Jack Bartlett

Jack Bartlett

25/8/1904 - 19/8/1983

<p align="left">John Hastings "Jack" Bartlett was born in Rotherhithe, London. Interested in cars for a very early age, due to the expense he had to start with motorcycles. This had three benefits to the young Jack, 1) you could get a license at 14, 2) they were cheap and 3) they could be kept indoors, that was true for Jack until the maid tripped over the footrest of his machine in the hallway dropping the Sunday roast.

So Jack had to rent a shed and this additional expenditure led him to start selling his bike soon after acquiring them. He was soon making a nice profit and with the additional funds was able to start racing. He purchased an OHV Norton and enjoyed some success at Brooklands.

By 1928 he was growing tired of his desk job working for a brewery and joined University Motors, where Hammy Hamilton and Ian Connell also served time. Jack only stayed for a year before starting his own sports car business in Bayswater, London.

He also acquired a pair of Type 39 Bugatti GP cars for his own racing. Both were powered by supercharged straight eight 1.5 litre engines and both failed on their debut at Brooklands in 1930! One with a seized engine, the other with a flooded carburettor.

Jack sold them in disgust and replaced them with a 1100cc Salmson Ranger at a cost of £130.00. Powered by a twin-cam, twin supercharged straight eight engine with desmodromic valves, one would have though that it would have been a case of out of the frying pan into the fire, however Jack came second in the Mountain handicap in 1930 despite experiencing a massive slide on the very first corner and continued to use the car for the next five years, setting a number of FTDs and spinning off a few times as well.

In June 1931 he won the Racing Short Handicap at the BARC Inter-Club meeting at Brooklands and followed that up in August with a win in the One Lap Sprint Handicap at 87.84 mph. He then finished third in the Second August Mountain Handicap.

In 1932 he drove with Ronnie Horton in his 750cc supercharged MG and together they won the Brooklands 500 mile race at an average of 96.29 mph.

He also acquired a 2.3 Litre Alfa Romeo Monza. Donald Healey had convinced the Triumph management to create the Triumph Dolomite, a clone of the 2-liter Alfa Romeo 8C 2300. When they were done with the car it was picked up from the Triumph works and delivered to Jack. Bartlett eventually sold it to Dick Wilkins on March 23, 1935, a week after racing it at Brooklands one last time. The Triumph Dolomite meanwhile turned out to be a huge disappointment to anyone who drove one, including the likes of Tony Rolt.

Jack still raced the Salmson, winning the 100 mile race on Southport sands two years running, 1932 and 1933, and he nearly took a third win in 1938 with a new 2 litre supercharged Alta but ran out of fuel on the last lap and had to settle for second behind Billy Cotton's MG Magnette. He finally sold the Salmson in 1935 to Clem Dyer who took it to Australia.

Jack then bought a 2.9 litre monoposto Alfa Romeo and had it entered for two races at Brooklands but war broke out in 1939 before he had a chance to use it.

During WWII he served in the RAF but as soon as war was over he returned to the business in Baswater. He finally got to compete with the Alfa, entering the Brighton Speed trials on two occasions.

In 1949 he traveled to Le Mans driving with Nigel Mann in a Healy Elliott saloon. Jack took the first stint but with temperatures rising  and stops for oil and water banned for the first 30 laps, he had to nurse the car around at a lowly 60 mph. Finally he was able to pit and the sump was found to be dry. Re-filled with oil and water Nigel took off to find the car had suffered no ill affects and that the oil leak had repaired itself. However the time lost was too much to make up though the car ran strongly until the finish winning a class award.

With that Jack retired from racing to concentrate on his business.

He died in Jersey 1993.

historicracing.com

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