The outstanding feature of the B.A.R.C. meeting at Brooklands on August Bank Holiday came right at the very end of the programme. During the afternoon it was announced that Oliver Bertram would make an attempt to break the lap-record after the last race, driving the Barnato-Hassan Special. The big green car did two laps at full speed, on both occasions breaking Cobb’s record made with the Napier-Railton at 140.93 m.p.h. Bertram’s fastest speed was 142.60 m.p.h., and the apparent steadiness of the car was remarkable.
Now let us see what happened during the eleven races which made up the programme. In the first, a short handicap, Miss Margaret Allan was greatly favoured to win. She was driving the white single-seater Frazer-Nash owned by “Tim D. Davies,” a car which was rumoured to have lapped at 122 m.p.h. in practice. For some time it looked as though Powys-Lybbe would retain his limit start until the end, but a cloud of Frazer-Nashes descended on him at the fork on the last lap. Miss Allan had already disposed of the rest of the opposition, and now she went on to win by 150 yards from P. F. Jucker’s blown Nash and R. G. Percival’s unsuper-charged model. All very satisfactory for Isleworth. Her 110.84 m.p.h. average speed was magnificent. In this race we saw Ian Connell’s Vale Special showing its true form, and he just failed to take third place after a very fast run. Marker pushed his scratch Bentley back to the Paddock, and Arbuthnot’s Mercedes-Benz misfired for a few yards before giving up.
A name familiar to Brooklands fans soon after the War reappeared on the programme for the first race. It was Capt. D. Shipwright, and he was driving Mr. Day-Dewdney’s Bugatti. The writer of this report remembers seeing Capt. Shipwright when he first visited the Track in 1922. Then his mount was an Armstrong-Siddeley.
Result First August Short Handicap
About 6 1/2 miles
1. Miss M. Allan (Frazer-Nash 1.490 S.) 27s.
2. P. F. Jucker (Frazer-Nash 1,496 S.) 35s.
3. R. G. Percival (Frazer-Nash 1,496) 1m. 17s.
Won by 3.8s. at 110.84 m.p.h., 14.4s. between 2nd and 3rd.
Betting 2-1, 5-1, 104.
Also Ran A. Powys-Lybbe (Alvis 1,496) lm. 17s.; C. Follett (Alvis 1,496) 1m. 9s. ; Capt. D. Shipwright (Bugatti 1,496) 1m. ; F. Monkhouse (Amilcar 1,093) 50s. ; C. L. Goodacre (Austin 747 S.) 42s. ; 1. F. Connell (Vale Special 1,49(1 S.) 35s.; A. G. Bainton (Bugatti 1,496 S.) 24s.; R. M. W. Arbuthnot (Mercedes-Benz 7,020 S.) 13s.; .Maj. A. T. U. Gardner (M.G. 1,087 S.) 13s. ; R. R. K. Marker (Bentley 6,597) scratch.
The second race provided a well-deserved victory for that keen sportsman, G. L. Baker, with his comfortable and silent Graham-Paige. He started one from limit, but it took him the whole length of the race to wipe out E. G. Hughes’ lead of 12 seconds. The latter’s Frazer-Nash looked as though it was fleeing before some devouring monster, and was only beaten by two lengths at the finish. Third man was Dunham, another regular Brooklands driver, whose blown Speed Twenty Alvis now has a tremendous track-mileage to its credit.
Mrs. Petre was on the scratch mark with the Delage, which passed out momentarily in the middle of the race but got going again. She had a very nasty skid corning off the Bump on one lap. At the same point someone lost his crash-helmet on the last lap. Was it Seyd?
Before the start Baker was rehandicapped an extra five seconds for having fitted twin carburetters. He drove rather high on the banking in the race.
Result Second August Short Handicap
About 6 1/2 miles
1. G. L. Baker (Graham-Paige 5,387) 1m. 11s.
2. E. G. Hughes (Frazer-.Nash 1,496) 1min. 23s.
3. C. G. H. Dunham, (Alvis 2,511) 42s.
Won by 0.8s. at 91.51 m.p.h. 2.6s. between 2nd and 3rd.
Betting Evens, 10-1, 6-1.
Also Ran R. H. Day-Dewdney (Bugatti 1,496) 1m. 8s., R. Hughes (Vauxhall 4,234) 1m. 2s. ; F. Monkhouse (Amilcar 1,003) 58s.; D. L. Briault (Alta 1,074 S.) and Mrs. R. H. Eccles (Eccles-Special 1,083 S.) 50s. ; V. L. Seyd (M.G. 1,087 S.) 35s.; M.Cadell (M.G. 1,087 S.) 26s. R. J. Munday (Leyland-Thomas 7,266) 20s.; Mrs. K. Petre (Deluge 10,688) scratch.
