AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY AT BROOKLANDS TROPICAL HEAT KEEPS CROWD AWAY. MAGNIFICENT DEBUT OF THE NAPIER RAILTON. A NEW STANDING LAP RECORD.
ALTHOUGH the intense heat made the Brooklands Paddock a veritable furnace, and conditions generally were quite unsuitable for watching motor racing on a blistering concrete track, those who did turn up for the August Bank Holiday Meeting were rewarded by the historic sight of the first public appearance of John Cobb’s new NapierRailton.
The performance of the car was not merely impressive—it was astounding. And so greatly did its acceleration deceive the handicappers that an unpleasant accident was only narrowly averted ; but of this more anon. Without appreciable effort the standing lap record of the Del age at 115 m.p.h. was increased to 120 m.p.h., and this may yet be improved upon. With other cars on the track it was nOt to be expected that the flying lap record would fall, but even so the present figure of 137.96 m.p.h. was nearly reached. This being so, the absence of a large crowd of spectators could only be regarded as ” their own funeral,” but we must confess that the heat was really terrific. To those of thirsty habit be it noted that the old Public Bar up the stairs is now closed and two smaller Bars substituted, One is on the site of the late lamented “Tate,” and the other next to Pratt’s place, where the road to the aerodrome starts. They were kept in constant use, and in spite of a small crowd, sold out of ” soft ” drinks soon after 3 o’clock. What foresight 1 A Paddock ” exhibit ” was the M.G. Magnas which were to take part in the Veterans’ Race. Cobb made two practice laps in the Napier Railton. He did not seem to be travelling very fast, but a glance at the stop-watch made one doubt
that instrument’s accuracy. Appleton was doing a lot of last-minute tuning to his Bugatti, while Esson-Scott, fetchingly garbed in black, made many trips along the aerodrome road, apparently always with a different passenger.
The Napier Railton was, of course, the centre of attraction, being surrounded by a solid crowd hours before the first race was due to begin. At the other end of the scale, Meeson’s smart red Hillman Minx caused quite a sensation, being the first .appearance of this make in racing since the days of Bedford’s wonderful old car. And so 1 o’clock drew near, and the Cara were lined up in front of the Paddock Stand before being sent down to the Fork for the First Race.
The First Bytieet Junior Short Handicap. : About
Distance : About 61 1. A. C. Kelway (M.G. 847 c.c.), 59 sees. 2, J. H. Parsons (Alvis 1,513 c.c., 5), 6 secs. 3. A. Ashton Rigby (M.G. 1,087 c.c.), 9 secs. Won by 3 sees. at 74.48 m.p.h. 2/5 sec. between
2nd and 3rd.
E. L. Meeson’s red Hillman Minx was the only non-starter in this race, leaving 15 cars on the line. A. C. Kelway’s blue J2 Midget got away first, and made full use of his start of 25 seconds from C. A. Richardson (Riley) and M. P. Tenbosch Austin) who both started from the 34 seconds mark. Then Mrs. G. S. White (Aston Martin) and V. W. Derrington (1.Volseley Hornet) left the line, followed by C. le S. Metcalfe (Abbott-Nash), A. W. Kirkaldy (Frazer Nash) and A. Ashton Rigby (M.G. Magna), who set off at different times. Next came a group of five cars who shot off in a crescendo of rising revs., namely Miss P. Naismith (Salmson), Charles Follett (Alvis), J. H. Parsons (f.w.d. Alvis) and G. Casswell and R. H. Eccles (both on’ Frazer Nashes).
Finally, six seconds later the two scratch cars were flagged away, G. L. Baker’s big Minerva, veteran of countless Brooklands meetings, and Mi88 C. Hedges (Talbot).
Follett did. not get very far with his Alvis, for the flywheel disintegrated, fortunately without injuring anyone. Meanwhile Kelway was leading the field comfortably-, in spite of a challenge by Derrington, who soon afterwards faded away. Mrs. White and Metcalfe retired with diverse troubles, and a great scrap developed between Parson’s old Alvis and Ashton Rigby’s Magna. The scratch cars were nowhere in the picture, Miss Hedges getting ahead of the Minerva in the Railway Straight but not being nearly fast enough to do any damage to the leaders’ position.
Kelway’s little J2 Midget was still going strong at the end of the second lap, and finally won by 150 yards from Parsons, who in turn was 25 yards ahead of Rigby.
The Second Byfieet Junior Short Handicap. Distance : About 6f miles.
Distance : About 6f miles.
