A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
V.S.C.C. CASTLE COMBE RACE MEETING (Sept. 17th)
THE Vintage S.C.C. held another excellent and exciting meeting at Castle Combe last month, rendered pleasant by September sunshine. In practice Merrett was going very fast in Clutton’s Type 43 Bugatti until a rod unfortunately broke; while Murray had to remove his E.R.A.’s head to replace a bent push-rod. The first 5-lap Handicap incorporated the Light Car Race, which Shaw, grandson of Mr. Grice of G.W.K., nearly won in a very high 1921 4-cylinder car of this make, aided by two laps’ start, but on the lap last Milner’s Anzani-A.C. came through, winning by 0.2 sec. from Hill’s irrepressible A.J.S. Next came a 5-lap Group Handicap, Stewart’s 3-litre Bentley from the scratch group just pipping Boyce’s Meadows Frazer Nash to the post, cornering outside it at Camp Corner, and also making fastest lap, at 71.53 m.p.h. Wadman spun his Speed 20 Alvis in a big way on to the grass at Camp Corner but continued unabashed.
In another of these races Cole’s very nice 1924 side-valve Aston Martin with excellent replica racing body, the whole car in immaculate condition, led for four laps, but was beaten by Jardine’s determinedly driven Type 22 Bugatti. A normal 5-lap Handicap followed, with five cars after the Edwardian Racing Trophy (alas, Denman’s 1918 Delage had broken its crown-wheel en route and had been abandoned beside the Bath Road). There was another very exciting finish, Warden’s 1930 Frazer Nash managing to hold off Joseland’s 1926 Frazer Nash from the same mark. while Neve’s T.T. Humber was going strongly in fourth place to take the Edwardian Trophy, in spite of the Itala, back on oversize rear wheels, having been flagged away only 25 sec. behind it, with Clutton trying hard, to the consternation of the 21-litre Metallurgique which had an identical handicap.
Skinner, driving Retter’s high-radiator 1932 New International Aston Martin, which has four Antal carburetters and of which only six were made, led Race 5, another Group Handicap, for three laps before Allison’s ex-Monkhouse M.G. K3 Magnette came by. On the last lap it was also overtaken by Abson’s Lagonda Rapier, the engine of which has swollen to 1 1/2-litres since its Oulton Park crash. The M.G. kept ahead, to win at 72.57 m.p.h.
An excellent commentary helped the racing along and things warmed up with the 8-lap Spero and Voiturette Trophies Race, Moores making no mistakes and keeping his blown side-valve Austin ahead of Ely’s 1934 Riley 9 and Clarke’s very fast unblown 1929 Ulster Austin, the last-named winning the Voiturette Award. It is significant that Moores lapped at 70.62, Clarke at 70.17 m.p.h. The donor of the Trophy was delighted, as he used to race an Austin 7, “Mrs. Jo Jo,” at Brooklands 37 years ago. …
There was much speculation as to who would win the Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy, Jardine’s win having put him in second place, tying with Carmichael’s B.M.W. However, Kahn’s Type 35B Bugatti still led and in Race 7, a Group Handicap, driving magnificently, he put the matter beyond doubt, by picking up from 13th place at the end of lap 1, to win easily, after making fastest lap at 82.18 m.p.h., from Mrs. Freeman’s Aston Martin and Readey’s Riley. This gave Kain another 18 points, a total of 88, and an unassailable lead.
The race of the afternoon was the 8-lap Allcomers’ Scratch event. On the first lap it was Le Sage’s Lotus which led but next time round Lindsay’s methanol-burning Maserati 250F was out in front, pursued by Lucas’ very professionally-driven 250F, Le Sage third, ahead of Wilks’ Lotus just ahead of Spero’s 250F, which was on straight Shell petrol. Millar’s 250F lay sixth, well clear of the next group, which was headed by Brown’s 2.8 Ferrari. By lap 7 Le Sage was out with a broken half-shaft (the wheel then fell off) but otherwise the leaders remained unchanged, Lindsay winning from Lucas, with whom he shared the fastest lap, at 90.99 m.p.h. Waller’s E.R.A. headed the pre-war contingent, Bulmer’s Cooper-Bristol unable to catch it.
In the last of the 5-lap Handicaps Poynter’s four-seater Lea-Francis, wings and screen frame in place, got the lead on lap and held it thereafter, in a close tussle with Giles, who was trying very hard in his Frazer Nash. The fast post-war racers then came out, apart from Lindsay, for a Group Handicap, in which disaster struck, Millar’s Maserati, boxed in by Brown’s Ferrari, colliding with Arnold-Forster’s Delage II after Tower Corner, Millar’s o/s front hubcap cutting through the spokes of the Delage’s n/s rear wheel, both cars ending up on the grass at Camp Corner—the second accident both have sustained. Spero spun his Maserati in taking avoiding action; it wasn’t Spero’s day, for Wilks rammed him when leaving the Paddock and dented the Maserati’s tail. Lucas’ Maserati went on to win unchallenged, well clear of Merrick, who was really pressing on in Murray’s E.R.A., with Morris’ E.R.A. in third place. Jonty Williamson found Castle Combe unsuited to the big V12 Delage. Doc. Taylor had his 3.3 G.P. Bugatti out again but it was running badly.
