THE HUNDRED-MILE RACE AT SOUTHPORT
THE HUNDRED-MILE RACE AT SOUTHPORT
After weeks of unpleasant weather the Saturday of August 8th dawned without a cloud in the sky, and a hot sun, tempered by a cool breeze from the sea, lit up the vast expanse of sand at South
port. Very early, vans of outwardly ordinary aspect but actually carrying extremely valuable racing-cars, began to arrive at the Palace Hotel, where the Southport Motor Racing Club has its headquarters. As we arrived a motoring flavour was imparted by the appearance in the yard of Charles Brackenbury’s Bugatti in the care of Papworth and his mechanics.
Conan Doyle was an early arrival in the ” paddock ” down on the beach, supervising the unloading and preparation of his beautifully-finished, goldhued, 11-litre, double-camshaft Bugatti. Tinker arrived in his Frazer-Nash, his passenger clad in a truly wonderful rollneck Jersey, and several motor-cycle riders had a preliminary canter down the course. Hutchison was busy stripping his light Ford V-8, which had flexible metallic exhaust pipes casually draped along both sides of the chassis to beyond the rear axle. Baker apparently had his f.w.d. sports Adler absolutely ready, but Holbrow was having a bad time with an elderly G.P. Bugatti and his single-seater, ex-Field, 2.8-litre Bugatti was not sufficiently finished to be present.
One of the most interesting cars in the paddock was the little J .W.B. of Burnand’s, which apparently has coilspring suspension and a Riley engine, a narrow single-seater body with long tail, narrow track, exhaust ports cut flush with the bonnet, an ” isolated ” and inclined radiator and an absurdly tiny steering wheel that had to be removed before the driver could enter. It sounded most healthy and subsequently proved very rapid.
Procecdings opened with a rather painful two-lap cycle race, after which the motor-cycles came out and we saw some fine work, riders of big-twins going really well down the long straights and machines going into the turns at speeds which would terrify the average dirt-track rider very soundly—and most of them got round, only one man falling seriously enough to damage his mount, which in this instance folded up its front forks.
Thereafter the straight-mile car races were run off, in the first of which Charles Brackenbury got his 2.3-litre blown Grand Prix Bugatti going really well, a flurry of sand-dust in his wake, to beat Conan Doyle’s smaller Bugatti and H. J. P. Williams’ blown M.G. Magnette.
The second straight-mile resulted in Robin Hanson employing the smart monoposto M.G. Midget prepared by Bellevue Garage to such purpose that he vanquished G. R. Gahagan’s Le Mans type 4f-litre blower Bentley and J. K. Whittaker’s rapid touring Railton. In the following straight-mile Tinker’s I Ilitre Frazer-Nash got to the finish ahead of de Ferranti’s Ford V-8, which carried wings and equipment and had glass in its screen this time. The last of the mile sprints was a victory for R. D. Tong’s supercharged P.B. type
M.G. Midget, the little J .W.B. and Hargreaves’ Salmson following the Midget over the line. With only a brief interval the big race of the afternoon then commenced—the hundred-mile race run on a credit-lap handicap system for a prize of L100. This is an interesting race, the long straights permitting really considerable speeds to be reached, and the bends comprising plain hairpins with all the room in the world, but approached very fast, while the sand factor is extremely potent, both from the view-point of controlability of
the cars and its effect on their internals. After a few drivers had taken a preliminary run round the course, the competitors lined up and the race commenced, over firm sand entirely devoid of water. George Formby, the comedian, started the race, after some preliminary flag-wagging that was effectively caught by the Press
cameras. Incidentally, some 40,000 spectators were present. Brackenbury was soon going extremely well with the Bugatti, working consider ably at the bends, but getting round well, rather wide. Alas, a trail of smoke soon showed from the cockpit and the car went out with a seizure following magneto trouble, after six laps. D. M. Conan Doyle was leading on actual distance at ten laps but his Bugatti was never really fast, suffering from an annoying misfiring malady which spoilt the
crisp exhaust note, and which several pit-stops did not cure. Hutchison was getting round nicely in his V-8, Allard likewise, and Tong (M.G.). The Rileys and the Austins were doing well. J. K. Whittaker’s stripped Railton displayed immense acceleration, and Ferranti was getting along well with his V-8, though the axles seemed a bit tied-up on the turns. Brooke simply fought his high and lusty 30/98 Vauxhall round, sand flying in all directions, and the old car was really fast and came out from the
pits unexpectedly soon after noises that had sounded of a most expensive order. R. Jackson’s blown M.G. Midget was going and sounding really fast, using either the extreme inside or extreme outside of the course, possibly because its driver sat usefully high in the cockpit. Warburton’s Riley trailed a smoke screen and had a curious note from its straight-through exhaust but it ran well. The leader up to half-distance was H. Hargreaves (Salmson.), but smoke began to issue from improper places and lubrication trouble put him out. That let the little J.W.B. into the lead, while Tong had worked his P.B. M.G. up steadily to second place with Hutchison’s Ford third. Hodgson’s single-seater Riley Nixie was obviously dangerous and lapping faster than before, and at about two-thirds distance an exhaust pipe came adrift on Hutchison’s Ford and he retired, Allard’s Special V-8 also going out after misfiring of a chronic order had succeeded
signs of overheating generally. At around seventy-five miles Tong went into the lead, Tinker’s sports FrazerNash also moving up to second place, while with ninety miles run Hodgson made a big effort and passed Tinker, as did Warburton.
However, the Frazer-Nash pulled up again and was running almost level with Tong’s Midget. Then, on the very last lap, serious engine trouble forced Tinker to tour in on one cylinder and Tong won comfortably after a fine drive, with Hodgson a deserving second and Tinker an unlucky third.
The winning Midget ran in stripped condition, carried no passenger, and had its aero-screen erect. Hodgson’s Riley had cowled dumbirons, a well-faired body, carried no passenger, and had its aero-screen set at
forty-five degrees. At the finish its exhaust system was noticeably loose. Tinker’s Frazer-Nash was a normal sports model carrying a passenger, and with both aero-screens erect, but wings removed. Tong did fifty-two laps actual distance, Hodgson fifty-five and Tinker fifty-three and a half.
RESULT First straight-mile race : Charles Brackenbury
race : (2,263 c.c. Bugatti, S.).
Second sbu*ht-mile race R. Hanson (746 c.c. M.G., 8.).
Third straight-mile race : A. Tinker (1,496 c.c. Frazer-Nash).
Fourth straight-mile race : R. D. Tong (939 c.c. M.G., 8.). Hundred-Mile Handicap 1. It. D. Tong (939 c.c. M.G.., S.), 55.31 m.p.h
2. H. Hodgson (1,087 c.c. Riley).
3. A. Tinker (1,496 cc. Frazer-Nash). 4. G. Warburton (1,087 c.o. Riley)
5. 3. K. ‘Whittaker (4,168 c.c. Banton).
6. H. Crocker (1,087 c.c. Riley).