The 23rd BARC 23rd Members' Meeting

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The BARC staged its third Members’ Sports-Car Race Meeting of 1956 at Goodwood last month. The races, contested in dull but dry weather, were not especially exciting, possibly because a new rule was in force whereby any driver who spun was disqualified. Only PH Ashdown (Lotus-Climax) suffered under this ruling, when he lost control at St Mary’s Corner on the last lap of the third race. Another safety measure was the widening of the course on the inside of Fordwater Corner, drivers being penalised if they went over a white line on the outside of this fast left-hander. This and levelling-up by an inch of the dip beyond this corner, will be resorted to before the August Bank Holiday meeting, in lieu of the Fordwater chicane at first suggested.

In the first 5-lap scratch race Ashdown led Frost all the way, the Loti separated by about seven lengths, Hewitt’s Lotus-Climax dropping to third place after the first lap and Lumsden, leader on points in the Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy Contest, having to be content with fourth place, giving him one more point. Ashdown averaged 81.97 mph and shared fastest lap with Frost at 83.56 mph. Clarke’s Cooper-Climax developed a misfire and was a match for Watson’s old Lester-MG, and on the fourth lap Mackenzie’s Elva-Climax spun at the chicane and was clouted by Prior’s Lotus-MG.

Next came the Ladies’ 5-lap Handicap, with Patsy Burt in the ex-Hawthorn, ex-Alan Brown Cooper-Bristol, now with an Aston-Martin engine, rehandicapped to “owes 10 sec.” The scratch cars never really got into the picture, Gillian Spooner disposing of Mrs Naylor’s Lagonda Rapier Special after lap one to win at 66.21 mph from Mrs Howard, both driving Triumph TR2s, while Dorothy Champ, also in a TR2, filled third place. Hazel Dunham, in her MG, tried hard, but Jean Bloxam in an Aston Martin DB2 made fastest lap, at 71.64 mph.

In the third race, a 5-lap scratch contest, Frost’s Lotus-Climax led all the way to win at 81.38 mph, pursued by Ashdown, who after being disqualified, let Lumsden into second place (three more points !) with Bloxam’s Lotus-MG third, its tail now fin-less following its crash at Mallory Park. The only incident of note was provided by Portman, who experienced a grabbing brake and momentarily left the course at St Mary’s on the first lap, his Cooper-Climax rejoined the race. As consolation for disqualification Ashdown established fastest lap, at 83.4 mph.

Hazel Dunham had a good try at winning the fourth race, which was a 5-lap handicap, but on the last lap she snaked badly coming out of Fordwater Corner and round at the chicane hit the fencing and went up on two wheels, her MG therefore being outdistanced by Freeman in the famous ex-St John Horsfall Aston Martin, which averaged 71.4 mph. Conn’s Austin-Healey was third and the scratch car, Fredman’s Jaguar XK120, put up the most rapid lap, at 73.97 mph.

Event five provided the rather nauseating spectacle of the spectators waving at the cars at the conclusion of the first lap to aid a film company which has been making a motor-racing film at Goodwood. In a 10-lap scratch race, Cliff Davis led for two laps in his Lotus-Bristol, after which Head’s well-driven Cooper-Jaguar went into the lead and stayed there, to win at 82.36 mph, after lapping at 84.54 mph. Davis retained second place, ahead of Baxter’s Aston Martin DB3S.

The Closed-Car 5-lap Handicap featured Bailey’s diesel Mercedes-Benz Type 170, which, although given a favourable rehandicap, toured round more slowly than the officials’ cars do between races and Bell’s rapid Alta-head Morris Minor, which is really a tourer with its lid up. The finish was interesting, as Cuff-Miller’s Elva-head Ford beat Walker’s ioe Ford by one second to win at 64 mph, with Ward’s Ford third, ahead of the Morris Minor. The American driver Livanos, on scratch in an Aston Martin DB2/4, made fastest lap, being timed at 75.13 mph. We were interested to see another “spinner” in this race—Oxley, in his fast Lancia Aurelia.

In the first of the two remaining 5-lap handicaps, Farquharson’s Allard, from a comfortable handicap, was third for two laps, second for two more, winning on the last lap, at 75.52 mph, from Llewellyn’s Lotus-Climax, with Fisher’s Kieft-Climax in third place. The handicaps didn’t favour the fast cars, neither Head nor Baxter getting into the first six, although Head lapped at 83.4 mph. The finish, however, was terrific, the Allard crossing the line 0.6 sec ahead of the Lotus to “win by a wheel.”

Finally, with Freeman’s Aston Martin rehandicapped, Berison’s TR2-engined Morgan Plus Four cut steadily and more rapidly than most Plus-Fours would through half the field (he started from the 50 sec mark, with Naylor’s Lagonda on limit (1 min 55 sec) and Davies’ Lotus-Climax on virtual scratch (15 sec), to win convincingly at 73.16 mph, from the Lotus, which lapped at 77.84 mph, and Watson’s Lester-MG. Ireland’s old Brooklands Riley Nine went fast and looked smart. Derisley’s Lotus-Ford went over the new white line at Fordwater, but stayed on the road and we were relieved to see a smart white body on Lawrence’s MG, with six Amal carburetters, for in the paddock it had been a naked chassis.

The leading positions in the Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy Contest, the final of which will be contested on September 22nd, is now as under (Steed, who was formerly tying for third place, and Greene, who was second to Lumsden, being non-starters, the latter having strained himself in a weight-lifting contest) :- PSJ Lumsden, 15 points ; MW Head, 11 points ; KA Greene and WS Frost, 9 points each ; Miss H Dunham. 8 points.

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