WAKEFIELD WINS THE ” 200 ” FOR E.R.A.
” BIRA’S” 3-LITRE MASERATI OUT-CLASSED. LORD HOWE FINISHES THIRD
THE crowd at Brooklands for the Junior Car Club’s 200-Mile Race on August 27th was not imposingly extensive, but the j.C.C. was not to blame, for had they not invited schoolboys and schoolgirls to attend free of charge ? Possibly holidays were responsible. The race, returning again to Weybridge, was not very exciting, but again the J.C.C. was not responsible. The entries promised a good struggle. In practice, Chris Staniland’s Mercedes-like Multi-Union went noticeably well, and Billy Cotton did very good work with the E.R.A. Wilkinson brought Kenneth Evans’s Alfa-Romeo down on the Thursday and found nothing to do but repair a leaky carburetter float. A. F. Ashby was a little troubled about his braking and was curing a carburation flat-spot which spoilt Ms pick-up away from the banking turn. Beadle’s new Alta appeared in a new coat of paint, Lace did some hectic testing of the Darracq’s • brakes in the Paddock, and ” Bira’s ” Maserati had a large fuel tank installed. Dobson’s E.R.A., towed about by a B.M.W., proved a refractory starter, and work was proceeding at night on the team E.R.A.s
over on the aerodrome. The MultiUnion was noticed to have an electric fuel gauge, unusual for a racing-car. On the Friday there was considerable
activity. ” Bira,” in between touring round, did a circuit in 1 mm. 49 secs. The Multi-Union did 1 min. 52.2 secs., Cotton 1 min. 52 secs., Wakefield 1 min. .54 secs., Dobson 1 min. 56 secs., and Ashby 2 mins. 8CCS.—the last named faster than when he took the Class C lap record, which the Alfa still holds. Ashby allowed Bartlett to try the AlfaRomeo, which was running with 6.50″ >f. 19″ Dimlops at the rear. Then, just before the Track closed, someone persuaded him to try a weaker mixture and in half .a lap a piston had gone and the first nonstarter was posted. Raymond Mays and Lord Howe only took the E.R.A.s out very late—the cars now blue-green instead of black. Gradually the Paddock emptied, as enthusiasts drifted off in search of to-morrow’s race, which was to be over 88 laps, or 199i miles of the full Campbell circuit. There was excitement as Mays found a leaking fuel tank on his E.R.A. In the front row, before Brooklands’ concrete pits, were Cotton’s ” Bira’s ” Maserati, Staniland’s Multi-Union, and
Mays’s E.R.A. Behind were Tongue, Dobson and Wakefield in E.R.A.s, behind again were Lace’s sports 4-litre Darracq, Beadle’s Alta, Howe’s E.R.A. and F,vans’s Alfa-Romeo. The next row contained Connell’s E.R.A., Maclute’s Riley, and Rolt’s E.R.A., and the next, Avebury ‘s Alta, Hanson’s Maserati, Fletcher’s M.G., and Rayson’s Old fourcylinder Maserati. Behind were Smith, Woolley and Wilton with 1VI.G.s and Abecassis (Alta), Brooke (Brooke-Special), Nichols (M.G.) and Aitken (Maserati), with Wilson’s 1,100 c.c. E.R.A. in solitary
state behind. The non-starters were Ashby (Alfa-Romeo) and Hyde (Maserati). There was immense excitement right before the flag fell, for” Bira’s ” Maserati was only just push-started in time and was then reversed calmly and rapidly
to behind the line. The big Maserati then led everyone, although not starting very impressively, while Tongue shot up from the second tank, followed closely ly Dobson. Cotton had been worried by his car creeping beyond the line through transmission snatch. After one lap the order was ” Bira,” Mays, Dobson, Tongue, Cotton, Evans, Wakefield, Rayson, Council, Beadle. Howe, Avebury, Lace, Rolt, Maclure, Aitken, Hanson, Abecassis, Nichols, Fletcher, Wilton, Smith, Woolley and Wilson. Abecassis had almost been a non-starter, as a rod came out in practice and he started with a 11-litre sports engine in the car. Staniland started the Alfa-engined Multi-Union carefully, but was Out at once with serious transmission
trouble. ” Bira ” settled down to get clear of Mays, and soon led by 9 secs., controlled by his ealm and efficient pit. Abecassis came in for a brief stop after only a few laps, and then Beadle came in, overshot, was pushed back and, after an examination, went on, the pit-staff needing to send for a plug-spanner. After 15 mins. we timed ” Bira” to be lapping at about 1 min. 55 secs. After 8 laps Mays stopped for a plug change, the tools being flung back into the pit as the car left. This put Arthur Dobson in second place, 10 secs. behind ” Bira,” and the leading Maserati was now lapping at just under 78 m.p.h. Already the smaller cars, running for the special prizes, were being lapped by the leaders. Beadle had another short pit visit. By 10 laps the order was :— “Bira,” Dobson, Wakefield, Tongue— the E.R.A. opposition was pressing
strongly. Cotton was fighting Tongue very furiously. Brooke gyrated his 1.6-litre BrookeSpecial at the Hill Bend, and we put a watch on ” Bira ” at 12 laps and clocked him at 1 min. 51 secs. on a lap when he braked hard at the Hill turn for Lace’s Darracq. Dobson, on the other hand, was doing approximately 1 min. 51.4 secs. On his nth lap Hanson’s Maserati overshot the banking turn and retired with a seized gearbox. Cotton had now displaced Tongue for fourth position. Mays again came in with misfiring, and On his 14th lap retired the E.R.A. with scavenge pump trouble. Connell now made a brief call at his pit and after doing 17 laps the Brooke-Special retired with a very audible run big-end bearing. The Campbell circuit is hard, very hard, on
