Slverstone. August 18th.
The Relay Race is pleasant because it is different. Before the war the Light Car Club held such at race at Brooklands; this, too, had an atmosphere of its own, besides being excellent training for amateur drivers. I recall the keen anticipation I always felt after reading about this race in The Light Car—then a splendid full-size weekly with the famous photographic cover and devoted entirely to 1.500-cc cars—and discovering that cars normally seen only in sprints were to be unleashed for furious lappery of the Track. The present 750 MC Relay Race, conceived by H.Birkett, is equally distinctive. Although it had National status this year, the teams still bore delightful names such as “Stuttgart Academicals,” “Dusseldorf Wednesday,” “Scuderia Throttolo Bendori,” “Flotsam” and “Jetsam.” The entry list disclosed cars, formed into 25 teams, from DB3S to Ford vans and showed a stalwart J Burn to be managing.no fewer than three of these. teams. The regulations, scorning Le Mans hysterics, announced that “the pit area is particularly dangerous …”, while rule 13 was devoted to competitors’ life-policies ! Unquestionably. the Relay Race has character.
This year the entry was down by ten teams, And although this is a 750 MC fixture only one team each of 750 and 1,172 Formula cars entered, the need for a National licence debarring many club drivers. If you ask what C-type Jaguars, Porsche Carreras and vintage Invictas had to do with a club founded to foster the Austin Seven, you are just being awkward !
Under heavy cloud, with a gale-force wind blowing, the first cars got away. and after an hour Team Lotus led from Simpson’s MG team and the Bendori Ford Tens. At their first sash-change OA Wilcock’s TR2 of the Chiltern CC team, collected a straw bale when coming to the pits and was subsequently called to the Clerk of the Course’s “study.” The Elva-Fords were having a bad time, one burning-out an exhaust valve, the side-valve alloy-head Ford Thames of J Miles and C Andrew proved faster than the Elva-Fords, the latter team reduced mostly to a single car. The scratch team was also in trouble, Kyffin’s retiring with back-axle failure in the first hour and a C-type Jaguar being delayed by gearbox trouble, so that most of the running was done by Flint’s and Edwards’ hard-sprung ERA-Jaguar. Some drivers spun at Woodcote, including Ken Richardson (TR3), others collected grass elsewhere and Utley’s Frazer-Nash lost a front wheel, but generally the race was without incident, interest rather reduced by the small field. The crowd was small, too, but those who braved the unpleasant weather saw the race resolve into a battle between Dick Jacobs’ MG Magnette saloons, watched by the Neubauer-like figure of Marcus Chambers, N Barclay’s “Shuttlecock” Triumphs, and the 750 Formula team, ably led by the remarkably-fast David Rees in his twin-SU Austin Special, backed up by M Harris’ well-known vintage Seven. The crowd clapped a splendid late sash-change between these two, when a loose distributor lead had to be replaced on Rees’ car.
An hour from the end the gallant 750s led from the MGs and Triumphs, but in the final hour the consistent MG Magnette team scored, winning by a lap from the Triumphs, the 750 was a popular third, with the “Hendon” Ford team on the same lap largely by reason of the splendid running of their Thames van ! A fine sight was Armstrong lapping fast in a doorless Ford butcher’s van for the LMB team, this van having alloy head, huge dd carburetter, a cracked block sealed by Wondarweld, and eventually coming in with a battery “short.” Another novel feature of this race is that “stopping money” is paid, but this time there were no crashes and only one small claim for this welcome financial help.—WB.