With the limit man receiving a start of 1 minute 24 seconds, it was only natural that the field should be widely spaced out in this race. H. P. Bowler’s old Bentley had the track to itself for some time, but then Windsor-Richards’ 30/98 Vauxhall began to close in. The latter was in the lead on the last lap, but the Eccles Special was going splendidly and swept past to win its first race at Brooklands right on the line. Third came Noble’s silver Bugatti. So close were the first two that it looked like a dead-heat. Bertram had travelled at a tremendous speed from scratch, but he could not get a place. He actually broke Cobb’s lap record on one lap, but under the new rule, of course, this did not count officially. On the last lap the off-side rear tread came off like the crack of a whip, and pieces of rubber rained down on the Members’ Banking. Bertram held the car masterfully.
“B. Bira” caused a lot of comment by driving a Magnette right along the dotted line on the Members’ Banking, in a position normally occupied by the heavy brigade. Kelway had his handicap altered through modifying his Bugatti after the handicappers had done their work. Miss Evans was a non-starter owing to the supercharger defaulting on the Midget. On the other hand Mrs. Denis Evans made her début at Brooklands, handling an N type Magnette very nicely and keeping low on the banking.
Result Third August Short Handicap
About 6 1/2 miles
1. R. H. Eccles (Eccles-Special 1,083 S.) 53s.
2. C. W. Windsor-Richards (Vauxhall 4,234) lm. 10s.
3. G. P. H. Noble (Bugatti 1,990 8.) 34s.
Won by 0.2s. at 104.47 m.p.h. 2.8s. between 2nd and 3rd.
Betting 8-1, 10-1, 6-1.
Also Ran H. P. Bowler (Bentley 2,996) 1m. 24s.; A. C. Kelway (Bugatti 1,496) 1m. 10s.; Mrs. D. G. Evans (M.G. 1,287) 1m.; R. J. W. Appleton (Appleton Special 1,089 S.) 63s.; “B. Bira” (M.G. 1,087 S.) 43s.; R. J. Munday (Leyland-Thomas 7,266) 28s.; O. Bertram (Barnato-Hassan-Special 7,003) scratch.
The first of the Mountain races, if not instructive in the art of motor-racing, was at least entertaining. People skidded about all over the place, took the Fork in a variety of ways, and retired in great numbers.
F. W. Carr, on the pink Singer, led for nearly the whole distance, but A. R. Samuel (M.G. Midget) pipped him on the run up the straight. Samuel drove extremely well and deserved to win. Most of the fast cars were in trouble, and the Hon. J. Leith (Bugatti), D. N. Letts (M.G. Magnette) and N. S. Embiricos (Bugatti) all retired. Leith did a terrific skid at the Fork, while Kelway was so slow that it was difficult to believe that he was supposed to be racing.
Result First August Mountain Handicap
About 6 miles
1. A. R. Samuel (M.G. 747 S.) 8s.
2. F. W. Carr (Singer 972) 50s.
3. V. L. Seyd (M.G. 1,087 S.) 17s.
Won by 2.4s. at 69.97 m.p.h. 5.2s. between 2nd and 3rd.
Betting 3-1, 5-1, 6-1.
Also Ran V. W. Derrington (Salmson 1,096 S.) 45s.; A. C. Kelway (Bugatti 1.496) 35s.; R. J. W. Appleton (Appleton Special 1,089 S.) 25s.; P. F. Jucker (Frazer-Nash 1,496 S.), D. L. Briault (Alta 1,074 S.), and D. N. Letts (M.G. 1,087 S.) 14s.; Hon. J. Leith (Bugatti 2,263 S.) and E. K. Rayson (Bugatti 1,493 S.) 5s.; N. S. Embiricos (Bugatti 2,203 S.) 3s.; A. C. Dobson (Bugatti 2,263 S.) scratch.
The next mountain race started in a most exciting fashion, for no less than three drivers nearly lost control of their cars at the Fork. Squadron-Leader W. A. Bowen-Buscarlet (surely no Brooklands driver has ever had a longer name?) was the first to function, skidding wildly in the path of a newcomer to the track, Nevil Lloyd, who incidentally, made a very neat job of handling an N type Magnette fitted with a “Q” body. Jim Elwes was the next man to slither, but some quick work with the steering wheel saved the situation. He was immediately followed by J. H. T. Smith (Magnette) who also avoided the complete tête-à-queue.