Interest in the Motor Sport Trophy was sustained to the last race, a Group Handicap, because Jardine had been re-handicapped out of his second race but Carmichael, also unplaced on his first appearance, now came out again. In fact, he was also unplaced, but might have gained points from Jardine. Martin in Freeman’s well-known Spa Aston Martin won very easily from Day’s E.R.A., third place going to Knight’s R.R.A. which made fastest lap, at 80.39 m.p.h. The delay occasioned by the accident in the previous race helped Lewis-Hall to replace a big-end in his S.S.100 and another item of interest was that Blight’s four-seater Talbot 110 held, but couldn’t pass, McCosh’s 1926/30 4 1/2-litre Bentley and Hutchings’ 328, B.M.W.
So this very enjoyable afternoon’s racing ended with Bernard Kahn’s unkempt 1926 Type 358 Bugatti winner of the 1966 Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy, with 88 points, a well-deserved success, even if the hard-pressed Bugatti retired from the tenth race with suspected ignition failure. Second place is a tie between Jardine’s 1921 Type 22 Bugatti and Carmichaers 1939 I.h.d. 328 B.M.W. ex-team car, with 57 points each. This is very satisfactory, because all three cars are of makes and types which made frequent appearances on Brooklands Track. It is fashionable to talk of tyres, so I will add that Kain had Dunlops on his front wheels, well-worn Avon Turbospeed Mk. 3 covers on his back wheels, while the B.M.W. was on Avon Turbospeed Mk. 4s.—W. B.
Allcomers’ 8-lap Scratch Race : The Hon. Patrick Lindsay (1957 Maserati 250F) 89.12 m.p.h.
Spero & Voiturette Trophies Scratch Race : P. Moores (1934 Austin 7 s/c.) 68.55 “
First 5-lap Handicap : J. K. Milner (1921, AC.) 53.35 “
Second 5-lap Handicap : J. T. Warden (1930 Frazer Nash) 63.30 ”
Third 5-lap Handicap : K. Poynter (1928 Lea-Francis) 63.25 ”
First 5-lap Group Handicap : R. M. Stewart (1923 Bentley) 68.65 “
Second 5-lap Group Handicap : R. A. Jardine (1921 Bugatti) 63.94 “
Third 5-lap Group Handicap : M. F. L. Allison (1934 M.G. K3 Magnette s/c.) 72.57 “
Fourth 5-lap Group Handicap : B. B. D. Kain (1926 Type 35B Bugatti s/c.) 80.19 ”
Fifth 5-lap Group Handicap : C. Lucas (1957 Maserati 250F) 86.84 “
Sixth 5-lap Group Handicap : P. Martin (1936 Spa Aston Martin) 77.13 “
Fastest lap of the day : Lindsay/Lucas (Maserati 250F) 90.99 ”
Edwardian Racing Trophy : K. Neve (1914 T.T. Humber)
Voiturette Trophy : B. M. Clarke (1929 UIster Austin 7).
MOTOR SPORT Brooklands Memorial Trophy : B. B. D. Kain (1926 Type 35B Bugatti)
ROTARY VALVES—A MYSTERY SOLVED!
Many years ago the Editor was told that a small aero-engine was to be found in the garage of a house on the Thame-Long Crendon road. Calling to investigate, he was intrigued to be shown a 5-cylinder rotary engine with a rotary valve above each cylinder, these valves being driven by sprockets and exposed chains. The thought of all this machinery rotating was rather overpowering and the engine seemed worth saving. Alas, the “fiver” asked at the time was not forthcoming and anyway the Editorial Austin 7 looked unlikely to bear the weight. Subsequent inquiry revealed that new tenants had taken over the house and that this remarkable engine had gone to a local breaker’s yard.
There still remained the interest of trying to identify it. But application to the historical archives of The Aeroplane, Flight, the Air Mlinistry and careful study of Inman Hunter’s reference book on rotary-valve engines failed to cough up a single clue.
However, they say patience is its own reward and the other day a grandson of Mr. Goodwin Fielding kindly sent me the manuscript of some notes his grandfather had put down, relating to his experiences as an Inspector at the Glostershire (later Gloster) Aircraft Company. This interesting material is full of anecdotes, humorous and otherwise, about the famous Gloster productions of the ‘twenties and ‘thirties, such as the Grebe, Gamecock, Goldfinch, Gorcock, Guam Goral, Goshawk and similar aeroplanes, and Mr. Fielding’s visits to those Schneider Trophy races in which Gloster seaplanes were raced. There is not much motoring material, although it is amusing to learn that originally a P.& M. motorcycle combination was allotted to the Inspection Department, a hinged plate on the inside of the sidecar door being swung over to cover up the A.I.D. insignia when the machine was borrowed for private purposes, until, to everyone’s disgust, this inconspicuous transport was replaced by a Trojan car. A Ford one-tonner was used for towing completed fuselages from the Sunningend factory of H. H. Martyn in Cheltenham to the aerodrome at Brockworth, where Gloster’s rented one hangar and the field from the Air Ministry. There was an old Ford ambulance on the aerodrome and Herbert Broad, one of the pilots, used to arrive on a Ner-a-Car.
But what really shook me was a later reference to a firm Mr. Fielding worked for after the First World War—making a 5-cylinder rotary aero-engine with rotary valves! The firm in question was The Buckman Engineering (Parent) Co. Ltd. of Sherwocd, Nottingham, which occupied the Hayden Motor Works and had been, or were, making Buck motorcycles and accessories. Apparently six of these ambitious small aero-engines were built, of which three were sent to the R,A.E., Farnborough. Moreover, the thing actually ran, because Mr. Fielding recalls the chains which drove the rotary valves flying off and going through the factory roof… .! The parents of the brothers responsible. lived near Thame, so it is logical that I discovered one of those Buck engines in that old Buckinghamshire town. All well, Motor Sport usually unravels the mysteries of motoring history, if one waits patiently !—W. B.