On watching races...
As each European season begins I receive numerous letters from readers who are planning a…
THE BROOKLANDS BANK HOLIDAY MEETING
THE fact that Brooklands has always been too expensive as an entertainment was well proved by the success of the first half-crown day. In spite of the very nasty looking weather of the morning the attendance was very near a record, and the programme was full of interest. The proceedings were marred by a nasty accident to Victor Gillow, the Irish Grand Prix winner in the light car class. Just after coming off the banking into the railway straight, his off side front wheel and tyre collapsed and the car turned completely over and landed right way up again, the driver who remained in the car the whole time, sustaining head injuries.
However, matters might have been much worse, and we are glad to say that the irrepressible Gillow is making satisfactory progress.
Another matter provoking much argument, and not a little recrimination, was the disqualification of Birkin and Scott for failing to keep within the safety lines at the Fork. Birkin was driving Craig’s very fast Bugatti in the Cornwall Lightning Short Handicap, in place of his supercharged Bentley which he scratched.
Whatever opinion, one gives on a matter of this sort, it must be realised that if a rule is made, -anyone can demand that it should be firmly enforced. On this occasion the only protest was from the stewards themselves, and therefore it would seem open to them to exercise their discretion. The rule that cars, other than the scratch car, should keep inside the safety line at the Fork is very wisely made to prevent slow cars from cutting the bend by the aeroplane sheds and obstructing the fast men coming through the field. There are occasions, however, when a car, although not actually on the scratch mark, is travelling at such a speed that to swing wide at all at this point Would be definitely unsafe, and when to keep close in would obstruct nobody.
With Birkin and Scott this seemed to be the case. Birkin’s average speed for the race in which he was disqualified was 112.97 m.p.h. while Scott’s was 117.87 m.p.h. It must also be remembered that the wind was against the cars on the railway straight, and following them over the Fork, which means that at this point they were doing fully 125 m.p.h. which is quite enough to think about without any further complications, and there can be small wonder that the drivers were a little sore over the matter. One is inclined to feel that a caution about the transgression, which was .scarcely avoidable, would have been more satisfactory for all concerned.
Against this of course, is the fact that it is very much easier to criticise other people’s decisions than to make good ones, and the powers-that-be at the track have the interest of the sport SQ genuinely at heart, that no one wishes to make their task ally harder than it is. Further, this season at the track has been such an improvement on anything we have known in the past, for interest and variety, that even while occasionally disagreeing with small details, we must congratulate all concerned on the way they have made Brookland.s more worth visiting than ever.
To return to the actual racing. The first event saw 13 cars on the line with Birkininhis Bentley at scratch. He drove a fine race, coming through the field well, to take third place, but was unable to overtake Daybell’s veteran 30-98 Vauxhall, which won easily, with another old stager, Noel’s 17-litre ‘Mercedes, second.
The next event saw Birkin at the wheel of Craig’s 2.3 litre ” Bug ” which came home a comfortable distance in front of Cobb on the Delage, but was later disqualifie(1 as has already been related. cobb’s speed of 121.08 m.p.h. was a very hue performance in view of the wind, which made high speeds difficult. Malcolm Campbeli (Grand Prix Delage),.
J. F. Field (200-Mile-Race Talbot) and Harold Purdy (Sunbeam) were the next to finish in that order.
This meeting was certainly proving a good day for the veterans, for the. next event was won Nvithout difficulty by one of the old Wolseley Moths in the hands of A. G. Miller, who took full advantage of his 1m. 39s. start and led from start to finish. Victor Horsman hung into second place in his Triumph until the last lap, when S. C. H. Davis, who had been streakingthrough the field in fine style, just caught him, thus bringing his Riley into second place.
It was in this race that Gillow came to grief within sight of the finish, and some very snappy driving was witnessed in avoiding the crash. ‘rhe chief feature of the next race, the Mountain Racing Handicap, was the remarkable speed of Waites’ little orange Austin. We have ,always known that this car was fast, but its performance in this event. was an eye-opener to everyone. He was given 5 seconds start from Vernon Amilear which is itself no sluggard, but as it turned out, the positions could have easily been reversed without worrying Waite in the least, as he was leaving Balls on sheer speed in the straights, and all with so little fuss or noise as to make it seem positively uncanny. The scratch men never really had a look in, with the
exception of Hyston who brought his Alfa into third place, behind the Amilcar, after a good race. The only variety from normal progression in this event was when Purdy took the Fork hairpin a bit too fast and turned round, without however doing any harm. The Gold Star Handicap was over a distance of 25 miles, which added interest to the proceedings, and the extra distance also seemed to cause an unexpected number of retirements. Spero (Austin),
Purdy (2-litre Sunbeam), Birkiu (Bentley) and Thomas (Bugatti) all retired early. The Delages were out for blood, and Campbell made a marvellous getaway, but slowed slightly with an intermittent misfire, and was soon passed by W. B. Scott in another G.P. Delage, these two being followed home by Dudley Fray on the big ‘pelage.
