AN ENJOYABLE DONINGTON MEETING OUTSTANDING DRIVING BY P. MACLURE. GOOD PERFORMANCES BY H. G. DOBBS AND R. PARNELL
To be perfectly frank, we went to the Donington Meeeting on August 17′ without a great degree of enthusiasm, for the quality of the entry was not up to the standard one has come to expect at the
Midland road-circuit. We came away, however, with the feeling that this had been one of the very best meetings we have attended, thanks to some fine driving by P. Maclure and H. G. Dobbs with their Rileys and R. Parnell (M.G. Magnette).
The energy of the Donington authorities is now a by-word, and one never fails to see some improvements and innovations which owe their execution to the enterprising Mr. Fred Craner, racing manager of’ the circuit. This time we greatly admired ‘the alterations at Coppice Corner, where the ” no-passing ” section has been eliminated, the new permanent circuit completed, and a block of fine new garages erected on the lines of those at Nurburg Ring. There were eight starters in the first race, which proved to be an easy thing for the limit men, receiving 140 seconds
start. Only six cars actually contested the race, however, for Ian Connell’s new R-type Midget passed out on the way to the start from the Paddock and F. C. Wharton upset his Austin at Red Gate Corner on the very first lap. The little car rolled over twice, but the driver’s injuries were confined to a torn shirt. For a lap we thought there was going to be another pile-up, for G. Abecassis was determined at all costs to pass Bri ault’s R-type Midget. The two came down to the Hairpin bend on the first
lap at a terrific speed, and the white ” einsitzer ” Austin nearly rammed the back of the M.G. Abecassis held the car well, however, and continued the chase but the gear-lever kept on slipping into
neutral and necessitated the dri%er ‘steering with one hand.
All this while D. S. Handley had been motoring quietly round on his unblown M.G.’, and was still too far ahead for the others to have a hope of catching him.
Briault might. have done it, but his car passed out on the last lap and he was narrowly beaten by Abecassis for third
place. D. Phillips on another unblown M.G. was second.
6 Lap Race. Up to 850 c.c. About 12i miles.
1. D. S. Handley (M.G. 746) 140s. start. 53.11 m.p.h.
2. D. Phillips (M.G. 847) 140s.
3. G. R. Mn cassis (Austin 747 S.) scratch.
Also Ran : P. C. Wharton (Austin 747) and 0. G.. Garman (Austin 747), 140s.: C. T. Lewin (Austin 747 S.), H. G. Conway (Austin 747 S.) and D. L. Brlault (M.G. 746 8,), scratch. The next race, a 10 lap event for cars up to 3i-litres, was altogether more exciting. P. Maclure, who has already dis
t inguished ” meets ” limit men, and led by a, quarter of a mile at the end of the first lap. His Riley was eniitting clouds of blue smoke at every corner, but was not misfiring. In fact this blue smoke business was quitea usual complaint in this race, and other sufferers were H. G. Dobbs, whose Riley was misfiring slightly, and J. F. Gee, (Riley).
By the time the whole field got gonig it was possible to gauge the progress of the race, and it was obviously going to be extremely difficult to catch Maclure. Dobbs might have made some impression on him had he not turned round at Starkey’s Corner. By this time R. Parnell had come up, and now a terrific duel was fought between these two. Parnell’s car was the single-seater M.G. Magnette with which the late H. C. Hamilton won the Coppa Acerbo last year, and which was later acquired by R. T. Horton. The car was running magnificently, and Dobbs could make no impression on it. At last Parnell made a mistake at Starkey’s, and slewed broadside. Dobbs and Grice slipped’ past neatly, and Parnell set off across the grass to catch them. Dobbs was now second, some way behind Maclure, and the latter ran out a clear winner at the excellent speed of 62.12 m.p.h. Parnell crossed the line third, but the Stewards interviewed hint for not obeying the black flag, which had been brandished after his Starkey,
episode. He was disqualified from the race, but allowed to take part in later events. himself at previous Donington was quite the fastest of the
Of the rest, Dobson’s Alfa-Romeo failed to catch Grice, and would have done better if the driver had adopted the normal technique of cornering. He lost a lot of time through sliding round corners without using the engine, sometimes changing gear afterwards. His method is spectacular, but will not help him to win races. The Hon. Jock Leith withdrew his Bugatti with brake trouble after a couple of laps, and similar trouble was also experienced by the Hon. P. Mitchell-Thompson with his single-seater Frazer-Nash. Another Nash driver, P. F. Jucker, made a lurid broadside at Starkey’s Corner on the first lap, and did not continue. The Appleton Special went well, but the front springs were too flabby, resulting in wheel dither on the approach to corners.
on corners. RESULT. 10 Lap Race. Up to 3,500 c.o.
c.o. About 251 miles.
