The English motor-racing season opened at Goodwood on March 22nd, when the BARC held the first of its three Members’ Meetings for sports cars; although not open to the public the stands were well filled. The Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy, at present held by JM Hawthorn (Riley), will be contested at these meetings, on a basis of 4 points for a win, 8 for second, 2 for third and 1 for fourth place in any race. Eighty-four cars were entered for the March meeting and the present score towards the Trophy is : FC Davis and ECC Flarewood, 7 points each ; HA Mitchell, AD Tasker and O Moore, 6 each ; KH Downing, JEG Fairman, JM Hawthorn, L Leston and AJ A Stokes, 4 each ; GV Coles, WA Dobson, J Goodhew, DAW Jacobs, JCC Mayers, L Gibbs, JM Sparrowe and JR Stoop, 3 each ; GFA Gale, MRG Llewellyn, DMD Blakely and RF Collinson, 2 each ; EW Cuff Miller, WR Croysdill, JR de Edwards, RC Symondson, NH Mann and AC Whincop, 1 each. Besides the Trophy and Replica the contest carries a first prize of £50, second prize of £20 and third prize of £10.
The new chicane beyond Woodcote Corner was in place. Most drivers seemed to like it, although it is narrow and rather sharp. This means that, especially with evenly-matched cars, he who is led into Woodeote has to remain behind until after the new bend, as normally there is insufficient room to accelerate clear between corners (only once, or twice at most, did anyone pass here), and the chicane isn’t wide enough to take two cars side by side. His Grace The Duke of Richmond and Gordon was observing all this during the meeting. Although several cars went into the line of shrubs bordering the outside of the corner, fortunately no one hit the wooden fence on the inside.
There were few new cars amongst the entries, but Oscar Moore drove his modified HWM, with Jaguar XK120 engine and preselector gearbox (first announced in Motor Sport). The engine has not yet been enlarged to 3.8 litres, however. The “Monkey Stable” Lester-MG of Jim Mayers (who held the Brooklands Trophy in 1950) was getting 800 more rpm down Lavant Straight than last year in spite of pulling a 4.4 in place of a 4.89 to 1 axle ratio, but Gerry Ruddock considered his Lester-MG too brand-new to run. Gibbs had a new engine in the Riley Nine which “blew-up” so completely at Silverstone last year and a Treen gearbox. Bryde circulated in practice in a nose-heavy 21/2-litre Ferrari saloon but deemed it too hectic to run in the races. Bill Dobson, driving in his first English race, had a lone entry from the Ecurie Ecosse, a very smart Jaguar XK120. It was beautifully prepared and had triple scoops on the outside of each wheel for brake cooling. “Wilky” had come down from Scotland on the night train to attend it. Whincop had been up all night preparing his effective 3.3 Bugatti, which now has a square-section air-stamp feeding its four SUs. Sparrow’s Morgan 4/4 had a stiffening strip beneath its track-rod. Hawthorn had only his 1,100-cc Riley with which to defend the Brooklands Trophy, as he wants a gearbox for his 11/2-litre Sprite—does anyone have a spare close-ratio box they can sell him. Very smart—BIakely’s Le Mans HRG. Practice terminated in torrential rain so that, two hours later, the course was still wet for the first race. Afterwards a brisk wind and bright sunshine soon dried the road.
Scratch Race, cars up to 1,100 cc, non-s/c. (5 laps). Gibbs’ Riley led lap one, but Hawthorn’s Riley after an exciting tussle, got ahead, its brakes seemed more powerful, to win very comfortably. Sparrowe’s Morgan 4/4 was a steady third, Cuff-Miller’s disguised Brooklands Riley fourth after removing part of the chicane hedge. Behind, Gentry’s Montiliery MG was in trouble and Treen’s rough-sounding Riley had a job to pass Helyer’s cream Brooklands Riley.
