The R.A.C. Tourist Trophy Race



THE ninth Tourist Trophy of the R.A.C. was run this year for the third time over the Ards circuit in Ulster, and resulted in a remarkable victory for the Italian Alfa-Romeo team, The winner, T. Nuvolari, has already achieved fame by his victory in the gruelling 1,000 miles of this year, though this was his first race on British soil. G. Campari, the second man home, was second in this event last year. He was also second in the Irish Grand Prix and the Italian 1,000 miles of this year. The third to finish, Achille Varzi, has achieved success in the I.O.M. Tourist Trophy for motorcycles, and this year crowned his many car-racing successes by winning the famous Targa-Florio over the mountainous Sicilian course. Verily a team of giants, whose victory was well deserved.

British prestige was upheld chiefly by by the latest front wheel drive Alvis, which put up a wonderful show, chasing the Italian cars home, and finishing 4th, 6th and 7th. The Talbot team, Horton’s Riley, and Poppes’ game little Austin, were others who showed that British cars, even if occasionally beaten, are always well to the fore. A feature of the race which caused considerable disappointment to the vast crowd was the last minute disqualification of Rudolph Caracciola, whose Mercedes was fitted with a non-standard supercharger, larger than that on Campbell’s and. Howes’ Mercedes. The officials, while strictly enforcing the regulations, gave every facility, in the way of time extension, to enable a standard instrument to be fitted, and so bring the car within the rules. However, although there was just time for this to be done, such last-minute

alterations are rarely desirable, and eventually Caracciola arrived at the start, but only as a spectator.

The pits at the start presented a gay scene, and also gave an interesting illustration of the varied temperaments and methods of the different teams. The Bentley team were quietly busy working on their cars, and making sure that everything was in order, and Birkin was standing by, evidently wishing that the time would pass quicker, ‘that he might get down to business. Among the din of engines being warmed up, by the Alfa’s and 0.M.s in particular, the Talbot team gave a contrasting atmosphere of peace, as the drivers strolled round or sat in their cars, absolutely ready, and confident that everything that could be done had been attended to.

Capt. Frazer-Nash, cheerful as ever, strolled about chatting, with an occasional glance at the sky. Not that Archie Nash minds wet roads, as he proved last year, but they make things very unpleasant all the same.

However, last minute work eventually quietened down, and by the time Minoia’s O.M. had received a few taps on the hub caps to make sure, ” Ebby,” armed with his chronometer, and an enormous yellow flag, had taken his position.

Eleven o’clock, and the Bentley’s, AlfaRomeos, and Fronteras in Oats’ 2-litre 0.M., the first classes away, shot off towards Mill Corner on the first lap of their long drive.

Then the three Talbots, all engines starting to the second, moved off in their now familiar procession. Next came the two remaining 0.M.’s, but Ramponi had an anxious moment

when his engine refused to start, but a few seconds’ work on it and he too shot off with a cheer from the vast crowds.

The Austins and Triumphs got away just as Birkizz’s Bentley had passed Comber. A few seconds after the howling pack of Alvis, Lea-Francis, and, finally, the Mercs. had gone, Birkin appeared and roared past the stands with a good lead on his team mates. The Alfas were evidently very fast, as they came through almost level with the rest of the Bentley team, and ahead of E. R. Hall. Birkin’s first lap took I lm. 2s., a speed of 74.28 m.p.h. The cars were now coming through in groups, and there were some good dog fights in progress. Sammy Davis (LeaFrancis) was running level with Cuslunan (Alvis) for the whole way from Dundonald, but, leaving his braking just a little later than his rival, managed to get ahead before Mill Corner.

The Mercs., left without Caracciola, were running in close formation, with Campbell slightly in front.

Confirmation of the Alfa-Romeo’s great speed was received, when it was learned that Campari and Nuvolari had broken the lap record for their class in 11m. 7s. (73.23 m.p.h.), no less than 40 secs. inside the previous record.

At 11.35 Sutton’s Lea-Francis slid into his pit with locked wheels for work on the engine, but was soon away again. Callingham. (Alfa-Romeo) was held up at Bally Stockart, but the other .Alf as were going faster than ever, and the record for the 2-litre class fell again at 11m. 38. (74.17 m.p.h.), while Kaye Don lowered the 1,500 c.c. lap record to 11m. 24s. (71.89 m.p.h.). Callingham’s trouble

proved to be a broken connecting rod, putting him out of the race. At 11.30, after half an hour’s running, the leaders on handicap were :

1st, Campari (Alfa-Romeo).

2nd, Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo).

3rd, Varzi (Alfa-Romeo).

4th, Birkin (Bentley).

The Bentley was running well and lapped in 10m. 53s., but it was obvious that the Alfas were going to be very hard to catch, as Campari and Nuvolari, who were still running within a few yards a. each other, replied with a lap each ii exactly the same time !

