11th August 2012

GRANSDEN LODGE TROPHY

MAYS, E.R.A, WINS AT LAST

It had to happen eventually and finally, at this very low key event, a pre-WW2 E.R.A has beaten the more modern opposition. But intruth, there wasn't much of it. Still, I guess Raymond Mays doesn't care too much about that.....

ENTRY

The Gransden Lodge Trophy is accepted by some as the very first motor race to be held in England after the second World War. The circuit was a simple one marked out on an airfield, as were many of the early post war races. The original race was held over just 4 laps but to make it worth while bothering, I have decided that my event will be over 48 laps.At the actual race, there were just eight cars involved but I have opted to add just one more to the list of starters.. The drivers are correct but the cars may not be.... There are two Maserati 4.CLTs, to be driven by Reg Parnell - the clear favourite for victory - and David Hampshire. Two Altas will be handled by George Abecassis and motor-cycle races Chas Mortimer. Reg Parnell's uncle Roy has a Delage while the remaining four cars are pure, pre-war E.R.As. Regular runners Mays, Gerard and Whitehead will be joined by the little known George Bainbridge.

PRACTICE

Reg Parnell may have been fastest in the first of two practice sessions but although he went quicker in the second, he was beaten by both Mays and Gerard in their E.R.As, both finding the relatively straight-forward nature of the circuit suiting their old cars. The front row of the 4-3-2 grid was completed by Abecassis, who had the Alta going better than it has gone at any time this season so far. The second row comprised Whitehead, Mortimer and Roy Parnell with Hampshire and Bainbridge bringing up the rear. Hampshire in the green Maserati was having a very difficult time - the car was clearly not working very well at all.

Here is the full grid order the 48 lap race:

   1.
40
R. MAYS E.R.A B-type
1.34'50
   2.
39
R. GERARD E.R.A D-type
1.34'98
   3.
36
Reg PARNELL MASERATI 4.CLT
1. 36'38
   4.
45
G. ABECASSIS ALTA
1.36'90
   5.
44
P. WHITEHEAD E.R.A B-type
1.38'30
   6.
41
C. MORTIMER ALTA
1.38'97
   7.
37
Roy PARNELL DELAGE
1.40'12
   8.
42
D. HAMPSHIRE MASERATI 4.CLT
1.40'79
   9.
43
G. BAINBRIDGE E.R.A B-type
1.41'98

THE RACE

The black E.R.A led the bright green one off into the distance the moment the flag fell. Mays clearly had no intention of letting anyone near him at this race and by lap 8 he was already 10 seconds ahead of Gerard. Abecassis made a good start too and was himself, 10 seconds clear of Whitehead in the third E.R.A. Reg Parnell had made a very poor start and his Maserati was not going well enough to enable him to stay with the cars ahead of him. For the first 15 laps Mays pulled away but from lap 16 through to lap 40 the gap between the two leaders gradually shrunk but by only tiny amounts. Raymond then upped his pace over the final laps and drew away to win comfortably by 34 seconds.

Hampshire had been the first to retire, very unhappy with his Maserati and Whitehead left the track with steering issues on lap 18. Sadly, we lost Abecassis' Alta with brake failure on lap 26 but by that time the other Alta in the hands of Chas Mortimer had passed Parnell (Reg) to move into third place which he held splendidly through to the finish. Reg followed him home in fourth place but was extremely disappointed to be beaten by two old cars and a 'backyard special'. Roy Parnell and Bainbridge had a race-long tussel in which which Bainbridge held the upper hand until lap 35, whereupon Roy got past the E.R.A and beat him to 5th place by quite a margin in the end.

Here is the full result of the 48 lap race:

1.
40
R. MAYS E.R.A B-type
1. 20. 09'01
2.
39
R. GERARD E.R.A D-type
1. 20. 43'66
3.
41
C. MORTIMER ALTA
1. 21. 14'08
4.
36
Reg PARNELL MASERATI 4.CLT
1. 21. 32'46
5.
37
Roy PARNELL DELAGE
46 laps
6.
43
G. BAINBRIDGE E.R.A B-type
46 laps

Fastest lap:   C. MORTIMER,   ALTA,   on lap 26,   1.34'80

Retired:
 
45
G. ABECASSIS ALTA         25 laps
 
44
P. WHITEHEAD E.R.A B-type         17 laps
 
42
D. HAMPSHIRE MASERATI 4.CLT         14 laps

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