The first race meeting of the season at Snetterton came at the end of a warm spell and icy winds blew across the airfield all day, interspersed with bouts of hail, snow and rain, and the occasional patch of sunshine. The B.R.S.C.C. of course, grew from the ½-litre Club and later the 500 Club, and naturally there was a race for the 500s, but it seems to be a token effort nowadays and only ten cars braved the driving hail and before the race was over four had retired, including potential winner Jack Pitcher, leaving a very sorry-looking collection of cars, which are now some 20 m.p.h. slower than the Formula Junior cars.
A much brighter race came second on the programme for the 1,200-c.c. sports cars, in which the Lotuses and Sprites were opposed by a collection of Terriers, Turners, Peregrines, G.S.M.-Fords, Marcos and a lone Berkeley. Harry Epps went into the lead with his Lotus-Ford but managed to spin and was contacted by D. A. Sloley’s Lotus. While they were sorting themselves out Bond-Smith passed them to take the lead in the attractive and very quick Peregrine coupe. His lead was short lived as the car began to overheat, and Sloley went back into the lead, followed by Epps, while Marchant’s Lotus and Walker’s G.S.M. also passed the sick Peregrine. Catt motored the Berkeley with great verve but lack of power kept him well down the field.
Mike McKee, who was brought up at Snetterton, won as he liked in the Formula Junior race, driving a new Lotus Twenty. Australian driver Fred Gardner held a good second spot with a Lotus until the clutch packed up, allowing Bill Moss to move up. Peter Ashdown finished third in a Gemini while racing motor-cyclist Bob Anderson, making his first appearance on four wheels, drove a front-engined Lola-Ford into fourth place. The new Lotus appears to handle much better than last year’s model.
The unlimited sports-car race was a gift for Gordon Lee’s Lister-Jaguar, which took a comfortable lead from Peter Sargent’s D-type Jaguar, which gave off the usual Jaguar noises and looked to be well prepared. Baillie headed a traffic jam for third place for a while with the heavy and powerful DBR1, leaving a gaggle of Lotuses and Lolas on acceleration and then being surrounded by them on the corners. Keens got past in his Lola for third place and Wrenn, who had looked untidy in his Lola, retired.
Naturally enough the saloon-car race was dominated by Jaguars, Peter Sargent’s 3.4 beating the 3.8 of Sir Gawaine Baillie, while John Young motored his Superspeed Ford Anglia very impressively to take third place. Jankel and MerfieId, both Anglia-mounted, almost dead-heated for fourth place, with Jankel just getting the verdict. The Mini-Minors and Austin Se7ens were well back, mainly because several of them, including Doc. Shepherd’s and John Aley’s, were in Group 2 tune ready for National events.
The Formula Junior “B” race took place in poor conditions with hail and rain continuing for much of the event. J. Horrex (Lotus-Ford) led from start to finish but he had to withstand an attack from B. Glynn, who was forced to retire, and later on from E. Harris and E. April, the notable fact being that all these cars and several others were entered by the Jim Russell Racing Drivers’ School, surely the only school to consistently enter their pupils in races.
The final race of the day, for G.T. cars, took place in the gathering gloom and provided the usual win for Graham Warner’s Lotus Elite but not before he had overcome a determined challenge from C. W. Hunt’s Elite, who in fact led for four laps. Bill McCowen held third place initially in his Ace-Bristol but driving rain slowed his open car more than the closed cars and he was passed by Austin Nurse’s Elite. However, when the rain stopped he re-passed Nurse to regain third place. Epps spun his Aston Martin DB4 at Riches and Shaw did the same thing in the same place in his A.C. Ace. Fergusson went very fast in his Turner-Climax to take seventh place. – M. L. T.
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