AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY AT BROOKLANDS JOHN COBB RAISES THE LAP RECORD TO 140.91 M.P.H. AND BECOMES BROOKLANDS 1934 CHAMPION —NEW MOUNTAIN CIRCUIT RECORDS BY RAYMOND MAYS AND H. W. COOK ON E.R.A.’S AND BY PAT DRISCOLL (AUSTIN.) ALTHOUGH the skies were overcast and there was more than a hint of rain in the air, the regular Brooklands spectators who turned up on August Bank Holiday were rewarded by seeing one of the best B.A.R.C. meetings of recent years. A stroll round the Paddock stalls revealed an excellent entry of fast cars, and provided the student of design with plenty of food for thought. First of all there was John Cobb’s mammoth Napier-Railton, making the typical rattle of an air-liner as it ticked-over, and creating an atmosphere of extreme preparedness by its thinly-greased components. Bertram’s Delage and Don’s Bugatti were there, the latter to be handled by Dudley Fray, while other
fast cars of note were the E.R.A. machines entered by Raymond Mays and H. W. Cook, T. S. Fothringham’s green Bugatti, and at the lower end of the scale, H. T. H. Clayton’s re-modelled Amilcar Six and W. G. Everitt’s very fast M. G. Midget.
Those who like their amusement that that way can make a tour of the stalls nowadays, and pick out their personal choice for the Appearance Prize. This time it went to Raymond Mays and the 1,500 c.c. E.R.A. The former wore spotless blue overalls and the latter a brand new coat of pale green paint. Humphrey. Cook’s 1,100 c.c. E.R.A. was just as smart, but the judges evidently considered blue overalls rather more chic than white, Brighter Brooklands, and all that. The first race was scheduled for one o’clock, and attracted an entry of fourteen cars. A. C. Dobson’s Bugatti, acquired from Charles Brackenbury, was the only non-starter. At the end of the first lap some idea of the chances of various competitors could be gauged, and the most casual observer could see that the race was .a good thing for A. Ashton-Rigby an his extremely fast L type M.G. Magna. As the cars traversed the bumps and hollows of the Members’ Banking at the end of the first lap, G. L. Green (M.G. Midget) was actually in the lead, followed by S. R. Mitchell (Marendaz Special) and W. E. Humphreys (Alvis), but Ashton-Rigby was bearing down on this trio at great speed. Behind the Magna came Miss P. Naismith (Salmson). C. T. Delaney (Lea-Francis), A. PowysLybbe (Alvis), Miss Doreen Evans (M.G. Magna), R. F. Oats (Amilcar), and the scratch man, A. G. Bainton (Bainton special). Miss Evans had run a bearing on her Magna., and Oats was in trouble
with his Amilcar, which, by the way, now has two R.A.G. carburettors instead of a blower.
Ashton-Rigby was not to have it all his own way, however, for Delaney’s Lea-Francis was showing a wonderful turn of speed coupled with great steadiness on the track, and gave the many people who had betted heavily an the M.G. a distinct amount of anxiety. Avoiding the alarming gyrations which distinguished his appearance in the HighSpeed Trials, Ash-ten-Rigby kept ahead right to the end, scraping home in front of Delaney by a margin of 25 yards, with Green’s Midget 300 yards astern. The Magna recorded the excellent average of 90.46 m.p.h. for 6i miles, good going for an unblown “eleven-hundred.” Bainton on his Special in spite of commendable track-holding, made no impression whatsoever on the field, and failed to pick up a place from his original scratch mark.
ESHER JUNIOR SHORT HANDICAP. About Sir
1. A. Ashton-Rigby (M.G. 1,087 c.c.), 2Is.
ESHER SENIOR SHORT HANDICAP. About 61 miles.
I. W. G. Everitt (M.G. 747 c.c. S.), 25s.
2. H. T. H. Clayton (Ainilcar 1,093 c.c. S.), 14s.
3. Maj. A. T. G. Gardner (M.G. 1,087 c.c. S.), 14s, Won by 600 yards at 104.47 m.p.h., 5 yards between second and third.
The ” Lightning Short” produced the heavy brigade in the form of Bertram’s Delage, John Cobb’s 2.3 litre Alfa-Romeo, T. S. Fothringham’s Bugatti, of like capacity, the Leyland Thomas in the hands of R. J. Munday, and the 3,217 c.c. Hann Special. Tommy Hann will be remembered by Brooklands habitués for his ” Softly-Catch-Monkey” of a decade ago, but his new mount was not in good form and refused to do more than tour round the track.