1. P. Maclure (Riley 1,089) 80s. 82.12 m.p.h.
2. H. (4. Dobbs (Riley 1,486) 60s.
3. J. R. Grim (Riley 1,087) 80s.
Also Ran : J. F. Gee (Riley 1,087), 80s.; I. F. Connell (M.G. 747 S.) and Hon. P. Mitchell-Thompson (Frazer-Nash 1,498), 60s. ; 3.11. Smith (M.G. 1,087 S.) R. J. Appleton (Appleton 1,089 S.), It. Parnell (M.G. 1,087 S.) and P. F. Jucker (Frazer-Nash 1,496 S.), 30s. ; Hon. J. Leigh (Bugatti 2,263 S.) and A. Dobson (Alfa-Romeo 2,600 S.), scratch.
There was a big field in the next race, no fewer than 18 cars coming to the line.
D. L. Briault (R-type Midget) barely got more than 100 yards from the start before retiring. A couple of Ballila Fiats were making their Donington debut, in the hands of
M. P. Tenbosch and J. E. Mellor. They were not particularly fast, but gave an excellent impression of controllability and reliability. These were the limit cars, but they were passed by J. F. Gee (Riley) on the second lap. From then on there was no change in the leadership, Gee winning comfortably from two more early starters, A. Powys-Lybbe (Alvis) and Miss Joan Richmond (Triumph). P. Maclure never had a chance to catch the limit men, being rehandicapped 40 seconds! There was some excitement at Red
Gate Corner. R. V. Bolster, on his Special, skidded right round, just in front of three faster cars. The latter took to the grass, passing on each side of a press photographer who was foolishly standing at this point. The drivers involved in this pretty piece of life-saving were R. Parnell, J. H. Smith and P. N. Whitehead.
An impressive scene in this race wa4 when four cars charged down the Starkey’s Straight in close formation, all travelling at identically the same speed and with only a few feet between them.
a RESULT. 5 Lap Handicap. Up to 1,500 c.c.
About 121 miles.
1. J. F. Gee (Riley 1,089), 90s. 59.50 m.p.h.
2. A. Powys-Lybbe (Alvis 1,496), 908. 3. Miss J. Richmond (Triumph 1,232), 90s. Also Ran : M. P. Tenbosch (Fiat 995) and J. E
Mellor (Flat 995), 100s. • H. Porter-Hargreaves (Frazer-Nash 1,496) and Mrs. C. Millington (Fraser. Nash 1,496 S.). 458.; J. R. Grice (Riley 1,089) and R. V. Bolster (Bolster 1,086 S.), 35s.; D. L. Briault (M.G. 746 S.), 30s.: 3. P. Williams (M.G. 1,087 S.), 3.11. Smith (151.G. 1,087 S.), R. j. Appleton (Appleton 1,089 S.), P. N. ‘Whitehead (Alta 1,074 S.) and R. Parnell (M.G. 1,087 S.), 25s.: A. J. Connack (Alta 1,496 8.) and I. F. Connell (Vale 1,496 S.), scratch ; P. Maclure (Riley 1,089) owes 10e. The fourth race saw Maclure and Dobbs clashing from the same mark, for the ” unblowns ” received one minute start over the ” blowns ” The six-cylinder Riley accelerated better than the smaller ” four,” and Dobbs led
throughout the race Maclure drove magnificently however, and was never far behind. R. Parnell’s place was taken by his brother “J,” who was not a match for Dobson and the 2.6-litre Alfa-Romeo. The latter, in turn, could not overhaul the Rileys, and finished third, with PorterHargreaves fourth.
RESULT. 5 Lap Race. Up to 3,600 c.o.
