Motor SportJuly 1932
THE THOUSAND MILESONTE.
J.C.C. Classic Won by Women Drivers • Talbot Second and the Team Prize • M.G. Third at 75.50 m.p.h.
The big Mercedes and the little Wolseley-hornet in the 1000 miles race.
A LANDMARK in motoring history was made at Brooklands on May 3rd and 4th, when two women, Mrs. T. H. Wisdom and Miss Joan Richmond, won the British 1,000 Miles Race on a Riley, at an average speed of 84.41 m.p.h. Mrs. Wisdom is already well-known to the readers of MOTOR SPORT, as a clever performer at the wheel of a supercharged Frazer-Nash, on which she has won races at Brooklands, on one occasion at an average speed of 95 m.p.h. She also has the distinction of recording the fastest time ever made by a woman driver at Shelsley Walsh. Miss Richmond is a newcomer to this country. With a party of other ladies, she came over from Australia last winter to compete in the Monte Carlo Rally—and stayed to win the 1,000 Miles Race !
Second place was was
taken by A. O. Saunders-Davies, driving a Talbot " 105," after a magnificent single-handed run at an average speed of 95.43 m.p.h. Third came Norman Black on a M.G. Midget, which in spite of a pierced petrol tank, causing many stops for refuelling, averaged 75.5 m.p.h.
Soon after the race had started on the first day, H. Leeson met with a fatal accident, driving his M.G. Midget. For a reason which will never definitely be discovered, his car got out of control as it approached the corner into the finishing straight, struck the parapet of the tunnel leading into the paddock, and fell 20 feet into the road
way below. Leeson was killed instantly. Our readers will join us in expressing our deepest sympathy with his widow and son.
In spite of good weather and a fair entry list, the race was witnessed by what must have been the smallest crowd which has ever attended a long-distance race at Brooklands. The Public Enclosure seemed almost deserted, while the paddock was no fuller than at the J.C.C. Members' Day a few weeks earlier.
Two factors combined to lessen the interest of the start of the race on the first day. To begin with, the cars were sent away in classes, and not as a massed start. Secondly, a number of interesting cars were scratched at the last moment. The Aston-Martin team was not sufficiently run-in to warrant their starting, a wise precaution in view of the greater importance, as a race, of the Le Mans Endurance Grand Prix to be held on the 18th. Bevan 's Bentley did not materialise, leaving the Invicta the sole competitor in Class 3, while the second of the 6-cylinder Rileys could not run owing to its drivers, Kaye Don and Dodson, being unable to return for the race from Lake Garda and the Isle of Man respectively, where they were following other forms of motor sport. The remaining non-starters were the 12/60 Alvis, entered by Chas. Follett, Ltd., which was not ready in time, Humphrey's very fast Amilcar (a pity, this), and the team of Crossleys, which Vernon Bails did not consider sufficiently prepared for such a long race. Several cars had given trouble in practice just before the race, requiring to be rebuilt at short notice, notably the Mercedes and Esplen's Talbot.
At 10 o'clock on Friday the cars in Class 8, all M.G.'s, were sent of on their long journey, the lead on the first lap being taken by Jeffress, followed by Hamilton and Norman Black. Barnes was slow in getting away from the line, and came in after 10 minutes to change plugs. Letts and Colegrave both came in to change cylinder head gaskets, the former completing the operation in 40 minutes, but Colegrave took over 2 hours. Even so early in the race pit-stops were fairly frequent, generally for plugs.
Soon after the next two classes had been dispatched occurred the fatal accident to car No. 63, driven by H. Leeson. At the inquest it was revealed that the accident was probably caused by the collapse of the driver from a fainting attack. The car suddenly swerved from side to side, completely out of control, the driver making no attempt to check its progress by braking. There were no skid-marks on the track, and apparently the engine was full on when the car struck the parapet. The car leapt into the air and landed on its four wheels, but turned over on its side. Fortunately, no car was emerging from the tunnel at the time, otherwise the accident would have had still more serious results.
It became apparent that pit stops were going to be the order of the day, for Hamilton pushed his car in with big-end trouble. To everyone's amazement he proceeded to set about changing his engine, an operation which took him 4 hours 50 minutes. Someone suggested that he would have saved time by fitting a new engine, plus chassis, to the wheels of his old car!
Earl Howe and the Alfa.
Sir Henry Birkin stops at the Fork to investgate ignition trouble on the 8-cyl. Alfa-Romeo.
