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TNF Guide to former premises: Gransden Lodge circuit


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#1 Marcor

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Posted 19 July 2000 - 19:56

The war changed motor racing. In Great-Britain Labour’s landslide in the 1945 General Election signified a will to break down the old social divisions which had blighted this country. The Tories were aware of it too, and the 1944 Education Act laid the basis for greater equality in education through the expansion of grammar schools and technical colleges which would be entered on merit. It gave new opportunities to tens of thousands of bright youngsters from humble backgrounds. Motor racing grew on this notion of meritocracy.

Then, the aristocratic Brooklands was gone, swallowed up the Vickers Aircraft Company. A few campaigned for its return but their efforts were in vain.

Dotted all around Britain, though, were disused military airfields and those were to form the basis for a new thrust on the sport.

Some were used for only one or a few meetings : Gransden Lodge, Blandford, Full Sutton, Boreham, Gamston and Davidstow among them. Some such as Croft, Goodwood and Rufforth were to make more lasting contributions. Others, and Silverstone, Thruxton and Snetterton are prime examples, were to continue to the present day.

To create a circuit took less than a dozen volunteers. With a tractor and low-loader, you’d mark out the circuit with straw bales and cones, which took an hour or so. Then you’d knock in some iron posts and string rope between them, that took care of spectator safety. An outside contractor would string up a PA system. Hired link-fencing marked off the paddock and a double-decker bus would serve as race control and commentary point.

Britain’s first post-war race meeting, at Gransden Lodge on 15 June 1946, followed on naturally from the pre-war tradition but showed the potential of airfield circuits for motor racing.

Excitement was mounting elsewhere as an actual race meeting was being organised at Gransden Lodge by the enthusiastic Cambridge University Automobile Club. They actually had opposition from some people who thought that using a disused aerodrome was quite unsuitable. However, others in the sport praised the enthusiasts at Cambridge for rising to the occasion when the major established clubs had not.

They used two runways and part of the perimeter road to make a 3.4 km track. All the races were kept short, just 3 laps, with no handicaps and as many different classes as there were cars to fill them. There were even a scratch race organised for the fastest cars on the day. As if to set the tone of post-war British motor racing, the rain pelted down during practise, but it dried up somewhat during the day.

It was quite amazing how many cars had been resurrected, many of them pre-war racers. Ian Nickols turned up with Reg Parnell’s old MG Magnette K3 and Alec Issigonis - later to become famous as the designer of the Mini - with his Lightweight Special.

The 1,500 racing car event had a remarkably good entry with the three ERA of Bob Gerard (R4A), Peter Whitehead and John Bainbridge (R9B), two Alta for George Abecassis and Charles Mortimer, and the two Maserati 4CL of Reg Parnell and David Hampshire. Roy Parnell, Reg’s nephew, was also entered in the Delage 15S8. In the race Reg Parnell had a battle with Bob Gerard, but Gerard spun and Parnell went on to win after the Pole Position and the fastest lap. Reg Parnell also loaned his ex-Dixon Riley to Cuth Harrison who demolished the larger opposition.

Another competitor in the event was Dennis Poore, with his 3.8 L Alfa Romeo. He made a name for himself with a MG J4 (ex Hugh Hamilton), when he was Secretary of the Cambridge University Automobile Club before the war. During the war, Poore came into possession of the GP Alfa Romeo 8C-35 that was to push him into prominence in post-war British events. Robert Arbuthnot had raced an 8C-35 Alfa Romeo before the war (when and where I don’t know), having bought if from Hans Ruësch. Dick Seaman occasionally drove the car for Rüesch and won together the 1936 International Trophy at Donington. Poore bought the car from Arbuthnot because he wanted some money in a hurry, so he took the car as collateral on the loan. Then unfortunately Arbuthnot was killed in a road accident in August 1946 and so the Alfa Romeo became to Poore.