A tragic element was nearly introduced when Rayson got two wheels over the top of the Members’ Banking and had a breath-taking struggle to extricate himself from the jaws of impending disaster.
As to the progress of the race, Tenbosch’s Ballila Fiat led for a couple of laps, giving way to Buscarlet’s Riley and Lloyd’s Magnette. But Driscoll (Austin), “Bira” (E.R.A.) and Eccles (Bugatti 2.3) were coming up quickly and caught Lloyd on the approach to the Fork on the last lap. Eccles then made a fine spurt up the straight and beat Buscarlet with 80 yards to spare. “Bira” was third. Driscoll’s cornering had been uneven throughout the race, and he only just managed the Fork on several occasions, losing a lot of ground every time. Fane (Frazer-Nash) and Noble (Bugatti) both retired.
Result Second August Mountain Handicap
About 6 miles
1. A. H. L. Eccles (Bugatti 2,263 S.) scratch.
2. Sqdr.-Ldr. W. A. Bowen-Buscarlet (Riley 1,089) 49s.
3. “B. Bira” (E.R.A. 1,486 S.) 4s. Won by 2.2s. at 73.64 m.p.h. 2.8s. between 2nd and 3rd:
Betting 4-1, 4-1, 4-1.
Also Ran M. P. Tenbosch (Fiat 995) 57s. N. Lloyd (M.G. 1,287) 42s.: C. A. Richardson (Riley 1,089) 33s.; C. T. Baker-Carr (Bentley 4,487) 80s.; J. C. Elwes (M.G. 747 S.) 22s.: J. H. T. Smith (M.G. 1,087 S.) 19s. ; A. A. Rigby (M.G. 1,087 S.) 16s.; G. P. H. Noble (Bugatti 1,990 S.) and A. F. P. Fane (Frazer-Nash 1,496 S.) 13s.; L. P. Driscoll (Austin 747 S.) 10s.; E. K. Rayson (Bugatti 1,493 S.) 7s.
The next event was the so-called Match Race between Mrs. K. Petre (Delage) and Mrs. Gwenda Stewart (Derby). After the programmes were printed, however, it was decided to time the cars separately over four laps, the fastest to count. Although depriving the affair of its spectacular interest, this arrangement was altogether more satisfactory. Mrs. Petre won the toss and had first run. She covered three fast laps, and was obviously going very fast. Them the petrol cap came adrift and she had to, stop. However her second lap had been. covered at 134.24 m.p.h. not quite as fast as her record of 134.75, but good enough in the circumstances. Then Mrs. Stewart went out with the beautiful little’ Derby, but unfortunately she was only able to cover one fast lap. This she did. at 133.88 m.p.h., and would have undoubtedly exceeded it on the subsequent laps, had not the exhaust pipe worked loose and poured its contents into the narrow cockpit, almost gassing the occupant. And so Mrs. Petre won the “race,” but Mrs. Stewart had the consolation of breaking Kaye Don’s 2-litre-class record, which had stood at 126.73 m.p.h.
Result Match Race
1. Mrs. K. Petre (Delage 10,688) 134.24 m.p.h.
2. Mrs. Gwenda Stewart (Derby 1,600 S.) 133.88 m.p.h.
There was another splendid finish in the next race, the first of the “long” handicaps. Dunham (Alvis) and Pacey. (41/2-litre Bentley) started from the same mark and had a glorious battle the whole way. They overhauled the five cars in front of them and roared over the finishing line with only 1/5 second between them, Dunham being the victor. Baker’s Graham-Paige was third, in spite of a 23 second re-handicap. Bertram was on scratch. with the Delage, but slowed with clutch-slip soon after the start. “Bira” repeated his driving-on-the-dotted-line performance, which apparently escaped the vigilance of the ten observers listed in the programme.
Result First August Long Handicap
About 9 miles
1. C. G. H. Dunham (Alvis 2,511) 1m. 10s.
2. E. W. W. Pacey (Bentley 4,487) 1m. 10s.
3. G. L. Baker (Graham-Paige 5,387) 1m. 40s.
Won by 0.2s. at 104.26 m.p.h. 5.4s. between, 2nd and 3rd.
Betting 6-1 6-1, 4-1.
