HADLEY WINS THE CRYSTAL PALACE CUP WITH LORD AUSTIN’S AUSTIN
VERY dismal weather after a fortnight of summer resulted in a poor attendance at the big composite meeting at the Crystal Palace road-circuit on August 14th. Cyclists, solo motorcyclists, sidecar-riders and car-drivers were all featured for the Great British Public,who should have turned up in huge masses and who probably would have done so but for the inept disappearance of King Sol. In spite of the mixed grill comprising the afternoon programme, the ” circus ” atmosphere was dispersed by the quality of the entries and the fact that four separate races were to be contested. It is interesting that the cyclists were offered first prize valued at f,10 for 10 miles racing, the solo motor-cyclists a trophy and £50 for twenty miles racing, the combination riders a vase and ;67 10s. for ten miles racing, and the car drivers the Crystal Palace Cup and £100 for their thirty
mile drive. The starting money, paid on completion of one lap, was: nil, e2 10/and j:,5, respectively, and the respective number of entries 53, 33, 11 and 18. Thus we get some sort of a perspective, not unflattering to the car drivers.
The cyclists went off first in. a long, closely-packed stream. At the first corner one rider fell off, drawing the comment from someone in the Stand that this conclusively proved that cyclists are a menace to road-users ! Charles Follett gave a splendid, if unintentional demonstration of how cycle-crocodiles can. baulk cars, even on a wide road, and he got past and back to the start by dint of handling his Alvis with more skill than we can hope to find displayed by John Citizen on the Brighton Road on a summer Sunday evening. The solo motor-cycle race was devoid of less hair-raising ” incident” than was expected in view of the soaked course, and the winner, M. Cann (348 c.c. Norton), averaged 46.14 m.p.h., compared with 23.8 m.p.h. of the victorious bicyclist. Then A. H. Horton (596 c.c. Norton) won his third combination race over this course, leading throughout to average 46.05 m.p.h. So to the Crystal Palace Cup race, which seemed to have far more support from the knowledgeable onlookers than the other races. The entries were up to R.R.C. standards, for ” Bira ” had got the 3-litre Maserati functioning again after the International Trophy race blow-up and had tried it at Brooklands, Hadley and Mrs. K. Petre drove Lord. Austin’s little Austins, Oh. v. and s.v. respectively. Hanson and Aitken drove 11-litre Maseratis and Connell represented E.R.A. with his 1.1-litre car with the new twin Arnott blower layout, which has necessitated pushing the radiator and its cowl well forward. Unfortunately, the other crack runners were non-starters, A. C. Dobson (E.R.A.) and Austin Dobson (11-litre Maserati) on account of the death of their father, A. P. Rolt (Triumph) because his motor was not ready, P. N. Whitehead because his E.R.A. had had continued piston trouble, which has affected other cars of this Marque in the past. Mrs. Fisher’s M.G. had broken a crankshaft and Wilson’s M.G. was too sick to run. This time a new handicap was in force, giving the 1,100 c.c. cars 75 secs. start and 1,101 to 2,500 c.c. cars 15 secs. start, leaving Bira” in solitary start on scratch. It was not raining at the time of the start, but another heavy downpour commenced, just before the finish. Hadley (Austin) led away at the fall of the flag, all cars in a tight bunch, Mrs. Petre (Austin), R. Parnell (M.G.) and F. J. ‘Monklanise (Amilcar Six) following, with nothing
much to choose between them. Ian Connell’s E.R.A. got a slight advantage when the next pack was released, with Hanson (Maserati), J. a C. Samuel’s sports Frazer-Nash-Six, now blown once more, and Percy Maclure’s unblovirn 11-litre Riley behind. Finally, ” Bira” got away after a seemingly impossible wait, the Maserati’s wheels spinning wildly. All cars were on the same lap, With fifteen laps to run. After One lap Hadley led, followed by Parnell, Mrs. Petre, Brooke (M.G.-Riley), J. N. C. Watson (R-type M.G.), Monkhouse, Connell, ” Bira,” Madure, Aitken, Samuel, and Hanson, the last-named having turned round at Stadium Dip.
Petre passed Parnell, who later repassed her, and ” Bira” passed Connell by the end of lap two. Hadley was driving splendidly, the Austin’s engine revving beautifully in accelerating from the corners, and Mrs. Petre’s car came round with shrill blower whine. From ” Bira’s ” pit appeared Siamese signals, and by lap nine the Maserati had come right up to second place, gaining 5 sees. a lap on the leading Austin, so that a member of the Brum. equipe stood before the pits waving Hadley to greater speeds. Poor Connell had retired with a wrecked supercharger which made the world’s
record expensive noise.” It appears that the Arnott suction-pressure oil feed was put out of action because the tank containing lubricant for one of the superchargers burst and let out all its oil, so that the blower promptly seized, without doing a lot of damage. The official reason for retirement was a split fuel tank ! But then, entrants have every right to give any reason, or no reason at all, for retiring, and ” official ” merely implies the information handed out.
