Matters of Moment, August 1955

Author

W.B.

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The British Grand Prix
After a period of over a month without a major motor race, Aintree became the animated scene of the B.A.R.C. British Grand Prix on July 16th, and, run off in hot summer weather before a vast crowd estimated at 150,000, the race was happily devoid of accident, confirming that Grands Prix with evenly-matched cars driven by the leading exponents are the safest form of racing.

The British Grand Prix was a sweeping victory for Mercedes-Benz, using different variants of their remarkable W196 straight-eight, fuel-injection G.P. cars. The great German firm was admirably served by its drivers, Moss, Fangio, Kling and Taruffi, controlled by the indefatigable Neubauer, while engineer Uhlenhaut proved willing to drive a complete G.P. on his own in practice for research purposes. Moss becomes the first Britisher to win the British G.P. and the fourth British driver to win a Grande Epreuve. Those who watched the race with expert eyes will appreciate how much Moss has gleaned from Fangio and how, had he wished, the invincible Argentinian could have won this race. The sports-car race was likewise a 1, 2, 3, 4 victory for Aston Martin, these 3-litre cars proving able to run away from Hawthorn in a 3 ½-litre D-type Jaguar, David Brown, like Daimler-Benz, being well served by his drivers, Salvadori, Collins, Parnell and Walker, controlled by John Wyer. After the race Moss summed up the outcome of both races by congratulating David Brown on obtaining 1, 2, 3, 4 victory just as Mr. Brown was about to congratulate Stirling on leading a similar sweeping finish for Daimler-Benz!

In the F. III race Russell and Lewis-Evans held the crowd’s attention with a spirited duel in their Cooper-Nortons.

Aintree showed up well, perhaps better than many had expected, on this occasion. Its permanent stands, restaurants and other buildings, the good view obtainable by the spectators, the experience of the Liverpool police in handling vast crowds, aided by the extent of the car parks, contributed to the success of a day with which the Daily Telegraph, who sponsored the race, must be very satisfied. Detail points call for future revision but in general Aintree rose to the Grand Prix occasion. It is not a true road circuit, being quite flat, but its corners are more varied than those at Silverstone; Moss proved able to lap it At 89.7 zn.p.h.

The British and German National anthems were duly played and the pre-race parade of drivers, each riding in a white Austin-Healey bearing a number so that spectators could easily recognise them, was a brilliant idea on the part of the B.A.R.C. General Secretary. John Morgan. We were able to remark to Norman Freeman, as these parading sports cars lapped the circuit, that he now had all the G.P. aces on Dunlop tyres!

The success of the British Grand Prix whets the appetite for further serious motor-racing and we are glad to be able to announce that, after the Swedish Sports-Car Race at Christianstaad on August 7th, which the Mercedes-Benz and Aston Martin teams are expected to support, the Italian G.P. is due to happen at Monza on September 11th, when we may see Ferrari fielding his Fiat-financed Lancia F. 1 cars. Mercedes-Benz are expected to send 300SLR cars to our T.T. at Dundrod on September 17th, and there is every hope that the French G.P. will be held at Reims on September 25th, the day after the International Gold Cup Meeting at Oulton Park. Moreover, there is reason to suppose that the Spanish G.P. will take place at Barcelona on October 23rd.

The 750 M.C. Relay Race
The Six-Hour Relay Race of the 750 M.C. is not an easy race to report, and lack of spare precludes more than pictorial coverage of this year’s race. But such excellent training in pit-craft and team-control does this fixture provide, and such excellent spectator-value does it offer in a free-and-easy manner, that we wish to congratulate Holland Birkett for organising it, Charles Rainier for so successfully handicapping it, and the 750 M.C. in general for promoting this race.

Those who, buying an Austin Seven, had newly joined the club might well have wondered what was afoot, with few Austin Seven Specials on the special circuit at Silverstone, which was dominated by cars of up to C-type Jaguar calibre. Such are the complicated politics of motor-club constitution, but members can be proud of having this unique International fixture, although the hope may be expressed that mere Austin Sevenists are catered for at other times, such as by an annual award for the best-kept vintage Seven or some similar scheme.

The Relay Race, differing from but in the tradition of the Brooklands relay races of before the war, proved highly exciting on July 9th, and was another race run off entirely without disaster. The final issue lay between the M.G. C.C. Teams and the Tinlids Team, Haig’s TC M.G. Midget doing most of the lappery for the former; it continued to handle satisfactorily after oversize front wheels were fitted following break-up of one of the originals. However, the lead passed to the composite Ford/VW/Fiat Tinlids Team and when Haig came dramatically into hit pit ten minutes from the end, the closed-car combination’s victory was assured.

Results:

1st: Tinlids Team (E. J. B. Mitchell (Ford Anglia), I. Walker (Ford Prefect), N. Campbell-Blair (VW), P. R. Easton (Fiat 1,100 Tv)): 179 laps.
2nd: M.G. C.C. Team (C. Shore (TF), D. Powell (1 ½ – TF), S. G. Cobban (1 ½ TF), J. Laury (TD) and T. Haig (TC): 177 laps.
3rd: King TR2 Team (M. King, D. A. Payne and A. S. Lusty (Triumph TR2s), D. Howard (AC. Ace): 177 laps.