Thus Dennis Poore entered the Alfa Romeo for the first post war race in Britain in Gransden Lodge. At the end of the meeting the 6 fastest finishers, including Reg Parnell and Dennis Poore, had a 20-lap race-off from scratch. Abecassis took the lead in his 3.3 L Bugatti followed by Wallington’s 2.9 L Alfa Romeo - the remaining half of the Austin Dobson Alfa Romeo Bimotore - and Monkhouse’s 2.3 L Bugatti. Parnell was having trouble with the gear change from first to second, but he charged through the group to take the led, only to suffer a blocked fuel line. Dennis Poore in the Alfa Romeo 8C-35 won the race from Georges Abecassis and Roy Salvadori in the ex-Nuvolari / Evans P3 Alfa Romeo.

Very much involved in the world of finance, Poore with his Alfa Romeo raced strictly as a weekend amateur and as such he was a extraordinary successful. He concentrated on Hillclimbs and sprints in Britain. He was second in 1948 and 1949 in the British Hillclimb Championship, and champion in 1950. In the 50’s Dennis Poore drove also at Le Mans and in GP but it’s an other story.

This text is a compilation of three articles taken from some back issues of forgotten periodicals. You can also recognise the book Reg Parnell by Graham Gauld.


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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 July 2000 - 22:54

There were many airstrips left over from the 'big stoush' here in Australia. They became almost a national obsession for the reconstruction (and later, grand expansion) of our racing.
Some were simply run up and down the strip, more had a chicane or wiggle, or even a loop off into the surrounds (thus combining a bit of dirt with the sealed - but usually very gravelly - surface of the strip proper), others had a variety of strips to work with. Leyburn, for instance, had two long Liberator strips that intersected at about 60 degrees near one end of each, then a long curve off the end of one that led to a taxiway that went down virtually to the beginning of the other. It made a 4.3 mile circuit with one tight turn, one long sweeper and a two-part fast bend.
Some had access roads that fitted in to make a circuit, Mount Druitt had a section built to make a nice circuit, but the best of all, in their unsullied form, were the two in Western Australia - Caversham and Mooliabeenie.
The were single strips (Caversham actually had two other strips, and there were other layouts on rare occasions) used in conjunction with what were called 'dispersal roads' - roads that meandered through the bush between the trees so that bombers could just come off the strip and be somewhat camouflaged in the bush, with the road looping around to the start of the runway again.
It all made for a good, economical way to get racing going before the money was there to build real ones. Caversham lasted till 1969, which made it the last one used, although Mallala came into use in 1961 and still exists on the service roads of what was a training base, which only had grass strips.

From memory, the list includes:
Pearce
Caversham
Moolieabeenie
Point Cook (operational throughout)
Ballarat (operational also)
Mt Druitt
Schofields
Marsden Park
Ringwood
Tomago
Nowra (resumed operations)
Leyburn
Lowood
Strathpine
Valleyfield
Quorn Hall
Gawler
... cheating a looking in the book: Beverley and Fishermans Bend (how could I forget that one, the most regular of all?)

Some perils lay ahead of those using them, for dealing with the Government departments had its problems. Lowood saw pressure from a religious group preventing its use on Sundays, hence the search for Leyburn, on private land by that time (though there were three owners to negotiate with!). Fishermans Bend came and went according to the whims, and Point Cook was a stroke of real luck in circuit-starved Victoria when it was their turn to stage the AGP in 1948.[p][Edited by Ray Bell on 01-26-2001]

#3 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 17 October 2000 - 07:00

I found it astonishing that the Gransden Lodge race has been omitted in the racing record of Doug Nye's History of the Grand Prix Car 1946-65, which aspires to be a complete history. In his racing record I found several wrong dates and wondered if Doug Nye could have lacked accurate and detailed knowledge. Did he overlook the first postwar race in his country or did he just sneer at it, since it was only a five-lap race? In this case he would knowingly present an incomplete history.

By the way, the Gransden Lodge event took place once more on 12 July 1947, a formula libre scratch race, won again by Dennis Poore but in an Alfa Romeo 8C-35, ahead of George Abecassis' 3.3 Bugatti and Roy Salvadori's 2.9 Alfa. This time the race went over 20 laps, but still not good enough for Doug Nye’s racing record.


