Reports of Recent Events, September 1947
Hants & Berks M.C. Burghfield Speed Trial
In these days one must not scorn any place where speed events can be held, and consequently the warmest praise is due to Mr. Neil Gardiner for laying out a drive on his estate at Burghfield specially for sprint events. There are so many corners that its 440 yards are never straight and cars never reach racing speeds, but the first r.h. curve and two subsequent bends are steeply banked, the surface is good, and the surroundings truly delightful, with excellent spectator accommodation. These factors, coupled with a big entry and splendid organisation, made the Hants & Berks M.C. speed trial on July 26th an excellent affair. J. Lowrey, just back from the Alpine, in Continental white cap, untiringly talked through the very clear Antone speakers, and electrical timing was employed. The racing cars could do little on this winding, narrow course. Salvadori’s monoposto AlfaRomeo won its class in 25.2 sec., but couldn’t be extended, and it was L. J. D. Bartlett’s home-brewed Mercury which made f.t.d., in 23.5 sec. He used a tailslide to check his car from some 65 m.p.h. at the banked turn and went astonishingly fast through the swerves, his modified L.M.B. front suspension working really well. Seldom have we seen such cornering and Bartlett richly deserved his success. He found his 7.00-in, road rear tyres well suited to the course. Second fastest, using the banking, was Emery’s Hudson-Special. Others who drove noticeably well were Rivers-Fletcher (M.G.), although he dislodged some straw from a tree on one fast run, Perkins (H.R.G.), Leonard Potter, back from the Alpine, in his Allard, Emery (Emeryson-Special) and Shattock (Atalanta Special).
Jacobs was quick in his Arnott-blown M.G. “TC.” Len Parker seemed to suffer brake lock in his V12 Allard. Appleton, holding one bad slide well, was neat in his white Allard, and Crozier really “diced” his big Mercédès-Benz coupe, using the blower and being faster than Marechal’s “Speed Six” Bentley, which had its smooth tyres on its rear wheels. The Becke arrived minus a vital petrol union, but was able to run in the afternoon. Tony Crook’s “328” B.M.W. won its class easily and the Automenders-Singer went well. Boothby’s J.B.M. was very slow round the corners, Merten’s 4 1/2-litre Bentley misfired, Mann blipped his Jaguar along, and Hamilton hadn’t enough cylinders in Leithart’s R-type M.G. Ruddock’s Meadows-Frazer Nash stopped on its second run with distributor trouble, the J.A.P. Special and Riley-G.N. Special both fell sick, and the Sumner-J.A.P. should have cornered faster, but the Norris-Special was most impressive and Bremner’s 1,750-c.c. blown Alfa-Romeo four-seater was very, nice to watch. Wharton drove his Special outstandingly, Money’s M.G. sounded fit and Trowbridge was neat in his “Ulster” Austin. The spectators got fine value for money, for in practice Clarke’s “12/60” Alvis fell over the banking and later Brandon did likewise, before winning the 500-c.c. class in the Cooper from Cooper and the Bacon “500,” Edwards hit a tree and bent the front axle of his G.P. Bugatti and Grey hit a kerb going into the banked bend in the twin-rear-tyred “2.3” G.P. Bugatti and simply flew through the undergrowth, damaging another expensive front axle. Those who drove really well are found in the following results: —
Sports Cars up to 1,100 c.c., Unblown: 1st, L. E. Gibbs (Riley), 26.81 sec.; 2nd, R. K. Darley (H.R.G.), 27.92 sec.; 3rd, J. V. Bowles (Austin), 28.52 sec.
Sports Cars, 1,101-1,500 c.c. Unblown, Up to 1,100 c.c. Blown: 1st, J. M. Perkins (H.R.G.), 25.82 sec.; 2nd, W. S. Perkins (H.R.G.), 26.00 sec.; 3rd, R. A. Hellyar (Automenders-Singer) 26.70 sec.
Sports Cars, 1,501-3,000 c.c. Unblown, 1,101 — 1,500 c.c. Blown: 1st, T. A. D. Crook (B.M.W.) 25.85 sec.; 2nd, R. G. Shattock (Atalanta-Special) 26.17 sec.; 3rd, R. W. Jacobs (M.G.) 26.39 sec.
Sports Cars Over 3,001 c.c. Unblown, Over 1,501 c.c. Blown: 1st, L. J. D. Bartlett (Mercury) 23.50 sec.; 2nd, P. R. Emery (Hudson-Special) 24.00 sec.; 3rd, J. H. Appleton (Allard) 25.22 sec.
Racing Cars up to 500 c.c. 1st, E. Brandon (Cooper) 25.01 sec.; 2nd, J. Cooper (Cooper) 25.09 sec.