At the end of Lap one P. L. Donkin had wrested the lead from A. F. Ashby (Riley), and his M.G. Magnette looked as though it might possibly evade the attack of the back markers. Behind these two ” 1,100’s” came Jarvis’s beautiful red Alfa-Romeo, the black Leyland Thomas, Cobb’s Alfa-Romeo, and Bertram’s thundering Delage. Fothringham had come to rest on his preliminary warming-up lap, and did not take part in the race. As the cars went on to the Byfieet Banking on the second lap the whole field was confined to a fairly short stretch of track, so that it was easy to follow the progress of the race and to make a very tentative guess at the winner. Donkin
was still hanging on to his scanty lead, with Jarvis’s Alfa and the LeylandThomas a few yards astern. But both Cobb and Bertram were coming up hand over fist, and it suddenly looked a good thing for Bertram. But we had reckoned without the slow and tricky Home Banking, with the result that when the cars emerged from the Members’ Bridge on their final dash .down the Railway Straight it was Donkin’s Magnette which still bravely led the field. Then Cobb’s Alfa-Romeo appeared high on the banking with Bertram immediately on his tail. Coming off the banking, Cobb pulled right across the track behind Donkin, whom he passed on the inside, thereby allowing Bertram a free passage of which the latter promptly took advantage. Those last few yards were the most exciting seen at Brooklands for many a long day, three cars of varying speeds converging on the finishing line in a closely-knit pack. From the Paddock and Public Enclosure the result was, of course, impossible to distinguish, until the announcer told us that Bertram had won by a length from Cobb, with Deakin half a length behind. Good work, Ebby I
THE ESHER LIGHTNING SHORT HANDICAP. About 61 miles.
1. 0. Bertram (Delage 10,688 c.c.), Scratch.
2. John R. Cobb (Alfa-Romeo 2,336 c.c. S.), 12s.
3. P. L. Donkin (M.G. Magnette 1,087 c.c. S.), 34s. Won by 1 length at 121.7 m.p.h., length between second and third.
The scene of racing activity was then moved to the Mountain Circuit, while spectators adjourned to the Fork in order to watch the Fun and Games. K. W. Marten (M.G. Midget) was the limit man, and he led the field for three laps before he retired from the fray after a rousing skid. Three other people fell out, too, namely, C. I. Lewin (Austin), P. M. Walters (Riley) and V. W. Derrington (Salmson). But enough of these sad men ; let us turn to those who were scrapping round the 1.17 mile circuit. The outstanding drivers were Dr. R. A. Beaver (30/98 ‘Vauxhall), R. J.W. Appleton (Appleton Special), a Dunfee (M.G. Midget) and D. N. Letts (M.G. Midget). The cornering of all four at the Fork was
delightful to watch, Beaver handling his heavy Vauxhall in a skilful slide, Appleton being neat and fast, Dunfee taking an extremely fast course in a wide sweep, and Letts being the steadiest of the lot with his twin rear-wheels. Beaver got into second place on the 3rd lap, but was passed by Appleton on the next. The latter then led until the
last run up from the Fork, when Letts came through from scratch to gain a well-deserved victory by 25 yards. Beaver finished third some 300 yards away, while Dunfee was suffering from
a stiff handicap and could not get a place. However, on his first appearance at the track the youngest member of the wellknown racing family has shown outstanding ability in fast cornering, and we shall undoubtedly hear more about this young driver in the road races of the future.
THE FIRST ESHER MOUNTAIN HANDICAP. About 8 Milos.
