I DONINGTON GP
Donington Park (GB), 5 October 1935 (Saturday)
120 laps x 4.107 km (2.552 mi) = 492.8 km (306.2 mi)
Shuttleworth lucky winner as the opposition fails
by Leif Snellman
On the wet Donington track Farina in the V8 Maserati immediately took command of the race followed by the three Alfa Romeos of Sommer, Shuttleworth and Featherstonhaugh, the Bugattis of Howe
and Martin and Bira's ERA. A heavy rain shower hit the track during the race. Farina held a comfortable lead until one third distance when he suddenly retired
because of a broken half-shaft.
Sommer inherited the lead followed by Martin and Howe. At half distance Martin took first place as Sommer made his pit stop. Sommer took up the chase but was black-flagged since the
bonnet strap came loose and he had to make two extra pitstops to correct it. Sommer took off again with such speed that he soon was forced to retire with the same problem as Farina.
Martin remained the leader but near the end of the race he spun his Bugatti, leaving Shuttleworth to take the lead and the victory. Howe finished second and Martin third despite his spin.
The Donington Park race circuit was the brainchild of Fred Craner, former motorcycle racer and secretary of the Derby & District Motor Club. Motorcycle racing on the circuit
started in 1931 and car racing was added in 1933. Donington soon challenged Brooklands as the most important circuit in England and in 1935 the Derby & District Motor Club organized
the first Donington Grand Prix, the first ever Grand Prix held on a road circuit in Britain. The race was originally to be marketed as the British Grand Prix but for various reasons
R.A.C. refused Craner to use that term.
The race would take place over 120 laps of the 2 mile 971 yards circuit, a total of 306 miles 360 yards. The idea was that the race should be run under the AIACR International Sporting Code
but as there were few British cars that could live up to the 750 kg limit the maximum weight was increased to 850 kg. Also some local rules were in use, among them the demanded
the car bonnets had to be secured by a strap.
The number of drivers was limited to 15. In case more entries were received the selection of the competitors was to be made by the club.
The prizes offered were £400 for the winner, £200 for second, £100 for third, £50 for fourth, £25 for fifth and £15 for sixth position.
It had been hoped that Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union would take part as both companies had been invited by the British organizers. However, the prize money offered bore no relation to the
huge costs for foreign race teams with a trip to Donington. Additionally the race was supposed to have been staged as a Grande Épreuve for which the R.A.C. had not given their consent.
Especially for this very reason the German teams came to the decision to stay away from this event. Additionally serious transportation problems would have been encountered in bringing
the cars to England in time from the Masaryk Circuit on 29th of September.
So the grid was made up of three continental entries plus the best that Britain could offer. Nino Farina was to race the Maserati V-8 entered by Gino Rovere, while Rovere also entered a
6C-34 for himself and "Bill" Everitt. Raymond Sommer entered his private blue Alfa Romeo Tipo B/P3 (#5003).
The main British challenge came from three Bugatti T59s of Earl Howe, Charlie Martin and Lindsay Eccles and from Dick Shuttleworth with his green painted Alfa Romeo Tipo B/P3 (#5007).
Harry Rose entered an Alfa Romeo Monza for himself and an ex-Whitney Straight Maserati with its triangular shield looking radiator for "Buddy" Featherstonhaugh to race.
Austin Dobson entered a Maserati 8C (ex-Birkin #3002). Four non-supercharged 6-cylinder Rileys were to be raced by Hector Dobbs, Walter Hadley, Brian Lewis and Percy Maclure.
Raymond Mays had planned to race a 2 litre ERA but a bad arm prevented him from taking part. Prince Bira, trying to get experience of longer races, was therefore the only ERA driver in
the race as Greece driver Embiricos failed to appear.
Luis Fontes with an Alfa Romeo Monza was the 16th entry and reserve for the race.
Practice took place from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on the three preceding days before the race. Friday morning practice was disturbed by heavy rain. Farina took the pole with a time of 2m08.4s
from Sommer (2m14.8s) and Maclure's Riley with equal time.
Race day came with miserable British October weather. A heavy rainstorm ended just 15 minutes before the start of the race. But despite the bad weather 10,000 to 15,000 spectators
appeared for the event.
