The Midland M.E.C. Silverstone Meeting (June 25th)

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The M.M.E.C. ran slickly through a programme of 14 races at Silverstone in typical “M.M.E.C. weather.”

Dickie Steed’s recently-assembled Cooper-Climax won the first race from the Loti of Lewis and Liddell, but in the second race (six instead of five laps) Steed was content to follow Nurse’s larger-engined Lotus, which won at slightly lower speed, Lewis’ less steady Lotus finishing third. The yellow flags came out when Escott’s Lester-MG. slid onto the grass on the outside of Woodcote closely followed by Llewellyn in a Monkey-Stable Lester coupé, Escott regaining the course first. On lap four Porteous’ Cooper-M.G. spun at Woodcote, was avoided by Llewellyn but collected head-on by Prior’s Lotus-M.G., the Cooper losing the nose of its glass-fibre body and the Lotus needing much Radweld to caulk water-leaks.

The first 500-c.c. race saw Lones’ Tiger-Kitten left on the line, later to make a smoky run. Boshier Jones handled his Cooper beautifully and ran right away from Higham’s tail-sliding Cooper and Fergusson’s Cooper to win at 75.65 m.p.h., but Cooksey (Cooper) only toured and Hett’s Emeryson took some odd lines.

A similar race followed, G. M. Jones’ Kieft-Norton winning at lower speed from Barrett’s Cooper and Symonds’ Cooper. Thornton had a mix-up with Hobart’s Martin and overturned en route for the Woodcote ditch in one of those accidents that look as if they must prove fatal. After long delay, during which spectators lifted the car off him, ambulance and doctor arrived. Luckily, Thornton was able to leave hospital before the meeting was over.

McMillan’s Cooper-base sports Bristol Barb, brought to the course inside a ‘bus, made its first appearance in the next race, a six-lap scratch race for sports-cars up to 3-litres. It seemed as if this very potent car might well have a field-day, as it was entered for seven races. It won the first at just over 74 m.p.h., running right away from Brierley’s Frazer-Nash, which looks like a sports Cooper-Bristol, and Bradley’s Le Mans Frazer-Nash which nearly came unstuck at Woodcote on lap one. McMillan fought his car through the corners and all but lapped the tail-enders. Alas, the water-pump belt of the Bristol engine gave trouble, much water was lost and the Barb non-started in the next race, which Brierley won in polished style from Jarvis’ Cooper 1,100 and Richards’ H.A.R. However, the Barb was fit again in time for the seventh race and left Bradley and Steed, the only other finishers, right out of sight. Steed held off Bradley on lap two, repassed him on the inside at Woodcote next lap, but then had to give best to the larger car, driving his little Cooper splendidly to a very exciting finish. A duel between Powers’ Austin-Healey and Liddell’s Black Horse Stable Buckler evaporated when Power retired and the Buckler had a startling over-correction incident which carried it onto the grass on the inside of Woodcote.

Richardson’s R.R.A. has never run better, to win the Formule Libre scratch race of 10 laps from the Barb. The field was small, and further depleted because Lones retired, Richards’ H.A.R, finishing third, and present-day kids preferring to play in the ex-time-keepers’ A.E.C. omnibus to watching racing cars!

Boshier-Jones deservedly won the Final of the 500 c.c. heats, yards ahead of Moor, whose Wasp was going well, with Moors’ Cooper very close, up and Luke’s Cooper winning a private duel with Haigh’s Cooper further back in the field. Lambert’s semi-aerodynamic Lotus-Ford won the 1,172 Formula five-lapper from Laverton’s normal Lotus by such a narrow margin that the crowd applauded. The Clare 90 was third. The first of the sports-car handicaps was won very nicely indeed by Llewellyn’s Lester, watched critically by Jim Mayers, from Elliott’s Frazer-Nash, Welford making a great effort to snatch third place from Davidson’s Triumph TR2 only to slide wide at Woodcote. Barb misfired after three laps and was seen no more. Escott’s Lester-M.G. ran through the field to win the next handicap.

Hobart’s Martin took the racing-car 10-1ap handicap by reason of a long start, Learnan’s R.G.R.500 coming up extremely well to finish second, ahead of the R.R.A., which was closely pursued by Taylor’s Cooper 500.

A long day’s racing concluded with a lively 10-lap sports-car handicap, Tremlett’s M.G. leading for seven laps, but Elliott’s Frazer-Nash finally coming home first ahead of Davidson’s TR2 and Nurse’s Lotus, after the Lester coupé had retired. Welford’s 1 ½-litre Riley, with prominent oil-cooler, had spun at Copse, Bradley’s Frazer-Nash had suffered an expensive engine “blow-up,” and the two Bucklers of Caril-Worsley and Barrett had scrapped together.