The rise and fall of the British Empire
The public showed its apathy towards the Intercontinental Formula by staying away from Silverstone in their thousands and the most optimistic attendance figure was an estimated 50,000. The double attraction of Wimbledon tennis and the England-Australia Test Match possibly accounted for some of this, but it seems that Intercontinental will die after the Brands Hatch race unless something drastic happens to put new life into it.
Entries came from Jack Brabham with his own Cooper, Bruce McLaren in Tommy Atkins' Cooper, Henry Taylor and Lucien Bianchi in the re-bodied U.D.T.-Laystall Lotuses, Brian Naylor (J.B.W.-Maserati), Stirling Moss in Rob Walker's Cooper, Jack Fairman in the Ferguson, Jim Clark and Innes Ireland in the old Team Lotus cars, Tony Brooks and Graham Hill in rear-engined B.R.M.s, Gino Munaron and Lorenzo Bandini in Centro-Sud Cooper-Maseratis, Bandini's being a new Cooper coil-sprung chassis, Tony Marsh in Fred Tuck's Cooper, Lex Davison in a DBR4 Aston Martin with 3-litre engine, Yeoman Credit Coopers for Surtees and Salvadori, and a Lotus for Tim Parnell and the Scarab for Chuck Daigh.
During practice Daigh crashed in the Scarab, putting himself in hospital and the car out of the race, Moss tried the 4-wheel drive, Maxaret-braked Ferguson, and although lapping. at 108 m.p.h. preferred the more conventional Cooper, which suited his driving style better than the Ferguson, which is reluctant to drift or slide – excellent in a road car but not really suitable for high-speed track work. After a tug-of-war over Surtees between Mr. Vandervell and Yeoman Credit, which the hire-purchase team won, the ex-motorcyclist put up fastest practice lap in the Yeoman Credit Cooper in 1 min. 33 sec., just 0.6 sec. better than Moss. Brabham tried the Vanwall but did not like its alleged twitchy handling although lapping at over 108 m.p.h., so Vanwall were forced to take home the potentially fastest car in the race.
At the start of the race with the track still wet at Stowe, Juan Manuel Fangio dropped the flag and Moss, his rear tyres enveloped in smoke, roared off into the lead hotly pursued by Surtees, McLaren, Henry Taylor, Graham Hill, Brabham, Clark, Davison and Salvadori. After only two laps Ireland brought his works Lotus in with a suspected slipping clutch and rejoined the race almost immediately. Moss and Surtees began to pull away from McLaren and Graham Hill got the B.R.M. past Henry Taylor and Salvadori pulled his Cooper up to sixth place behind Taylor.
The Ferguson, upon which much attention had been lavished was well down the field and after only three laps it stopped at Maggotts Corner, Fairman bringing the car into the pits eventually with only first and reverse left in the gearbox. The mechanics had been so busy looking after the complicated four-wheel drive mechanism and the brakes, which had given trouble in practice necessitating work almost up to the start of the race, that they had little time left to check the gearbox. Still, it made a better debut than the C.T.A.-Arsenal and the B.R.M.!
Brabham was the next pit visitor with the Indianapolis Cooper which had suspension trouble but he rejoined the race quickly. Henry Taylor was the next retirement when his pale green Lotus succumbed with a damaged final drive. He then rushed around trying to get Lucien Bianchi, who was going rather slowly at the back of the field, to hand over the other U.D.T.-Laystall Lotus.
After 10 laps Moss was 17 sec. in front of Surtees who in turn was 24 sec. in front of McLaren who was being pressed by Graham Hill in the B.R.M. Salvadori was next up in front of Brooks' B.R.M. and Clark's Lotus. Davison was motoring well in the Aston Martin which did not appear to be handling well, while Bandini was also going well in the newer of the two Centro-Sud Coopers.
A spate of retirements in the next few laps saw the end of Tim Parnell who spun off between Club and Abbey corners, Brian Naylor, who drove straight into the paddock with no oil pressure and Lex Davison who stopped at Stowe with a broken gearbox on the Aston Martin. Meanwhile Moss gave another demonstration run similar to that he provided at the May meeting so that by 20 laps he was over half a minute in front of Surtees, who in turn had half a minute over Graham Hill, who had passed and was drawing away from McLaren. Brooks came in with a rough sounding engine and although the plugs were changed and he rejoined the race the trouble was a little deeper in the engine than that, and soon afterwards he retired with a broken valve spring. Bianchi at last brought in the U.D.T. Lotus for Taylor to take over but the car was over two laps behind the leader and in a hopeless position, besides which it was smoking heavily. Tony Marsh had been holding a steady seventh place in the Fred Tuck Cooper when he came in for an oil check and when he rejoined the race he was just in front of Bandini who proceeded to chase Marsh and eventually pass him. Brabham, who had only arrived on the grid a few moments before the race started, was in trouble with his rear suspension and gearbox and having dropped many laps in arrears he finally pulled into the pits with the rear of the car having a definite drooping effect, and retired. What a year the World Champion is having!