Also Ran R. G. Percival (Frazer-Nash 1,490) 1m. 58s.; J. R. Hodge (M.G. 1,087) 1m. 55s. ; R. H. Day-Dewdney (Bugatti 1,406) 1m. 50s.; A. Phipps (M.G. 1,287) 1m. 30s.; “B. Bira” (M.G. 1,087 S.) 1m. 4s.; M. Well (M.G. 1,087 8.) 54s. Maj. A. T. G. Gardner (M.G. 1,087 S.) 46s.. O. Bertram (Delage 10,688) scratch.
Five non-starters reduced the field in the next race to eight. The most notable absentees were Bertram, who was saving the Barnato-Hassan for the lap-record attempt, and Mrs. Petre, who was to have driven Dr. Benjafield’s 2.6-litre Alfa-Romeo. The Alfa had broken a piston.
For some time the grass-cutting-cum-distance-saving methods of Powys-Lybbe kept the limit Alvis well to the fore, but Bowler’s old 3-litre Bentley was rumbling steadily nearer. The former had a 14 second start, and in a fine scrap Bowler managed to wipe this out comfortably and win by one-fifth of a second from Charles Follett, who in turn had given him three seconds.
Result Second August Long Handicap
About 9 miles
1. H. P. Bowler (Bentley 2,996) 2m. 0s.
2. C. Follett .(Alvis 1,496) 1m. 57s.
3. A. Powys-Lybbe (Alvis 1,496) 2m. 14s.
Won by 0.2s. at 90.49 m.p.h. 6.8s. between 2nd and 3rd.
Betting 8-1, 6-1, 5-1.
Also Ran A. C. Kelway (Bugatti 1,496) lm. 39s.; Capt. D. Shipwright (Bugatti 1,496) 1m. 47s.; E. W. W. Pacey (Bentley 4,487) 59s.; A. G. Bainton (Bainton Special 4,398) 48s.; R. M. W. Arbuthnot (Mercedes-Benz 7,020 S.) 51s
The next Mountain race was full of incident. To begin with the cars were handicapped by engine size, instead of on the individual merits of the drivers and their cars, so that there were three groups. Driscoll (Austin) made the most sensational getaway in the first batch, but was hotly chased by A. R. Samuel (M.G. Midget). Meanwhile the two cars in Group 2 had departed, and then the three scratch cars went away, two E.R.A.s and Paul’s 1 1/2-litre Bugatti. The last-named got into a terrific slide under the Members’ Bridge, but recovered. To everyone’s surprise Samuel passed Driscoll, thanks to cleaner cornering, but on the fourth lap he tried to get round the Fork too quickly — possibly due to brake failure. He slid round and demolished a barrel, while Penn-Hughes ran up to him to tell him to wait until the course was clear before getting away. But Samuel’s foot was hard on the accelerator, and he shot forward just as “Bira” and Mays appeared. Phenomenal avoidances followed, which resulted in Samuel being reprimanded by the Stewards-of which more anon. It is only fair to observe that ‘neither of the E.R.A. drivers seemed to reduce their speed in accordance with the signal of the flag marshal.
Driscoll now had the race in his pocket, and won by two seconds from Mays and “Bira,” in that order. Paul was fourth and Lord Avebury (Alta) last, in spite of some rapid cornering.
Samuel’s adventures were not yet over. After leaving the Fork he roared up the straight and found that his brakes were not functioning. He shot up the “escape road” to the left, careered up the banking, skidding outwards as he strove to avoid going over the top, and finally slowed down. A sticky interview with the Stewards followed, and the wretched driver was very severely reprimanded for reckless and dangerous driving, such driving to be specially reported to the B.A.R.C. Racing Committee, in addition to being entered in the Stewards’ “Black Book.”
Result Siam Challenge Trophy
About 6 miles
1. L. P. Driscoll (Austin 747 S.) 7s.
2. R. Mays (E.R.A. 1,486 S.) scratch.
3. “B. Bira” (E.R.A. 1,486 S.) scratch.
Won by 16s. at 70.91 m.p.h. 2s. between 2nd and 3rd.
Betting 2-1, evens, 6-1.
Also Ran A. R. Samuel (M.G. 747 S.) and C. L. Goodacre (Austin 747 S.) 7s.; Lord Avebury (Alta 1,074 S.) and R. H. Eccles (Eccles-Special 1,083 S.) 4s.; C. Paul (Bugatti 1.493 S.) scratch
More excitement. This time F. W. Carr turned right round at the Fork on the very first lap. Bowler (Bentley) had a long start from A. H. L. Eccles (Bugatti 2.3) the scratch man, and made the very best use of it, cornering smoothly and consistently. The nearest challenge came from Baker-Carr’s 41-litre Bentley, but Bowler managed to scrape home by 1 second to record his second win of the day.
