A Section Devoted To Old-Car Matters
The VSCC at Cadwell Park
The vintage SCC held its now-customary last-race-meeting-of-the-season at the pleasant Cadwell Park circuit in Lincolnshire (where you can see motorcycle racing until the middle of October) on August 26th. Entries were this time confined to pre-war cars, and 109 were obtained. Fine weather, the friendly atmosphere, and the social quality of the occasion helped the afternoon along.
Racing opened with a 5-lap Scratch Race which Newman’s neat 1 1/2-litre single-seater Riley Special led off while the unfortunate Wicksteed stopped with an alarming judder from No. 1 racing Alvis’ internals. It took until the fourth lap for Danaher’s Riley Adelphi Special to pass the other Riley, and win in a close finish, with Lees’ Riley Special second and Taylor’s Le Mans Aston Martin breathing heavily on it, having lapped faster than the rest. The 8-lap Spero & Voiturette Scratch Race came next, and highly exciting it proved to be. Farquhar got his well-known Dixon Riley Nine away first, as Freddie Giles’ Morgan-GN hung back. That had been rectified by the third round, with the “cyclecar” in front, but then followed a great place-swopping battle between Giles and Farquhar, which kept the crowd on its collective toes, as they say, until Freddie pulled away, to a comfortable win. Barry Clarke was right out of their range but kept his Austin Ulster ahead of Ulph’s single-seater of the same breed, Eyre’s Austin Ulster took the Voiturette Trophy and Cooksey’s Montlhery MG Midget won on handicap.
The first of the 4-lap Handicaps saw Quartermaine’s road-going 1921/24 30/98 Vauxhall do a good step-off against lesser makes and win from Hall’s 1935 4 1/2-litre Lagonda. There was an exceedingly close third place, snatched by Dolton’s PB MG from Threlfall’s Lancia. Winn’s Riley Gamecock almost took the next of these races, but it was swamped on the final lap, to come in a poor third behind the winning Hyper Lea-Francis of Harle and the Ulster Lea-Francis of Poynter, both 1928 cars, a sight which no doubt pleased Barrie Price, who was present.
It was now time for the Williams Monaco Trophy Race, over 10 laps from scratch. Formerly for two-seater GP cars contesting the historic trophy, the VSCC this year ran a race with it for specials. This is said to have annoyed the Molsheim exponents and caused poor support from them, further reduced because Arnold-Forster’s 1912 Bugatti non-started. Admittedly Moffatt was there with his recently-assembled Type 35B two-seater but it had been rejecting its cooling fluid in practice and after out-dragging the others from the start it immediately retired with reported cooked candles. So BOC honour was in the hands of John Ward, who has given up Austin 7s for a Type 35T Bugatti built up from parts, to which he has added a supercharger to render it as Type 35B. The light blue car with its alloy wheels led for four laps but Giles then came by in the Morgan GN, as the GN “Salome” is now called, which seemed to please the non-puritanical section of the crowd. Freddie ran absolutely away with it, after some stirring moments when Ward repassed him on the straight on lap five. Rather as happened in 1978 to Derrick Edwards, Giles had left his medical certificate behind and Janet Giles was made to return all the way to Somerset for it (which to my, mind is tying red-tape too tightly). So Freddie must have seen Divorce staring him in the face if he didn’t win, and drove accordingly! He won at 64.58 m.p.h., 1.16 m.p.h. faster than his earlier win over a shorter distance, and he now lapped 1.31 m.p.h. quicker, sharing fastest lap with Ward who, in the first Bugatti to finish, duly received the Williams Trophy from Mrs. Bunty Howarth. In his part of the contest Ward was followed in by Felton’s 2.6 blown Alfa Romeo and in Giles’ category second place went to Stirling in the Norris Special, with Joseland’s Frazer Nash third. This led to a notice appearing afterwards on the victorious Morgan-GN asking whether the Schlumph brothers had collected the wrong make! To which a lady Bugatti owner had bravely added “No”.
On that note, another 4-lap Handicap was staged. It produced the fine sight of Ulph, Newman and Whale in his Frazer Nash disappearing round the uphill lefthand sweep of Coppice three abreast and an easy win for Taylor’s Aston Martin from Linger’s PA MG and Rogers’ Le Mans Aston Martin. That brought us to the 10-lap All-comers’ Scratch Race, and the sad sight of Summers’ Maserati refusing to start in time, do what the exhausted pushers did to try to persuade it to fire. Footitt grabbed first-lap lead in the Cognac but he was then out-distanced by Bill Morris in the ERA “Hanuman” and Brian Classic, who was enjoying this circuit in his ERA. It stayed that way to the finish, these two drivers in their Lincolnshire-built voiturettes running right away from Moffatt in his 2-Iitre ERA, which had passed the Cognac on lap five, only to hole its crankcase in a very big way on lap eight. That gave the Cognac AC-GN third place, with a separate race, as it were, going on a good way back between Tim Llewellyn in the big Bentley, Day in his ERA and March in his ERA, until they were inadvertently flagged off before crossing the line on their tenth lap. Morris was well down on his 1978 class lap-record but a very sure winner, at 69.25 m.p.h. with a lap at 70.62 m.p.h.