1. D. A. Aldington (Frazer Nash 1,496 c.c.), 26 secs.
2. S. Smith (Bugatti 1,496 c.c.), 31 secs.
3. R. J. W. Appleton (Bugatti 1,496 c.c.), 25 secs. Won by 1 1/5 sees., at 92.59 m.p.h. 1/5 sec. between 2nd and 3rd.
Once more Meeson’s Hillman was a non-starter, as was R. G. Percival’s 3litre Bentley. In their place C. G. H. Dunham ran his Speed Twenty Alvis. Tenbosch (Austin) was limit man, but soon retired. M. P. Simpson (Riley) was getting the better of R H. Eccles (Frazer Nash) when he too retired, and Eccles was soon swamped by D. A. Aldington, also on an unblown Frazer Nash, who was travelling at a very ” blown ” pace, having quickly passed S. Smith, T. P. Cholmondeley-Tapper and A. H. L. Eccles, all on 1 litre Bugattis, H. L. Giles Alvis, Miss P. McOstrich (Talbot) and G. L. Baker (Minerva). In the rear came the back-markers, L. P. Driscoll (Austin), Dunham (Alvis) and the scratch man, R. J. Munday (Munday Special). Aldington’s speed was quite upsetting the handicapping, however, and although all three went well they could not make a great impression on the leaders. Munday who was favourite for the race, was leading both the Austin and the Alvis, and looked within striking distance of the flying Frazer Nash as the field passed the Fork on the last lap. In front were Aldington, Smith and Appleton, and although the hybrid Munday Special made up a lot of ground it just failed to catch Appleton’s Bugatti by 4 yards, the four cars finishing in that order. •
• The Bylleet Senior Short Handicap. Distance : About 6 miles.
Distance : About 6 miles.
1. 0. Bertram (Delage 10,688 c.c.), scratch.
2. P. W. Dixon (Riley 1,089 c.c.), 27 sees.
3. L. P. Driscoll (Austin 749 c.c. S.), 39 secs. Won by 4/5 sec. at 118.05 m.p.h., 2/5 sec. between ;If and 3rd. There being no non-starter in this race, the full complement of 15 cars assembled on the line. 0. P. Harvey Noble (Salmson) was first away with a start of 56 seconds, followed 8 seconds later by two supercharged Midgets handled by D. N. Letts and R. M. Rothwell. A 9 seconds interval and then four cars of . widely different types were dispatched simultaneously; they were L. P. Driscoll’s Austin, Miss I. C. Schwedler’s Alvis Speed Twenty, Comdr. R. T. Grogan’s supercharged Frazer Nash, and R. R. K. Marker’s 41 litre Bentley. 4 seconds later
H. G. Dobb’s beautifully streamlined white Riley, Prank Hallam’s f.w.d. 8 cylinder Alvis and H. T. H. Clayton’s Amilcar Six got away together ; at the 32 seconds mark came R.. J. Munday (Munday Special) ; followed by F. W. Dixon (Riley) and T. A. I. Forbes (M.G. Magnette, blown), and finally 27 seconds later the scratch man, Oliver Bertram (pelage).
At the end of the first lap the little green Austin was in the lead, having passed both the blown Midgets and the Salmson. Of the rest, Dixon’s freshly painted Riley was looking a very likely winner, but Clayton was giving him a wonderful run for his money with the old red Amilcar. Bertram was quietly picking up place after place, and it would have been a brave man who dared to prophecy the final placings. The Austin was still in the lead at the end of the second lap, but Dixon was close behind and might just catch the smaller car on the line. But that wasn’t all, for Bertram was driving the Delage with great spirit, and the 10 litre machine was sweeping up behind the leaders in magnificent style. Coming off the ” bump ” Dixon pushed his Riley past the Austin, yard by yard, but the Marmin Beg winner was not to score another victory. In a last glorious rush the Delage roared down the Railway Straight, reaching the finishing line 40 yards ahead of Dixon, who in turn led Driscoll by 20 yards. Munday was fourth.
Bertram’s speed was 118.05 m.p.h., very fast for a ” Short ” race. The handicapping was wonderful, and this event was quite definitely an example of the exciting spectacle a handicap race can be.
The BySeet Junior Mountain Handicap. Distance : About 6 miles.
Distance : About 6 miles.
I. R. H. Eccles (Frazer Nash 1,496 c.c.), 15 secs.
2. H. R. Attwood (M.G. 747 c.c. S), 18 secs.
3. A. W. Kirkaldy (Frazer Nash 1,496 c.c.), 24 sees.
Won by 1 2/5 secs. at 62.68 m.p.h., 5 2/5 secs. between 2nd and 3rd.
