Sunday 19 November
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190303
BROOKLANDS (up-dated/latest information where marked with this hash #)
B.A.R.C.C. (Brooklands Automobilia & Regalia Collectors'Club)
This article taken from The Brooklands Society Gazette and writtten-reaserched by Stanley Sedgwick. Reproduced here with kind permission of John Pulford of the Brooklands Museum Trust.
BROOKLANDS - MORE ON LAPS AND BADGES
During the 28 seasons of racing at Brooklands, only 16 drivers lapped the Outer Circuit at over 130 mph. Among them are two women. Mrs.Kay Petre and Mrs.Gwenda Stewart (the fastest lap by a woman driver was achieved in 1935 by Mrs.Stewart at 135.95 mph, in a one point six litre front drive Derby-Miller).
The men being Kaye Don (first to break 130 mph in 1938), John Cobb. George Eyston, Oliver Bertram, Dudley Froy, Whitney Straight, Charles Brackenbury, Chris Stainland, Freddy Dixon, Richard Marker, Lord Howe, C.T.Baker-Carr, Jack Duller and George-Harvey Noble. All were awarded the BARC's special 130-mph badge.
The ebb and flow of correspondence on the subject of 120 mph and 130 mph laps at Brooklands, and badges awarded therefor, has been very interesting, if somewhat labyrinthine in content.
We are left with apparent inconsistencies and grey areas and I set myself the objective of trying to ascertain the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, lest errors and omissions be enshrined in tablets of stone, as it were, for posterity.
Bill Boddy(Mr.Brooklands)is the acknowledged repository of knowledge concerning Brooklands and he has encouraged me in my self-imposed task.
My first move was to gain access through the kind offices of Michael Groves, Chairman of the British Automobile Racing Club, to such records relating to activities at Brooklands before WW2, as the Club may possess.
To digress for the benefit of younger readers , the initials BARC originally stood for Brooklands Automobile Racing Club, which Club operated the track for the owners, Brooklands (Weybridge) Ltd. The Junior Car Club was a club of long-standing, which organised regular race meetings at the track. In January 1946 the circuit was sold thus depriving the BARC of its raison d'Ítre. At that point the JCC absorbed the BARC and using the same initials, changed its name to the British Automobile Racing Club.
I had hoped that the BARC would be able to produce Minute Books of Committee meetings, which would contain a record of the award of badges. Regrettably, a visit to Thurxton revealed that such records as were available related only to the activities of the JCC at the track.
A subsequent visit to the Brooklands Museum was no more successful as far as Committee Minutes are concerned. John Grainger confirmed that the Museum has no records relating to the business proceedings of the original BARC.
Further enquiries of the archivists at the National Motor Museum, the Royal Automobile Club and Brooklands Society brought forth similar responses. Thus, faced with these positive negative results I found myself back at Bill Boddy's starting place, viz. The BARC Year Books in which the first reference to 120 mph laps and badges appeared in the 1932 edition as follows:
'When the Car Badge was issued it was felt that it would be fitting to present to every member of the BARC who had been timed to cover a flying lap of the Track at 120 mph or over, a special Car Badge with '120 mph' enamelled on its face. The following qualified for this memento and were in due course presented with their badges: -'
Here follows the names of 24 drivers, all of whom had qualified prior to the end of June 1931. The list includes the name of Mrs.E.M.Thomas, which was indeed correct at that time, but was amended by WB in his book, at the request of her (first) husband at the time of her qualifying lap in 1928, to Mrs.W.B.Scott.* (The badge, however, remained unaltered-see Postscript.) The names of three drivers- J.G.Parry-Thomas, R.B.Howey and P.W.Thorowgood, were omitted, but were included in the cumulative list published the following year.
One thing is quite clear from the paragraph quoted above: it is that the presentation of these badges was confined to BARC members.
Thereafter there is no reference to 'badgeholders' in the Year Books-all the cumulative lists being headed Racing Drivers who have achieved an average speed of 120 mph for a lap of Brooklands track. The same applies to laps at speeds over 130 mph. Bill Boddy readily concedes that confusion has arisen as a result of heading his tables'Badge Holders' instead of Drivers who have achieved an average speed of 120 mph (or 130 mph) for a lap at Brooklands Track.
