Double Win for C. J. Lawrence (Morgan Plus Four)
The B.A.R.C. opened the season at Goodwood on March 14th with a Members’ Meeting, which attracted a stupendous entry of 122 sports cars and produced some good racing. Four aeroplanes attended.
The first race, over 10 laps from scratch, saw ten Lotus cars pitted against Elva, Cooper, Tojeiro and Victoria, all Climax 1,100-powered. Peter Riley’s Lotus led for six laps, then Prior’s Lotus got by, to win at 84.79 m.p.h. by 42.6 sec., Prior lapping at 86-3/4 m.p.h.; Waters’ Lotus was third.
The second race was a 5-lap Closed Car Handicap, which Gay’s Peerless from the 1 min. 30 sec. mark won at 69.61 m.p.h. very comfortably indeed from Uren’s Ford Zephyr, with Sparrowe’s well-known M.G. third. Steele’s Borgward lasted less than one lap and had to be pushed back to the paddock. A highlight of the race, was the safe high-speed cornering of Shepherd Barron’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta. In the end it spun at Madgwick but shared fastest lap (75 m.p.h.) with Williams’ Lotus Elite.
The 10-lap Marque Scratch Race, counting towards the Freddy Dixon Trophy, was notable for the splendid drive by C. J. Lawrence who, following a notably quick Le Mans start in his Morgan Plus Four, led all the way, to win by nine seconds from de Selincourt’s Triumph TR3, at 77.82 m.p.h. Staples’ A.C. Ace had held second place for seven laps but hit the fencing at the chicane, then spun at Lavant and so was disqualified, besides being overtaken by the more stable TR3s of de Selincourt and Hurrell; these Triumphs swopped places on lap 5, to finish second and third. De Selincourt made fastest lap at 79.56 m.p.h., Hextall’s TR2 lost time in starting, Southam seemed quite unperturbed about a locking back brake on his M.G.-A and Mackay’s Austin-Healey 100 had front wheel patter when braking.
The. rest of the afternoon was devoted to 5-lap handicap races. In the first of these D. Howard had apparently found some means of bribing the handicappers and in his white Lotus-Climax from the 35 sec. mark in company with the Elite, could not help winning, which he led by a prodigious margin at 80.72 m.p.h. The race was saved by a duel between the old Revis-Borgward, now driven by Dade and back on its best behaviour, and Gillett’s Aston Martin DB2/4. The Aston Martin, looking surprisingly large beside the Revis and Elite, went by but only after a race-long struggle. The Elite was fourth. To show up the handicappers still further, Howard’s winning Lotus made fastest lap, at 82.13 m.p.h. Riley’s Lotus-Climax of the same engine size had been required to give Howard 45 sec. start in five laps! The race featured Coundley’s smart D-type Jaguar which had never previously been raced and Chamberlain’s Cooper-Jaguar, thought to be the last of these cars to be made — they came in, respectively, fifth and sixth.
In the fifth race T. C. Powell, in a Ford-engined Lotus Seven which he had put together in 12 hours, drove with more valour than discretion and, overtaking several competitors on the right-hand side going into the chicane, touched Murray’s Triumph TR3, which shot through the hard part of the wall, sustaining considerable damage. The speed-happy Powell continued, to spin coming out of the chicane on the next lap, from which he recovered as if nothing had happened, to maintain his meteoric progress. The Clerk of the Course wasn’t amused but some sympathy must be extended to a young driver so keen and so fearless. Possibly Murray will not agree!
Through all this excitement Riley won neatly in his four-Amal Lotus-Climax at 82.47 m.p.h. from de Selincourt’s TR3 and Duncan’s TR3. The winner made fastest lap, at 84.05 m.p.h.
L. M. Ballamy’s special Ford Popular, driven by Turner, ran right away with the second Closed Car Handicap, averaging 68.03 m.p.h. and doing a lap at no less than 70.7 m.p.h. This remarkable Ford has an R100 Marshall supercharger driven from the nose of the crankshaft and fed by two Amal carburetters of which one comes into action after the other, a modified 100E cylinder head, 100E engine with Thinwall big-end bearings, Wellworthy pistons, a 4.4 axle ratio, very close-ratio three-speed gearbox with second gear of about 5 to 1, L.M.B. i.f.s.. special rear transverse suspension with Armstrong lever-type hydraulic shock-absorbers, Michelin “X” 135 by 380 tyres and three Citroën 2 c.v. seats. This potent Popular is both fast and stable and Turner did it full justice. Lawrence’s Austin A35 was far behind, but second best of a shower af A35s, and Clark’s “outsize” Volkswagen was a steady third. Russell’s Austin Metropolitan, after being manhandled in the paddock, was a nonstarter.
The last race saw Lawrence gain his second victory in the Morgan, at 77.03 m.p.h. from Fletcher’s twin-cam M.G. and Ide’s ex-Constable TD M.G. The Morgan lapped at 79.7 m.p.h. The field contained a shoal of Sprites, driven with varying degrees of proficiency, of which Gaston’s had a modified bonnet which takes the smile off the face of the baby Healey. Southam’s Le Mans ex-Carnegie M.G., now rebodied, retired at Woodcote. A TF M.G. also ran.
So the Spring had arrived (although the temperature belied it) and club racing is with us again. On April 25th there will be another of these entertaining B.A.R.C Members’ Meetings at Goodwood, counting towards the Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy. — W. B.