The incident of the race was supplied by “Tim Davies,” who was cornering “on the limit ” from the start. On the fourth lap he overshot the Fork, driving between two barrels straight at the usual group of observers. It was interesting to note their respective reactions. Kensington-Moir evidently decided that his massive bulk was proof against the onslaught of a single-seater Nash, and stood his ground. Harry Edwards artfully waited to see which way the car was going and made a neat side-step. Penn-Hughes, the most nimble of the group, was of the opinion that salvation lay in fleetness of foot. He ran like the proverbial stag, but when the Nash followed him whichever way he swerved the simile altered to that of a hare being chased by a car in a narrow lane. Anyway it was all very amusing, and laughter, generally absent from Brooklands, rang out from the Cobham stand.
For his escapade “Davies” was reprimanded in similar terms to Samuel. We venture to suggest that this punishment was a little too severe. When a driver finds himself going too fast to get round the Fork corner (no sin in itself) he is faced with two alternatives. One is to try forcing the car round, resulting in a slide into a barrel and the possibility of baulking cars behind, and the second is to drive through a gap in the barrels and (a) either retire, or (b) rejoin the circuit through the same gap. In our opinion the second of these alternatives is greatly to be preferred. Unfortunately it predicates an absence of people on the track, and as the observers always stand at a point on the corner which the general public is educated to believe is highly dangerous, our advice to drivers at Brooklands is “Bust the Barrel! ”
Result Third August Mountain Handicap
About 6 miles
1. H. P. Bowler (Bentley 2,906) 57s.
2. C. T. Baker-Carr (Bentley 4,487) 30s.
3. J. C. Elwes (M.G. 747 S.) 22s.
Won by 1s. at 60.69 m.p.h. 5.2s. between 2nd and 3rd.
Betting 10-1, 3-1, 6-1.
Also Ran F. W. Carr (Singer 972) 50s.; C. A. Richardson (Riley 1,089) 33s.; R. H. Eccles (Eccles Special 1,083 S.) 18s. ; “A. Ahbas” (M.G. 1,087 S.) 18s.; ” Tim D. Davies” (Frazer-Nash 1,496 S.) 10s. • A. F. P. Pane (Frazer-Nash 1,496 S.) 13s.; A. H. L. Eccles (Bugatti 2,263 S.) owes 6s.
The last race of the day was uneventful from the skidding point of view. P. Maclure once again demonstrated the fact that he is one of our best drivers, and ran home a deserving winner. Appleton had got his Special into good form and pressed Maclure throughout the race, picking up 3.2 seconds and finally finishing second. Lord Avebury, who started level with Appleton, was third. Raymond Mays never looked like coming through from scratch. His cornering at the Fork was mediocre, to say the least, being a long drawn out series of jerks.
Result Fourth August Mountain Handicap
About 6 miles
1. P. Maclure (Riley 1,089) 36s.
2. R. J. W. Appleton (Appleton Special 1,089 S.) 30s.
3. Lord Avebury (Alta 1,074 S.) 30s.
Won by 2.8s. at 68.88 m.p.h. 5s. between 2nd and 3rd.
Betting Evens, 6-1. 10-1.
Also Ran Sqdr.-Ldr. W. A. Bowen-Buscarlet (Riley 1,089) 47s. ; J. H. T. Smith (M.G. 1,087 S.) 22s.; A. A. Rigby M.G. 1,087 S.) 19s. ; L. P. Driscoll (Austin 747 S.) 13s. ; A. Esson-Scott (Bugatti 1,990 S.) 8s.; R. Mays (E.R.A. 1,486 S.) scratch.
Then Oliver Bertram went out with the green Barnato-Hassan. He was timed from the Fork, and after receiving the O.K. signal he put his foot down to magnificent purpose. Hand timing showed him to have covered his first lap at 142 m.p.h. and the second was even faster. Then he pulled up at the Fork and was heartily congratulated by the delighted owner of the car, Capt. Woolf Barnato. Bertram had handled the car beautifully, not very high on the Banking and never giving a real impression of his actual speed. His two laps had been covered at 142.03 m.p.h. and 142.60 m.p.h. respectively, his fastest time being 69.85 seconds. Cobb’s record was 70.68 seconds or 140.93 m.p.h.