Racing Cars, 501-1,100 c.c.: 1st, K. Wharton (Wharton) 24.26 sec.; 2nd, P. R. Emery (Emeryson) 24.40 sec.; 3rd, C. P. Vaughan (Becke Powerplus) 24.56 sec.
Racing Cars, 1,101-1,500 c.c.: 1st, F. A. Norris (Norris) 24,32 sec.; 2nd, G. N. Richardson (Bugatti) 25.68 sec.
Racing Cars, 1,501-3,000 c.c.: 1st, R. F. Salvadori (Alfa-Romeo) 25.20 sec.; 2nd, R. Dixon (Bugatti) 27.51 sec.
The Sis Fastest: Bartlett (Mercury) 23.50 sec., Emery (Hudson) 24.00 sec., Wharton (Wharton) 24.26 sec., Norris (Norris) 24.32 sec., Emery (Emeryson) 24.40 sec., Vaughan (Becke) 24.56 sec.
Mendip Grand Prix
The Mendip Grand Prix organised by the Bristol Motor Cycle & Light Car Club took place on the Castle of Comfort Course in the Mendip Hills, on July 26th. The event was devised to resemble the spectacle of a sports car road race and yet remain legal and suitable for ordinary cars.
An average speed of 30 m.p.h. over eight laps of a five-mile course was required, but the main competitive sphere lay in the eight compulsory pit stops, which were timed. Apart from penalties for being early or late at the finish the best aggregate pit stop timings produced the winner. From the massed start a real “race” atmosphere was maintained, the pit stops providing the greatest interest.
Ten cars faced the starter’s flag and, as it fell, drivers and mechanics ran to their cars in true T.T. style. J. Buncombe (M.G.) was first away and he subsequently made the fastest time in four pits, his chances of the premier award being spoiled by a delay in wheel changing at Pit “H.”
With only eight pits available for the ten entrants, two of them had to make a blank lap after the first one. The general run was to cover two pits per lap when possible, leaving blank laps at the end for adjusting time schedules.
E. H. Goodenough (Horstman) took only 5 sec. to remove and replace three battery filler plugs. J. Buncombe took a like time for the removal and replacement of his rear axle filler cap and 6 sec. for the gearbox cap. Despite a time allowance, those with stud fixing wheels could not compete with the “knock-off” variety when wheel changing. In the former category M. Turner (Ford) and G. F. Coaker (Austin) took 100.1 and 111 sec. respectively, while J. Y. Tomlinson with “knock-offs” on his Lea-Francis took only 37.8 sec. Hydraulic jacks gave notable assistance. J. Buncombe changed and replaced two sparking plugs in 41.2 sec. Among time-saving devices was a length of hose pipe and a house-type tap for water drainage from the radiator.
Though only gaining fastest time in two pits, E. H. Goodenough was consistently well organised at the others and the final results proved him to be the winner.
1st: E. H. Goodenough (Horstman), aggregate time 270.5 sec.
2nd: J. Buncombe (M.G.), aggregate time 273.2 sec.
3rd.: J. F. Saunders (Bentley), aggregate time 383.8 sec.
Team Award: S. F. Saunders (Bentley), D. Wilson-Spratt (Bentley), J. Y. Tomlinson (Lea Francis).
Hartlepool & D.M.C. Speed Trial
Another event savouring of the early nineteen-twenties was the speed trial along Hartlepool promenade. Allan Arnold, in his modified Type 51 Bugatti, set a new record for the 1/4 mile course of 14.8 sec., beating the old record, made in 1939, by .4 sec. Stewart’s H.R.G. won the 1 1/2-litre sports-car class in 19.8 sec., beating Snowden’s M.G. by a clear second. The large sports-car class saw Tyrer’s very successful 328 B.M.W. win in 16.6 sec., beating Pritchard’s Allard by 1.2 sec. Lafone’s supercharged M.G. was the fastest 1,100 c.c. racing car, in 17.8 sec. and, although now a second slower, this car also won the 1 1/2-litre racing-car class. Arnold obviously took the unlimited racing-car class, Penn’s ex-Dixon Riley being a second slower. Mrs. Darbishire’s well-known supercharged Riley won the Ladies’ class in 15.8 sec. from Mrs. Stonehouse. The latter’s M.G. took 21.8 sec. Electrical timing was used.
