Riley Brooklands

Willie Jackson

Henley-on-Thames, United Kingdom

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The 1929, 1087cc Riley Brooklands of David Lamb taking part in a pre-war sports car race during VSCC “Spring Start” race meeting, Silverstone, 23rd April 2011.

Introduced in 1926 in a humble but innovatively designed fabric bodied saloon, Percy Riley’s ground-breaking Riley 9 engine- a small capacity, high revving unit- was ahead of its time in many respects. Having hemispherical combustion chambers and inclined overhead valves, it has been called the most significant engine development of the 1920s. With twin camshafts set high in the cylinder block and valves operated by short pushrods, it provided power and efficiency without the servicing complexity of an OHC (overhead camshaft) layout. It soon attracted the attention of tuners and builders of ‘specials’ intended for sporting purposes. One of the most noteworthy was engineer/driver J.G. Parry-Thomas, who developed the Riley ‘Brooklands’ model in his workshops at the famous banked Surrey circuit. Officially backed by the Riley company, the Brooklands, along with later developments and variations such as the ‘Ulster’ Imp, MPH, and Sprite, proved some of the most successful works and privateer racing cars of the late 1920s and early 1930s, at Le Mans,the Ulster TT, at Brooklands itself, and at smaller events like hill climbs. They also provided a platform for the success of motorsports’ first women racing drivers like Kay Petre and Dorothy Champney.

Nikon D50, Sigma 175-500 zoom at 240mm, Shutter Priority 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO400.

Featured 29th May 2011

Artwork Comments

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