Shorrock-blown Ford Consul
Classic, which beat a blown Zephyr Special that appeared to suffer prolonged clutch slip.
Bentleys, mostly cut, sinu and messed about, harmed the B.D.C. class, amongst which Tatum’S unmodified 41-litre 4-seater always stands out; de Dion 13urton made best time, from RussTurner and Morten. Stanley Sears’ immaculate 1951 “Continental ” saloon had a duel with the same owaer’s Speed Six driven by Kramer, vintage convincingly the faster. After all this the racing cars that everyone conies to see were able to perform in near-perfect weather conditions but from a slippery start-area. Fastest soo was Powell’s 0.1′. Special
(32.02 sec.). Richmond ran away with the .F. J. class in his Venom (27.8 sec.), to which Lotus and Cooper had to givebest. J. D. Farley then unleashed his scruffy but extremely potent -Farley with 1,098 c.c. blown J.A.P. in the tail, watched keenly by that other sprint J.A.P. exponent Hardy, and did a rousing 25.4 sec, to win the sot-1,mo-c.c. class from Cooper and butts. It misfired on its second run. The E.R.A.-Delage was off form, Miles’ 0.1′. Connaught absent, and in the up-to-2-litre rating class Berry’s E.R.A. clocked 25.61 see. in spite of a slidy getaway. Changing fromsingle rear tyres to twin 18 in. Avon slicks for his second run he Made a poor start, hampered by engine trouble.
The Allard dragster being n.b.g., as recounted, the unlimited racing class went to Parker’s 3.4-litre twin-blower H. K.-Jaguar which, with no fuss at all, made 14.d. in 24.63 sec., 1.42 sec. slower than Berry’s absolute course record. A blown 4.3 Alvis with stub-pipes was second in spite of Clinkard lilting off to control wheelspin, Greer’s ex-Clive Edwards’ 11.R.G.:LeaFrancis, one of the dirtiest ears present, third, which indicates how the quality of the entry has tailed oil thee days. Gresham in the 21.7-litre Fiat quietly clocked an excellent 33.4 see., faStest Of the ancient giants.
Woods’ Norton-J.A.P. clocked 21.62 sec., which was proclaimed over the P.A. and in the official results as a new course record. In fact, Woods failed to beat the record, which Basil Keys, also riding a Norton-J.A.P., established in 1959, in 21.59 sec. It seems quite remarkable that the mganisers had no idea of who held the record for their own course. . . Woods was 0.20 sec. 6u:ter than George Brown, who had a dicey start on the Vincent-Special, feet down in a slide as far as the straw bales on the left, which he narrowly missed, his wife unconcernedly ein&filming his lurid take oft The four sidecar ()milts were well worth watching, too. One passenger lay face down in the chair and must have seen the road going by rather quickly; another lay on his back, contemplating Heaven. Barrett’s Vincent narrowly conquered the Methamon.—W. B.
Marshalling was of a low standard. Far too many people without passes were allowed to come into the start-area, blocking the view of paying spectators and time-keepers, and then panic set in and everyone. Pressmen included, was ordered out And people strolled across the course.
A Mercedes-Benz service van towed one of the DKAV. Juniors down. Works entry ? An interesting car was Browning’s Jaguar XK S.S., Which easily beat Richardson’s 1)134. The 1907 Metallurgique was started by crowbar. Richard Moss wore white overalls in his 6i-litre Bentley.
During the time he was in possession of the microphone Jon Derisley mentioned that cars had to return down the course after their runs as the Brighton Police take a narrow-minded view of racing cars using the public road. ” In Dublin,” he said, ” they don’t mind racers mingling with the traffic once a year.” Later another voice explained that the police were very hurt by this comment. Certainly on Brighton’s crowded front an unlicensed racing car involved in even a mild accident could be an embarrassment, not least for its driver, so the police are justified. “L’he fact remains that until a few years ago a blind eye was turned. . . . • •
Several of the motorcycles had ” slicks ” on their rear wheels.
• * Dragsters? Shucks!