1. D. N. Letts (M.G. Midget, 747 c.c. S.), scratch. 2. R. J. W. Appleton (Appleton Special, 1,089 c.c.),
3. Dr. R. A. Beaver (Vauxhall, 4,234 c.c.), 23s. Won by 25 yards at 66.65 m.p.h., 300 yards between second and third.
A splendid field turned out for the second Mountain Race, and on rounding the Fork for the second time the cars were seen to be in the following order :—H. W. Cook (E.R.A., 1,100 c.c.), A. R. Samuel (M.G. Midget), E. K. Rayson (Riley), L. P. Driscoll (Austin), P. L. Donkin (M.G. Magnette), C. T. Baker-Carr (Bentley), R. H. Eccles (M.G. Magnette), D. N. Letts (M.G. Midget), K. D. Evans (M.G. Midget), R. Jarvis (Alfa-Romeo), C. T. Delaney (Lea-Francis), W. E. Harker (HarkerSpecial), C. E. C. Martin (Bugatti), Raymond Mays (E.R.A. 1,800 c.c.), and J. H. Bartlett (Alfa-Romeo). Of these drivers the most headway had been made by Driscoll on the new road-racing Austin Seven. This small white projectile was lapping at a terrific speed, beautifully handled, and tuned to the last pitch of efficiency. Once at the Fork Driscoll was in danger of over-shooting, but he got away with it somehow and continued his hurtling progress. Cook was firmly in the lead with the small E.R.A., and although very slow on the corners he managed to retain his position by the wonderful acceleration of his car. Driscoll got into second place on the 3rd lap, ahead of Samuel, Rayson, and Donkin, but he could not cut down the 7 seconds start of the E.R.A. in the time at his disposal. Instead, he had the consolation of breaking the 750 c.c. lap record on every one of his four flying laps, the fastest being covered in 58s. at 72.37 m.p.h. The previous record was held by W. G. Everitt on a Q type M.G. Midget in 60.1s. This was indeed a marvellous performance, and praise both for car and driver was heard on all sides when the Announcement was made. Driscoll’s time was I second better than Dixon’s 1,100 c.c. Riley record, only onefifth slower than Staniland’s record with a 2.3 litre double-camshaft Bugatti, and
second slower than Sir Malcolm Campbell’s time with an 8,000 c.c. MercedesBenz. And yet he could not get better than second place!
THE SECOND ESHER MOUNTAIN HANDICAP. About 6 Mho.
I. H. W. Cook (E.R.A., 1,090 c.c. S.), 40s. 2. L. P. Driscoll (Austin, 747 c.c. S.) 33s.
, 3. P. L. Donkin (M.G. Magnette, 1,087 c.c. S.), 40s. • Won by 200 yards at 69.05 xn.p.h., 250 yards between second and third:
Now came an innovation on the Brooklands programme, the 1934 Brooklands Championship Race, entries by invitation only. Although the result was a foregone conclusion for John Cobb and the Napier Railton, interest could be found in the race as a scratch affair, and as a means of deciding the relative merits of such cars as Bertram’s 12 cylinder Delage and ‘Kaye Don’s 4.9 litre Bugatti, to be clriVen by Dudley Froy.
Only four cars came to the line, those mentioned above and T. S. Fothringham’s 2.3 litre Bugatti. The start was not a good one, and the cars got away in rather a ragged formation. Cobb made an initial thrust forward, but Bertram then forged ahead. Fothringliam was slower, and Roy was left on the line for an appreciable pause. Cobb had already seized the lead when the cars came out from behind the Home banking, and Froy soon picked up to take up his place behind Bertram. Fothringham, of course, stood no chance with his Bugatti, which was at least 15 m.p.h. slower than the other cars, but he sportingly kept going-and there was always a chance of the leaders developing trouble.
On the second lap Froy got as close as he could to Bertram on the Members’ Banking and swept past as they roared down the Railway Straight. His handling of the red Bugatti was first class, and he covered one lap at 135.34 m.p.h. Meanwhile Cobb was far away in front, and with the track to himself he set up a new Brooklands lap record at 140.91 m.p.h., covering the 2.767 miles in 70.69 secs. He did this on the second lap, and from then on was content to keep ahead of Froy and Bertram. The rest of the four laps passed off uneventfully, Cobb being returned the winner by half-a-mile at a speed of 131.53 m.p.h. This is the highest average speed for any race at Brooklands since the Track was built, beating Kaye Don’s previous record of 128.36 m.p.h. made with the 12 cylinder Sunbeam in May, 1928.
THE 1934 BROOKLANDS CHAMPIONSHIP.
I. John R. Cobb (Napier-Railton, 23,890 c.c.).
2. Dudley Froy (Bugatti, 4,975 c.c. S.).
3. Oliver Bertram (Delage, 10,688 c.c.).
4. T. S. Fothriugham (Bugatti, 2,263 c.c. S.).
Won by half mile at 131.53 m.p.h., 8 yards between second and third. The next race, although not run at anything. like the speed of its predecessor, a
was n interesting affair, featuring some close bunching of cars on the banking.