#4 lynmeredith

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Posted 17 October 2000 - 09:51

That's interesting. Is this the same Dennis Poore who became Chairman of Norton motorcycles and later the expanded group, Norton-Villiers-Triumph, during the last days of the 'traditional' British motorcycle industry in the 1970s?

#5 Barry Lake

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Posted 17 October 2000 - 11:55

Grand Prix Who's Who describes Poore as a "wealthy British industrialist". I read something about him in a book very recently - someone else's biography, I think. Unfortunately I can't remember exactly what it said of him, nor where I read it (don't you hate that?) but it was something about his being a big wheel in the motor industry.

#6 fines

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Posted 17 October 2000 - 14:54

Lyn, yes it is the same Dennis Poore!

#7 tombe

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Posted 17 October 2000 - 16:39

Dennis Poore was the financial backer of "Autosport" when Gregor Grant started it.

Tom

#8 TonyKaye

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Posted 17 October 2000 - 17:36

Reverting to 1946 Gransden Lodge, there is a very detailed report of the event in John Eason Gibson's fine book 'Motor Racing 1946'. Even a couple of photographs.

#9 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 17 October 2000 - 19:16

Tony,
Did MotorSport write anything worthwhile about this event during 1946 or is the account by John Eason Gibson our only main source?

#10 TonyKaye

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Posted 26 January 2001 - 23:49

Hans,
Motorsport has a one and a half page report in their usual tiny typeface. I'll get a copy in the mail tomorrow, but in the meantime this is what they said about the 1.5 liter race.

The next race, for 1 1/2 litre racing cars, promised excitement, and we had it. Parnell's beautiful 16-valve Maserati was away smartly at the fall of the flag, pursued by whitehead's E.R.A., but Gerard's E.R.A. was soon out in front. Whitehead's E.R.A., however, passed everyone, but turned right round at the first corner.
After one lap Parnell led from Gerard, whose car snaked under the brakes, and Mortimer's car had gone sick. Then, at the corner following the mile-straight, after two laps were run, Gerard spun round and stalled his engine. He leapt out, handle in hand, to restart, but the car was blocking the course and had to be pushed off. Abecassis, in his Alta, had been in 3rd place and he now moved up 2nd, to finish in that position, with Bainbridge 3rd in Ansell's E.R.A. Parnell wearing crash hat and visor, drove splendidly, to average all but 79 m.p.h. over a wet course. He made fastest lap of the day, the Gransden Lodge record, at a shade over 86 m.p.h. Davenport's ex-Maclure Riley retired with dirt in the fuel system, and Mrs. Mortimer's 4 1/2 litre low-chassis Invicta towed-in her husband's Alta.

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 27 January 2001 - 00:06

A nice touch, that last sentence, Tony!

But is it normal to post your reply three months and eleven days after the question?
I thought it was only Hans and I who did that!

What about photos?

And the report indicates some of the cars came out of the war poorly... and with rusty drivers.

#12 Marcor

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Posted 27 January 2001 - 05:55

According to Forix (and my own sources) here's the result of the 1500 cc race.

1- Reg Parnell Maserati 4 CL 1569 #36 04' 50.2" 3 laps
2- George Abecassis Alta 61-IS #45 5' 6.8" 3 laps
3- George (or John ?) Bainbridge ERA B R9B #43 3 laps
4- David Hampshire Maserati 6 CM #42 3 laps

DNF- Bob Gerard ERA B R14B #39 Spin 1 lap
DNF- Charles Mortimer Alta 53S #41 Piston 1 lap
DNF- Roy Parnell Delage 15 S8 #37 Spin 0 lap
DNF- Peter Whitehead ERA B R10B #44 Spin 0 lap

DNA- C Davenport Riley 2000/6 #38
DNA- John Williams Alta #40

3 laps = 10,285 km


#13 TonyKaye

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Posted 28 January 2001 - 20:11

......is it normal to post your reply three months and eleven days after the question?

Ray, that's a hard question. Give me some time to think about it.

