Martini Trophy Meeting (July 6th)

The National Open Martini Trophy Meeting, with five races round the full Silverstone circuit, organised by the Aston Martin O.C. in conjunction with the Martini International Club, was marred by bad luck and bad weather. In practice on the Friday the Hon. J. Dawnay lost his Aston Martin DBR1/300 at Woodcote and spun into M. Fielden’s Lotus standing at the pits. The driver, who was sitting in the car, was fatally injured, the Lotus being extensively damaged and shunted into the Napier-Railton, the tail of which was demolished. Pits close to fast corners are dangerous.

The first race on the Saturday was run off in the dry. It was a 7-lap Scratch Race for Vintage and Venerable Sports Cars, and was notable for a race-long duel between George Burton’s 3/4 1/2-litre Bentley and Arthur Charnock’s 4.3 Alvis. In a close finish, after a ding-dong battle, rigid axle got the better of de Dion, the Alvis winning. It also made fastest lap, at 83.89 m.p.h. Williamson’s 4 1/2-litre Bentley was fourth, and in a close bunch behind Morley’s 8-litre Bentley, Elwell Smith’s Le Mans Aston Martin, the Hon. P. Lindsay’s 2.6 Alfa Romeo and Gidding’s Frazer Nash finished in that order. Rolt’s Austin 7 won on handicap.

Heavy rain fell for the 10-lap Saloon Car Race, in which Aston’s 3.8 Jaguar managed to keep at bay the tiger-tactics of Craft’s Ford Anglia, Merfield’s Willment Ford Cortina crossing the line in third place. Aston lapped at 89.45 m.p.h.

Conditions were impossible for the F.J. race, which Gardner won in the Brabham after a best lap at 89 m.p.h., from Ampt’s Alexis and Prophet’s Brabham. Regrettably, Dunn went off the course in his Brabham and received fatal injuries

The 10-lap Scratch Race for Historic and Modern Formule Libre cars had a splendid field, but the rain made it very tricky indeed. Under the circumstances the Hon. Patrick Lindsay could have been excused for non-starting the 24-litre Napier-Railton, now manx-tailed, which he had elected to drive instead of “Remus.” But not only did he start, but soon he was out in front of everyone except Taylor’s Cooper FJ Mk. III with 1 1/2-litre Holbay-Ford engine. And “everyone” included Eyre’s V8 Buick-powered Cooper, Tony Marsh’s B.R.M., Rigg’s Lotus 18, Summers’ Chevrolet-Cooper, all 5.4-litres of it, Salvage’s A-type Connaught, Morin Scott’s V12 O.S.C.A., and a D-type Jaguar. The Napier beat the lot, except for the Bob Gerard-entered Cooper, on an epic drive that will long be remembered in Club racing history. It was no easy task, because on the r.h. bends of the G.P. circuit one bank of the old Napier Lion would cut out and thus not only had Lindsay the swimming wet track to contend with, but 150 h.p. coming in with a bang after the corners. But the bellow of the old aero engine echoed round Silverstone as Lindsay opened up and after ten soaking laps the 30-year-old Napier-Railton came home 37.2 sec. behind the winning Cooper and 39 sec. ahead of Marsh’s B.R.M. The others were nowhere! But those that were racing at all were the historic cars—Waller’s E.R.A. was fourth, Morley’s 8-litre Bentley fifth, Burton’s Bentley sixth, all ahead of the first modern racer, the Cooper-Chevrolet. It was an epic!

Finally, the Martini Trophy Race for Sports, Sports-Racing and G.T. cars, starting 3/4 hr. late and cut from 52 to 30 laps, was a walkover for Parkes in the Maranello Ltd. Ferrari 250 GTO. He drove as if the track was dry, not soaking wet, averaging 84.41 m.p.h. and setting fastest lap at 89.30 m.p.h., followed home by Gardner (Brabham) and Pearce (Lotus 23B).

The rain still fell down and the prize giving was abandoned.

7-lap Vintage and Venerable Sports Car Race:
A.S.R. Charnock (Alvis): 81.74 m.p.h.
10-lap Saloon Car Scratch Race:
W. Aston (3.8 Jaguar): 88.16 m.p.h.
17-lap “The Club” Trophy Race for F.J. Cars:
F. Gardner (Brabham-Ford): 86.67 m.p.h.
10-lap Scratch Race for F.L. Cars:
J. Taylor (Cooper Mk. III): 72.36 m.p.h.
The Martini Trophy Race (30 laps):
M. Parkes (Ferrari 250 GTO): 84.41 m.p.h.