L. Levy (M.G. Midget), passed the two cars ahead of him on the first lap and led from Miss Rita Don (lVfarendaz Special), W. E. Humphrey’s (Alvis), R. F. Oats (Amilcar), H. L. Maddick (M.G. Magna), A. Ashton-Rigby (M.G. Magna), W. L. Thompson (Austin), H. C. Dobbs (Riley), S. Smith (Bugatti), and the scratch man C. A. Richardson (Riley).
An internecine warfare was being waged with great intensity by Maddick and Ashton-Rigby on L type Magnas, and on the second lap they were joined by Thompson, Oats and Dobbs. Miss Don seemed to Occupy rather a high position on the banking in relation to her speed, but otherwise the standard of driving was good in this as in all the other races. Coming off the Members’ Banking, Humphreys at last caught Levy’s Midget, but almost immediately a howling pack of
cars appeared which could possibly endanger the Alvis. From the resulting confusion, W. L. Thompson’s dark blue single-seater Austin emerged, but failed to catch Levy’s Midget by 6 yards. On the heels of the Austin roared Maddick, Ashton-Rigby, Oats, and Dobbs, providing a close all-round finish to a keenly fought race. Richardson’s Riley, by the way, was lamentably slow and made no impression at all on the leaders.
THE ESHER JUNIOR LONG HANDICAP. About 9 Mlles.
1. W. B. Humphreys (Alvis, 1,496 c.c.), 49s.
2. L. Levy (M.G., 747 c.c.), lin. 19s.
3. W. L. Thompson, jut.. (Austin, 747 c.c. S.), 7s. Won by 50 yards at 87.2 m.p.h., 6 yards between second and third. Fourteen cars assembled on the starting line for the “Senior Long,” ranging from C. le S. Metcalfe’s Abbot-Nash to John Cobb’s Alfa-Romeo. The former was still in the lead after one lap had been covered, followed by W. E. Humphrey’s (Alvis), W. L. Thompson (Austin), A. G. Bainton (Balaton Special), S. Smith (Bugatti), T. V. G. Selby (Bugatti), Miss K. M. Moodie (Graham-Paige),
C. A. Richardson (Riley), H. C. Dobbs (Riley), H. T. H. Clayton (Amilcar), R. J. Munday (Leyland Thomas), A. F. Ashby (Riley), R. Jarvis (Alfa-Romeo), and John Cobb (Alfa-Romeo). The Abbot-Nash then dropped out of the running, giving the lead to Humphreys on the ” Firefly ” Alvis. Selby was picking up places steadily, however, and on the second lap got into third position. But the greatest progress of all had been made by R. J. Munday on the black Leyland Thomas. Starting third from scratch he had now passed seven cars and was lying fifth. Clayton was going splendidly on the Clayton Amilcar, clinging to the Leyland Thomas like a leech. On the last lap both these cars caught Selby and Thompson, and with the only faster car in the race-Cobb’s AlfaRomeo-handicapped out of the running,
were unchallenged leaders for the rest of the distance. Thompson finished well, close behind Selby, after which there was a gap, and then the others came past the flag in a straggling line.
THE ESHER SENIOR LONG HANDICAP. About 9 Milos.
I. R. J. Munday (Leyland Thomas, 7,266 c.c.), 24s.
2. H. T. H. Clayton (Clayton Amilcar, 1,093 c.c. S.), 30s.
3. T. V. G. Selby (Bugatti, 1,990 c.c.) 455. Won by 200 yards at 103.61 m.p.h., 75 yards between second and third. Selby and Munday were again running in the Lightning Long Handicap, but each had his handicap reduced by a few seconds. Selby was limit man with a start Of 1 min. 10 secs., and he took full ad vantage of this to hold the lead for two out of the three laps. Major Gardner (M.G. Magnette) was lying second after the initial lap had been covered, and then came R. Jarvis (Alfa-Romeo), T. S. Fothringham (Bugatti), who had just passed R. J. Munday (Leyland Thomas), and finally Bertram (Delage), and Cobb (Napier-Railton). It was obviously Fothringh.am’s race, and he quickly dispatched Rose and Gardner. There only remained
Selby, and the green 2.3 litre Bugatti caught its older 2 litre sister by the Aeroplane Sheds on the last lap. Bertram and Cobb did not look as though they would be able to get through the field, but the former made a great effort at the last moment and passed Selby almost on the line to take second place. The Hann Special started in this race, but only covered half the distance of the rest of the field.