The race was due to start at 12:30 p.m. and the cars were lined up in the grid according to practice times with the fastest car in the middle of the row. Gino Rovere had decided that Everitt
should start the race with the 6-cylinder Maserati and that Rovere himself would later take over.
At the appointed time the car's engines were started only to be stopped again. Unfortunately the crowds somewhere near Redgate Corner had pushed down the railings and entered the course. It
took the police about 15 minutes for to move the spectators back behind the railings.
Finally the Union Jack was dropped and all fifteen cars were on their way with Farina in the new Maserati leading the field into the Redgate left hander followed by Sommer and Maclure. On the wet
track Farina immediately took command of the race. After the first lap he was leading followed by Sommer, Shuttleworth, Featherstonhaugh, Howe, Martin, Bira, Maclure, Rose, Dobson, Handley, Everitt, Dobbs and Lewis.
On the second and third lap Farina increased his lead over Sommer by 50 meters per lap while Shuttleworth in a car similar to Sommer's was unable to keep up the speed of the latter. Due to the wet
muddy circuit all cars were already smothered with dirty spray.
After five laps Farina had opened the gap to Sommer to 400 meters. Martin passed for fifth position fellow Bugatti driver Howe on the straight before the hairpin.
Seven laps into the race Farina began lapping the back-markers. He started off with Lewis following two laps later with Dobbs. Martin missed the braking at Starkey's corner and stopped with a 360
degrees spin in the grass but was able to continue.
Bira missed his braking point at Redgate and braking hard he stalled the engine of his ERA. After a failed attempt to keep the throttle open with chewing gum while cranking the engine he made another attempt
with a stone and succeeded. Bira rejoined the race 2 1/2 laps behind Farina, having lost 6 minutes. Then it was noticed that Bira had failed to attach the bonnet strap properly and had to be called
to the pits for adjustments. Rose made a pit stop for brake adjustments. On the tenth lap Handley lost control of his car and after having done a series of skids he ended up in the grass. He had
to make a pit stop as well to see that the car was ok.
Farina's time for ten laps was 23m43s (64.55 mph/103.8km/h) corresponding to 2m22s lap times.
After 15 laps Farina still led followed by Sommer, Shuttleworth, Featherstonhaugh and Martin. Maclure was 8th, Everitt 9th and Bira 10th.
Obviously track conditions improved as Farina increased his pace during the next ten laps doing 20 laps in about 45m58.s (66.62 mph/107.2 km/h). That would mean he had done laps 11 to 20 in 22m15s
corresponding to 2m13.5s lap times.
A new heavy rainstorm then swept over the circuit and lap times slowed by around 10 seconds.
Featherstonhaugh drowe his Maserati in the grass when lapping a backmarker and Martin moved up to fourth followed by Howe and Rose. Martin took up the chase on Shuttleworth but a few laps later
Martin overdid it at Starkey's corner and spun his Bugatti but was able to continue.
On the 23rd lap Eccles was cut in his face by a stone and had to stop, handing over his Bugatti to Pat Fairfield.
On the 34th lap an incident happened at Starkey's Corner between Shuttleworth and Bira and the former had to take to the grass to avoid a collision. Two laps later Shuttleworth came in to the pits
to make a protest, losing third place to Martin in the process. The protest was obviously overruled as Bira's team manager Prince Chula claims he did not know about it before reading it in the newspapers.
When the rain stopped Farina improved his speed and did 40 laps in around 1h33m32s with an average speed of 65.47 mph (105.4 km/h) corresponding to 2m20.3s lap times.
However, on the 41st lap the event changed dramatically when Farina retired his V-8 Maserati near McLean's corner because of a broken half-shaft. At about the same time Rose, three laps behind the
leader, retired his Alfa Romeo Monza with engine trouble. Thereafter Sommer was leading the race followed by Martin and Howe.
After 50 laps Sommer was leading Martin by 1m40s with Howe ten seconds further back. Behind them followed Shuttleworth, Featherstonhaugh and Everitt.
Sommer with the Alfa Romeo closed up to lap Shuttleworth. In front of his home crowds Shuttleworth obviously was not too keen to be lapped by a car similar to his own. In his attempts to prevent
to be lapped he overdid it, lost control and left the road, but was able to continue without losing his fourth place.