The first and third men home, however, were disqualified ; the former for transgressing the rule about the lines at the fork, and Fray for a push start. This, of course, let Campbell into first place, with Stewart’s Alfa second and Cobb third.
The next race fell to the scratch man, C. S. Staniland, on an 1100 c.c. Bugatti, which although much smaller engined than is the habit of this make. did not seem to be any slower thereby, and came through the field for a comfortable win at 102.98 m.p.h.
A. G. Miller’s ancient 21-litre Benz, apparently inspired by the presence at the track of the battalion of old crocks, produced a little extra speed in the hands of Cyril Paul, and thundered round in grand style, to win at 107.25 m.p.h. from Jack Dunfee’s Talbot, in the Cornwall Senior Long Handicap.
The Lightning Long Handicap was won by Cobb (Delage) at the very creditable speed of 121.19 m.p.h. with a lead of .a quarter of a mile from E. M. Thomas (Bugatti), with Eyston’s Alfa-Romeo a close third. The Mountain Speed Handicap produced the best neck-and-neck scrap seen at the track for many a day. Brian Lewis on one of the ” 90″ Talbots which have been doing so well this season, had a wonderful race with” Sammy “Davis on a supercharged Lea-Francis, for third place. The two cars were perfectly matched for speed, and lap after lap they came round within a few feet of each other, doing;a11 they knew to gain a fraction on the corners. With cars sliding and tyres screaming, but always under perfect control, they were going higher and higher.onto:the
banking under the Members’ bridge, in their efforts to gain the lead ; their driving at the Fork hairpin was a treat to watch. Although taking this as fast as was humanly possible, every gear change was perfect, and both drivers were evidently enjoying it immensely; Sammy Davis in particular grinning broadly as he wrenched his car round. He led Lewis for the first part, then the Talbot just scraped ahead and stayed there till near the end, when Sammy, with a magnificent e fort just got by to take third place. So engrossed was the crowd over this dog-fight that they scarcely noticed how fast Campbell was getting his ” Bug ” through the field, and how he was closing up on Gordon Hendy, who was handling his Lea-Francis with nice judgment. Campbell was going great guns, but at the Fork bend:on the very last lap he was still behind Hendy. Then, as the two cars ran through their gear.; away from the corner, the Bugatti closed up on its rival, and with only 400 yards to go., caught and passed Ifen-dy t.)
win a magnificent race. Altogether a most refreshing exhibition.
It must have been a most amusing experience for Davis to step straight out of the Lea-Francis into (or rather onto) the Leon-Bollee• 3-wheeler, which he was driving in the final event of the meeting. the Old Crocks Race. This was one of the best pieces of entertainment ever staged at the track, as these ghosts of the past, and very healthy ghosts some of them, resurrected from all over the country, collected to do battle. Most of the cars were boiling furiously by the second lap of the race, which consisted of two laps of the mountain course, and many had to receive assistance from their crew to get up the ” hill” at the end of the finishing straight. One or two, however, were really swift, notably R. 0. Shuttleworth’s 1903 De Dietrich, which had a real” Paris-Madrid” look about it, and had lapped the track in practice at 58 m.p.h. The winner was E. Davenport, who usually races on two wheels at Southport and elsewhere ; he averaged 25.48 m.p.h. on his 1899 Progress Voiturette, thus exceeding his handicap by the greatest margin. This brought an entertaining meeting to a close, and it .is to be hoped that the success of their ” halfdoilar clay” will encourage the authorities to make this reduction permanent.
CORNWALL SENIOR SHORT HANDICAP. (About 6i miles).-1, G. Daybell (Vauxhall, 4,234 c.c.), lin. 3s. ; 2, J. Noel (Mercedes, 17,852 c.c.), 48s.; 3, H. R. S. Birkin (Bentley (S), 4,398 c.c.), scratch. Won by 5 sec. at 92.59 m.p.h. Three seconds between second and third.