1. H. G. Dobbs (Riley 1,496), 60s. 67 m.p.h.
2. P. Machin (Riley 1,087), 60s.
3. A. Dobson (Alsa-Romeo 2,000 S.), scratch.
Also Ran : J. F. Gee (Riley 1,087) and H. PorterHargreaves (Frazer-Nash 1,496), 60s. ; J. Parnell (M.G. 1,087 S.), scratch. Being a scratch race, the next event provided the unfailingly entertaining spectacle of a massed start. There were ten cars on the line, and Dobbs immediately
jumped to the fore, followed by Connell (Vale), Appleton (Special), Maclure (Riley), Walker (Alta) and Richards (Riley).
Dobbs was seven seconds ahead of Maclure at the end of lap one, the latter having just passed Appleton, whose Special was going well. Already there were two retirements, Cormack pulling in to the Paddock with his 1,500 c.c. Alta, which has yet to find its form, and P. F. Jucker, whose Frazer-Nash suffered plug disease.
The order settled down to Dobbs, Maclure, Appleton, Parnell, Connell and Walker, but on the third lap Parnell dropped out of the race. He was followed by Appleton on the next lap, with the result that Connell and Walker moved up to third and fourth places respectively. Dobbs looked a certain winner when his back axle suddenly gave out a short distance before the finish. He was forced to slow, and Maclure slipped past to win his second race of the meeting. Dobbs
crawled home second with Connell third.
RESULT. 5 Lap Race. Up to 1,500 0.0.
About 12/ miles.
1. P. Maclure (Riley 1,087) 66.8 m.p.h.
2. H. G. Dobbs (Riley 1,496).
3. 1. F. Connell (Vale 1,496 S.).
Also Ran : H. A. Richards (Riley 1,087) ; Hon. P. Mitchell-Thompson (Frazer-Nash 1,496) ; R. J.
Appleton (Appleton 1,089 S.) ; P. D. Walker (Alta 1,074 S.) ; R. Parnell (M.G. 1,087 S.) and A. J.
Cormack (Alta 1,498 S.).
In spite of the usual non-starters who had blown themselves up in previous races, twelve cars lined up for the last event of the day, a 10 lap handicap. The Ballila Fiats led for three laps, handling beautifully on the corners. Then J. F. Gee (Riley) took the lead for a couple of laps, but all the time R. Parnell (M.G. Magnette) was fairly streaking through the field. This time no one could possibly find fault with his driving, which was really quick and at the same time controlled. We shall hear a lot more of Parnell in the future, for he obviously has a flair for the game. On the 7th lap he took the lead, and was not headed for the rest of the race Dobson, still sliding ” powerlessly ” on the corners, got into second place two laps from the end and stood a great chance of winning. Like Dobbs, however, his back axle let him down at the crucial moment and he had to retire. Really bad luck I
With Parnell secure, the interest centred on a struggle for second place which was being waged by J. H. Smith (M.G. Magnette) and D. L. Briault (R-type Midget). The former wiped out his handicap and passed Briault at Starkey’s Corner on the last lap. The effort sent him wide, however, and Briault nipped in on the inside to win by the narrowest of narrow margins. P. N. Whitehead (Alta) had a sensational blow-up on the last lap, strewing the road with bits and pieces.
Altogether an enjoyable meeting.
Thanks, Mr. Craner.
RESULT. 10 Lap Handicap. Up to 3,500 c.c. About 251 miles.
About 251 miles.
1. R. Parnell (M.G. 1,087 S.), 50s. 65.05 m.p.h.
2. D. L. Brlault (M.G. 747 S.), 708.
3. J. H. Smith (M.G. 1,087 S.), 50s.
Also Ran : M. P. Tenbosch (Fiat 995); J. E. P. Mellor (Fiat 995) and J. F. Gee (Riley 1,089,) 150s.; A. Powys-Lybbe (Alvis 1,496), 140s.; II. PorterHargreaves (Frazer-Nash 1,498), 100s. ; 11.3. Williams (M.G. 1,087 S.) ; P. N. Whitehead (Alta 1,074 S.), I. F. Connell (Vale 1,496 S.), 30s.; A. Dobson (AlfaRomeo 2,600 S.), scratch.