Motor SportSeptember 1931
THE AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY MEETING
A Good Day's Sport at Weybridge.
A scrap in the second Mountain Race — B. Lewis high on the banking is chasing Raymond May's Invicta, while in the foreground is Sir Henry Birkin on the Maserati, with witch he lowered the course record for this event.
THE B.A.R.C. were once again lucky in their weather on August 3rd, but they fully deserved some luck, for the afternoon's racing was excellent in both quality and variety.
The sound policy of reduced entry fees was continued, and a large crowd took the opportunity of watching as good a selection of motoring as we have seen for some time.
One of the attractions was the fact that attempts were to be made on the lap record by Sir Henry Birkin and Mrs. Stewart, the latter on the Miller with which she has been so successful at Monthlery.
W.E. Humphreys going to win the fourth race (The London Junior Short Handicap)
for the Brooklands Gold Vase.
The weather, however, although excellent for ordinary racing, was somewhat gusty for very high speeds, and it was hardly expected that new figures would be recorded for the lap, and this proved to be the case, although Sir Henry came very near to it in his last race.
Some hectic last minute work had been in progress on Mrs. Stewart's car, and it was got ready after various troubles so that the public could have a chance of seeing it perform. The famous single seater Bentley had also been receiving a lot of attention in order to coax those few extra miles an hour, and on Saturday George Eyston had been at work on it and took it round to see what could be done. Incidentally the car is now fitted with one of his Powerplus "blowers," so that he was naturally the man to look over it finally. However, the highest lap speed in practise was just over 134 m.p.h. so that Birkin was not too hopeful of records even under perfect conditions. He gave a wonderful display, and in the last race actually beat his own last year's record, with a lap at 135.45 m.p.h., very near indeed to Kaye Don's 137.58 on the "Tiger."
He was consoled for not getting this record by setting up new figures for the mountain circuit during the course of the second mountain event, both for the lap and the whole race of ten laps.
His lap speed was 75.21 m.p.h. and his speed for the race 71.38 m.p.h. The previous figures were 73.86 m.p.h. by Sir Malcolm Campbell on the "Merc.", and 70.31 m.p.h. by the same driver on the 1500 c.c. Grand Prix Delage.
Other features of the meeting were the fine speeds of R.P. Oats, on the re-built 1½ litre O.M. which did a standing lap at over 100 m.p.h. as well as winning a mountain race at 65.21 m.p.h., and also of Leon Cushman on the orange Austin Seven.
This wonderful little car has now got going to some tune, and the fact that he put in a lap at 96 m.p.h. gave us a fair warning of what he was after, and sure enough the figures for the "750" mile and kilometre now stand at over the 100 m.p.h. mark—and on Brooklands! But that is another story, and we must return for the moment to August Bank Holiday.
A.T.G. Gardner driving the M.G. Midget 757 c.c. to finish 2nd in London Junior
Short Handicap at Brooklands.
The opening race of the meeting was a mountain handicap, with Raymond Mays in a 4½ litre Invicta, on scratch.
Randall (Austin) was the limit man followed by Hepburn (M.G.) and things began to be lively from the start.
Humphreys (Amilcar) overdid things at the fork, slid round and stopped.
Oats started early to overhaul the field, and drove beautifully, while his little O.M. had amazing acceleration. Raymond Mays was also going well but did not look like making up his 28 secs. on Oates.
Randall and Hepburn did their best, but the O.M. screamed past everything and was second by half distance to Randall. On the seventh lap he passed the Austin and had things all his own way to the finish.
Mays just got second place on the last lap from Fotheringham Parker, whose Alvis, a 2-litre six cylinder, although looking very high went well and thoroughly deserved its place.
The next event was short and sweet, being a one lap sprint. Two "blown" Salmsons were the star performers for their size, and Bartlett who gave Baker 3 secs. on a similar car, caught and passed him to win at 87.84 m.p.h. Baker was second, while the scratch man, E. L. Bouts (Sunbeam), roared through the field and just ousted Jack Dunfee's Ballot from third.
The Lightning Short Handicap which followed gave a very easy win to Jeffress' Bugatti, but the interest of the race lay in the scrap between R.P. Oats on the 1½ litre O.M., which he had driven in first place in the first race, and Brian Lewis on the now well known single seater Talbot which has been a consistent performer for some time at the track.