#14 Wielki Wdz

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 17:03

Sorry, I must revitalize this very old thread.
The 1946 meeting at Gransden Lodge included several races, a Formula Libre race among them. In another thread, David McKinney posted these results (15 June, not 16, I believe) :

16/6/46 Gransden Lodge
1. George Abecassis (Bugatti T59)
2. R V Wallington (Alfa-Aitken)
3. David Hampshire (Maserati 6CM)
4. George Bainbridge (ERA)
- Reg Parnell (Maserati 4CL)


It was apparently a FLibre race.
However, as Marcor wrote above, 5 years ago:

At the end of the meeting the 6 fastest finishers, including Reg Parnell and Dennis Poore, had a 20-lap race-off from scratch. Abecassis took the lead in his 3.3 L Bugatti followed by Wallington’s 2.9 L Alfa Romeo - the remaining half of the Austin Dobson Alfa Romeo Bimotore - and Monkhouse’s 2.3 L Bugatti. Parnell was having trouble with the gear change from first to second, but he charged through the group to take the led, only to suffer a blocked fuel line. Dennis Poore in the Alfa Romeo 8C-35 won the race from George Abecassis and Roy Salvadori in the ex-Nuvolari / Evans P3 Alfa Romeo.

So there were more FLibre races? This 20-lap one looks like the final event, with the fasters finishers from previous 3-lap(?) heats and Parnell as a 1500 cc race winner. And it seems the 20-lap race was the all meeting's main event, then Dennis Poore (and not Reg Parnell) won the "I Gransden Lodge Trophy". Can you confirm this, please?

#15 RTH

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 17:35

What a joy race meetings must have been in those days, compared to the vile officialdom of today.

#16 David McKinney

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 19:35

Poore/Abecassis/Salvadori was the finishing order in the 1947 race

#17 bradbury west

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 22:47

I have just seen the thread about Gransden lodge.

Whilst it was not a race, but had cars running singly round a building development site hired for the day, Rivers Fletcher and Lord Howe organised an event along the lines of "run what you've brung" at Cockfosters in Herts, on July 14 1945, so it pre-dates Gransden. I know it was really only a series of very spirited demonstrations, but it seems to have been more akin to an earlier version of Goodwood Festival, and was seen at the time as the first taste of motor sport post-war.

The list of cars and drivers seems pretty comprehensive with all the usual suspects out to exercise their motors. Rivers Fletcher covers the event fully in More Motor Racing, The Postwar Years.

Inter alia, there is a good shot of T C Tice in the Streamlined Lagonda V12, very much in the spirit of the wonderful Paulin/Embiricos Bentley.

Talking of those, did you see the recent C&SC article on the Aerolight Riley? There had been a previous article on it in Classic cars, but this one referred to the same body being used previously on a 4.5litre Bentley, which seemed to give that car the perfect sense of style and poise, I think. Like the Embiricos car, it just looked so right. Sorry about changing the subject, but digressing is a way of life.

The thread mentioned Poore's Alfa. I remember when it had been sold after his death in the late 80's to Anthony Mayman. The car and Kew Dodge transporter had been stored in the motor house at Poore's home exactly as he last raced it. It was put on show, sans various body panels, at Tom Wheatcroft's brilliant Donington Museum. The car was fantastic in its dull/faded/tired green paint and tarnished chassis and body supports. For me it redefined patina and oozed atmosphere.

It was so sad that it was restored in the regulation, period, dark red to look a bit like a boiled sweet,(candy for our US readers). I believe Doug Nye had an article some years ago about retaining historical originality, physical as well as mechanical. Neil Twyman managed it with the restoration of the P3 Alfa used in the 46 and 47 Indy 500, stored thereafter, but run, post rebuild, at the wet Goodwood Festival, after winning the top prize at Louis Vuitton at Hurlingham.


Keep up the good work

Roger Lund.

