TRAGEDY AT LIMERICK UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENT MARS RACE—M.G. THE WINNING MARQUE
The round-the-streets race at Limerick on August Bank Holiday, another of those “excellent Irish road-races,” was marred byan unfortunate accident in which the Duke of Grafton, age twenty-two, was so severely injured that he died a few hours after being admitted to hospital. Although the race was run without rain, heavy showers had drenched the roads beforehand, and when the cars started the surface was still slippery. Segrave, In his “Lure of Speed,” emphasises that accidents usually happen either in the first wild burst of speed to obtain the lead, when familiar corners look strange on account of the background of spectators, or at the closing stages, when drivers tire and cars become less easy to control. In the Limerick accident the Duke of Grafton crashed on the very first lap. He was at the wheel of the 3.3-litre Grand Prix Bugatti formerly raced by
C. E. C. Martin. The car slid across the road and hitting a wall burst into flames, the fire getting a considerable hold before it came to rest. Officials rushed to the driver’s aid, but his clothing was burning fiercely when they got him out, and three of the helpers themselves received bad burns. The Duke said that he would soon be all right and generally showed immense courage, that unfortunately was of no avail. To his relatives and friends we extend our sincere sympathy. The Duke had only recently come down from Cambridge and motor-racing was one of his hobbies. He started racing this year at Brooklands with a rather unusuallooking Alfa, which he also ran in speed trials, but the temperament of this car reduced his driving experience. It cannot be overlooked that the 3.3-litre Bugatti is a rather difficult proposition for a driver of limited racing experience.
Turning to the race, the distance was 151 miles or fifty-five laps, and for thirtyseven laps a most interesting duel was fought between Arthur Dobson and ” Bira,” both driving E.R.A. cars. As Austin Dobson’s Alfa-Romeo did not put in an appearance on the startingline, these two cars and P. N. ‘Whitehead’s E.R.A. were virtually the scratch cars, and they were giving some of the slower cars as much as eleven laps’ start. At half-distance ” Bira ” headed the duel and also the race on handicap, and Faixfield’s 1935 lap record of 67.35 m.p.h. had been broken seven times, though it must be remembered that Fairfield then used a 1,100 c.c, E.R.A. ” Bira’s lead was by 3 secs., when he experienced locked front brakes and in hitting a kerb so damaged the axle as to cause his withdrawal. Dobson, too, had slowed, losing 30 secs., and when he speeded up it was not to his former pace. Actually, both these E.R.A. drivers broke the lap record, each getting round in 2+ mins., equal to 73,34 m.p.h. At the time when ” Bira ” retired and Dobson slowed, Powys-Lybbe’s Alfa-Romeo and A. Hutchison’s M.G. were behind them on handicap, and Hutchison took his
chance of going ahead. Powys-Lybbe
then found his oil-pressure at a dangerously low figure and sagely withdrew before damage resulted beneath the Alfa’s bonnet.
Maclure drove a beautifully steady race with the unblown Riley and when, nine miles or so from the finish, Ivo Peters’ Frazer-Nash retired, he took third position, finishing thus at a better average speed than that at which the race was run last year and at a figure bettered by only three cars, all of greater engine capacity and supercharged. 0′ Boyle’s Alta made frequent pitstops and poor Whitehead experienced much trouble with his E.R.A. until nearly the finish, when the car recovered and went really fast. Miss Ellison and Cholmondeley-Tappet ran the Maserati,
and when the latter was at the wheel the car ran on to the footpath, apparently fascinated by a policeman,. who escaped. Dodson and Goodacre started very rapidly with the works Austins but were seen no more after half-distance.
So Hutchison’s blown M.G. Midget, entered by J. W. Patterson, held its lead, though it was actually being closed upon during the latter stages of the contest. Chicanes were used in two places on the circuit and Hutchison is reputed to have scored the maximum number of “contacts,” beating even ” Bits ” and Dobson, who, during their duel, managed to strike the barriers, it is said, ten times
each. Whether the obstacles were badly placed, or whether the drivers took unfair advantage of their freedom from harm, is for the club to decide, but contacting with barriers of any kind is most undesirable. So another Irish race is over. RESULT
3. A. Hutchison (M.G. Midget, S.) 57.14 m.p.h.
2. A. Dobson (E.R.A., S.) 69.69 m.p.h.
3. P. Maelure (Riley) 63.39 m.p.h.
4. C. H. Manders (Adler) 57.44 m.p.h.
5. Sir A. W. Macitobert (M.G.).
6. Miss E. FAllson and T. P. C. Tapper (maserati). 7. P. N. Whitehead (E.R.A.),
8. J. Tooliey (Pont). 9, D. Yule (C.M.Y. Special).
10. I. F. Connell (Alfa-Romeo).
11. Mrs. E. M. Wisdom (iiley).