Coupe de Paris
The first heat of this excellent fixture was over 20 laps of a circuit at Boulogne, and was won by de Costanze’s Darl’ Mat Peugeot at an average of 70 m.p.h. from Jacques’ Riley and Deutsch’s D.B., after Bonnet’s D.B. had retired and Martin’s special B.M.W. had visited its pit. Martin twice broke the lap record, but his stop cost him a place. Wimille’s Gordini-Simca won Heat 2 at 76 m.p.h. from Trintignant’s sister car, with Masino’s Cisitalia 3rd. Sommer’s Simca made fastest lap, then blew its gasket, while Loyer’s Cisitalia had trouble. In the final Sommer took over Trintignant’s car, but damaged it while in the lead. Wimille then went on to win the 120 1/2 mile race for Gordini-Simca at 76 m.p.h. from Martin’s B.M.W., Loyer’s Cisitalia, Trintignant in Prince Igor’s Simca, de Cortanze’s Darl’ Mat Peugeot and Sommer’s Simca.
Speed Hill Climb
This year the Southampton C.C. again held a hill-climb, confined to sports and touring cars, at Fordingbridge, a loose, dusty course reminiscent of the early nineteen-twenties, but with sensible bends and delightfully situated. The organisation was good, but the timing method was a thought primitive. It is ironical that the hill was only available because R.A.F. bombs remained uncleared from the adjoining ground — when these have gone the road will be opened to the public. The sports-car definition was pretty liberally interpreted, so that Leslie Allard, using Sydney Allard’s 1946 sprint car, made f.t.d. in 28.6 sec., breaking the course record set up last year by Hutchison’s Allard, while Onslow Bartlett, in his Mercury, made best performance, each driver being allowed three runs and the average time of these runs counting — a refreshing variation of procedure. Bartlett made a very brave show, as his car turned over on its second ascent — the regulations permitted an additional run, and he drove nearly as fast as before to average 29 5/15 sec. Leslie Allard averaged 29 7/15 sec. and kept to the course each run. Some classes had to be combined due to scarcity of entries and it would seem that certain regular entrants rather “missed the boat” by not attending. Huxham’s Morgan 4/4 was not fit, but managed a third place, and Axel-Berg was also in trouble with his “12/50” Alvis-engined Riley “Redwing” recently acquired from Tim Carson. Len Parker’s Allard and Fogarty’s 2-litre B.M.W.-engined Frazer-Nash were not on form, while R. C. Roland (328 B.M.W.) treated the course with respect. Way’s V12 Atalanta coupé left an immense dust cloud in its wake. Best experienced some nasty slides in his blown PB M.G. in winning his class and, as we have said, Onslow Bartlett was hectic in his Mercury and very fast, axles bouncing wildly, in his Ford V8 30 saloon. Dewey’s inevitable Willys-Jeep was beaten by Fry’s B.M.W.
Sports Cars up to 1,100 c.c.: 1st, J. Hanman (s/c 746 c.c. M.G.), 35.33 sec.; 2nd, L. V. Robbins (747 c.c. Austin), 36.6 sec.; 3rd, J. Huxham (Morgan 4/4), 41.46 sec.
Sports Cars, 1,101-1,500 c.c.: 1st, G. Best (s/c PB M.G.), 32.73 sec.; 2nd, L. Leonard (T-type M.G.), 34.66 sec.; 3rd, J. G. Hay (Anzani Fraser-Nash), 37.93 sec.
Sports Cars Over 1,501 c.c.: 1st, L. Onslow-Bartlett (Mercury), 29.33 sec.; 2nd, L. Allard (Allard.), 29.46 sec.; 3rd, L. Parker (Allard), 30.13 sec.
Touring Cars up to 16 h.p.: 1st, E. Fry (B.M.W.), 35.33 sec.; 2nd, C. Dewey (Willys-Jeep), 35.93 sec.; 3rd, R. Faulkner (Willy-Jeep), 36.33 sec.
Touring Cars Over 16 1/2 h.p.: 1st, R. Way (Atalanta) 34.4 sec.; 2nd, L. Onslow-Bartlett (Ford), 36.2 sec.; 3rd, C. Smith (Ford), 37.05 sec.
Times are the aggregate for three runs.
Srasbourg Grand Prix
This race, like Ulster, was rather a fiasco. Villoresi’s Maserati won at 68.92 m.p.h., taking 2 h. 45 m. 41.9 sec. over his drive. He also made fastest lap at 75.76 m.p.h., and the only other competitor to finish on the same lap was Giraud-Cabantous (Talbot). Thereafter came a straggly lot of finishers — Rosier’s Talbot, Louveau’s Maserati, Pozzi’s Talbot, Chauboud’s Delahaye, the Levegh-Raph Maserati, Meyrat’s Delahaye and Scaron’s Talbot. This after Chiron’s 16-valve Maserati had gone out with gearbox trouble and Ascari’s with a broken valve, and Wimille’s quick Simca had had brake bothers,