There was great rejoicing when Avril Scott-Moncrieff in her Boulogne Frazer Nash led all the way, to victory in the 5-lap GN Frazer Nash Handicap, even if she did average only 53.30 m.p.h. Tony Jones in “Patience” was second. Chilcott in his Super Sports Frazer Nash third. Finally, Liddell’s excellent 1918 Straker Squire came out, the oldest car present, for the concluding 5-lap Handicap and made up a 10-second on Quartermaine’s Vauxhull to win at 58.75 m.p.h., the 30/98 second and Knight’s Riley Special third, with Rollason driving Day’s ERA neatly to a fastest race lap of 67.84 m.p.h.
Thus ended another season of enjoyable VSCC racing, and it turned out that Nev. Farquhar and his smart long-tailed Riley 9 had won the Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy for 1979, the cup being presented to him by Winifred Boddy, Bill Morris (ERA) and Dolton with his PB MG tied for second place.
It was rumoured that someone had told Avril Scott-Moncrieff, who was pictured on the cover of the race programme, how to extract more speed from her Fraser Nash, by fitting a freer exhaust system. Perhaps, in the best Brooklands tradition, no-one had told the handicappers?
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It seemed rather unfortunate that a nice 12/50 Alvis two-seater which had volunteered to act as the circuit-closing car was deemed too slow and replaced by a modern car.
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It looked as if chain-drive cars were out in force to ensure that a Bugatti would not win the Williams Trophy “on the road”!
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Parker took off so smartly in the Frazer Nash Handicap that he bent the back axle of his 2 1/2-litre Fraser Nash Special.
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There was some delay in retrieving Barker’s V12 Lagonda after it had left the course between Mansfield Corner and The Gooseneck in race 3.
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The Brooklands Memorial Trophy contest worked out rather well this year. Nev. Farquhar’s 1930 Brooklands-type Riley 9, with body and other mods. done by Dixon, is a Brooklands car, having crashed there, for instance, when Pat Fairfield was driving it impressively in the 1934 BRDC 500-mile Race. Bill Morris’ 1936 R12B ERA was raced at the Track by Prince Bira and if Dolton’s blown 1935 PB MG rates as a special, it is definitely a car of the type seen quite frequently at Brooklands. Apart from the Trophy, Motor Sport awarded £100 to Farquhar and the other prize money of £125 was divided between Morris and Dolton. — W.B.
Following the reference in our July issue to a Newton racing car which is currently being restored, Newton & Bennett of Rugby sent us a photograph of the 1913 Manchester-built Newton & Bennett tourer which can be seen in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, with a request from their Managing Director, Mr P. J. Fiander, for any historical facts or photographs relating to this Company which may be available. They now manufacture shock-absorbers, including the linear telescopic shock-absorber, for special-purpose fighting vehicles. On the theme that old cars still occasionally come to light at less than an exorbitant purchase-price, a reader who uses a 1953 Daimler Conquest for long journeys and a 1936 Austin 7 Ruby saloon for economy, tells us that after he had almost given up hope of finding a vintage car to restore, a 1928 Austin 7 Chummy turned up in Oxfordshire last June, a most welcome surprise. It had last been taxed in 1942, and the intention is to restore it, not so much as a show-piece, but for rallies and driving-tests, etc.
Our references to alcohol fuel for cars has produced from a reader a photostat of an advertisement for Carless-Coalene Mixture, made from coal and “proved in aviation circles, now conquering the roads”! It was distilled by the pioneer firm of Carless, Capel & Leonard at Hackney Wick, who urged motorists “to support a British Industry and the British miner”. The advertisement appeared in 1939. . . . — W.B.
Brooklands laps at 120/130 m.p.h.
T.A.S.O. Mathieson, President of the Brooklands Society, raised an interesting point when he wrote to me to point out that more drivers appeared to have qualified for the 120 m.p.h. and 130 m.p.h. badges than appear in Appendix VII of my book “The History of Brooklands Motor Course”. Naturally, I was concerned about this apparent omission, especially as I have spent much time revising the book for a new edition, but without altering these lists of special badge holders. However, these lists are correct, I think, the reason why they do not include every driver who lapped at required speed in a BARC race being that for a time in 1938 the 120 m.p.h. badges were discontinued. That year, at the Dunlop Jubilee Meeting, Count Comotti, Raph and Dreyfus in Ecurie Bleue Delahayes and Elgood in his vintage 4 1/2-litre Bentley all lapped at over 120 m.p.h. but the badges were in abeyance and the Continental drivers would know nothing about them anyway, presumably. But Hunter (Alta.) and Humphries (MG) were awarded their 120-badges in August 1938. By 1939 these badges were no longer awarded, although 120 m.p.h. laps were achieved by Connell (Darracq), Lord Selsdon ( Lagonda), Horsfall (ERA), and Wooding (Talbot), as my book-text shows. That year only George Harvey Noble bettered 130 m.p.h., in the Bentley-Jackson, and he duly received his 130-car-badge, although as he already held a 120-badge, I believe it required persuasion in order to retain both of them! A total of 98 such special and highly-coveted badges was awarded, 83 for 120 m.p.h. or over laps, 16 for 130 m.p.h. or over lappery. My Appendix VII to “The History of Brooklands. Motor Course” shows 17 of the latter, Chris Staniland appearing twice, although the badges were not duplicated for laps in different cars — but that is how the official BARC shows it. I hope this clears up another fragment of Brooklands’ history. — W.B.