1st : JM Hawthorn (1,059-cc Riley), won by 21.6 sec at 64.86 mph, fastest lap 60.87 mph. 2nd : L Gibbs (1,089-cc Riley). 3rd: JM Sparrowe (1,098-cc Morgan).
Scratch Race, 1.100-1,500 cc, non s/c (5 laps). FC Davis led throughout in the ex-Leonard “Ferrari” Cooper-MG, finishing 53.0 sec ahead of Mayers, who had come up to to fouth from seventh place in three laps, only to have the MG’s brake pedal break clean off. He bravely picked up the remaining places, using the lower ratios as anchors, ditching Croysdill’s smoky Lancia and Downing, fast as ever in his 11/2-litre Connaught. Dargue’s MG was actually passed by Robinson’s Jupiter between Woodcote and the chicane on lap four, and at the end of the procession a duel between Pigott’s radio-equipped TC MG and two TDs resulted in Desoutter’s TD spinning twice round on the back leg.
1st: FC Davis (1,407-cc Cooper-MG.), won by 53.6 sec, at 72.24 mph; fastest lap, 73.72 mph. 2nd: JCC Mayers (1,407-cc Lester-MG). 3rd : W Croysdill (1,496-c Lancia).
Scratch Race, 1,500-3,000 cc, non s/c. (5 laps). We expected Tony Crook’s silver-wheeled Frazer-Nash to pull this one off, but to everyone’s surprise HA Mitchell led him from flag fall in a similar Le Mans Frazer-Nash. Try as Tony did he never caught him, and his car retired on lap four. The only person who got near to Mitchell was Stoop, in his Mille Miglia Frazer-Nash, back brakes locking on occasion, and these two finished well out of sight of the Healey Silverstone “opposition.” Gollingen’s aged ohc 21/2-Iitre Aston-Martin hung grimly to Brooks’ Healey but hadn’t as useful acceleration.
1st: HA Mitchell (1,971-cc Frazer-Nash), won by 5.2 sec, at 72.07 mph. 2nd : JR Stoop (1,071-cc Frazer-Nash); fastest lap, 75.0 mph. 3rd : AD Tasker (2,443 cc Healey)
Scratch Race, over 3,000-cc, non s/c. Gale’s 4-litre Darracq led at flag-fall from Dobson’s “over-the-Border” Jaguar and Oscar Moore’s special HWM. For two laps Gale held his lead, Moore now on his tall, then his engine seemed to “fluff” and Oscar took the lead, the Darracq still challenging strongly. Later It fell back behind Dobson’s XK120, which was going most impressively. Symondson’s type 57 Bugatti was magnificently holding fourth place, disposing of two larger-engined Allards quite happily. Farther back, a gaggle of XK120s rolled oddly through the chicane, although disposing of AJA Stokes’ Jaguar 100.
1st: O Moore (3,442-cc HWM), won by 1.8 sec, at 72.30 mph: fastest lap, 75.39 mph. 2nd WA Dobson (3,442-cc Jaguar). 3rd : OFA Gale (3,996-cc Darracq).
First 5-lap Handicap. GV Coles’ neat 747-cc MG built up a big lead and it wasn’t until the final lap that Harewood’s blown PB MG Special took it from him by a very narrow margin. Llewellyn took third place by cornering his TD MG at its limit. Cuff-Miller spun his Riley at the chicane, first man to do so.
1st : ECC Harewood (s/c 939-cc MG), 24 sec, won by 0.2 sec, at 67.20 mph.; fastest lap, 69.12 mph. 2nd : GV Coles (747-cc MG), 77 sec. 3rd : HRG Llewellyn (1,250-cc MG), 37 sec.
Second 5-lap Handicap. With an 81/2 sec start this was a gift to “freelance” Fairman, his time propelling Stemart’a old ohc 2-litre Aston-Martin. Davis drove hard in his Cooper-MG, tail sliding from the chicane, and only he saw Fairman win. Marsh’s elderly 12/50 ex-Lybbe Aivis retired and Goodfellow took away clusters of chicanery on his Lagonda, which scandalised officials demanded be replaced after the race!