The larger classes began to join the fray, the Talbots going round in neat
formation, Earl Howe on the Alfa-Romeo lapping at 100 m.p.h., until at 11.46 a.m. the scratch car, the Mercedes driven by C. S. Staniland, was sent away.
At 12 noon the order was :
1. M.G. (Black and Gibson), 76,31 m.p.h.
2. Riley (Sutton and Harvey), 84.57 m.p.h.
3. Riley (Mrs. Wisdom and Miss Richmond), 84.56 m.p.h.
4. Riley (Whitcroft and McClure), 84.55 m.p.h.
It will be seen that the Rileys were already giving promise of what could be expected of them, having caught all the Midgets except Black's.
However, the Talbots were lapping at about 95 m.p.h., and the Alfa was regularly clocking round about the 100 mark, so that so there was every sign of a good struggle developing later on. The Mercedes was not very happy, as the rebuilding of the engine had only been finished in the early hours of the morning, and it was, of course, rather tight. It began by lapping at 93 m.p.h. but on its 4th lap Staniland increased this
to 97 m.p.h., its scheduled handicap speed. He did not change down on the corner, but engaged the blower all the way up the straight as an alternative means of obtaining acceleration. Then the spare wheel and number-plate came adrift, and several stops were made to secure this with string, straps and rope. Chetwynd's Midget appeared with water pouring out of the crankcase, and retired with a broken con-rod.
At 12.20 Black came in, refuelled and handed over to Gibson, thereby losing his place to the Rileys, so that at 1 o'clock the order was :
1. Riley (Sutton and Harvey), 85.21 m.p.h.
2. Riley (Mrs. Wisdom and Miss Richmond), 85.07 m.p.h.
3. Riley (Whitcroft and McClure), 84.30 m.p.h.
4. M.G. (Jeffress and Paul), 75.76 m.p.h.
The pits were still busy, and there were nearly always several cars in at the same time. The Invicta, which had been travelling very fast, came in for petrol and oil, and stopped a few laps later to adjust the petrol cap. The car was suffering from too much petrol being delivered, and soon after retired with oil troubles caused by overheating. Rose-Richards came in on Talbot No. 5 to refuel, and again for water, while other stoppages were made by Craig's Talbot, which warned its pit attendants of its approach by a long blast from a curious siren, Burt's Talbot, with a loose throttle control, Eyston on the Riley Six to rectify fuel starvation, and Hailwood's M.G. with faulty ignition. A car which was causing
much favourable comment was the very standard Wolseley Hornet, driven by " Wanborough."
At this time, a general post took place through the smaller cars coming into the pits to refuel and change drivers, and at 2 o'clock the order was :
1. Talbot (Lewis and Cobb), 97.1 m.p.h.
2. Riley (Sutton and Harvey), 84.53 m.p.h.
3. Talbot (Saunders-Davies and Wolfe), 96.29 m.p.h.
4. Alfa-Romeo (Lord Howe and Sir H. Birkin), 101.37 m.p.h.
The Alfa had put in a record lap at 103.45 m.p.h., while the Talbots were all doing round about 97 m.p.h. High as this speed seemed, the little Rileys were setting the larger cars a tremendous task by lapping at 86.7 m.p.h., so that the ultimate result of the race was still a very doubtful one. The Talbot "90" driven by Esplen and Craig was suffering from a constant loss of water, necessitating numerous pit-stops, and on one occasion the mechanic was scalded, luckily not seriously, when refilling the radiator. The Mercedes was going well, although if was not fast enough to stand any chance of winning the race. At 2.20 when Campbell was driving, a tyre disintegrated as the car rounded the corner. Afterwards the tyre was thrown into the long grass at the back of the Dunlop pit, where it continued to smoulder for the rest of the afternoon. Howe came in, changed plugs, refuelled, and handed over to Birkin.
Aston-Martin's Good Show.
Morris-Goodall was putting up a good show on his last year's Aston-Martin, the car giving no trouble at all, a great tribute
to its reliability, as it has been taken through most of the big trials this year. The Riley Six was also performing well, although the fuel starvation trouble persisted. The Hornet visited its pit to change the oil in the sump, its driver evidently wishing to avoid lubrication trouble at all coot. Waterfield's Riley, after a stop early in the race to secure the gear-lever which had come adrift, had been running well. The spare driver, Miss
Burnett, took over for about an hour, when she was relieved by Waterfield.
At 3 o'clock the Rileys had recovered the lead, and the order was :
1. Riley (Sutton and Harvey), 84.68 m.p.h.
2. Riley (Mrs. Wisdom and Miss Richmond), 84.40 m.p.h.
3. Talbot (Lewis and Cobb), 95.90 m.p.h.
4. Talbot (Saunders-Davies), 95.71 m.p.h.
Dudley Froy (Invicta) at the top bend.