WB writes in his 'History of Brooklands Motor Course' in the chapter relating to 1936 (page 283*) The 120 mph badge was discontinued, the 130 mph badge replacing it. Conformation of this is to be found in the 1937 Year Book as follows:
'At the beginning of the 1936 season the Racing Committee decided that the special badges for drivers who completed a lap of the Outer Circuit at 120 mph should be discontinued but that another slightly different badge should be awarded to those putting up a flying-lap at a speed of 130 mph or over.
It is evident; however, from the 130 mph lists that ten of these performances predated the last listed 120 mph laps! One wonders if the drivers of smaller cars rightly persuaded the Race Committee that 120 mph laps were as meritorious in their case as 130 mph laps by their big brothers, thus prolonging official recognition of the two-mile-a-minute lappers.
In an article entitled'Heraldry of Racing'in the Autocar of 15th November 1935 Sammy Davis made an interesting comment:
There is the special badge awarded to those who have succeeded in covering a lap at Brooklands at 120 miles an hour or more when officially timed. Originally this was awarded only if the speed was recorded during an actual race; now it is possible to be timed specially for the badge, and that seems right and just.
No list of the 120 mph lappers, appeared in the Year Books after 1936 and the last edition of the Year Book published in 1939-reporting on the 1938 season-included 'qualifying' 130 mph performances only up to September in that year. No Year Book was published in 1940; thus, 1939 season achievements were unannounced.
WB's appendices were based on the last published lists of 120 mph lappers (up to October 1935) and 130 mph lappers (up to September 1938). To the former he added 14 names of drivers achieving 120 mph laps between April 1936 and September 1938; and Harvey-Noble (August 1939) to the 130 mph list.
It seems to me that in the absence of any official list of BARC members presented with 120 mph or 130 mph badges the total number of badges awarded can never be established and the only matter of historical significance is the list of drivers who achieved the qualifying lap speeds-whether or not BARC members. On that basis, the names of Pacey, Elgood, Wooding, Horsfall, McClure and Selsdon should be added to WB's 120 mph list. Likewise the foreigners Raph, Comotti and Dreyfus. And the 130 mph list should be augmented by Birkin and Powys-Lybbe.
The badges were personal to the driver and evidence that he/she had lapped the track at average speeds in excess of 120 mph or 130 mph. There is no suggestion that a driver should be awarded additional badges for repeat performances in either category, whether in a different car or on a different occasion or even in the same race. In this context, however, it is of interest when a driver achieves the qualifying speed(s) in different cars-e.g. Stainland 130 mph+ in Bugatti and Multi-Union, but this has no bearing on the award of badges.
In any survey of high lap speeds at Brooklands I feel that the fastest drivers of all-those who lapped at an average of 140 mph-should not go unmentioned.
The were:
7.10.1935 John Cobb Napier-Railton 143.44 mph
5.8.1935 Oliver Betram Barnato-Hassan 142.60 mph
15.10.1939 Chris Staniland Multi-Union 141.45 mph
Having reached this point I remind myself that when I started this some weeks ago, I thought the previous correspondence was convoluted. Now I wonder if the time and trouble I have devoted to this has done anything to clarify matters.
I guess this is about the last word on the subject-unless, of course, someone knows better?
POSTSCRIPT ON BADGES
I have now had an opportunity of examining the 120 mph badge in the Brooklands Museum collection.
The speed award is in the form of a small rectangular plaque fixed on the face of an ordinary members badge covering the letters BARC. The name of the recipient-in this case H.C.Hunter, and the date when the relevant performance was achieved-24.9.38-is engraved on the back.
John Pulford also showed me a badge which is unique if nothing else. Bill Boddy tells me that
Two badges-one 120 mph and the other 130 mph-on identical plastic plinths were listed and illustrated in colour in Sotheby's catalogue of their RREC sale in June 1989, the former attributed to Richard Marker (in Mother Gun) in 1936, and the latter to Mrs.E.M.Thomas in 1928. The 'hammer' price of the former was £3,850, but the latter did not sell. One must presume that the award of a speed label exempted the recipients from the Club rule stipulating that badges remained the property of the Club. S.S.
# Reviewers notes: The 120 mph enamel plaque has a black background and the 130 mph one has a red background.
The Harvey-Noble badge has been unofficially altered/defaced as can be seen in the museum display at Brooklands.