A Riley "formation" in the Third Mountain Handicap. The drivers are W.W. Straight (No.5), R. Pauling (No. 6),
W.A.Cuthbert (No. 7), and E.N. Ward (No. 8).
The straight supercharged O.M. was in form, however, and after a fine scrap all the way, passed its rival near the finish without using all the speed it had.
The Junior Short saw J. A. Welch as scratch man, as E. L. Bouts was a nonstarter, and Major Gardner (M.G.) and the two Amilcars of Humphreys and Clayton in the forefront of the battle. Clayton's Amilcar incidentally is the one Major Gardner owned and drove last season.
Cushman's Austin was also in the race and showed a wonderful turn of speed. Ebby, however, was not to be taken by surprise, and the Austin was put well back and eventually had to be content with 4th. Gardner led till near the end. Humphreys was going great guns and came up with the leader soon after the members bridge and just got home by about 50 yards. Horsman in the Triumph was third.
The Mountain race which followed was the finest we have seen since they were first introduced, and was particularly notable for Brian Lewis' fine driving which got him up to second place, and if he had not been twice baulked at the fork would probably have given him the race. Fothringham was the limit man and his Bugatti went so well that no one could catch him. Behind him the cars came in great bunches and there was no lack of excitement on the corners in consequence. A good scrap soon developed between Lewis and Raymond Mays, and continued rather to the advantage of the former until Mays skidded completely round at the fork and retired leaving Lewis to continue his hair-raising but accurate progress through the field. His speed on the top corner was terrific, and every time he took it in a steady controlled slide, frequently shooting past other cars on the banking as he swept round with squealing tyres.
Sir Henry Birkin breaking the mountain course record in his Maserati.
W. B. Scott (Delage), was also very fast and enjoying himself as usual in spite of the fact that his offside front tyre was through to the canvas all the way round ! On scratch was Birkin's Maserati, and its exhaust note was a treat to hear, while the acceleration was simply astounding. Even after taking the fast top corner at between 50 and 60 m.p.h., the rear wheels spun furiously and he accelerated down towards the fork again. Just after half distance Lewis took second place, with Bartlett's Salmson which always seems to be going fast without being noticed, was in third place, and they finished in that order after a really whole-hearted scrap that was good indeed to watch.
Another sprint event showed that Oats still had something up his sleeve, and he won it with a speed of 100.21 m.p.h. for the standing lap. Philips (B.C. special) and Cushman (Austin) were second and third.
The Junior Long was an easy thing for Bevan's Bentley, which fairly ate up the field and won easily. After two laps Cushman had caught Baker and Gardner, and came in second with Clayton's Amilcar third.
H.W. Pourdy (Thomas-Special) winning the "Lightning Long" from Jack Dunfee's Ballot.
The last Mountain race was another good event, but fairly quiet in comparison with the second one of the meeting. There was plenty of bunching on corners, however, to amuse the spectators. H. C. Hamilton on an M.G. Six drove consistently and cornered very fast, and this eventually gave him a well-deserved win. C. L. Guiver (Salmson) and R. L. Boote (Austin) led at the start but the backmarkers were coming up fast. Faulkner, the scratch man, on a Bugatti, had pulled to fifth when he crashed into the fork barrier and lost some seconds, but he continued with unabated verve and had got up to second on his ninth lap when he all but repeated his performance. Esplen, on the " 90 " Talbot he drove at Dublin earlier in the year drove steadily and pulled up to take a very nice third place.
The Lightning Long Handicap was a really fine race, and Purdy, by virtue of running the Thomas-Special "unblown" had 1m. 4s. from Birkin's Bentley, and made good use of it. Jack Dunfee was much fancied for the race and a fine scrap continued the whole way between his Ballot and the Thomas Special. On the second lap Dunfee just managed to get past Purdy at the beginning of the railway straight but had to go painfully close to the grass in doing so, and was repassed by Purdy almost immediately. In the meantime Birkin's Bentley was coming up at a terrific pace and roared into third place with a last lap at 136.54 m.p.h., the fastest it has ever accomplished.
A group in the "Junior Long" - H.T.H. Clayton (Amilcar), who finished third, leading Brackenburry and Welch (Bugattis)
off the banking.