THE ESHER LIGHTNING LONG HANDICAP. About 9 Miles.
1. T. S. Fothringham (Bugatti, 2,263 c.c. S.) 37s.
2. Oliver Bertram (Delafie, 10,688 c.c.) 8s.
3. T. V. G. Selby (Bugatti, 1,990 c.c.) 1 min. 10s. Won by 350 yards at 116.73 m.p.h., 8 yards between second and third. The Third Mountain Handicap was a most exciting business, the cars being so evenly matched that they were almost running on a scratch basis. ESSOI1Scott’s black Bugatti, reputed to be one of the late Count Czaikowski’s stable, was favourably placed in the handicap list, actually starting fifth. He improved this to third on the second lap, and on the subsequent circuit appeared in the lead. Lemon Burton, on another Bugatti, was second and these two were lying ahead of a raging bunch of nine cars. Lap 4 saw ” the nine” approaching the top corner in a solid pack, roughly in the following order ; R. H. Eccles (M.G. Magnette), K. D. Evans (M.G. Midget), R. Jarvis (Alfa-Romeo), W. E. Harker (Harker Special), C. E. C. Martin (Bugatti),
Raymond Mays (E.R.A.), and W. G. Everitt (M.G. Midget). The latter seemed to go perilously near the top in sweeping up behind Mays, but the E.R.A. driver soon got ahead and picked up six places on this lap. No one could catch EssonScott, however, and the Bugatti came home a good winner by 150 yards. Mays’ fast driving was rewarded by the news that he had broken the 1,500 c.c. class record with a time of 551secs. This was one-fifth faster than his own previous record made with the Riley. C. S. Staniland had a difficult job to get through from the scratch mark against so many fast cars, but by dint of really fine driving he passed 10 cars in the five laps and finished third.
THE THIRD ESHER MOUNTAIN HANDICAP.
I. A. Esson Scott (Bugatti, 1,990 c.c. S.) 30s.
2. Raymond Mays (E.R.A., 1,486 c.c. S.) 8s.
3. C. S. Staniland (Bugatti, 2,263 c.c. S.) scratch. Won by 150 yards at 69.05 m.p.h., 100 yards between second and third. The last Mountain race—and event on the programme—produced very much the same field that competed in the first race round this circuit. Squadron-Leader Bowen-Buscarlet led for a couple of laps with his Riley, followed by R. J. W. Appleton (Appleton Special), J. W. Lucas (Riley), A. R. Samuel (M.G.), E. K. Rayson (Riley), Dr. R. A. Beaver (Vauxhall), W. Wilkinson (M.G. Magnette), C. T. Baker-Carr (Bentley), H. W. Cook (E.R.A.), E. Urlwin-Smith (Invicta), and G. Dunfee (M.G. Midget), who had
the misfortune to get left on the line.
The E.R.A. was obviously a great danger in this race, for on the first lap Cook broke the 1,100 c.c, class record with a time of 58 secs., as against the previous figure of 591secs. made by. Fred Dixon. On lap 2, however, Cook was involved in a peculiar lapse on the top corner, which put him out of the race. Approaching the corner he braked, with the result that the car promptly turned sideways and charged straight into the side of the cutting at the foot of the Members’ Bridge. Not content with allowing the car to come to rest in the natural way, Cook opened up his engine in a sort of endeavour to climb the vertical. The car came right up on its tail, and nearly fell over backwards on to the driver. Then control was regained, and Cook allowed the car to slide slowly back to the horizontal position.
Appleton led the field on the third lap, but Rayson (Riley), and Wilkinson (M.G. Magnette) the head of the Bellevue Garage, were both drawing rapidly nearer. In the end Rayson got home first by 75 yards, staving off Wilkinson’s challenge by neat and fast driving.
THE FOURTH ESHER MOUNTAIN HANDICAP. About 6 Milos. 1. E. K. 1,089 c.c. S.) 16s.
1. E. K. Rayson (Riley, 1,089 c.c. S.) 16s.
2. W. Wilkinson (M.G., 1,087 c.c. S.), 16s.
3. A. R. Samuel (M.G., 747 c.c. S.) 21s. Von by 75 yards at 67.60 m.p.h., 30 yards between second and third.