THE TENTH INTERNATIONAL 200-MILE RACE OF THE J.C.C.
A GREAT;;E.R.A. VICTORY—ARTHUR:DOBSOnWINS:AT 69.67 M.P.H. Once again the Junior Car Club’s great classic has been won by a 11-litre car, in spite of it being run for the second time as a scratch contest open to all sizes or cars. Last year, when the ” 200″ was revived at Donington under this new ruling, Richard Seaman ran away from the big fellows to win easily in his 14.litre Delage at 69.28 m.p.h. This year Arthur Dobson brought the works litre E.R.A. in first 39,6 secs. ahead of
” Bira’s ” Maserati. In practice Hans Ruesch’s lap record with the Alfa-Ronieo was broken by Dobson (E.R.A.) at 73.76 m.p.h., and then by Raymond Mays (E.R.A.) at 74.31 m.p.h., which is an improvement of .82 m.p.h. and a very fine achievement. Percy Maclore got the uublown 21-litre Riley Six round at 71.21 m.p.h., ” Bira ” only managed 72.33 in.ple and Earl Howe, driving for the first time since his crash at Brooklands last May, lapped in his smartly-finished E,R.A. at 2 nuns. 7.6 secs., or .6 of a second slower than
Bira.” On August 28th an overcast sky condescended to clear as the big crowd of spectators forgathered at Donington and the sun shone brightly for the start and during Most of the afternoon. The seventeen starters were lined up before the pits in an atmosphere as expectant as ever—Mays (E.R.A.), Dobson (E.R.A.), ” Bira (Maserati) and Howe (E.R.A.) in the front row, Maclure (Riley), Whitehead (E.R.A.), Austin Dobson (11-litre Maserati) in row two, Reggie Tongue (E.R.A..), Wakefield (Maserati), PowysLybbe (Alfa-Romeo), K. D. Evans (Alfa-Romeo) in row three, Parnell
(M. G.), Brackenbury (Dobson’s white E.R.A.), Hanson (Maserati), Rolt (Dolomite 2.4-litre Triumph) in row four and Connell (Arnott-blown E.R.A.) alone, behind this pack. The non-starters were Hans Ruesch’s 3.8-litre Alfa-Romeo which cracked its cylinder-block at Berne, Chiappini’s Maserati, Peter Aitken’s small Maserati with lubrication trouble and
Brooke’s M.G.-Riley. Powybs-Lybbe drove his own 2.3, normally-suspended Alfa-Romeo and not Ashby’s 3.2-litre car.
As zero hour approached _Aitken’s Maserati was being frantically pushstarted and it just got going as Charles Follett dropped the flag. In the exciting initial rush ” Bira ” had a slight advantage, Mays on his tail and Whitehead momentarily third. Connell was last and poor Charles Martin, who had had difficulty in getting the E.R.A.’s engine running, stalled. Four helpers pushed desperately and eventually the car was jacked up, the rear tyres almost alight as the spinning wheels flirted with the road, but the engine again stalled as the car was pushed off the jack and it was withdrawn there and then with gearbox trouble—one E.R.A. out before a lap was over. At the end of lap one the or was Dim ” (Masnati), Mays (13.12,A.), Whitehead (E.R.A.), Austin Dobson (Maserati), A. C. Dobson (E.R.A.), Wakefield (Maserati), Howe (E.R.A.), Brackenbury (E.R.A.), Parnell (M. G.), Tongue (E.R.A.), Maclure (Riley), PowysL3rbbe (2.3 Alfa-Romeo), Evans (2.9 AlfaRomeo), Connell (E,R.A.), Hanson (Maserati), and Rolt .(Triumph). By the end of the next lap smoke was showing from Council’s cockpit. ” Bira” had averaged 70.66 m.p.h. for the first lap, leading Mays by 3 secs. Brackenbury spun round at Red Gate Corner and lost his position on lap 4 and after ten laps ” Bira ” led at 70.44 m.p.h by I secs., with Mays second, A. C. Dobson third, Whitehead fourth and Howe fifth. On Lip 12 Kenneth Evans came slowly in with the monoposto Alfa’s engine dead, parking on the grass before the pits and retiring. The gear casing behind the gearbox (see ” Rumblings ” last month) had had to be welded in practice and had given wax when Evans was running in
seventh place. Wakefield ran close to his pits on one lap, shouting a message without stopping, and Maclure was driving with his goggles on his forehead. Tongue Caine several times to his pit, and he retired the ERA. on lap 12 with engine maladies, after work on the front of the unit. On lap 13, amid vast excitement— imagine it !–Mays got past ” and on the next round A. C. Dobson on the other Zoller-blown independently sprung works 11-litre E.R.A. also passed the blue. Maserati, while Earl Howe, driving splendidly, pipped Whitehead for fourth place. Mays did his passing by taking Starkey’s in a wide slide and accelerating furiously before Red Gate, where ” Bira” followed him through, but Dobson had to take third place,