#18 Vitesse2

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 23:25

The Cockfosters Grand Prix
:)

#19 RAP

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 08:28

To answer Wielki Wódz's question, the races at Gransden were

15th June 1946 - all races except last over 3 laps = 6.7 miles
Sports 1100cc C le S Metcalfe Fiat
Sports 1500cc P C T Clark HRG
Sports 2000cc T Crook BMW
Sports 3000cc J Heath Alta 2.0s
Sports 5000cc G H Alexander Bentley 4.5
Sports >5000cc S A McGregor Bentley 4.5s
Racing 750 A Issigonis Lightweight Spl
Racing 1100cc I Nickols MG
Racing 1500cc R Parnell Maserati (details as in Macor's post)
Racing 2000cc T C Harrison Riley
Racing 5000cc R Wallington Alfa 2.9
6 Fastest cars 5 laps 1. G Abecassis Bugatti 3.3, 2 Wallington Alfa 2.9, 3. D Hampshire Maserati 1.5

Details of the sports car races can be found on www.wsrp.wz.cz by selecting "British National Races" and then 1946. There was also a race for Edwardian cars listed in the programme but I have no information on this.

13th July 1947
Unsupercharged Sports 5 laps/10.76 miles T L Allard Allard 4.0
Edwardian Handicap 5 lap C R Abbott 1904 Mercedes 4.1
500cc Cars 4 laps/ 8.53 miles E Brandon Cooper
All-comers Handicap 5 laps E Winterbotton Emeryson Spl 1.1
All-comers Handicap 5 laps Captain Hay-Bolton HRG 1.5
Bugatti Handicap 5 laps J G Fry T55
Vintage Unsupercharged Sports 5 laps A May Vauxhall 30/98
Grandsen Trophy 20 lap F Libre R D Poore Alfa 3.8 2. G Abecassis Bugatti 3.3 3. R Salvadori Alfa 2.9
Vintage Racing Cars 10 laps R F Habershon Delage 1.5
Bentley Handicap 5 laps A J Butterworth 4.5

Hope this clarifies matters
RAP

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#20 Wielki Wdz

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 16:13

Thanks RAP, thanks David, this clarifies perfectly.
And pardon my ignorance, what exactly is "Edwardian car"??? :blush:

#21 D-Type

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 16:37

Originally posted by Wielki Wódz
Thanks RAP, thanks David, this clarifies perfectly.
And pardon my ignorance, what exactly is "Edwardian car"??? :blush:

This is a bit of a can of worms:
The classifications were originally coined by the British Vintage Sports Car Club and as far as I know they are:

Veteran - up to 31 December 1904 (Still the cut-off date for the London to Brighton Veteran Car run)
Edwardian - up to 31 December 1914 effectively pre-WW1 (named for King Edward VII whose reign it more or less matches the dates)
Vintage - up to 31 Decemer 1930
Post Vintage Thoroughbbred (PVT) - up to 31 December 1939 (originally limited to cars 'in the vintage tradition' but over the years more and more have been accepted so it effectively means pre- WW2)

Things stopped there, but the terms 'Classic' or 'Historic' are generally applied to postwar cars and there are definitions produced by the relevant clubs.

Things are more flexible elsewhere. In the USA, 'Vintage' appears to mean anything old-ish and interesting. The Germans use the term 'Oldtimer' and I'm sure they have a definition.

#22 RTH

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 16:38

An Edwardian car (in the time othe reign of the King of that name ) is normally known as one manufactured between 1904 and 1919. i.e. after Veteran and immediately prior to Vintage

#23 fines

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 18:57

Originally posted by D-Type
The Germans use the term 'Oldtimer' and I'm sure they have a definition.

Well, the definition for Oldtimer is that it has to be... old! Really anything you like, for most people it is something that was not 'usual' in their lifetimes, and the "Oldtimer Grand Prix" at the 'Ring these days has a class for Thoroughbred or FORCE Classic GP!

#24 RAP

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 09:24

The 1946 programme does not define Edwardian but the 1947 one says "For motor cars manufactured no later than 3rd December 1915" (Why 3rd December- misprint for 31st ????) Entries were -

1946
61 D B Tubbs 1904 Gobron Brillie 9.0
62 J Bolster 1911 Rolls Royce 7.4
(with only 2 entries may be the race was not run)

1947
1 P C T Clark 1914 Mercedes 4.5 GP 3rd
2 G A Ewen 1908 GP Itala 12.0 2nd
3 B M Samuelson 1914 Peugeot 7.4 touring retired
4 W A Hill 1912 Hispano Suiza 3.6 dna?
5 H O S Bridcutt 1912 Hispano Suiza 3.6 4th
6 D B Tubbs 1906 Gobron Brillie 7.6 dna?
7 C R Abbott 1904 Mercedes 18-24 4.1 1st

RAP

#25 Wielki Wdz

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 09:27

Originally posted by fines

Well, the definition for Oldtimer is that it has to be... old!


