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Montlhéry, together with John Cobb, Freddie Dixon and Cyril Paul, in an attempt on the 24- hour record. World and international records were achieved, but not the 24-hour mark as Dixon skidded off the track in the rain. Back in the UK, Charlie Martin had purchased Byfleet Motors and employed Brack as his racing manager and general supervisor of his 2.3-litre Bugatti. 1935 might be considered a vintage Brackenbury year for he and Charlie Martin won the Biennial Cup at Le Mans and finished third driving an Aston Martin in the General Classifi- cation. At the BARC Whitsun meeting he gained both his 120 and 130mph badges as well as a Gold Star in a race which he won at an average of 125.37mph. This included a lap at 136.45mph, driving Martin’s 2.3 Bugatti. He rounded off the season with a fourth place in the Tourist Trophy driving an Aston Martin. Although renowned for playing pranks on


Charles Brackenbury (Brooklands Society).


Besides which, we do it for the sake of British prestige.’ Charles Brackenbury Charles Edgar Mills Brackenbury was born in 1907 at Thorpe Hall near Louth in Lindsey, Lincolnshire, his father being an MP and his mother a magistrate. By the early 1920s he shared an interest in motorcycles with Chris Staniland who lived nearby at Abbey House in Louth, winning local hill climbs, with Charles on a 349cc AJS and Chris riding a 500cc TT Norton. In 1925 Charles was introduced to Brooklands by his friend who not only raced his Norton on the Track, but also his two-litre Bugatti. When, in 1929, Charles inherited a small fortune, he gave up being Staniland’s mechanic and competed in his own Type 37 Bugatti. Tuned by Arthur Syme at Byfleet Motors, it became one of the fastest Bugattis on the Track. At the BARC Whitsun meeting in 1933 Charles won the Gold Star Handicap race at 100mph, with a lap at 106.42mph. By now he was well-known to fellow drivers such as Charles Martin and Richard Shuttleworth who shared his devil-may-care approach to motor sport. In May that year ‘Brack’ – as he was known by the racing fraternity – joined Whitney Straight as his handyman and reserve driver of the 2.5 Maserati Straight had purchased from Tim Birkin. The team appeared at the Mont Ventoux hill climb, the Albi Grand Prix, the Italian GP and the Coppa Acerbo. In 1934 Brack drove the Napier-Railton at


39


unsuspecting victims, Brack was also known for his consistent ability as a long-distance driver. In 1937 he joined Tim Rose-Richards, Johnny Hindmarsh and John Cobb at Bonneville in Utah with the Napier-Railton. The four drivers took the 1,000 and 5,000 miles records as well as the 12 and 24-hour records at 150.16mph. Brackenbury was not only a successful driver on salt flats and oval tracks but also in the wider field of motor sport. 1939 saw him take part in the Monte Carlo Rally, driving a Lagonda with Mort Morris-Goodall. He then joined up with Arthur Dobson, setting off in June to Le Mans to drive one of the new W O Bentley-designed, stream- lined V12 Lagondas. Another Lagonda was driven by Lords Selsdon and Waleren. Although the cars


Brackenbury in a 4½-litre Sunbeam (Brooklands Society).


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