right on the Maser’s tail. Frequently ” Bira ” signalled ” turn left ” at this corner when followed closely by another car. At twenty laps Mays led Dobson by II secs., and ” Bira” was 91 secs. lx hind Mays, the average being 70.62 m.p.h. Wakefield came in with the little red Maserati, taking on fresh goggles after an examination of the driving-seat, the car re-Starting notably easily. Our watch showed Mays to be lapping now at about 2 mins. 9 secs., Dobson at the same speed and” Bira” and Howe at around 2 mins. 10.2 secs. Austin Dobson seemed worried about vision, frequently wiping his visor with his arm. By thirty laps Mays led by 1 secs. at 70.63 m.p.h. with ” Bira” still third, 19t secs. behind the leading E.R.A., which sounded as healthy as ever. Wakefield indulged in a wild power-slide at Starkey’s one round, Whitehead showed some tendency to go a trifle wild and Dobson’s Maserati came in for two mechanics to attend it. The leader 3 were naturally holding most of the attention and Powys-Lybbe carefully took his Alfa—now looking very spick and span—wide at Starkey’s, waving A. C. Dobson through in his pursuit of Mays. Our watch now made ” Bira” about secs. slower than before and Howe quite a bit slower, though odd timings are no concrete guide. On lap 37 Howe came in for brake adjustment and Brackenbury also suffered weakening brakes. Howe’s stop occupied 1 min. 45 secs. and he lost fourth place to Whitehead, until ‘Whitehead took l min. 40 secs. to refuel. Austin Dobson retired with a broken water-pipe and Parnell, whose twin-cam M.G. had for some laps shown an ominous and increasing trail of smoke from the cockpit, came in for a slowish pit-stop, fuel, water and plugs being put in, while Parnell got out for a breather. ” Bira” found his rear shockabsorbers slackening, so that the big Maser. started to dance on the Donington undulations, but still it was handled with perfect precision and never an indication that all was not going as Prince Chula had hoped. Maclure’s Riley sounded much rougher than usual, possibly due to the overlap timing, and it occasionally had severe rear-axle judder on braking before Red Gate. Howe’s stop for fuel had been exciting, the engine being kept in action until officials requested its stoppage. Front and back brakes were taken up, the engine turned on the handle as another mechanic pumped up pressure and the blue E.R.A. push-started, Lybbe glancing anxiously at the scene as he passed by. Rumours now circulated freely. A. C. Dobson could not win because if he did there would be no ” boni from the oil people. Both E.R.A.s would re-fuel and ” Bira” knew it. And so on. Two nice bits of pit-work were noted. Peter Whitehead came in for fuel. Three mechanics worked hard, the fuel cans being slung away when empty by Wuyts, oil poured into the chassis tank from a big jug, the funnel dropped onto the road, the engine cranked, and the car pushed off. No splash cover had been used. Wake field’s stop for fuel was also rapidly dealt with. By fifty laps Mays led by 3 secs. from Dobson and 46t secs. trom ” Bira” and he had eased to 70.53 m.p.h. On lap 52, Howe, brakes useless, turned round and, restarting, shot very nastily off the road going into Starkey’s hairpin, bringing the E.R.A. to rest in a 90`) slide, He retired there and then, condoled by us all, after a very spirited exhibition of polished,
sporting driving. Hanson’s Maserati had retired with engine seizure, coasting to his pit, and Whitehead again came in for fuel, oil and water, leaving in 27 secs. Hanson’s stop for fuel saw the Maser. come in fast and. much fuel spilt. Rolt took his time, the Triumph being given oil for its dumb-iron tank from a gallon can and the driver leaving his seat. Observation at Starkey’s showed Mays to eome close in to the grass and slide out ; ” Bira ” to corner with precision and some floating and bouncing ; Powys-Lybbe to go wi‘:te, t ven onto the new leg of the course where it rejoins the old road, in leaving the turn ; Brackenbury to hold a clean, central course ; Howe and Rolt to keep close in..