the cars. Lord Avebury had a pit visitation and then Dobson’s fine drive finished after 22 laps when a piston broke. Connell retired his E.R.A. after 17 laps because the brakes had weakened under stress of Campbell circuit cornering and Evans found his Alfa brakes tiring. Still ” Bira’ led, with Wakefield second, Cotton third and Tongue fourth. Cotton then stopped for three churns of fuel but retired soon after with back axle trouble. Evans overshot his pit, kept his engine going and had some good snappy work done on the Alfa’s front
brake adjustment. In Howe’s pit Humphrey Cook was in stern control, and Lady Howe was also on duty, as were Princess ” Bira” and Mrs. Lace in other pits. ” Bira ” came in after 42 non-stop laps. One could not but enthuse over the calm, pre-planned pit-work. ” Loftie ” England, who used to be with the” Bira” equipe but who has recently returned to the Alvis works, signalled to ” Bira ” with a flag as Shura prepared the antisplash cover. The car came in with a screech of brakes to a perfect stop. ” Bira ” watched the fuel go in and the rear covers being changed very calmly, and pumped up pressure. Loftie had the bonnet up to add oil to the engine. Meanwhile, a friend talked to ” Bira” in Siamese and finally in English, telling him, as Wakefield went by to lead, that he was still second, adding “go on like you do ; you will catch him, he has to stop for fuel too.” The car was push
started and left promptly. ” Bira” had a lead of 46 secs. a lap before he came in, but now Wakefield and Tongue were ahead of him. However, the Maserati was gained by some two seconds per lap, and by 60 laps was second, 72 secs. behind Wakefield’s Zoller-blown E.R.A. Percy Maclure now had his stop, but only to add. fuel, from plain 2 gallon cans, and oil, to his Riley, work he accomplished himself, very quickly. Rolt came in next, Charles Brackenbury working at the fuel churns, no cover being used to protect the driver, who received an orange to suck. Oil went in, and the screen was cleaned ; good, unflurried work. Aitken’s Maserati now retired after 42 laps with a broken valve. Wakefield was soon due to come in for fuel and Mays was seen to visit his pit. Abecassis now stopped, got out, complained of gearbox noises (the blower gears had stripped) and let Taylor chive the Alta to the retirement park. Taylor told us the oilgauge had been round once, yet when uncoupled no pressure was evident. Wakefield still led ” Bira ” by about 77 secs. before he stopped in his turn. ” Bira’s ” brakes were now very weak and he had lost 35 secs. telling his pit so without stopping long enough to have anything done. Cameramen assembled their implements opposite the pit and Mays attended as Wakefield came in. McComiell ordered the mechanics clear of the car and Alta’s works chief gave his all in the form of a lump of chewinggum, emphasising that it was for Wakefield and not for his mechanics ! The car duly stopped, poor Wakefield was soaked
with fuel, and churns and funnel were slung anyhow into the pits-15 gallons in 20 secs. and no tyre change. It was now all over bar the shouting. Try as he did, Bira ” could not beat bad brakes and the flying E.R.A. Tongue also suffered brake trouble and turned round at the Fork bend, running to the pits for a start ing handle. Wakefield’s car was said to be doing 6 m.p.g. but they gave him 15 gallons to complete about 88 miles, At 80 laps the E.R.A. led by 44 secs., at 84 laps by 45 secs., at 85 laps by 43 secs. and at 87 laps, one from the end, by 42 secs. Shura came ” upstairs” to watch the gap and realised that “
Bira” had lost to a 1i-litre car. Right at the end the sports Darracq went. out with a blown gasket, Wilton left the course with his M.G., and retired, and Nichols had a lucky escape when the near side front wheel left his M.G. owing to a broken ball-race–it happened after a corner and fortunately not at full speed. So Johnnie Wakefield won his first big race with his new E.R.A., after two brilliant but never fully successful years with Maserati and Alta cars. He took 2 hrs. 48 mins. 37 secs., an average of 70.97 m.p.h. ” Bira ” was second with the old 3-litre Maserati, 34 secs. behind, at 70.63 m.p.h. Lord Howe’s E.R.A. came home third, two laps behind, at 68.7 m.p.h. The race ceased as soon as Wakefield had. been flagged the victor. He was warmly congratulated thereafter and looked very happy. Twelve cars. had retired in a very hard struggle. Wakefield’s E.R.A. naturally headed the
If class, and Cuddon-Fletcher’s M.G. won the 1,100 c.c. section. Wakefield. wins the historic, immense Andre Gold Cup-one of motor-racing’s few worthwhile awards-and £175 in cash prizes.
Thereafter lots and lots of people wanted to congratulate a very popular young man on his big win.