Up to yesterday I was convinced that Germans are so accurate and precise... I was wrong - they are liberal. In the historic racing area there is ein british Ordnung :smoking:

#26 LittleChris

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 17:41

Originally posted by Marcor


Dotted all around Britain, though, were disused military airfields and those were to form the basis for a new thrust on the sport.

Some were used for only one or a few meetings : Gransden Lodge, Blandford, Full Sutton, Boreham, Gamston and Davidstow among them.


Being a bit picky, but surely Blandford was ( and is still ) an army camp rather than a disused airfield ?

#27 RS2000

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 18:47

Well it was a couple of hours ago when I drove past it coming back from Gurston Down...

#28 roadmap

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 08:56

Gransden Lodge. Emerson special. I have just aquired this car. Can anyone give me any information on this event in 1947 ie,. a list of entries in the race that the Emerson was in. I know it ran with a rapier engine for this race but have little other information
Thank You

#29 RAP

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 09:27

Gransden Trophy 1947 Entry
1 G Abecassis Bugatti 3257 2nd
2 K Hutchinson Alfa Romeo 2904
3 P Emery (reserve driver E Winterbottom) Emeryson Spl 1100
4 K McAlpine Maserati 2960
5 R Salvadori Alfa Romeo 2900 3rd
6 K W Bear Bugatti 2992
7 T A D Crook Alfa Romeo 2904
8 L C Johnson Darracq 4036 4th
9 J V Bolster (Entrant P Bell) ERA 1488
10 D A Hampshire Challenger 1492
11 R M Dryden MG 746
12 T C Harrrison (Reseve G Slater) ERA 1488
14 C K Mortimer Maserati 1496
15 J B Heath ERA 1496
16 Mrs Darbishire (ent S B Reece) Riley ERA 1488
17 G M Watson (reserve R Cowell) Alta 1491
18 L Giron (reserve G Yates) Bugatti 2300
19 R D Poore Alfa Romeo 3800 1st
20 A P R Rolt Alfa Romeo 2904
21 R V Wallington Bugatti 4900
Reserves
22 J H Williams Alta 1498
23 F Kennington MG 1087
24 G Crossley (ent P J Binns) Alta 1488
25 R P Habershon Dealge 1498

Motor says 17 started

The Emeryson was also entered for Winterbottom in the 5 lap Allcomers Handicap which it won.
Entries for this race
1 R Salvadori Alfa romeo 2900
2. T A D Crook Alfa 2904
3 J B Heath Alta 1996
4 E A Landon Alfa Romeo 2482
5 P Fotheringham Parker Alfa romeo 2563
6 C C Miller (reserve E Jason Henry) Riley 1946
7 E Winterbottom Emeryson 1100 1st
8 F W Kennington MG 1087
9 G M Crozier Mercedes 7020
10 W A Dawson Lagonda 4468
11 T L Seccombe MG 1086
12 A Rivers Fletcher MG 1086
14 G E Matthews Jaguar 3486 2nd
15 J Rowley (reserve N Bond-Williams) Aston Martin 1950
16 K Watkins BMW 1971
17 A May Vauxhall 4250 3rd
18 Major Shattock Atalanta 1486
19 G S Treen Graham Paige 5500
20 G H Burton Riley 1087
21 T A S O Mathieson (ent J Wyer) HRG 1496
22 A C Whicop Bugatti 2270
23 N Bond-Williams (reserve J Rowley) Aston Martin 1950
24 A A Baring (reserve P A Whittet) Alfa Romeo 2600

#30 roadmap

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 10:14

:)

Thank you Sir. This is really helpful.