At 59 laps near half distance Martin took over the lead when Sommer made a pit stop because of plug trouble. The stop took 3 minutes as the mechanics refueled the car as well and changed all eight
plugs and Sommer rejoined the race in 4th position. Martin made the 60 laps in about 2h19m06s (66.04 mph or 106.3 km/h).
It was noticed that the bonnet strap on Sommer's car was loose and was trailing on the ground, resulting Sommer to be black flagged and make a pit stop. The leather strap had been badly damaged and
after it was removed Sommer was sent back out. But the local rules demanded the cars to be run with a bonnet strap so the stewards gave time for the mechanics to make a new strap and then black
flagged Sommer again. The new strap was quickly attached and a furious Sommer returned to the race. Meanwhile Howe made his pit stop giving up his position to Shuttleworth.
After 65 laps Sommer, going flat out, was back up to second position. Shuttleworth made a 1m10s stop for refuelling and brake adjustments. The new race order was: Martin, Sommer,
Everitt (Note 1), Shuttleworth, Howe and Bira, who had passed Maclure for sixth position.
After 67 laps Dobson crashed his Maserati in the hairpin and while the driver was not hurt the car was too damaged to continue.
On the 70th lap Sommer's hard challenge came to an end when he retired to the pit with a broken half-shaft on his Alfa Romeo. Martin was still leading the race, now followed by Everitt, Shuttleworth
and Howe. Everitt made a one minute routine pit stop, retaining his second position.
Featherstonhaugh in sixth place retired at Coppice Corner after 82 laps with transmission trouble. Dobbs, who had lost second gear on his Riley, called it a day and handed over the car to
"Bill" van der Becke.
Everitt, who had done a great race, could not stand the vibrations of his 6C-34. His feet went numb and after having spun at Starkey's corner he decided to stop in the pits after lap 93 so that
team owner Rovere could take over the car himself. Rovere joined the race in fourth position two laps in front of 5th positioned Bira.
Maclure retired after 95 laps with mechanical problems. The situation after 100 laps looked like this:
|1.||Martin (Bugatti)|| ~3h51m31s (66.13 mph)|
|2.||Shuttleworth (Alfa Romeo)||- 1 lap|
|3.||Howe (Bugatti)||- 2 laps|
|4.||Rovere (Maserati)||- 3 laps|
|5.||Bira (ERA)||- 5 laps|
|6.||Eccles/Fairfield (Bugatti)||- 7 laps|
At the 105th lap Martin stopped for 34 seconds to add 8 gallons of fuel. Reserve driver Charles Brackenbury stood ready to take over but Martin decided to continue to the end.
Martin's victory seemed already secured but on the very next lap the brakes on his Bugatti failed at McLean's Corner. Martin went straight, stalled his engine and was unable to re-start. Finally he was push
started by the officials, a clear breaking of the rules, but he had already dropped to third with no chance of catching new leader Shuttleworth or Howe. During the last laps Howe was catching Shuttleworth,
who was experiencing brake problems. But the distance was too large and Shuttleworth took the chequered flag to win by 45.8 seconds from Howe. Martin was third, Rovere fourth and Bira fifth after a steady drive.
Fairfield was sixth with Eccles' Bugatti while the three remaining Rileys were not classified.
As usually for British pre-war races apart from the final results, only speeds in m.p.h were announced. Typically no fastest lap was announced either. For earlier Donington races results were given
for a 2 miles 1000 yards circuit but for the Grand Prix the circuit length was corrected to 2 miles 971 yards and that is the length used here to recalculate the average lap times and intermediate times.
There is also some confusion about the shared drives and it's hard to find out who raced during what part of the race. Paul Sheldon has Arthur Dobson sharing Austin Dobson's car but doesn't
include him in the results. Derby Evening Telegraph claims Percy Maclure's brother Edgar took a stint in the race as well but I have been unable to confirm that by any other source. Paul Sheldon lists
Edgar as an alternative driver only, not as a shared drive.
1. According to Derby Evening Telegraph Everitt passed Shuttleworth for second only on the 72th lap. That's inconsistent with Motor Sport's report. It also would make it hard to understand how
then Everitt could retain his position after making a pit stop.
