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Rhydymwyn sprint and the ERA special


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#1 David Beard

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 21:25

I've just been reading my October 10th 1958 copy of Autosport, sitting in the usual place where I read such things.

There is a report on a sprint at Rhydymwyn, described as Prescott on the flat with both ends joined together. I have never heard of it. Nor have I heard of "Jim Berry in the well-known ERA special" which set BTD by a margin of 3 seconds.

Can anyone help?

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#2 David McKinney

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 21:59

Rhydymwyn was a popular regional (as distinct from national) sprint venue regularly used around that time by one of the Lancs or Cheshire clubs (or perhaps The Lancs & Ches)
Jim Berry's first ERA Special was built from the ex-Bertie Bradnack F2 Woden (ie HAR) but I think that was a bit earlier than 1958. Another comprised the ex-Gerard Cooper-Bristol with 2-litre ERA engine but think that was a couple of years later. Whether his 1958 mount was one of these, or a third car, I can't recall at the moment

#3 Marcor

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 22:00

I just know Rhydymwyn is in Wales:
http://uk.multimap.c...367100.&cat=loc

#4 ensign14

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 22:07

And worth 128 points in Scrabble.

#5 Marcor

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 22:13

So you accept proper noun and have 3 letters Y in your game.

Sorry but I also play Scrabble, in French...

#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 22:14

Couldn't find anything on sprints, but it's near Mold in Flintshire and seems to have a record for motorcycle racing too, going back to at least 1950.

http://www.google.co...G=Google Search

#7 dolomite

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 22:24

(OT) Also the site of a large, unpleasant and very hush-hush hole in the ground.

http://www.subbrit.o...yn/history.html

#8 Roger Clark

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 23:22

Autosport in 1958 also contains pictures of Jim Berry driving a sports Bugatti in a sprint meeting at Queensferry. The ERA Special was also competing, so presumably it's the same person. there is also a picture of J Berry driving a JCB (not that sort it's a trials car).

#9 Geoff E

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 23:40

Originally posted by dolomite
(OT) Also the site of a large, unpleasant and very hush-hush hole in the ground.


Wales?

#10 Marcor

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Posted 17 February 2003 - 00:44

So the ERA Special has nothing to do with ERA (English Racing Automobiles)... except the engine for model 2.

#11 David McKinney

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Posted 17 February 2003 - 05:58

and the engine for model 1

#12 David Beard

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Posted 17 February 2003 - 19:25

Thanks for the response everyone.

The article to which I referred was about a meeting organised by The Wirral Hundred Motor Club.
The front view of the car photograph shows a very tall machine in the ERA mould, but with a rounded nose and strange suspension fairings. Were spare ERA engines for use in special making that abundant?

The info about the underground facility is a bit, errr....sinister, eh?

On the other hand, could this pic show the circuit's main straight?

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#13 David McKinney

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Posted 17 February 2003 - 20:04

Originally posted by David Beard
The front view of the car photograph shows a very tall machine in the ERA mould, but with a rounded nose and strange suspension fairings. Were spare ERA engines for use in special making that abundant?

You didn't tell us there was a photo of the car in the Autosport report, David!
I've now got up from my chair and looked at the photo - I'm pretty sure that's the Woden-based car. Annoyingly, I know I've seen a picture of the Woden in its original form, but danged if I can find it. Maybe it was a Classic & Sports Car mystery car a few years ago?
ERA engines weren't much use for anything else by 1953 or 1954, when I believe Berry carried out the transplant operation.
And in answer to an earlier posting, he always had a Bugatti or two, frequently using both in the same events

#14 David Beard

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Posted 17 February 2003 - 20:27

Originally posted by David McKinney

You didn't tell us there was a photo of the car in the Autosport report, David!
I've now got up from my chair and looked at the photo - I'm pretty sure that's the Woden-based car. Annoyingly, I know I've seen a picture of the Woden in its original form, but danged if I can find it. Maybe it was a Classic & Sports Car mystery car a few years ago?
ERA engines weren't much use for anything else by 1953 or 1954, when I believe Berry carried out the transplant operation.
And in answer to an earlier posting, he always had a Bugatti or two, frequently using both in the same events


David, I can't speak for the heavyweights around here....but I need to know what this "Woden" thing is!

#15 Marcor

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Posted 17 February 2003 - 20:47

From Mike Lawrence, Grand Prix cars 1945-65:
H.A.R.
...
A second chassis was built for Bertie Bradnack, and during 1952 and 1953, this was entered in a couple of races under the name 'Woden' and was apparently to be Bristol-powered. It did not actually appear in any races, however, and it is thought that the 'Woden' was never completed, although later the chassis was used as the basis of a sports car. It currently lives in Australia, where it is fitted with a Jaguar engine, and its owner describes it as very fast, but somewhat lacking in both handling and stopping power.

#16 Ted Walker

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 08:30

I beleive that one of the H.A.Rs is alive and well and living in the midlands ,along with a collection of Bugattis , Bentleys and Brabhams.

#17 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 10:04

I'm not sure of my evidence - I can't swear that Jim Berry's ERA Special really was derived as follows - but I have always understood the car used the frame and some body panels from the Raymond Mays chain-drive ERA hill-climb special which was built for the old queen at Bourne around 1949-1950. He used Lockheed air-strut suspension units and trailing arm IFS provided - very expensively - for the V16 BRM project, and when the Trustees like Tony Vandervell and Bernard Scott of Lucas were told of this the spaghetti really hit the fan.

The chain drive was arranged in cast chain cases which doubled-up as rear suspension leading - very important, NOT trailing - arms, the car had something like 70 rear/30 front weight distribution, and when first tested by RM and Ken Richardson the car proved an instant disaster. Its drive torque wound up the chains which raised the 'free' end of the chain-case and the corresponding rear wheel along with it. The spring then reacted, throwing the wheel back down, whereupon the suspension/drive unit on the other side would wind up. The process was self-agitating and the result was that the car would wiggle off the line like a freshly shot duck, paddling madly, wagging its tail wildly from side to side while simultaneously oscillating like a metronome sans governor around its longitudinal axis.

The project was abandoned before a) RM ended up in jail for misappropriation of BRM project hardware or b) either he or Richardson ended up in hospital. The car had been highly publicised, too, before it ran...

Some blokes just never learned...up to and including BAR/Reynard.  ;)

DCN

PS - By the way, poor Jim Berry was killed in an accident at Oulton Park, not in the ERA Special.

#18 David Beard

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Posted 27 February 2003 - 22:40

Originally posted by Doug Nye
The chain drive was arranged in cast chain cases which doubled-up as rear suspension leading - very important, NOT trailing - arms, the car had something like 70 rear/30 front weight distribution, and when first tested by RM and Ken Richardson the car proved an instant disaster. Its drive torque wound up the chains which raised the 'free' end of the chain-case and the corresponding rear wheel along with it. The spring then reacted, throwing the wheel back down, whereupon the suspension/drive unit on the other side would wind up. The process was self-agitating and the result was that the car would wiggle off the line like a freshly shot duck, paddling madly, wagging its tail wildly from side to side while simultaneously oscillating like a metronome sans governor around its longitudinal axis.

DCN


Thanks Doug. Sounds like this special owed more to Lambretta design principles than BRM or ERA :

#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 February 2003 - 23:11

But Honda adopted some of the ideas...

As for the Woden, what car is this now in Australia? Anybody have a clue?

Lovely description of the 'old queen's' departure from the starting line, Doug... "the car would wiggle off the line like a freshly shot duck, paddling madly, wagging its tail wildly from side to side..."