For the first Mountain Race there were two non-starters, W. Esplen’s 4+ litre blown Bentley and K. M. G. Anderson’s blown 2 cylinder Akela II, These vacancies were filled by the reserves, J. H. Bartlett (Bartlett Salmson) and R. E. 14. Featherstonhaugh (Alfa Romeo).
M. P. Tenbosh (Austin S), still held his lead as limit man at the end of the first lap, closely pursued by G. B. C. Sumner (Austin S) and R. C. Vickers (Lea Francis), who had drawn ahead of his fellow 28 seconds markers, G. H. S. Balmain (M.G. Midget unblown), J. G. Crowther (Wolseley Hornet), V. W. Derrington (Wolseley Hornet) and G. S. White (Aston Martin). A Mountain Race can generally be relied upon for some excitement on the corners, and on this occasion it was pro
vided by M. P. Tenbosch and V. W. Derrington, both of whom overshot the Fork Turn, the latter being nearly run down by another Hornet driven by J. G. Crowther. This mix-up resulted in a change of order, and at the end of the second lap Vickers (Lea Francis) was well in the lead, followed. by Sumner (Austin), Kirkaldy (Frazer Nash) and Attwood (M.G.). A good scrap was developing among the back markers, for J. H. Bartlett soon wiped out the 3 seconds start of Featherstonhaugh and W. E. Harker (Harker Special), only to retire at the end of the second lap.
Lap 3 still showed Vickers in the lead, but he was being pressed by Kirkaldy, who had displaced Attwood for second place. But the faster cars were not to be denied, and R. H. Eccles was handling his Frazer Nash with such controlled spirit that he was now lying fourth.
Peatherston.haugh and Harker were still fighting it out, but the former had the advantage.
The order on the penultimate lap was Vickers, Eccles, Attwood, Kirkaldy, Featherstonhaugh and Harker, so it looked as though Vickers would win. Then Vickers made a mistake which was to cost him the race, for he took the Members Bridge corner a shade too fast ; the back of the car slewed round, the car turned broadside, and stopped. Exit Vickers, leaving Eccles a good winner at 62.68 m.p.h. Featherstonhaugh and Harker were 4th and 5th respectively.
The Byfleet Senior Mountain Handicap. Distance : About 6 miles.
Distance : About 6 miles.
1. T. P. Cholnaondeley-Tapper (Bugatti 1,496 c.c.), 24 secs.
2. R. H. Eccles (Frazer Nash 1,496 c.c.), 20 secs.
3. W. E. Harker (Harker Special 1,492 c.c. S), 15 sees.
Won by 7 secs. at 63.44 m.p.h., 2 secs. between 2nd and 3rd. A. W. Kirkaldy (Frazer Nash) and J. G. Crowther (Wolseley Hornet) were substituted for the non starters, W. Esplen (Bentley) and K. N. Hutchison (Bugatti), while alterations were made to
the handicaps of Eccles (Frazer Nash) J. H. Parsons (Alvis), A. C. Kelway (M.G.) and A. W. Kirkaldy (Frazer Nash) by reason of previous “places.”
Once again Tenbosch (Austin S) led the field at the end of the first lap, and he was followed ,by J. G. Crowther (Wolseley Hornet), A. W. Kirkaldy (Frazer Nash), the Marquis de Belleroche (Austin 8), Cholmondely-Tapper (Bugatti) and R. H. Eccles (Frazer Nash). Of the back markers K. I). Evans (M.G. Midget S) retired on the first lap, but the scratch man, Raymond Mays, on a very neat single-seater supercharged 1+ litre Riley was going really well, showing great acceleration after the corners. This early promise was not fulfilled, however, for on the second lap the supercharger drive gave trouble and the car was withdrawn. The only change on the second lap was
that Kirkaldy passed Crowther to take second place, but on the third lap Cholmondeley-Tapper’s fast handling of his white 11 litre Bugatti began to make itself felt and he appeared in second place behind Tenbosch, who retired on the next lap.
Harker and Appleton (Bugatti) were having a good tussle, both having started from the 15 seconds mark. No one could hope to catch Cholmondeley-Tapper, however, and he came home an easy and deserving winner, 250 yards ahead of Eccles, who in turn led Harker by 75 yards.
The Byfleet Lightning Short Handicap. Distance: About 61 miles.
Distance: About 61 miles. 1. J. R. Cobb (Napier Railton 23,970 c.c.), scratch,
2. Kaye Don (Bugatti 4,975 c.c. S), 3 secs.
3. 0. Bertram (Delage 10,688 c.c.), 3 secs. Won by 2 2/5 secs. at 122.23 m.p.h., 1/5 sec. between 2nd and 3rd.