Conditions round the course were excellent for high speed, although rain was threatening, and drivers were making the most of their opportunities, in case of rain later. Cyril Paul, however, nearly overdid things at Newtownards, and took the corner almost broadside. Sutton came into the pits again at 12 o’clock and proceeded to change his magneto, which he did in about 10 minutes.

Frazer-Nash then came in, remarked ” Mag. points,” in a matter of fact tone, and proceeded to fill the radiator from a beautiful, new and shining watering can. This process was not assisted by his mechanic, who was rocking the car to and fro in gear to examine the suspected instrument, and in consequence received most of the water!. However, they soon filled up and were away. Further diversion was caused by Campari, who was flagged in to be warned as to his driving, which was getting rather hectic, and the consequent strain of instructions, recriminations and what-not in Italian, wnich seems a highly expressive language, caused great delight at the pits and in the stand. He was still holding his lead, however, the order after 1 hour being :—

1st, Campari (Alfa-Romeo).

2nd, Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo).

3rd, Varzi (Alfa-Romeo).

4th, Birkin (Bentley).

A. R. C. Waite crashed in his Austin at Ballystockart Bridge and sustained concussion. His mechanic was thrown clear and escaped injury. The Austins were having a run of bad luck, as Prazer-Nash retired soon after this with engine trouble, to be followed by Crabtree for the same reason.

Sutton, who had got away after some snappy pit work, was in again with further trouble less than half an hour later, and then G. Poppe’s Austin, boiling hard, came in for replenishment.

Nuvolari was driving really hard now, although somewhat violently, as was seen at Comber, where he had a very bad skid, but his efforts had just gained him the the lead from Campari by the narrow margin of 3 secs. The order at 12.30 p.m. was :—

1st, Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo).

2nd, Campari (Alfa Romeo).

3rd, Varzi (Alfa-Romeo).

4th, Birkin (Bentley).

Kaye Don was putting up some excellent laps on his 1,5(.0 c.c. Alfa, and was now in 5th place, with KensingtonMoir’s Bentley 6th. Benjafield’s Bentley called at the pits at 12.34 p.m., refuelled, and was taken over by Jean Chassagne, who was the Bentley reserve driver. Earl Howe was now leading Campbell, but it was becoming increasingly evident that they were not going to be able to overcome their increased handicap over last year. Both cars were running with absolute regularity.

Sutton was now having trouble with broken valve springs, but was quite undaunted, and proceeded to replace them and get away, having previously replaced a magneto. He was getting one of those runs of bad luck which every driver experiences from time to time, and the cheerful and efficient manner in which he was tackling his thankless job aroused general sympathy. The Rileys were running well and R. T. Horton twice lapped in 12m. 93. (67.46 m.p.h.), a record for Class G (1,100 c.c.). Other records were going, and Birkin brought the fastest time in Class C (5,00 c.c.) down to 10m. 48s. (75.89 m.p.h.), and was getting closer to Caracciola’s record lap of last year. Kaye Don again broke the 11-litre record, this time in 11m. 15s.—a speed of nearly 73 m.p.h., but in doing so had rather a hectic time in Newtownards, where he nearly hit Prontera.s As if to put an end to his fever for creating records, at 1 o’clock the long threatened rain started to fall, and drivers had to cut down their cornering speeds, and start braking considerably earlier, while one or two who failed to apply a little extra caution had some hectic moments. Dan Higgin overshot the Town Hall corner at Newtownards, but got back on to the course and proceeded. The two little Triumphs were running very regularly, and F. S. Barnes came in, refuelled, and handed over to J. P. Barnes, all within a minute,

The rain was getting heavier, but Malcolm Campbell did not seem to be discouraged by this, and, if anything, increased his speed. He caught up and passed Earl Howe, and we noticed at Mill Corner he left his braking just as late as when the roads were dry. Campari and Nuvolari were still running together, though the former had regained his lead, and was now 1 second ahead. The order at 1 o’clock was :—

1st, Campari. 2nd, Nuvolari.

3rd, Varzi. 4th, Birkin. Half an hour later this order was unchanged, but a new feature of the race was the fact that two of the Alvis cars, driven by Paul and Harvey, had crept up and were occupying fifth and sixth positions,

At 1.40 p.m. the leader, Campari, came in to the pits accompanied by Achille Varzi, who was lying third, and an animated scene was witnessed as drivers and mechanics rushed about, spilt fuel over the road, and received instructions. The job was very quickly done, however, and they roared off again to the cheers of the crowd.

Nuvolari was in on the next lap, and was away in 48 seconds in pursuit of his team-mates.

The high speeds and wet conditions were causing a certain amount of trouble, both mechanical and otherwise. Harvey (Alvis) hit the bank at Bradshaws Brae, but was able to continue. Kaye Don came to grief when his car skidded at Henryville Corner, hit the bank and overturned, pinning him and his mechanic underneath. The car burst into flames, but the mechanic, G. B. Long, crawled out, and with assistance lifted the car and got Don clear. The car was completely burnt out, while Don had a broken rib. At 2 o’clock the scrap between the two leading Alfas had resulted in Nuvolari taking the lead with a fairly established

margin, while Birkin had pulled up to 3rd.

