Bank Holiday racing at the Crystal Palace

JK Hall (Lotus-Climax) wins August Trophy Race. GA Naylor’s 1934 Lagonda Rapier wins two races.

The BARC was fortunate on August Bank Holiday, because torrential rain in the morning ceased in time for the afternoon programme of racing which they organised at the Crystal Palace for the LCC.

Feature of the:afternoon was the August Trophy Race for 1,100-cc sports cars without superchargers, run in two 10-lap heats and a 15-lap final of the 1.39-mile course which, edged by hard walls, is very different from an airfield’s wide open spaces. The first heat attracted ten starters, all in Lotus-Climax cars, except for Moor’s Cooper-Climax. Stacey had a twist-grip throttle control on the gear-lever but never got a chance to twist it effectively because his car jibbed on the line. The Cooper led away, but on the second lap Allison and Hall went by and Lumsden’s Weber-carburetted Lotus Mark II went past on the inside at Ramp Corner. The race then became a procession, but excitement was maintained because at times Hall got very close to Allison, until, on lap seven they were neck-and-neck, with Hall going into the lead the next time round, to win by 0.2 of a sec, at 68.93 mph. Lumsden was third. comfortably ahead of the Cooper, with Marriott’s Mark VI Lotus next, its Stage II engine tone proving its worth, aided by excellent driving, and Hewitt’s de Dion, disc-braked Lotus Mark IX a close sixth. Allison’s team-Lotus car with MG gearbox made fastest lap on the still slippery circuit, at 70.88 mph. Harris spun at the glade and the cautious BARC excludes those who motor-race in this manner.

In the second heat Ellis (Lotus-Climax) led all the way in a field of ten, but he braked noticeably early for the corners and averaged only 64.8 mph, tying with Zervudachi for fastest lap, at 66.02 mph, the latter having flown from Egypt to drive his smart blue Lotus-Climax, its engine in Stage I tune. Jersey driver, A Owen, in the Montlhery record-breaking Cooper-Climax, took East African McNaughton’s ex-Mackenzie Low Elva-Ford on lap five, but otherwise the race was processional. Fifth place went to Lawrence’s hard-sprung MG, which is an ex-“Musketeer” car, now with six Amal carburetters, six exhaust outlets, a three-branch water intake from the top of a special radiator and a nine-piece glass-fibre body detachable in 3 sec. Snusher’s EJS-Climax finished sixth: it has home-conceived chassis and brakes, and also uses a glass-libre body. Alas, Clarke’s new Lotus-Climax retired.

A stern attempt by Allison to catch Hall enlived the final and at times the two Loti were exceedingly close, but three laps from the end they began to lap slower cars, which obliterated any chance Allison might have had of getting to grips with the leader. So Hall won the Trophy and £100, averaging 70.95 mph, but Allison again had the consolation of making fastest lap. at 72.73 mph. Lumsden was again third, just ahead of Hewitt, who had made valiant but unsuccessful attempts to get his Mark IX Lotus past, while Marriott drove outstandingly in his older Lotus, passing Moore’s Cooper at Ramp, the Cooper promptly repassing, only to lose its oil-pressure, so that Marriott came in sixth behind Stacey, his driving loudly clapped. This time Ellis’ more cautious driving told, although he spun at New Link, so that he headed a bunch of back-markers, of whom Owen took Dix on the inside at Ramp, only to damage his car on the banks of the Glade. The Elva-Ford, which had emulated a steam car during its heat, lost all its water.

The five-lap Ladies’ Handicap was interesting. Jean Bloxam being sent an MG Magnette Saloon by Gelberg after her Aston Martin had given trouble. She had never driven an MG before but, given 75 sec start, she led all the way, to a 55.87 mph victory. Hazel Dunham’s MG-MGA and Gillian Spooner, who drove a Triumph TR2 really well, both caught Mrs Naylor’s Lagonda on the last lap, and all four finished ahead of cautious Rosemary Seers in the Cooper-Zephyr. Mrs Ashby who makes a Wolseley saloon go so fast at Goodwood, retired in the Leco-MG, which has a narrow tubular ladder-chassis, 11/2-litre MG engine and irs by transverse leaf-spring, wishbones and jointed drive shafts.