If any reader can throw more light on this subject, including back up of facts and figures, please get in touch with the club.
#It is interesting to note that in W.Boddy's new book"Brooklands The Complete Motor Racing History'"MRP Publishing 2001 (This being a revised and up-dated edition of his History of Brooklands Motor Course). That in Appendix V11 the listings of 120 mph badge award holders has been increased by a factor of one. I wrote to Mr.Boddy (on several occassions on this subject) and on 7th September, 2001 informing him that I had a query regarding the badge of a *Mrs.W.B.Scott that I had seen, of which was not listed in the two past editions and was confused by a W.B.Scott listing but a different date, and that of the Mrs.E.M.Thomas issue which was formerly Mrs.W.B.Scott before she changed here name after remarrying and requested to be refereed to by her former name. However, the badge was indeed engraved'"Mrs.W.B.Scott"'as I have seen it, photographed both sides (see photographs in www.brmmbrmm.com/barc) and pointed this fact out to Mr.Boddy., who now lists both award winners in this new edition.
W.Boddy's reply:
Dear Mr.Weiner,
'Thank you very much for letting me see the Brooklands Museum answer to the Mrs.W.B.Scott/Mrs.E.M.Thomas problem. As you know, I was aware of the second marriage, but not the details, which I will now file with my Brooklands records. I gave Mrs.Scott as the 120 mph badge holder in my book, as W.B.Scott, when I interviewed him, he was a sick person and annoyed that she was not given their name in the list, which I believed the BARC did not do.'
Yours sincerely,
Bill Boddy.(W.B.)
G.G.Weiner has the original correspondence refereed to above.
THE OUTER CIRCUIT by Christopher Baker-Carr
It still brings a catch to the throat as you speed past on the rails to Waterloo. Suddenly there it is. Brooklands. Still a magic name after all these years. Still a magic place for all the many changes it has suffered at the hands of progress and neglect.
Be sure to sit on the right-hand side if you're travelling up to London and be prepared to look quickly. Your glance will take in the immense size that is Brooklands and then, barely visible behind buildings, trees, and scrubs, you'll see brief stretches of the massive concrete banking.
There are better ways of seeing Brooklands than from a train. Drive there by the way of Brooklands Road, known more prosaically as B374, turn in as if you're heading for Gallaghers but keep straight on down the hill to the eastern gate. For those with long memories, you may recognise that you're actually driving on part of the Campbell Circuit-albeit in the wrong direction. Bira, Scribbans and Raymond Mays could be coming straight at you...This is as good a time as any to engage your imagination gear, and go for it.
*With reference to the 1957 first impression and the 1979 revised editions only.
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This three part article is taken from the Antiques Magazine, part two deals with badges and features those of Brooklands.*
AUTOMOBILIA-Part Two
G.G.Weiner continues his series with a look at the many types of motoring badges and car club badges
There are two distinct categories of badges: those that are official, and those that are not. The official badges are issued by recognised motoring clubs and associations connected with the automobile, such as the many varied car club organisations that are scattered throughout the UK. The most well known and major clubs are that of the MG Car Club and Owners'Club; The Morgan Sports Car Club;
The Jaguar Car Clubs; The Bentley Car Club.
BROOKLANDS (up-dated/latest information where marked with this hash #)
B.A.R.C.C. (Brooklands Automobilia & Regalia Collectors'Club)
This article taken from The Brooklands Society Gazette and writtten-reaserched by Stanley Sedgwick. Reproduced here with kind permission of John Pulford of the Brooklands Museum Trust.........
For continuation of History & Facts please now log onto:
www.barcc.co.uk and also www.brooklands-automobilia-regalia-collectors-club.co.uk www.barcc.co.uk Read about DaimlerChrysler(Mercedes Benz Group)news about the purchase of Brooklands land, the restoration of the banked part of the circuit, a new entrance to the historic site and a new bridge over the river Wey.
Note: That this club has no connection with the British Automobile Racing Club,formerly the Brooklands Automobile Racing Club(B.A.R.C.)or the B.R.D.C.or the Brooklands Society. However it is hope to work with them and exchange information,ideas,facts and history with the above named clubs and associations.
P.S.Before you leave please take a look at the Brooklands memorabilia and a lot of other automobilia on offer by going to CLUB NIGHTS on the menue...
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