At nine laps Hadley led by 29 secs. Samuel’s Nash, running with rear wings in place, sounded unwell, the Amilcar had plug trouble and Maclure’s Riley was slower than usual.
On the last lap great excitement . . . ” Bira,” now in striking distance of the Austin, got into a slide and turned completely round at Ramp Bend. He restarted, to finish 44 secs. behind Hadley, after closing to 24 secs. on lap 10, 19 secs. on lap 11, 12 secs. on lap 12, and / second only on lap 13. Hadley had driven magnificently, chewing gum continually and slightly bothered by locking brakes early on, on Terrace Straight. Parnell held third position but in coming into Stadium Dip on the very last lap the M.G. slid and turned slowly round, stopping at right angles to the course, tail against the outside of the track. Mrs. Petre and Maclure got by, but Parnell kept his engine running and shot off to catch them and finish third. The Stadium Curve is a very slow bend, and has to be taken close in. Here the bareheaded Madure was right on Mrs. Petre’s tail, and as they entered the straight the Riley swung out to pass, ‘but just missed fourth place. Hadley averaged 49.83 m.p.h. It had been an excellent race, ” Bira’s ” slide a repetition of the illluck that befell A. C. Dobson at the previous meeting, and the wet state of the course had not been productive of the skidding many had expected. Rain now fell in torrents to mar the prize giving, and the small crowd hastily dispersed, for there is little covered area from which a good view of the racing can
be obtained, while the unfortunate pitstaffs are completely exposed. The stickiness of the enclosures rivalled that of Shelsley and Donington. Thus we have had three car meetings
at the London road-circuit. Harry Edwards is very keen to make a success of it and we notice that a prize of i5 was offered in the programme for suggestions for future races. Although not eligible for this prize we hasten to suggest a continuation of the present short races. Long-distance events would possibly prove difficult to follow on this short, slow circuit, the London-living crowds who come by bus and bicycle to spectate at the Palace probably wouldn’t enjoy too long an event, and better pits would be needed. So we advise short races, say a series of scratch heats for cars of different engine capacities and a short final run on handicap, with a short sports-car race by way of a complete change.
Members of the M.C.C. or J.C.C. would no doubt gladly contribute a field for the latter and the public rejoice at seeing at speed cars looking like those they can hire purchase. The success of these short races doubtless depends on the continued support of famous drivers with really fast cars, and that, in turn, will depend on the prizemoney available next season and the dates allotted to the Road-Racing Club in the 1938 Calendar. We also feel that the future of the R.R.C. would be assisted by more frequent opening of the Crystal Palace course for testing and practice, to bring it more in line with Brooklands and Donington, and. by granting free admission to race meetings to members of the club. Some idea of how the dampness on August 14th reduced speeds can be gained from ” Bira’s ” best lap, 53.41 m.p.h. with the 3-litre Maserati, against his lap record, established with his 11 litre E.R.A., of 56.47 m.p.h. Only
” Bira ” averaged a higher speed than Hadley-51.04 m.p.h.
1. II. L. Hadley (744 c.c. o.h.v. Austin), 36m. 7.5s. (49.83 m.p.h.).
2. “Ii. Bira ” (2.9-litre Maserati), 36m. 30.8s. (51.04 in.p.11).
3. R. Parnell (1,087 c.c. M.G. Magnette) 371n. 22s. (48.17 m.p.h.).
4, P. Ylaclure (1,486 c.c. Riley C(s), 37m. 22.6s. (49.48 m.p.h.).
5. Mrs. K. Petro (747 c.c. s.v. Austin) 37m. 32s. (47.96 m.p.h.).
Distance: 15 laps (30 miles).
Handicapping: 750 c.c. and 1,100 c.c., 75s. start. 1,500 c.c. and 21-litres, 15s. start. Over 21-litres, scratch.
First Prize : Crystal Palace Cup, presented by Sir Samuel Hill-Wood and £100.
Samuel Hill-Wood and £100. Flagged In
6, Hon. P. Aitken (1,500 c.c. Maserati); 7, R. Hanson (1,500 em, Maserati); 8, H. L. Brooke (1,100 c.c. M.G.-Riley); 9, J. N. C. Watson (R-type M.G. Midget); 10, J. 0. C. Samuel (1,657 c.c. FraserNash).
Retired I. F. Connell F. J. Monk
I. F. Connell (E.R.A.) supercharger ; F. J. Monkhouse (A ti ‘car) plugs.