‘Bira’s re-assembled Formula 1 car emerged at Easter Monday Goodwood, 1951, as the OSCA V12 – finished in his favoured pale blue and yellow racing livery. He drove it in the 12-lap Chichester Cup race for Formule Libre cars, finishing third – outpaced not only by Reg Parnell’s winning standard-model Maserati 4CLT but also by Brian Shawe-Taylor’s uprated ERA in second place. But in the 12-lap Richmond Trophy Formula 1 race, ‘Bira’ plainly felt he had got the measure of his new 4½-litre V12-engined mount, and while Parnell made the best start, it was the Thai Prince who cut inside him under power away from Madgwick towards Fordwater, and he screamed away to lead back across the timing line. On lap 2 entering St Mary’s, Parnell tried to out-brake ‘Bira’ into the left-hander but instead overshot, careered off the road and went for a length and wild trip across the infield, narrowly missing a haystack, before rejoining, many places lost.
The ‘Autosport’ report continues: “The Osca (sic) rumbled relentlessly on. Bira was cornering impeccably and proving that on his day he is one of the world’s greatest drivers. Despite his vast lead, he drove faster and faster, realising that at Goodwood no one can afford to let up with Parnell in the hunt.
“The red Maserati streaked through the field… However, if the Osca continued to circulate at the pace it was going, Reg would require to break his lap record each time round to get within striking distance. On lap six, Parnell’s great effort came to an end. Coming down to Woodcote, the Maserati belched out clouds of blue smoke… the Emperor of Goodwood had lost a scratch race on this circuit for the first time…
“Bira was in an unassailable position, and the Osca sounded as if it would go on indefinitely. His was a popular win, as the Goodwood crowd remembered his gallant bid last year to beat Parnell and the BRM. Bira has not been too fortunate recently, but with this low-built and very fast un-supercharged 4 ½-litre, he may have found the answer to the formidable Ferraris…”
In fact, he had not. But he did set a new lap record for the Goodwood Motor Circuit that afternoon – lapping in 1min 35.6secs, 90.38mph. And out for a third time that day in the Fourth Easter Handicap race, he motored as fast as he possibly could in the attempt to overcome his handicap time and equalled his own lap record.