This race in the minds of most spectators, was The Event of the Day, numbering among its starters three cars all capable of lapping the track at over 130 m.p.h. The full list of starters was as follows : A. Esson Scott (Bugatti), 33 secs. ; P. W. Dixon (Riley) and W. A.
-Cuthbert (Riley 5), 30 sees.; J. Cumming (Maserati S) and E. L. Bouts (Leyland Thomas), 26 secs. ; A. H. L. Eccles (Bugatti S), 23 secs. ; 0. Bertram (1e1age) and Kaye Don (Bugatti S), 3 secs. ; and J. R. Cobb (Napier RaiIton) on scratch. A good field. .Mathieson was a regretted non-starter, his Bugatti having suffered piston trouble on the previous Saturday and in spite of working all day on Sunday being unready for the race.
At the start Esson-Scott did not hold his lead for long, being quickly passed by Dixon. This fact duly noted, we turned our attention to the starting line, where the three fast cars were being flagged away. Don made a slightly better get-away than Bertram, and then 3 seconds later Cobb let in the clutch. Never have we seen such colossal acceleration. The aluminium car simply leapt forward in a steady surge of joyous power, and caught the Delage going onto the Railway Straight. Don was the next victim, and in one lap the 26 seconds start of Bouts’ Leyland Thomas had been wiped out. Now came the danger point. Cobb Was right behind the Leyland all round the Members Banking, trying to’ pass right at the top of the track. The Leyland was too high, and once again Cobb attempted to pass the Leyland, and suddenly saw the gap narrow in front of him. Somehow Cobb managed to draw back, a great cloud of dust testifying to the danger of the incident, and passed Bouts later on the Railway Straight.
This delay allowed Don and Bertram to draw up behind Cobb, who was once more impeded at the Fork when he tried to pass Dixon. Don seized the opportunity to drop down and pass both cars below, but Cobb soon got clear, and at once took the lead to win by 200 yards, after a most thrilling race. Bertram did well to finish only 15 yards behind such an experienced driver as Don.
It came as no surprise to hear that Cobb had broken the standing lap record, which previously stood to his credit with the Delage at a speed of 115.55 m.p.h. The speed of the Napier-Railton was 120.59 m.p.h. a really phenomenal increase.
Bouts was called before the Stewards on account of the incident described above, and was disqualified from driving for the rest of the meeting. The matter was largely due, of course, to the fact that by all the ordinary standards of acceleration Cobb should not have caught Bouts until the last lap ; instead, he did so on the first, when Bouts presumably thought himself comfortably ahead.
The Byfleet Junior Long Handicap. :
Distance : About 9 miles.
1. C. le S. Metcalfe (Abbott Nash 1,496 c.c.), 1 min. 22 secs.
2. W. M. Lloyd Roberts (Talbot 2,276 c.c.),49 secs.
3. S. Smith (Bugatti 1,496 c.c.), 44 secs. Won by 5 2/5 secs. at 87.88 m.p.h., 3 3/5 secs. between 2nd and 3rd.
Non-starters in this race were Meeson (Hillman), R. F. Oats (on Follett’s Alvis), H. L. Gue (Alvis) and J. Mullens (Riley). The only reserve was A. Ashton Rigby (M.G. Magna), who therefore ran. Four cars were rehandicapped.
The limit man, G. B. C. Sumner (Austin) still held his lead at the end of the first lap, and he was followed by Metcalfe (Abbott Nash), Ashton Rigby (M.G. Magna), G. L. Baker (Minerva), ‘Lloyd Roberts (Talbot), S. Smith (Bugatti), H. T. H. Clayton (Amilcar), R. M. Rothwell (M.G.) and F. W. Dixon (Riley), the scratch man. The Abbott Nash was producing a wonderful turn of speed for a. car which first saw the light of day, we believe, so long ago as 1922. Lloyd Roberts was steadily overhauling the cars in front with his Talbotand passed Baker and Aston Rigby, but he in turn was passed by S. Smith (Bugatti). Dixon’s Riley was very fast, but could not cope with his re-handicap of 4 seconds, finally finishing fifth. Metcalfe was firmly established and won by 250 yards from Lloyd Roberts, with S. Smith third.
The Byfleet Lightning Long Handicap. : About 9 miles.
Distance : About 9 miles.