Rgds

Stewart

#31 roadmap

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 13:14

:confused:
Does anyone know where I can buy some photos of these races
Kind Regards
Stewart

#32 roadmap

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 13:58

The Emeryson also ran in the Empire Trophy in the I.O.M. in July 1947 Does anyone have any information on this race. I believe E winterbottom was the driver
Rgds

#33 Steve L

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 16:31

Is your car the one which has had a new Duesenberg engine made for it, Stewart?

It would be great to hear some more about it (and maybe see some pictures)?

Will we see it out this coming season :) ?

#34 Rob29

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 16:48

Originally posted by roadmap
The Emeryson also ran in the Empire Trophy in the I.O.M. in July 1947 Does anyone have any information on this race. I believe E winterbottom was the driver
Rgds

Not entered in the Empire Trophy which was on 21.08.47,but was entered in 1st Manx Cup on 10.08.47-12laps=46.55mils.race #3 E.Winterbottom on 3rd row 3'47 Finished 3rd behind 'Bira' & Cuth Harrison.

#35 KJJ

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 17:08

I can see that a lot of sites show the Manx Cup race as being held on 10th August 1947 but the Times report has it on the 21st, the same day as the Empire Trophy race. Is there some confusion with the Ulster Trophy race which was held on the 9th August?

#36 roadmap

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 17:58

It had the Duesenberg engine fitted at one time. I thought it was an ex Witney engine but I may be mistaken.
Thanks for the Manx corrections, I found some info on the Manx website where they say they have a photo and I am waiting on their reply as I only have one (poor quality) copy of Motor sport september 1947.

I am pretty sure we will manage to get it out this year, fingers crossed. I will have current photos later in the week

#37 Rob29

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 19:03

Originally posted by KJJ
I can see that a lot of sites show the Manx Cup race as being held on 10th August 1947 but the Times report has it on the 21st, the same day as the Empire Trophy race. Is there some confusion with the Ulster Trophy race which was held on the 9th August?

You could be right .Dates were from the Sheldon black book,but on reflection I think there was one meeting.

#38 Doug Nye

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 19:51

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
I found it astonishing that the Gransden Lodge race has been omitted in the racing record of Doug Nye's History of the Grand Prix Car 1946-65...Did he overlook the first postwar race in his country or did he just sneer at it, since it was only a five-lap race?


Just noticed this Hans - several years after you posted it. YES - I sneered at such insignificantly modest Libre events as being completely irrelevant to the wider picture and made the editorial decision to omit them.

DCN

#39 roadmap

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 06:00

It gets more interesting to find out that the Emeryson took part in this race. I must read more of the many books I have as I was unaware of any of the facts given on this forum. I managed to buy yesteday a video of the 1947 Manx Cup , filmed over two days. I would have thought that Gransden Lodge would have been filmed also, or quite a few photos exist.

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#40 Terry Walker

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 04:47

Surprisingly, the WW2 airbase Gransden Lodge, which was the site of the first post WW2 race meeting in the UK, is still in use as an airfield, and has not been turned into a housing estate.

It is the home of a thriving glider club, and some parts of the perimeter road used for the race meeting are still in use as the access road. I didn't get to visit it when I was in UK recently, although I actually drove past it, but I was in a hurry to get back to South Mimms to pick up my brother from work and time was running out. If you google Gransden Lodge you will find the gliding club has a very interesting website with further info on the airfield.

The airstrip access is from the B1046 between Longstowe and Little Gransden. Perhaps a TNFer in the neighbourhood could visit one day with a digicamera and photograph what's left.

A recent satellite pic:

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This was its WW2 layout:

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#41 Vitesse2

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 07:36

And, for comparison, here are the track maps from Darren's site.

Firstly for 1946:

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And 1947:

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The 1947 track used the central runway in the opposite direction, turning sharp left at the end and following the perimeter road marked as "spectator car parks" on the 1946 version.

#42 Terry Walker

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 08:18

That means that the driveway into the present facility uses the 1st race circuit for some distance. You enter at the bottom of the air photo, at the copyright sign, and drive north to the T-junction, turn right, and follow the perim road all the way around to the hangar. Most of which was used for the first circuit.