With the exception of the Rileys, the Aston-Martin and some of the Talbots, many of the cars were giving trouble. The exhaust tail-pipe of the Mercedes worked loose and had to be refitted, and the blower was not functioning properly. The engine of the Alfa had been misfiring
slightly for some time. The trouble was thought to be due to plugs, and then the battery was suspected, so this was changed. With the engine still missing, Birkin set off again, but stopped at the Fork. After investigation, a loose switch wire was found at the back of the dash-board, and Sir Henry continued, lapping at 101 m.p.h. At 4.25 the little Hornet, after a most creditable run, retired with a blown gasket. About this time, we took some approximate lap speeds, as follows : Staniland (Mercedes) 93, Lewis (Talbot) 97, Birkin (Alfa-Romeo) 101, Hebeler (Talbot "90") 88, Harvey (Riley) 85, Miss Richmond (Riley) 86, Saunders-Davies (Talbot) 96, Black (M.G.) 77 m.p.h.
Little incident occurred during the rest of the afternoon, except that on two occasions Miss Richmond gyrated at the corner on the last time giving several cars in the vicinity something to think about.
The days racing finished with the leaders as follows :-
1. Riley (Sutton and Harvey), 84.91 m.p.h.
2. Talbot (Lewis and Cobb), 95,53 m.p.h.
3. Talbot (Saunders-Davies), 95.33 m.p.h.
4. Riley (Mrs. Wisdom and Miss Richmond), 83.82 m.p.h.
5. Riley (Whitcroft and McClure), 83.61 m.p.h.
6. M.G. (Black and Gibson), 75.30 m.p.h.
7. Talbot (Rose-Richards and Wolfe), 93.31 m.p.h.
8. M.G. (Jeffress and Paul), 74.24 m.p.h.
9. Talbot (Hepburn and Hebeler) . 82.78 m.p.h.
The Riley was therefore the winner of the Rootes Trophy, given to the leader at half-distance.
The next morning the cars were pushed to the pits from the paddock, where they had been parked in the " berths " all night. The regulations had been modified this year so that the engines were allowed to be warmed up for a short time before the starting time. Another improvement from the drivers' point of view was that it was not compulsory to use the self-starter, except on the first morning. Most of the drivers took the opportunity, before leaving the line, of checking up with fuel, and changing worn tyres. Many of the Midgets were difficult to start, Barnes' car being the worst offender. The battery quickly became exhausted, " soft " plugs were fitted, and it was not until 10.47 that the engine could be induced to fire. Soon after the start Colegrove came in to repair a sheared dynamo coupling, but no sooner had he rectified this than he had to come in once more, this time to change tyres and battery, and to refuel. Hamilton had some more bad luck with his Midget and had to change the petrol tank before starting, and a few minutes later stopped with a jammed throttle control.
The Riley drivers all made minor adjustments before leaving, while early pit stops were made by Rayson and Waterfield, the former to change his magneto, and the latter for plugs. Morris-Goodall heated fresh oil for his Aston-Martin by
making a bonfire with wood rumoured to have been chopped up from an official's chair ! He was quickly away, after changing two wheels, and proceeded to lap regularly in the unobstrusive way which had characterised the car's run on Friday.
Earl Howe and Sir Henry Birkin tossed up to decide who should drive first : Earl Howe won. But the car was unable to start immediately owing to the breakage of one of the exhaust pipes, which delayed the car for half-an-hour. The Talbot " 105's " were all out promptly, after changing the rear wheels, but Burt took ten minutes to make adjustments to his " 90." Finally, Sir Malcolm Campbell, after fixing a new front number plate to the Mercedes, securing the spare wheel with still more rope and string, and changing all four wheels, set off at 11.52.
For some reason not obvious to any but the mathematical experts who devised the handicapping system for the race, the Talbots were leading at 11 o'clock, although they had not yet started, and the
Rileys had been piling up their laps since 10.37.