Maclure came in to refuel and have the brakes taken up, and the Riley would not re-start. Three mechanics tried a pushstart, two marshals helped, but to no avail. It is a serious shortcoming that at Donington the pits nearer to Starkey’s corner involves a much greater slope up which to push a car than those nearer Red Gate. Eventually Maclure himself pushed, leaping to his seat as the engine fired, a feat loudly clapped from the line of pits. A lap later poor Percy was in again and out of the car. Hereabouts someone came right out on the road with a board-signal for Lybbe, thus invoking the wrath of an R.A.C. steward. Caine sensation ! Mays passed his pit patting his helmet. He is coming in to refuel, we said, for funnel and churns were prominent on the pit counter. Hardly had the black E.R.A. cleared the pits next lap when there came a horrible noise, Mays revved up the engine, and appeared only to coast round Red Gate and out of sight. Mechanics started to leave his pit. It was the end . . . After a great run the E.R.A. had had an attack of its old trouble and split a rear axle driving shaft. Pistons, brakes and now axles seem the E.R.A.s weak spot. But Dobson responded at once, while mystic Siamese signs appeared from. ” Bira’s ” depot. ” Bira ” leaned from his seat to read them, gave the ” O.K.” and did we imagine that the Maser’s rear tyres were smoking as it left Starkey’s on the next lap ? Excitement grew intense. On lap 64 Mays fell out. Thereafter we timed the gap between Dobson and ” Bira ” as follows : 48 secs., 46, 48, 51 t, 491, 47, 43t, 421, 41, 41 . . . no, the Maserati could not do it. The works E.R.A.s no longer refuel in 200 miles and Dobson driving the race of his life, ran on unchallenged, to win by 39.6 secs. at 69.67 m.p.h. ” Bira” was second. Whitehead a very welldeserved third and Wakefield, on the litre Maserati with modified rear springing, fourth. Powybs-Lybbe brought his AlfaRomeo in fifth after a very steady drive, and during the closing stages Brackenbury, in A. C . Dobson’s high-tailed E.R.A. (that had been driven for a few laps by Pintacuda), caught Maclure on the 69th lap, in spite of being almost literally brakeless, only to be caught and repassed on the 72nd lap. There were no other finishers, apart from Rolt and Parnell, both of whom were flagged off. Parnell had had a good, quick stop to refuel, but at the very end he was badly delayed by trouble which necessitated removal of the bonnet and radiator cowl. It had been a truly excellent race for which the Junior Car Club deserves warm congratulations and, indeed, many persons made a point of congratulating Secretary Morgan in person afterwards. E.R.A. has now added its name to the winners of this classic race, just as it is doing in so many other big International contests, at home and abroad. The happy smile of Humphrey Cook’s was reflected in the faces of the occupants of the E.R.A Club’s special enclosure. Raymond Mays was taking his defeat well, signing autographs afterwards, Earl Howe, too, was seen to give away his signature. E.R.A.s have gained reliability and found more
sped and the winning of a scratch contest for cars of unlimited capacity and the shattering of the lap record in practice is a truly fine show. What a race will result next year especially if, as rumour has it, Szaman returns to this country, and, perhaps, re-acquires his old Delage, to show that it can still motor.
1. A. C. Dobson ( I j-litre E.R.A.); 2h. 49m. 12.4 69.67 M.p.h.
2. ” B. Bra” (2.9-litre Naserati), 211. 49m. :,2s. 69.40 m.p.h.
3. P. N. WIlitehead (1k-litre E.R.A .), 211. 54m. us. 67,48 in p.h.
4. J. P. Wakefield (11-litre Masera t ). 2h, 5011136s. 66.76 m.p.h. 5. A. Powys-Lybbe (2.3-litre Alfa-Romoo), 211. 57m. 56s. fi6.25
6. P. Machu,: (21-litre Riley unsuperehtrged). 2h. 58m. 34s. 66.02 m.p.h.
7. C. lirlekenbury ( E.R.A.), 3h. ltn. 16a. 65.04 m.p.h.
65.04 m.p.h. Still Running at Close Of Race
A. P. R.. Rilit (2.4-111 re Triumph Dolomite) cov,r2d 72 of !II, 77 ?;) p,1 iii 2h. 59m, 53s. R. Parnell (II litre NI .G.) covered 73 of tk: 77 laps In 3h. and 195 1,500 c.c. Results : 1, A. C. Dobson (E.R. A.) ,• 2, P. N. Whitehead (E.R.A.); 3, J. P. Wakefield Maserat