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Aston Martin Ulster RAC Tourist Trophy Ards 1935 B Bira

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Reprint of an original period photo of the Aston Martin team cars in the pits at the 1935 RAC TT Tourist Trophy race at Ards just outside Belfast in Northern Ireland.

B Bira's car is Number 20 in the foreground and the diminutive figure in the crash helmet and overalls on the right is the famus Siamese prince himself.

Prince Birabongse, known by his racing pseudonym as "B Bira" was a grandson of the King of Siam featured in the famous King and I musical and later in the Jodie Foster film Anna and The King. A resident in England since the overthrow of the royal family in Siam, Bira raced sportscars for fun untill reaching the age of 21 when his cousin, Prince Chula, bought him a new ERA (R2B) so he could do the job properly!

Another two Era's were alter added to the stable along with a Maserati 8CM Grand Prix car and Bira also raced BMW 328 and an supercharged Austin Seven single seater.

He was an instant star at Brooklands , Donington, Crystal Palace and in european Voiturette races where he was on the pace right from the start despite his lack of experience. He was considered for an Auto Union drive but the Nazi views on ethnic purity etc ruled out the possibility of an oriental driver challengeing the German drivers in the team. For several years Bira was the most succesful of British based racing drivers and by 1939 magazines like Motor sport were running headlines like "Bira beaten at last!" He christened the Era's in his stable; Remus (R5B) Romulas (R2B) and Hanumann (R12C) after three figuires from Siamese mythology.

A massive accident shortly before the start of the war wrecked Hanumann and injured Bira. After the war he resumed racing but with out the constant aid of his cousin and mentor Prince Chula, who had retired to his estate in Cornwall to be lord of the manor, he was never quite the same force again. He continued to race untill 1955 and was one of the first private owners of a Maserati 250F.

10x8 inch (254x203mm)