Patsy Burt was handicapped out of it on scratch but made quickest lap at 64.65 mph, the neat belt of spanners she wore not signifying any trouble with her Aston-Martin DB2/4. The commentators tried hard to remember if Mrs Naylor really had lapped Brooklands at 100 mph on a motorcycle, obviously having forgotten what a BMCRC Gold Star was awarded for ; her springless Norton had to go round at all of 100 mph to gain this coveted award.

Sports-Car Race “A,” over seven laps, brought out the “heavymetal,” of which Protheroe’s Tojeiro-Jaguar had made fastest practice lap, 1.8 sec slower than Moss’ sports-car lap record. Kyffin’s ex-works Aston Martin DB3S, once driven by Collins, got away promptly but in a lap Protheroe had gone by to gain a clear lead. Behind came a bunch of five, Trimbles ex-Ecuric Ecosse C-type Jaguar coming through to third place, hard-pressed by Stacey’s Lotus-Climax, Allison fifth and Lumsden sixth. Protheroe won by 4.6 sec, at 68.68 mph, after a lap at 71.00 mph. Speedway-rider Thackwell’s Cooper-Climax retired with loss of oil-pressure.

Sports-Car Race “B” was a clear victory for Bristow’s MG Special, with 1,489 cc MG engine, having twin SUs, and oil-cooler, coil springs and wishbones and a neat all-eveloping body. At the finish it had a lead of 10.6 sec from Patten’s Bristol-engined AC Aceca, having averaged 64.27 mph and lapped at 66.62 mph. Ferrari’s AC Ace, for some reason wearing a Scuderia Ferrari insignia, was third, in front of the EJS-Climax and steaming Elva-Ford, hut Mallock’s Austin-Ford stole the race, passing the EJS out of Ramp on one lap and being cornered with immense verve, yet looking safe, no matter how it was yanked about. Less safe was Conn’s  Austin-Healey, which overtook Ashby’s Leco-MG before the Glade, then spun in front of it, both cars being damaged.

Twelve contested the 7-lap Vintage Car Handicap, of which only eight were vintage cars. This was a procession. Naylor’s limit 1934 Lagonda Rapier leading all the way from Morley’s 1923 two-seater Bentley and Greases’ 1936 2-litre Le Mans Aston Martin, with Brown’s Frazer-Nash doing its utmost to close. But it was an exciting procession, for Mulholland’s 1936 team 41/2-litre Lagonda, wildly pressed Eastick’s ex-ambulance 1930 41/2-litre Bentley without getting by, and Freeman in the scratch 1936 Spa 2-litre Aston Martin drove fiercely to catch and dispose of Lawrence’s odd-bodied 1928 41/2-litre Bentley, having to lap at 64.48 mph to do so. In a close finish Naylor won by 0.6 se, at 56.94 mph, one mph faster than the modern MG which won the Ladies’ Race, and the only retirement was Cuff-Miller in Fitzwilliam’s blown 1930 2.3 Alfa-Romeo, although Bill Mason’s spIendid 1930 41/2-litre Bentley had been having a bout of plug trouble. Binns had bent the Riley’s front axle in practise but was now going well, catching Bader’s Brooklands Riley Nine, which only a short time before had a van body. Morley, incidentally, threatens to put his father’s 41/2-litre eugine into his Bentley.

Having won the Vintage Race, Naylor’s Lagonda Rapier kept ahead all through the 5-lap Invitation Handicap, this time averaging 57.97 mph, to win from Trimble’s XK120C Jaguar by 5 sec. Naylor never got it into top gear, doing some 1,000 rpm in third along the straights ; this dual victory rewards Naylor and his wife for much hard work put in on this special-bodied Rapier. Protheroe made fastest lap of the day, at 73.16 mph, and Gillian Spooner (TR2), again drove splendidly, catching Hazel Dunham (MG-MGA).- WB.