At 11 o'clock the order was :
1. Talbot (Lewis and Cobb).
2. Talbot (Saunders-Davies).
3. Riley (Sutton and Harvey).
4. Riley (Mrs. Wisdom and Miss Richmond).
Cobb brought the Talbot in for a change of front wheels, and Rose-Richards on a similar car put in a lap at over 100 m.p.h. Eyston was still having trouble with the fuel feed on the Riley Six, but otherwise the car was handling exceedingly well. The Riley driven by Harvey and Sutton once more took the lead, but not for long, for at 12.30 p.m. they were forced to retire with clutch trouble. However, Whitcroft and Mrs. Wisdom were well placed, and the Talbot versus Riley battle began which was to last for the rest of the race. Whitcroft had to stop several times for carburettor and braking trouble and Mrs. Wisdom came in for a moment to replace an ignition lead. Then Waterfield retired with a broken piston, bringing the number
of retirements to six, which was shortly increased to seven when Earl Howe pushed in his Alfa-Romeo with a broken con-rod.
And so at 1 o'clock the order was :
1. Riley (Mrs. Wisdom and Miss Richmond), 83.63 m.p.h.
2. Talbot (Saunders-Davies) 95.41 m.p.h.
3. Talbot (Lewis and Cobb), 95.21 m.p.h.
4. Talbot (Rose-Richards and Wolfe), 94.07 m.p.h.
The rough state of the track, aggravated by the cars having to run in the reverse direction to normal Brooklands practice, was having a serious effect on several cars, and at 1.38 Burt's Talbot lost all its petrol through its entire filler-spout breaking away. Undeterred, Burt backed his " 90 " saloon up to the pit, from which the tank was taken out and fitted to the racing car, which set off after a delay of only
half-an-hour ! Another sufferer was Norman Black's Midget, which had punctured its tank on the previous day. Gibson, the reserve driver, had effected a very good repair with a patent " Cold " solder, but there was still a leak which caused fairly frequent halts for refuelling. Rose-Richards had a tyre punctured on the track, and was still further delayed by a choked jet. Then a stone pierced a hole in the petrol tank of Hailwood's M.G., a temporary repair being carried out with a towel, but from there on the car became a constant visitor to the pits for petrol.
A feature of the closing stages of the second day a duel between C. S. Staniland (Mercedes) and A.O.
At 3 o'clock the order was :
1. Riley (Mrs. Wisdom and Miss Richmond) , 84.15 m.p.h.
2. Talbot (Saunders-Davies), 95.10 m.p.h.
3. Talbot (Lewis and Cobb), 94.93 m.p.h.
4. M.G. (Black and Gibson), 75.32 m.p.h.
It then became evident, that, barring trouble, Mrs. Wisdom was bound to win, for no matter how the Talbot drivers were
exhorted to increase speed by the signalling lights from the pits, the little Riley held steadily on its way, always just a shade too fast on handicap.
The later stages of the race were enlivened by a minor duel between Staniland on the Mercedes and Saunders-Davies's Talbot. For about half-an-hour the two cars went round in close formation, first one leading, then the other. In a handicap race of this kind, there is almost a complete absence of " scrapping," the drivers being apparently oblivious of the presence of any other cars on the track, and the excitement of the spectators being confined to hearing, at regular intervals, the results of intricate calculations by the time-keepers with stop-watches and slide-rules.
The afternoon wore on, until shortly before 5 o'clock the little red Riley, with Miss Richmond at the wheel, was flagged in, winner of the first British 1,000 Miles Race.
The performance of the winning car was remarkable, and Rileys are to be congratulated upon the extraordinarily high pitch of efficiency to which they have brought their 1,100 c.c. engine.
Once again first place has eluded the Talbots, but they have the consolation of winning the Team Prize. Anyway, 1,000 miles at an average speed of 95 m.p.h. with an unsupercharged 3-litre engine is an amazing show, and yet another tribute to the genius of the car's designer, Mr. G. Roesch. Saunders-Davies put up a very stout effort to drive single-handed, a feat which we shall all remember for some time. Norman Black's average of 75
m.p.h. with the Midget was definitely good, in view of his many pit stops for petrol, but the rest of the marque were dogged by ill-fortune.
The race provided still further proof, if any is needed, of the amazing reliability and speed of British sports cars. Al though it is only fair to remember that foreign competition was limited to two cars, the Alfa-Romeo and the Mercedes,
the plain fact remains that the list of finishers was an all-British one, with the first three cars of widely differing engine-capacity.
The J.C.C. are to be congratulated upon the smooth organisation of the race which is so characteristic of this Club, and the way in which hourly bulletins were promptly issued, giving interesting
items of news in addition to the positions of the leaders, was excellent. It is all the more pity that their efforts were not rewarded by a better attendance.
The equipment of the winning Riley was B.P. petrol, Castrol oil, Champion
plugs, Duran brake linings, Jaeger instruments, Hartford shock absorbers, S.U. carburettor, B.T.H. ignition, and Castrollo upper cylinder lubricant.