Munaron brought in the older Centro-Sud Cooper, having split an oil pipe which was repaired at a leisurely pace, the Italian veteran returning to the race in last place.
Despite being in an enormous lead, having lapped all but Surtees and Hill, Moss began to reduce his lap times progressively until on lap 50 he left it at 1 min. 36.4 sec. (109.31 m.p.h.), and although this was 2.2 sec. slower than lnnes Ireland's lap record it was quite sufficient to leave the opposition standing. Surtees' Cooper began to misfire towards the end of the race especially when pulling out of corners but it did not deteriorate and he finished in a deserved second place from Hill and McLaren while Clark passed Salvadori two laps from the finish to take fifth place.
'The race had been for the most part a dreary high speed procession which most certainly proved the point of those who support the new Formula 1. Who would have thought a year ago that the motoring world would be cheering home the winner of the 1-1/2-litre French G.P. and sitting in bored silence as the much faster 2-1/2-litre cars flashed round Silverstone?
23rd British Empire Trophy race
1st: S. Moss (Cooper) – 52 laps – 1 hr. 27 min. 19.2 sec. – 104.58 m.p.h.
2nd: J. Surtees (Cooper) – 52 laps – 1 hr. 28 min. 09.8 sec.
3rd: G. Hill (B.R.M.) – 52 laps
4th: B. McLaren (Cooper-Climax) – 51 laps
5th: J. Clark (Lotus-Climax) – 50 laps
6th: R. Salvadori (Cooper) – 50 laps
Fastest lap: S. Moss, 1 min. 36.4 sec. – 109.31 m.p.h.
With a large entry to contend with the B.R.D.C. split the F.J. race into two heats, cutting the two-car works teams in half and putting one in each race, and dividing the best drivers between the two races. As things turned out they would probably have been better advised to put the faster drivers into one race of 25 laps and the slower ones into a 10-lapper, as in both heats a Team Lotus driver walked away with the race.
In the first heat Trevor Taylor pulled away into a good lead in his Lotus from the similar cars of Piggott, Rees and Ashdown and Hine's Lola, followed by Bill Moss (Gemini) and John Leighton (Lotus). As the tightly bunched field rounded Copse at the end of lap one Hine spun, Ashdown contacted him and flipped over several times, and in the chain reaction that followed, Costey (Cooper), Lyon (Lotus), Lederle (Cooper) and Leighton (Lotus) all hit spinning cars or wheels lying on the circuit. Miraculously the only injury was a fractured collar bone for Costey but a lot of very bent machinery was left on the track.
Meanwhile, Taylor pulled away from the field, with Piggott and Rees scrapping for second place, with Bill Moss fourth, John Love fifth and Pinkney sixth. The depleted field completed the 25 laps watched by a restless crowd, who seemed to find 75 miles of F.J. racing rather dull. Taylor won at 100.94 m.p.h., with Rees just pipping Piggott at the post and Bill Moss in the Gemini just held off John Love's Cooper.
1st: T. Taylor (Lotus-Ford) – 25 laps – 43 min. 29.8 sec. – 104.94 m.p.h.
2nd: A. Rees (Lotus-Ford) – 25 laps – 43 min. 52.8 sec. – 100.06 m.p.h.
3rd: P. Piggott (Lotus-Ford) – 25 laps – 43 mm. 53.0 sec. – 100.05 m.p.h.
In the second heat Peter Arundell went into the lead in the second Team Lotus car, pursued initially by Proctor's Lotus Eighteen and Mike Spence's Emeryson, but Tony Maggs moved up into second place in front of Proctor, while a race-long duel for fourth place went on between Parkes (Gemini), Dennis Taylor (Lola), McKee (Lola), Gardner (Lotus), Rhodes (Cooper), Bob Anderson (Lotus) and Spence. Eventually Spence dropped back somewhat but the others fought every inch of the way, continually changing places. Parkes got the verdict from Taylor and McKee. But one must not forget that they were all beaten by Proctor in an old-fashioned Lotus Eighteen. The overall times gave Arundell victory from Taylor, Rees and Piggott.