Primary sources researched for this article:|
The Daily Telegraph, London
Derby Evening Telegraph, Derby
Motor Sport, London
The Sunday Times, London
The Times, London
Prince Chula of Siam: Wheels at speed
Special thanks to:
6 October 1935: Hans Stuck (Auto Union) wins the Feldbergrennen hillclimb in Germany.
6 October 1935: Luis Fontes, under the influence of alcohol, collides with a motorbike near Sutton Coldfield.
The motorcycle driver is fatally wounded. Fontes is tried, convicted and jailed three years for manslaughter and drunk driving and looses his driver licence for ten years.
V MOUNTAIN CHAMPIONSHIP
Brooklands (GB), 19 October 1935 (Saturday)
10 laps x 1.883 km (1.170 mi) = 18.83 km (11.7 mi)
Shuttleworth's sprint victory
by Leif Snellman
Nine drivers took part in this nine minute long scratch race on the Brooklands circuit. Mays (ERA 2 litre) led initially followed by Shuttleworth (Alfa Romeo) and Martin (Bugatti). After a good duel with
Mays, Shuttleworth took over the lead when Mays had to retire with a supercharger problem. Shuttleworth went on to win followed by Martin and Bira (ERA).
The "Mountain Championship" was a 10 laps scratch race, which was part of the B.A.R.C. October Meeting at Brooklands. The race used the triangular 1.17 Miles Mountain Circuit.
The event had been postponed for a week until October 19th so that visitors to the London Motor Show, which had opened on October 16th at the Olympia exhibition centre, would have a chance to visit
Brooklands the same weekend.
The favourite was Donington Grand Prix winner Richard "Dick" Shuttleworth with his green Alfa Romeo TipoB/P3 (#5007 according to Simon Moore). Charles Martin drove his T59 Bugatti while Lindsay Eccles failed
to appear with his similar car.
Raymond Mays was to drive the green works ERA (R4B), for this race equipped with a 2 litre engine and a Zoller supercharger, while Bira entered his own "Romulus" (R2B). Harry Rose entered an ex-Whitney
Straight 3 litre Maserati and Buddy Featherstonhaugh drove the old ex-Henry Birkin/Whitney Straight Maserati 26M.
John Appleton raced the Appleton Special based on Henken Widengren's old 1.1 litre Maserati 2-seater sports car. Both the chassis and the body had been rebuilt and the wheelbase had been shortened. The
engine had been replaced by a 4-cylinder Riley nine with a Zoller supercharger and the old gearbox had been replaced with an ENV pre-selector gearbox.
Cyril Paul was to race one of Freddie Dixon's 2 litre 6-cylinder Rileys and Pat Driscoll drove a small Austin 7.
The ERA team had not had time to do any bench testing of the new Zoller vane type supercharger but arrived a few days early at Brooklands. There were many problems but at the end of Friday Mays was able
to do a 51.8s lap (81.28 mph - 130.8 km/h). The mechanics worked on the supercharger all night trying to make it last the race.
Bira arrived on Thursday with both his ERA and a M.G. Magnette, which he intended to use in one of the handicap races, and he practiced with both cars.
The race day was cold and a bitter wind was blowing and naturally it affected negatively on the number of spectators. However, among the spectators that turned up was the fresh European Champion Rudi Caracciola.
Before the Mountain Championship race there were four handicap races won by R. Marker (Bentley 6.6 litre), C. Follet (Alvis 2.8 litre), P. G. Fairfield (ERA 1.1 litre) and A. F. P. Fane (Frazer-Nash 1.5 litre).
The hard winds made it impossible, especially for the bigger cars, to get up to full speed on the banking.
Of the nine drivers who took part in the Mountain Championship race Driscoll had already finished second and Bira third in the Second October Long Handicap and Martin second and Driscoll third in the
First October Mountain Handicap, in which Appleton had stalled his engine. Mays had been a non-starter in the Long Handicap as he wanted to save the car for the scratch race.
The cars were lined up behind the start line in order of their race numbers from right to left.
