It's the Rolls-Royce of Bentley websites.

Monday, January 28, 2013

1931 Le Mans - Sir Tim Birkin Filling up.

The Bentley Boys have a pretty serious reputation.

The party hard, play hard and drive hard.

However, it did come to an end.

Here is the Wikipedia entry on the death of Sir Henry "Tim" Birkin.

"Birkin's world fell to pieces at the end of 1930. Bentley Motors withdrew from racing and closed down the following year.
(Although purchased by Rolls Royce the marque did not reappear for several years.) And Dorothy Paget withdrew her support for Birkin's road team in October 1930.
She continued however to support Birkin's red single seater track car, the original Blower No.1.
The car had been re-bodied with a single shell by Reid Railton after its lightweight fabric two seater body had caught fire in the 1929 500 mile race due to a cracked exhaust ( nicknamed the Brooklands Battleship ).
Birkin kept his motor workshop going by entering into a partnership with Mike Couper and developing a business specialising in tuning high performance cars.
In addition, an "electric model Brooklands" -- an elaborate miniature racetrack game with motorized cars running on single rails—was manufactured at the works.
Birkin's partnership with Couper came to an end in 1932 however and the works closed."

Here is some art envisaging the scene of Sir Tim filling up.

"Birkin continued racing despite these setbacks. In 1931 he won Le Mans with Earl Howe in an Alfa Romeo, even receiving a telegram from Mussolini congratulating him on his "win for Italy".
On 24 March 1932 he raised the Brooklands Outer Circuit lap record to 137.96 mph in the Brooklands Battleship, a record which stood for another two years before being beaten by John Cobb driving the 24 litre Napier Railton.
On 7 May 1933 he started the Tripoli Grand Prix in a new 3 L Maserati 8C owned by fellow driver Bernard Rubin, finishing third.
During his pit stop Birkin burnt his arm badly against the hot exhaust pipe while picking up a cigarette lighter.
There are different opinions of what then happened. The traditional view is that the wound turned septic whilst others say Birkin suffered from a malaria attack.
It was probably a combination of both that proved fatal, as Birkin died at Countess Carnavon Nursing Home in London 22 June 1933, aged thirty-five."

It's all good to imaging Birkin in the pits with art.

However, being a kid of the 1980's I find it easier not to read the book, but to watch the movie.

I've found some footage of Tim Birkin and Earl Howe at the 1931 Le Man race.

They are in the pits filling up the Alfa with more petrol.

I am completely shocked.

Talk about not giving a flying.


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