1st: P. Arundell (Lotus-Ford) – 25 laps – 43 min. 27.6 sec. – 101.02 m.p.h.
2nd: T. Maggs (Cooper-Austin) – 25 laps – 44min. 27.2 sec. – 98.77 m.p.h.
3rd: P. Proctor (Lotus-Ford) – 25 laps – 44 min. 37.2-sec – 98.40 m.p.h.
1st: P. Arundell (Lotus-Ford).
2nd: T. Taylor (Lotus-Ford).
3rd: A. Rees (Lotus-Ford).
Fastest lap: Taylor, in 1 min. 43.2 sec. – 102.10 m.p.h.
Apart from the racing-car races the B.R.D.C. provided other attractions which, alas, did not save this meeting from being one of the least interesting on record. Brabham drove a couple of anti-clockwise demonstration laps in the Indianapolis Cooper which is plastered with advertisements like a mini-cab, and there was a parade of representative rally cars. There was also some anti-clockwise lappery by a large dog just after the accident in the first F.J. race, presumably for the especial benefit of the R.A.C. Steward – we suggest that all the drivers would like to be introduced to this intrepid animal (or better still, its owner) and that it might go faster next time if given a hare to chase.
There were also two more races, the first for Production Touring Cars, in which Gurney's 6.7-litre Chevrolet which led all the Jaguars last May until a wheel came off, was to have been seen again, with Daigh's 6.4-litre Ford Galaxie thrown in for good measure. No doubt the spectators looked forward to seeing these two big American saloons enliven a dull meeting, and it was highly unsatisfactory that they were not permitted to run; they apparently do not comply with existing International touring-car regulations. What has to be explained is why Gurney's Chevrolet was eligible in May but banned in July and why his entry was accepted and the paying public told the car would run, if it did not comply with the regulations. And why Daigh's Ford was passed by the B.R.D.C. scrutineers and permitted to praciice (best lap: 80.56 m.p.h., compared to two Jaguars' best of 90.84 m.p.h.) before being shooed away. There is a nasty taste about the whole matter – this is definitely the best possible way to kill touring-car racing, once so enjoyable, stone dead.
The race itself was very dreary, apart from a phenomenal avoidance when Powell's Jaguar spun at Copse. On a wet course Parkes led all the way, winning from G. Hill, with Linge's remarkable B.M.W. 700- – presumably more standard than the banned Chevrolet and Ford, but very noisy – an astonishing third.
Linge won his class from Whitmore's Austin and all the other B.M.C. minicars and was far faster than Cuff-Miller's Sunbeam and Kerrison's 2.4 Jaguar which won their respective classes so, assuming it to have been as standard as the minis, all small car types will want B.M.W. 700s from now on! Remember they give away 151 cc. to Cowley and Longbridge. The Borgward and Harper's Sunbeam hit the wall at Stowe and were considerably damaged.
1st: M.A. Parkes (3,781-c.c: Jaguar) – 73.14 m.p.h.
2nd: G. Hill (3,781-c.c. Jaguar) – 73.12 m.p.h.
3rd: H. Linge (697-c.c. B.M.W.) – 69.06 m.p.h.
Moss in the Walker/Wilkin's Ferrari had no difficulty in winning the G.T. race, at an average speed of 94.58 m.p.h. Three Jaguar E-types started, hoods erect, in the hands of Salvadori, G. Hill and McLaren. Hill's retired but McLaren held on fairly well to Moss, Davidson's Aston Martin was third, Whitehead's Ferrari fourth, Salvadori's Jaguar fifth. The 1,100-c.c. class was won by Ian Walker's Sprinzel Sebring Sprite, from Hedge's Sebring Sprite and Uren's upright G.S.M. Hobbs' "automatic" Elite beat Stoop's Porsche in the 1 to 2-litre class, after Leston's and Warner's Elites had failed to last the distance.
1st: S. Moss (2933-c.c. Ferrari) – 94.58 m.p.h.
2nd: B. McLaren (3,7811-c.c. Jaguar) – 93.92 m.p.h.
3rd: A. N. Davidson (2,996-c.c. Aston-Martin) – 92.86 m.p.h