CORNWALL LIGHTNING SHORT HANDICAP (About 61 miles).-1, J. R. Cobb (Delage, 10,680 c.c.), scratch: 2, Malcolm Campbell (Delage (S.), 1,486 c.c.), 21s.; 3, J. F. Field (Talbot (S.), 1,486 c.c.), 27s. Won by 6 sec. at 121.08 m.p.h. Three seconds between second and third.
CORNWALL J I ‘NI 1. SIIORT HANDICAP. (About 6i miles).-1, A. G. Miller (Wolseley Moth II, 1,261 c.c.), 1m. 39s. ; 2, S. C. H. Davis (Riley (S.), 1,083 c.c.), 12s.; 3, V. E. Horsman (Triumph, 832
c.c.), 1m. 43s. Won by 14 sec. at 71.08 m.p.h. One second between second and third,
AUGUST MOUNTAIN RACING HANDIcm,.—1, A. C. R. Waite (Austin (S.). 749 c.c.), lin. 55s. 2, Vernon Balls
(Amilcar (S.), 1,093 c.c.), lin. 50s. ;. 3, C.. E. Eyston (Mfa-Romo (S.), 1,752 c.c.), 25s. Won by 28 set’. at
60.98 m.p.h. Ten. seconds between second and third.
GOLD STAR HANDICA r. (About 25 Miles).-1, :NIalcolin Campbell (Delage. (S.) 1,486 c.c.), lin. 26s. ; 2, R. C. Stewart (Alfa-Romeo (S.). 1,752 c.c.), 2m. 45s. ; 3, J. R. Cobb (Talbot, 2,276 c.c.), 2m. 55s. Won by 11 miles at 116.4 m.p:h.
CORM jrNII,K 1,‘ rci, I LANDICAP.
(About 9 Miles). 1, C. S. Staniland (Bugatti (S.), 1,092 c.c.), scratch ; 2. A. C. It, Waite (Austin (S.). 719 c.c.), 2in. 4s. ; 3, A. P. (;. (;ardner (Amilcar (S.), 1,093 c.c.), 30s. Won by 8 sec. at 102.98 m.p.h. Ti,vo seconds between second and third. CoRNwALL SENlint. LONG 1, Cyril Paul (Benz, 21,504 c.c.), 33s. ; 2, Jack 1.unfec (Ballot, 2,97(3 c.c.), 54s. ; 3, J . F. Pield (Talbot (S.), 1,436 c.c.), 41s. Won by 5 sec. at 107. 25 m.p.h. Half a length between second and third
CORNWALL LIGHTNING LONG HANDIcm..—–1, J. R. Cobb (r)elage, 10,680 c.c.), scratch ; 2, E. M. Thomas (Bugatti, 1,990 c.c.), 47s. ; 3, G. E. T. Eyston (AlfaRomeo (S.), 1,752 c.c.), 56s. Won by 9 sec. at 121.19 m.p.h. Two seconds between second and third.
AuGusT m(0 .NTM N HANDICAP. -1. Malcolm Campl)(11 (Bugatti (S.), 2,263 c.c.), scratch ; 2, Gordon Hendy (Lea-Francis (S.), 1,496 c.c.), 1m. 20s. ; 3, S. C. H. Davis (Lea-Francis (S.), 1,496 c.c.), 22s. Won by 1* sec. at 66.85 m.p.h. THE ” DAILY SKETCH ” OLD (.ROCKS’ RACE.-1, Progress Voiturette, 1899 (E. Davenport), 4m. 58s. ; 2, Vipen, 1899 (P. Harvey), 5m. 18s, ; 3, 1,e(m
1897 (S. C. IL Davis), 3m. 5-1s. Won at 25.48 m.p.h.
As each European season begins I receive numerous letters from readers who are planning a…
Continued from the March Issue ”Alf" Francis In order that there shall be no misunderstanding…
Motor Sport is pleased to offer its readers half-price entry to Coys' auction of sports…
Matters of Moment ... Page 169 People's Car Reborn ... Page 171 Cars I Have…
The VSCC Pomeroy Memorial Trophy The "Porn" is an essential rite of Spring, though this…
Three-time grand prix winner Heinz-Harald Frentzen is lining up a return to the Le Mans…