1. R. R. K. Marker (Bentley 4,435 c.c.), 1 5 secs.
2. R. J. Munday (Munday Special 4,310 53 secs.
3. Kaye Don (Bugatti 4,975 c.c.), 2 secs. Won by 1/5 sec. at 102.98 m.p.h., 6 3/5 between 2nd and 3rd.
This time the starters were according to programme, but the three fastest cars in the race were rehandicapped. And so the cars were sent away in the following order : L. P. Driscoll (Austin S), lm. 8s. ; R. R. K. Marker (Bentley), lirz. 5s. ; R. J. Munday (Munday Special), 53s.; R. R. Jackson (M.G. Midget 5), 48 secs. ; J. Cumming (Maserati 8), 42 sees.; J. C. Davis (Delage S) and E. L. Bouts (Leyland Thomas), 38 sees.; 0. Bertram (Delage) and Kaye Lou (Bugatti), 2 sees.; J. R. Cobb (Napier Railton) owes 13 secs.
Driscoll’s start of 3 seconds was soon swallowed up by Marker, who led at the end of the first lap from-Munday, Driscoll, Davis, Don, Bertram and Cobb. Then Munday began to cut down Marker’s lead of 12 seconds, the Bentley and the Vauxhall-cum-Sunbeam being evenly matched in size and speed. Once again Don had made a better getaway than Bertram, and these two soon began to threaten the leaders. Cobb, witha fairly clear run, made tremendous efforts to gain ground, and on one lap clocked 137.20 m.p.h.. but a 13 seconds re-handicap takes a lot of wiping out.
Munday did all he could to catch Marker’s Bentley, but finally failed by 1/5th of a second, or 5 yards, with Don 350′ yards away. Then came Bertram and Cobb.
The Byfleet Lightning Mountain Handicap. Distance : About 6 miles.
Distance : About miles.
I. H. R. Attwood (M.G. 747 c.c. S), 31 secs.
2. C. T. Delaney (Lea Francis 1,496 c.c. 5), 16 secs.
3. R. J. W. Appleton (Bugatti 1,496 c.c.), 20 secs. Won by 6 2/3 secs. at 64.21 m.p.h., 5 4/5 secs. between 2nd and 3rd.
Two notable non-starters in Raymond Mays (blown I litre Riley) and T. A. S. 0. Mathieson (Bugatti) detracted a good deal from the interest of this race. Added to this H. R. Attwood (M.G. Midget) who started one but limit, led from start to finish, driving a well tuned car with great skill.
Attwood had already passed G. Hartwell (Aston Martin) by the end of the first lap, the order then being C. T. Delaney (Lea Francis), Comdr. R. T. Grogan (Frazer Nash) and R. J. W. Appleton (Bugatti). Bartlett was once again out of luck, having to retire after a lap. On the second lap Grogan caught Delaney, and some excitement was caused by T. A. I. Forbes (M.G. Magnette) turning round at the Fork.
On the third lap the cars were still in a close pack, although Attwood was some distance ahead. Then came Grogan, Delaney, Appleton, D. N. Letts (M.G. Midget) and K. D. Evans (M.G. Midget). At this point Eccles dropped out, the engine of his Bugatti misfiring. On the next lap the order was unchanged, except that Evans passed Letts, and so the cars set off on the last lap. Attwood was quite ” uncatchable,” but Delaney made a great effort and re-passed Grogan to take second place in the race. Appleton was third, Grogan fourth, and Evans fifth.
The Pre-War Brooklands Drivers’ Race. Distance : About 3* miles. S.
1. S. G. Cummings (M.G. Magna 1,087 c.c.).
2. Major R. C. Empson (M.G. Magna 1,087 c.c.).
3. Capt. P. H. B. Samuelson (M.G. Magna 1,087 c.c.).
Won by 3/5 secs. at 53.19 m.p.h., 1 2/5 secs. between 2nd and 3rd.
This last race of the day was open only to those drivers who had driven at Brooklands before the war, and produced an entry of 10, as follows : Lt. Col. J. T. C. Moore-Brabazon, S. G. Cummings, Major R. C. Empson, Capt. C. L. E. Geach, Capt. L. G. Hornsted, Capt. N. Macklin, H. P. McConnell, Capt. F. H. B. Samuelson, J. W. Stocks, and Tom Thoruycroft.
The cars used were M.G. Magnas loaned for the occasion by the M.G. Car Co., Ltd., and were of as similar tune as possible. The drivers drew lots for the cars. At the start S. G. Cummings made quite the best getaway, and led the field comfortably for two laps. Then he overdid things a bit at the Fork, and Empson got past. The order was now Empson, Cummings, Samuelson, Moore-Brabazon, Geach, Thornycroft, McConnell, Hornsted, and Stocks. The last named retired on the third lap, and by this time Cummings had once more taken the lead, the order then remaining unchanged until the end.