News has reached me that we will have an exciting addition to the “Pre ’55” Historic grid at the Leinster Trophy meeting in Mondello in under two weeks time. US domiciled Irishman Paddins Dowling is bringing his E.R.A. to Ireland for the event. Paddins was a top racer in Irish Historics back in the 70s at the wheel of an N Type MG Magnette, an indecently fast MG TC and a beautiful and very quick Lotus 11.
In recent years he has collected some beautiful historic race cars and as his performances show, on both sides of the pond, he has lost none of his fabled speed! Happily, he has decided to return to Mondello Park this month and is bringing his E.R.A. R10B with him! This is the first time that an E.R.A. has raced at the Kildare venue since it opened in 1968, according to Pre ’55 organiser Dave Miller.
“This is the best news since the Pre 55s was set up! The Leinster Motor Club have gone to a lot of trouble to give us a prime slot… just before the Big Trophy Race… and have also donated a special award from their archive for the winner of our race!”
Dowling’s ERA will be joined on the Mondello grid by Dave Miller’s Jaguar XK140 and uncle Tony’s Austin 7- the first time this trio have been on the same grid in over 30 years! Also returning to Mondello Park is historic racer Stephen Curtis, who will pilot a Frazer Nash Le Mans.
The E.R.A. (English Racing Automobiles) company was set up in the 1930s to compete in the “Voiturette” class, the GP2 equivalent of the day! With a supercharged Riley-based 6 cylinder 1500cc engine running on methanol they produced almost 200bhp. Impressive now, but incredible 80 years ago! Some ran with a 2.0 version of the engine and power outputs have been said to be circa 270bhp!
Dowling’s E.R.A. “R10B” was produced in 1936 as a 1.5 litre in black for Peter Whitehead. Whitehead and his regular driving partner, Peter Walker, drove the car both separately and as co-drivers. Whitehead finished 3rd in the 1936 Limerick Grand Prix. The best result of that year being a third in the important Donington Park Grand Prix for the car. It went through a number of owners until Pink Floyd drummer and avid car collector Nick Mason bought it in 1980 and held onto it until Paddins persuaded him to sell in 2005. The Leinster Trophy is the biggest car meeting of the year and takes place at Mondello Park on September 19/20. There will be great racing all weekend but if you are into old cars and like the smell of methanol, then this alone is worth the trip!
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