Twelve hours of solid rain preceded the Aston Martin O.C.’s “Martini 100” race meeting at Silverstone, and the course did not dry out fully until three of the seven races had been run. Two of these were for sports and sports/racing cars, 1,600-c.c. being the arbitrary dividing line. Mike Beckwith (Lotus 23) won the up-to 1,600-c.c. race without trouble, while Douglas Graham won the larger-engined event at even more of a canter in his Lotus 15; both were run over 10 laps.
Since it was the full G.P. circuit which was being used, one might have expected a Jaguar to win the touring-car race; unless one had also remembered the existence of the G.P. Ford Anglia! Two of these 1,475-c.c. projectiles driven by Merfield and Craft, the latter leading initially, circulated at an ever-increasing distance ahead of the field, and the Jaguars of Powell and Woodroffe were hard put to keep Embley’s Mini-Cooper at bay. Dangerfield’s Hurrell-entered Saab was allowed to continue after curiously being black-flagged for a loose exhaust, and Crozier’s Volvo 122S executed a delightful spin on slippery Woodcote after doing its share of Jaguar-baiting. Copse was the day’s most popular spinning point, however!
The U.S.A.F. Trophy race for G.T. and production sports cars was won by Dick Protheroe (Jaguar E-type), who gradually overhauled the Aston Martin DB4 G.T. Zagato of Michael Salmon to take the flag by 0.2 sec.
Outstanding feature of the F.J. event was Frank Gardner’s new record (103.31 m.p.h.) in the Brabham; Gardner retired, however, just after taking the lead from John Fenning’s Lotus, which received no further challenge.
Another record fell in the Vintage, Venerable and Historic car race, Syd Day’s E.R.A. beating its own previous best at a speed of 87.52 m.p.h. This car came in first, followed by Chapman’s E.R.A. and Lindsay’s very unwieldy Napier Railton, which made its re-appearance at Oulton Park a few weeks ago. J. B. Moor was fast and spectacular in his Aston Martin, and was rewarded with second place to J. Miles’ Austin Seven on sealed handicap, the results of which had the timekeepers fooled until long after the racing ended. The Barnato-Hassan did not start.
The gear-lever of John Coundley’s Lister-Jaguar came adrift after only a few laps of the “Martini 100” had been covered. Despite this disadvantage it won the race, the low-speed torque of its 3.8 engine allowing it to pull away in top after its compulsory pit-stop. Bolt-on wheels were a tremendous handicap in this race, for every car had to stop for the removal of one wheel, which had to be carried round the car before being replaced. (There was no plug-change halt this year.) Most unlucky was Mike Beckwith (Lotus 23) who would undoubtedly have won if a wheel nut had not stripped its thread, causing a pit-stop of nigh on two minutes; as it was, he only just failed to catch Addicott (Lister-Jaguar) for second place. Protheroe and Salmon repeated their earlier duel, but the former spent too long at his pit and the Jaguar finished fifth, nearly 20 sec. behind the Aston Martin.
There had been much good racing, and some of it had been boring; but the most extraordinary thing was the shortage of Astons! Mind you, there were numerous official ones. – A. W.