If you turn left at the T, you can follow the perim road to what looks like a private house, and that's part of the second race circuit.

#43 MCS

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 08:57

Originally posted by Terry Walker
Perhaps a TNFer in the neighbourhood could visit one day with a digicamera and photograph what's left.


I'm not that far away Terry. I've passed by once or twice and I'm sure I've discussed it with Andrew Kitson, who lived relatively close by until very recently.

I'll go along at some point - funnily enough, the last "Woburn" TNF Get Together was just down the road!

#44 BRG

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 09:28

I remember using this airfield competitively on a night rally many years ago (late 1970s probably) although I had no idea of its history at that time. We went right around the peri-track and the bomb store area (a loop out to the east, not easily visible on the aerial shot). It was very overgrown back then - it looks more cared-for these days.

#45 Bernard

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 10:48

I didnt want to start a new thread but this excellent description of an old airfield circuit reminded me I went once to RAF Biggin Hill in Kent to see a m/c meeting. Did they ever race cars there I wonder

#46 MCS

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 21:09

I finally found myself in the general area today and was able to have a look at the site.
It's actually a lot further from the A1 than I realised and for some reason I had been thinking of the old airfield at Tempsford, not Gransden. So it was unexplored territory for me.

In all honesty there is very, very little left to suggest any racing activity ever took place there at all and when I spoke to the members of the Cambridge Gliding Centre in the clubhouse they were oblivious to any racing history, although clearly intrigued and happy to talk.

The main runway is simply grass now - the old concrete one was dug up for hard core after the war like so many other of the "minor" airfields. Accordingly, it is actually impossible to see exactly where it was nowadays at ground level, although some aerial photos the members shared with me gave a fairly clear outline of where it once was. Quite a bit of the perimeter road/track has also been removed.

Here are some of the pictures I took.

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The entrance road by Gransden Lodge

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Cambridge Gliding Centre car access instructions with diagram of field as it is today

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1946 startline is here somewhere - main runway has gone and is now grass for the gliders

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The curve away from the tight corner (hairpin?) at the end of the main straight. The corner is grassed over and difficult to locate - as is the end of the straight with any real accuracy

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Straight before finish line

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Final curve before the grass takes over again

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Gransden Lodge, photographed from the current entrance

Not a lot to see, but then it's sixty years since they raced there.
The perimeter roads were very narrow; the main straight was evidently a lot wider - it needed to be!

As Terry said earlier in the thread, the Cambridge Glider Centre has some interesting airfield history on their website http://www.glide.co.uk/

Twinny - perhaps you could merge the other Gransden thread to provide a better picture as it were?

#47 Twin Window

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 21:16

Done!

Great pics, Mark - well done on gaining the necessary access. :up:

#48 sterling49

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 22:50

Originally posted by BRG
I remember using this airfield competitively on a night rally many years ago (late 1970s probably) although I had no idea of its history at that time. We went right around the peri-track and the bomb store area (a loop out to the east, not easily visible on the aerial shot). It was very overgrown back then - it looks more cared-for these days.


I to did Rallies in the '70's, London Counties and ASEMC and can also remember using the airfield, the Irony is, I passed it so many times on my way to my office in P'Boro and thought it looked familiar. Places look so different during daylight hours and not whilst using Super Oscars! I think this so often in Norfolk, Wales.......... :rolleyes:

#49 HistoricMustang

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 13:14

Originally posted by MCS


In all honesty there is very, very little left to suggest any racing activity ever took place there at all and when I spoke to the members of the Cambridge Gliding Centre in the clubhouse they were oblivious to any racing history, although clearly intrigued and happy to talk.


Any conversation about some type of marker to indicate past history of racing activities at the site?

Henry

#50 MCS

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 19:37

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
Any conversation about some type of marker to indicate past history of racing activities at the site?

Henry


No, in all honesty Henry, there's probably little point, with all due respect.

Whilst it was certainly the site of the first postwar race meeting in this country, there were only two race meetings held there (on different circuit layouts) and, as I said, there's really very little left of what once was. Not to mention that it really is particularly remote - or it felt it anyway!