Grid in line across the track|
When "Ebby" Ebblewhite dropped the flag Mays made the best start and led the field as they climbed the rise to the banking corner and turned right to go under the Members Bridge. He was followed by Shuttleworth,
Martin, Appleton and Bira. Mays led along the Members Banking down to the Fork and turned right into the hairpin circling the little white Chronograph Villa (That was the last race to see the Villa as it was
pulled down for the 1936 season to provide a better view of the hairpin for the spectators). Mays had turned in early and then went wide so that Shuttleworth, who had kept to the left near the Vickers' sheds
and turned in late, nearly passed him. The monoposto Alfa Romeo came almost sideways through the corner and Mays was faster away and kept his lead on the finish straight. On the second lap Shuttleworth attacked
again at the Fork and held the lead for a moment but the acceleration of the lighter ERA proved better again and Mays retook the lead on the finish straight. Martin was still third but Bira had passed Appleton
for fourth in the Fork. In a good fight for positions Bira, Appleton and Featherstonhaugh passed the pits running nose to tail. Mays had made the second lap in 53.0 seconds (127.9 km/h - 79.47 mph).
On the third lap Mays heard a strange noise from the supercharger and eased a fraction but kept on to his lead with Shuttleworth now a few seconds behind. Appleton had to retire his car. Sliding out of the
Fork hairpin on the fourth lap Mays heard a sharp bang and fragments of the supercharger hit his legs as flames and fumes filled the cockpit. Shuttleworth took over the lead of the race and increased the
gap to Martin, who was now second, setting in an unofficial lap record of 51.6s (81.64 mph - 131.4 km/h) (Note 1).
Shuttleworth held on to his lead for the rest of the race without problems, slowing down to 54 second laps, and went on to win followed by Martin about 250 meters behind with Bira third. Near the end of the
race Rose with his Maserati managed to pass Featherstonhaugh, who had dropped back, for fourth. Driscoll in the little Austin managed to beat Paul for sixth position,
The Mountain Championship was followed by three handicap races won by Mrs P. Oxenden (Alta 1.1 litre), W. A. Bowen-Buscarlet (Riley 1.1 litre) and N. Lloyd (M.G. 1.3 litre), and a motorcycle handicap race.
|1.||2||Dick Shuttleworth||R. Shuttleworth||Alfa Romeo||Tipo B/P3||2.9||S-8||10||8m59.2s|
|2.||7||Charles Martin||C. Martin||Bugatti||T59||3.3||S-8||10||9m05.6s||+ 6.6s|
|3.||5||"B Bira"||"B Bira"||ERA||B||1.5||S-6||10||9m20.8s||+ 21.6s|
|4.||8||Harry Rose||H. Rose||Maserati||8CM||3.0||S-8||10||9m28.8s||+ 29.2s|
|5.||11||"Buddy" Featherstonhaugh||R. Featherstonhaugh||Maserati||26M||2.5||S-8||10||9m37.4s||+ 38.0s|
|6.||6||Patrick Driscoll||Sir Herbert Austin||Austin||7||0.7||S-4||10||9m57.8s||+ 58.6s|
|7.||10||Cyril Paul||F. W. Dixon||Riley||2000/6||2.0||S-6||10||10m16.0s||+ 1m16.8s|
|DNF||4||Raymond Mays||H. W. Cook||ERA||B||2.0||S-6||4||supercharger|
|DNF||9||John Appleton||J. Appleton||Appleton||Special-Riley||1.1||S-4||2||mechnical|
Fastest lap: Dick Shuttleworth (Alfa Romeo) in 51.6s = 131.4 km/h (81.6 mph)|
Winner's medium speed: 125.7 km/h (78.1 mph)
Weather: cold, windy.
1. From 1935 onwards official lap records at Brooklands were only accepted during record attempts with electrical timing, not during races.
Sources researched for this article:|
Motor Sport, London
William Boddy: The History of Brooklands Motor Course 1906-1940
Prince Chula Chakrabongse: Wheels at Speed
Raymond Mays: Split Seconds
2 - 12 November 1935:
Auto Union held their yearly test for new drivers at Nürburgring with the following results:|
von Delius 11m20.0s
Rudolf Heydel, Ernst von Delius and Rudolf Hasse were selected as junior drivers for the 1936 season.