The order at this point was :1st, Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo). 2nd, Campari (Alfa-Romeo). 3rd, Birkin. (Bentley).

4th, Paul (Alvis).

The standard of pit work was high, and little time was wasted in filling up. The best effort of the race was that of Cushman (Alvis), who refuelled in 45 secs. Some of the cars were beginning to feel the effects of the race in minor troubles and unaccountable falling off of power. Earl Howe was suffering from a slight misfire, and called at the pit to see what could be done about it. However, as everything seemed perfectly 0.K., he went on again Harvey stopped at Dundonald to try and secure a front wing which had suffered somewhat in his little collision with the bank.

At 2.30 Achille Varzi had again got his Alfa-Romeo into 3rd place, and the first four cars then were :

1st, Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo). 2nd, Campari (Alfa-Romeo). 3rd, Varzi (Alfa-Romeo).. 4th, Poppe (Austin).

Birkin had now dropped to sixth place behind Paul’s Alvis. The race had now settled down with Italy in a very strong position indeed, and in spite of the efforts of Birkin, Paul and Poppe, it seemed that nothing short of a miracle could keep the Italians from a well deserved victory, and at 3.0 p.m. the position of the first four was unchanged.

Kensington-Moir was celebrating his return to the more active side of motor racing with a very nice display of driving, and was noticeably fast and steady on the corners. However, the Alfas were well ahead of him, and their chief danger was from the little Austin, backed by Paul and Harvey on Alvis cars. Nuvolari’s pits were getting wind of the challenge, and the next time round he found the signal to put on speed, consisting of a red arrow pointing upwards, and the word ” Austin ” chalked on another board to show him who to look out for ! At 3.30 the order was :

1st, Nuvolari (Alla-Rom.eo).

2nd, Campari (Alfa-Romeo).

3rd, Varzi (Alfa-Romeo).

4th, Poppe (Austin).

Just at this time disaster overtook Birkin’s Bentley at Ballystockart. The near-side front tyre came off and the car skidding helplessly, spun round, crashed into the stone wall. Fortunately, neither driver nor mechanic were injured, and both appeared later, on foot at the pits. Hard luck ! At 3.30 p,m. the order was unchanged, and shortly before 4 o’clock Nuvalari had actually passed the Austin on the road, while at the end of their 27th lap Campari was only a few yards behind Poppe, and Varzi little over a quarter of a mile after his team-mate. •

Then at the end of his 28th lap Nuvolari received the signal from the pits that he was actually in the lead, and Campari followed just far enough behind to give his pit management time to rub out the ” 1 ” and substitute a ” 2 on their blackboard. Paul had now pulled up again, and on handicap was leading the Austin. The order at 4:0 p.m. was :

1st, Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo).

2nd, Campari (Alfa Romeo). 3rd, Varzi (Alfa-Romeo),

4tu, Paul (Alvis). Barring accidents, a sweeping victory for the Alfa-Romeo team seemed certain, and interest turned to the actual leaders in the respective classes. These proved to be Campbell (Mercedes) in class B, Kensington-Moir in class C on his Bentley, Brian-Lewis (Talbot) in class D, Nuvolari in class E,-and of course in the whole race-while Paul (Alvis), Horton (Riley)

and Poppe (Austin) were leading classes F, G and H respectively. The whole of the Alfa team were now on their last lap, and just after 4.35 p.m. Nuvolari crossed the finishing line, to win the 1930 R.A.C. Tourist Trophy for Italy after a very fine race. Campari was only a few hundred yards behind, and then

came _Achille V::1-zi to complete the Alfa’s victory. The first British car was Paul’s Alvis, which had run very well throughout, and was very close on Varzi’s heels at the finish. Poppe’s Austin was fifth, and as it crossed the line after its long struggle, received a terrific ovation. Then followed the extra touring lap for those who had finished and a great scene of jubilation at the Alfa pits. Smiles, handshakes, everyone talking at once and no one listening, but all thoroughly pleased with themselves,-and well they might be

Last year they won the team prize and Campari was second, the same position as he gained this year. The Talbots again finished close together, with. Brian Lewis the first of their team. Not only did they finish without trouble, but they never even called once at the pits, surely something of a record for a race of this length. They finished

1, 2, 3 in their class, and still had an ample supply of fuel ! Perhaps if they develop just a little more speed we shall have something with which to gain our revenge on our friendly rivals from the Continent. Thus ended a well fought race, wonderfully organised, and won by great driving and fine cars. The huge crowds round the

course testify to its growing interest, and we can only exhort those who did not get over to Ulster for this event to make every effort not to miss the next R.A.C. Tourist Trophy. Results :

NUVOLARI, the winner, used B.P. petrol, Castro! oil, and Iterodo brake linings on his Alfa. Romeo. The two latter items were also used by drivers who took second, third and fourth places.