1st: JEG Fairman (1.949-cc Aston-Martin), 84 sec, won by 14.2 sec, at 70.02 mph. 2nd: FC. Davis (1,407-cc Cooper-MG), 30 sec. 3rd : DHD Blakely (1,490-c.c. HRG), 74 sec. Fastest lap, Davis.(Cooper-MG) and NH Mann (Alfa-Romeo), 75.79 mph.
Third 5-lap Handicap : Masker’s Healey pressed Jacobs’ sister car hard, passing it into the lead on lap four. Mitchell worked his Fraser-Nash up effectively to third place, lapping very fast. Try as Stoop did, his Frazer-Nash did not catch Dobson’s fast Jaguar, to which he had given six seconds start.
1st : AD Masker (2,443-cc Healey), 08 sec, won by 3.3 sec, at 68.65 mph. 2nd : DAW Jacobs (2,443-cc Healey), 75 sec. 3rd : HA Mitchell (1,971 cc Frazer-Nash), 23 sec; fastest lap, 76,32 mph.
Fourth 5-lap Handicap. At last re-handicapping was deemed necessary (Goodwood is more lenient than was Brooklands !) and Stewart, having given a race to Fairman, found his Aston-Martin put back 65 sec. But Moore was left to start with Swift’s innocent XK120 and 6 sec ahead of Mann’s old Alfa-Romeo, 16 sec in front of Gale’s pre-war Darracq ! Moreover, so frightened are the Goodwood handicappers of Allards that, had they started, which they didn’t, Leslie Allard and Page in 5.4-litre versions would have given Moore 33 sec start !
Les Leston, in the “Monkey Stable” Lester-MG, drove brilliantly, and with 10 sec start from Moore stayed ahead, swopping first place on the last lap with Goodhew’s Lagonda, which also (aided by 17 sec start) held of the HWM. Behind we saw Whincop’s Bugatti, Eric Thompson in Rob Walker’s smart blue 31/2-litre Delahaye and Gale’s Darracq battling in that order,-our thanks to these men for entering such fine machinery. Mann spun off the road on lap one but his 2.6-litre Alfa-Romeo still caught Swift’s XK120–you know, the one required to start with the HWM and give the Delahaye three seconds !
1st: L Leston (1,407-cc Lester-MG), 43 sec, won by 3.0 sec, at 73.22 mph. 2nd : J Goodhew (4,500 cc Lagonda), 50 sec. 3rd : G Moore (3,442.cc HWM), 33 sec.; fastest lap, 76.73 mph.
Fifth 5-lap Handicap. Stokes’ silver Jaguar 100 came through to win, followed by Harewood’s MG, rehandieapped 33 sec, which made good use of its excellent brakes. Collinson’s old ohc 2-Iitre Aston-Martin was third, Downing’s Connaught a good fourth from scratch.
1st : AJA Stokes (3,485-cc Jaguar 100), 25 sec, won by 1.6 sec, at 70.59 mph. 2nd : ECC Harewood (s/c. 939-cc MG), 50 sec. 3rd : HF Collinson (1,950-cc Aston-Martin), 75 sec. Fasten lap : Downing (Connaught), 73.59 mph.
The next Members’ Meeting will take place on May 17th.
It is rumoured that a well-known driver is installing an eight-caburetter 4-litre air-cooled Steyr engine into a sports Cooper chassis, for sprint work.
The Eight Clubs are paying starting money to the extent of 22% in the £ in respect of their 1951 Silverstone Meeting (they paid 17s in the £ in 1951!). This generous system will operate again this year for the Silverstone Meeting on June 7th (regulations go out to all members), but a nominal increase in entry fees may be instituted with a view to making a donation to the recently-formed motor racing Benevolent Fund. [Other clubs please copy ! Ed]