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Monday, 27 January 2014

ERAs at Donington

In the programme for the SeeRed meeting at Donington Park in September 2004 is a piece about the ERA which starts off as follows:

'Considering the English Racing Automobiles only made 17 cars over a five-year period in the 1930s - plus a couple of not-altogether-succesful grand prix designs - the mystique that surrounds the three-ringed ERA logo might appear disproportionate. But the fact that all but four of those 17 cars are present this weekend is a clue to what makes the ERA story so unique. Like that other British design icon, the Supermarine Spitfire, the ERA has come to symbolise success in the face of fearsome odds. But unlike the Spitfire, the ERA has continued to do its job almost without a break since its genesis in the 1930s, and ERAs have been raced in every decade over the last 70 years.'

On 29 October 2012 I showed photographs of five ERAs at Oulton Park and mentioned the ERA website detailing the history of all the cars. Here are three photographs I took of some of the cars at the Donington meeting and although I didn't make a note of which of the cars they were at the time, I've tried to identify them now. One of the events at the meeting was 'A 70th Anniversary Race for ERAs and ERA-engined Racing Cars', but not all the cars took part in the race.

The cars in the above photograph appear to be (from right to left):
R2B    One of Prince Bira's White Mouse Stable's cars and given the name 'Remus'. R2B wasn't entered in the 70th anniversary race at the meeting and was owned at that time by Narissa Chakrabongse.
R12B   Another of the White Mouse Stable's cars and this one is 'Hanuman II'. In 2004 it was owned by David H Wenman, and driven in the ERA race by Tony Stephens.
R11B   Named 'Humphrey', owned in 2004 by Martin Morris and driven in the race by David Morris.
R4A     Driven in the ERA race by the owner Jost Wildbolz.
R5B   The third of the White Mouse Stable cars and named 'Remus', as the twin of 'Romulus'. Driven at Donington by the then owner Ludovic Lindsay.
NB: The three White Mouse Stable cars have the Siamese flag on the front corner of the engine cover, and R2B and R5B have a white mouse on the rear-view mirror fairing.

Here we've got (from left to right):
GP1    This E-Type ERA also took part in the race driven by the then owner (who still owns this car) Duncan Ricketts.
GP2    The second of the E-Types, but this one didn't take part in that day's race. It was then (and is still currently) owned by Ms L & Ms N Chapman according to the ERA Club website.
R12C   This car is named 'Hanuman' (have a look at the ERA website referred to above for the difference between 'Hanuman' and 'Hanuman II'). It was owned at that time by Bill Morris but driven in the race by Gregory Snape.

This photograph shows:
GP2     again.
R12C   again - this photograph was actually taken some time before the one above and seems to be R12C before it had the number '78' applied.
R9B     Then owned by Peter Mann but driven in the ERA race by John Ure.
R6B     A bit of a guess this, but it's a dark coloured car and I've come across a photograph of R6B at this meeting in approximately the position of this car in my photograph. It's a dark blue, almost black car which was driven that day by the owner, Ian Landy.
AJM1  The ERA website says about this car: 'Anthony J. Merrick prepared and raced R1A until its then owner sold the car.  Being without a car the resourceful Merrick shuffled his stock of genuine ERA parts and came up with AJM1. The 1980s brand new 1930s car is said to be an 80% original ERA B-type car using a 1.5litre engine and light green early works colour scheme.' It has since been painted red and was driven at Donington by the then owner, Rainer Ott.
ERA-Riley Special  Shown in the race programme as a 1936 car with a 2000cc engine and driven by the owner Keith Knight, but the only information I can find about this car is this reference to a book called 'Sporting Rileys, The Forgotten Champions' by David G Styles:
'The ERA / Riley
Keith Knight’s (in conjunction with Geoff Richardson) beautifully crafted, authentic, resurrection/re-creation of the later version of the Maclure/Richardson car is shown in the John Bateman article with ERA engine. (see also Dennis Jenkinson, Directory of Historic Racing Cars).'

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