The 1935 Ards Tourist Trophy Singer Crash

There have been a number of topics reported over the years on Singer's. Non more so unfortunately than the 1935 T.T crash. Many story's have been told, many inaccurately and at times quite damaging to the Singer name. Some parts of the story will continue to remain unknown to enthusiast trying to piece the story together but for a number of reasons this is how it was wanted by the Singer Motor Company and the people involved.

Following the run at Le-Mans earlier in 1935 four Racing Nines were prepared for the 1935 Ards Tourist Trophy race. Three of the cars had run at Le-Mans and had proved to be good mounts for the T.T. The team of cars drove down to Bangor and the cars were stored at Hook's garage whilst the drivers and mechanics stayed at the Imperial Hotel.

Practice commenced for the light green cars and this even included pit practising which could win or loss a race. The pit process was taking them a minute which without air jacks, pumped fuel and quick release wheels is a triumph in itself. The drivers of the cars were Sammy Davis, Norman Black, Alf Langley and Donald Barnes, all with good racing experince. The team were concerned about tyre wear rates and experimented on Blacks car with smaller tyres and this yielded good results, and showed that gear ratios werent ideal. In the end Davis's car was equiped with the same tyres. The Singers main competition would lie with Fiats, Adlers and a Riley in their class. The pits were manned by Stanely Barnes and Reg Bicknell, and everthing was ready for a good race except the worry that they might need a higher 4th gear.

With racing plugs fitted they were ready and as the flag dropped and ten starters raced for positon. Black ran his own race free from team orders in the forth car whilst Davis, Langley and Barnes followed a set plan. After a few minutes what was described as the world's record dog fight began at times Singers, Adlers and Fiats were three abreast going into the Newtownards section. Slipstreaming seemed the only way of out doing each other in terms of performance and this is how the race continued.

Until that is the first of 3 cars crashed. Bradshaws Brae was to be a graveyard of Singers soon after. As the drivers became more confident the run down the twisty Bradsaws Brae section got faster and faster and the cars were going well. Alf Langleys car was the first to fail, badly smashed against the bank on the Brae. Just over half way into the race Blacks car was next. Sammy Davis was the next victim and as can be seen from these pictures was lucky to get out alive.

The damaged steering can be seen dragging underneath the car as it climbs the bank. Could have been a case of X-files as two days previous electric boats at a fair the drivers when't to began to revolve loose. It turned out that it wasnt and a design weakness had lead to the accident. Barnes car was still running and was stopped by officals who told him to go easy to the pits.

Sammy Davis gets ejected from the driving seat of no.37 as artist Brian de Grineau runs away

Luckily no fire started and non of the spectators got hurt

The cars were brought back from Ireland and an internal investigation held. The cars were in the future fitted with modified steering that was available before the race but because of rules couldnt be fitted. Singer nines had crashed before with this same failure one on a trial and one in a race, but I cannot remember of hand which these were.

The cars next run was at Shelsley Walsh for AVC 481 and Sammy's no.37 car driven by Stanley Barnes and Sammy Davis. At the time the steering was blamed on the case hardening of the ball joints, but as a matter of fact the design of steering was unsuitable. The crash brought bad publicity to the company, which pulled out of offically entering teams in events under its name and paid Autosports to run the team under the guidance of F.S. Barnes. The cars continued to be entered in races with the success that they truely deserved, but the crash would be in the mind of people to this day.