WE have always felt that the remarkable enthusiasm of the Southport competitors and spectators deserved some reward. Many will remember what very bleak weather favoured the opening meeting this season, run incidentally at a time when the more conventional clubs were still living in an atmosphere of winter trials, and had not yet started to think of searching their motors for those few elusive extra horses. Yes—they don’t worry about weather in those parts, and it was, therefore, only fair that they should have some real racing weather for a change, on the 9th of last month.
The condition of the beach was also very good and with the exception of a few mildly bumpy patches, was such as to make a Brooklands habitué really . envious.
The chief attraction was, of course, Malcolm Campbell’s entry of his 1500 c.c. Grand Prix Delage, one of the cars which composed the famous team with which M. Louis Delage swept the board so completely in the days when races were for racing cars.
The car races opened with the straight mile events, and here it was possible to recapture some of the atmosphere of the old speed trial days, only with the added excitement of actually racing abreast in group. To the uninitiated the idea of merely covering a mile in the shortest possible time in a straight line, may seem simple and rather pointless. Many will agree, however, that such an event has a fascination all its own, and moreover tends to bring driving to a more polished art than any longer events. Into those few seconds must be concentrated all the skill and finesse that the driver’s experience has taught him. The getaway, especially on sand, where anything like rough handling will produce unnecessary and time-losing wheelspin, is a matter for great practice, while every gear change must be perfect, not merely “good enough.”
G. L. Jackson (Sunbeam) who has for years been a familiar figure at all Southport gatherings, was in excellent form, and accounted for the unlimited class. In the smaller classes G. Lane Jones with his Bugatti headed the 1 and 2-litre classes, while Byrom (Austin Seven), another driver who rarely lets an event pass him by, won the 1100 c.c. class, and was placed in the 1500 c.c., a very good performance. Another car, of which we are likely to see and hear a good deal more in the near future, was David Brown’s Vauxhall-Villiers. This went very well, but later, in the 50-mile race caught fire and had to retire. It was not seriously damaged.
Ten cars came to the line for the 50 mile race and David Brown was paid the somewhat trying compliment of being made to concede two laps to Campbell, who in turn had to give Stephenson’s and Harker’s Austin Sevens three laps. The Delage went like smoke from the start, and giving a beautifully neat display of coniering, won comfortably. The two Austins mentioned above had a magnificent scrap for second place, Stephenson eventually getting home with a slight lead. These were followed by a howling pack of Lea-Francis, in the hands’ of Messrs. Higgin, Field and Esplen, which went very well indeed, but could not overcome their handicap.
STRAIGHT MILE EVENTS.-1,100 C.C. Class. (1) R. H. Byrom (Austin Seven).
1,500 c.c. CLASS.—(1) G. Lane Jones (Bugatti) ; (2) J. S. Aked (A.C.) ; (3) R. H. Byrom (Austin).
2,000 c.c. CLASS.—(1) G. Lane Jones ; (2) N. W. Gardiner (Bugatti) ; (3) J. S. Aked.
UNLIMITED CLASS.—(1) G. L. Jackson (Sunbeam) ; (2) David Brown (Vauxhall-Villiers); (3) G. Lane Jones.
FIFTY-MILE RACE.—(1) M. Campbell (Delage) ; (2) P. Stephenson (Austin Seven) ; (3) W. E. Harker (Austin).