Flying sparks

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The VSCC continued its racing season by hosting the 28th Hawthorn Trophy meeting at Silverstone on the 12th June, the day being favoured with weather which ranged from indifferent to treacherous.

Albert Sparrowhawk held a brief lead in the Bill Phillips Trophy race in his fleet Alvis Special, before Ian Bentall’s 4 1/2-litre Bentley took control on the second lap and was never headed, despite the efforts of Martin Stretton in Simon Bull’s Invicta, currently in the throes of an intensive programme of race development. Stretton’s enthusiasm collected a spin on the last lap, dropping to third behind Sparrowhawk at the flag. Terry Cohn brought his hard-used but reliable ex-Grist Alfa Monza home in fourth.

For the second year, the scratch race for Rileys was supported by Barrie Gillies, and the new editor of CAR magazine, Mark Gillies, kept it a family affair by dominating proceedings in the White Riley, followed at some distance by Duncan Ricketts, making a rare return to Rileys in a Dixon model, while the race sponsor just pipped David Robinson to the line in his well-known Dixon Riley. On a damp track, Sir John Venables-Llewelyn took an early lead in the Hawthorn Spanish GP Trophy race in ERA R4A from Rod Jolley in the Giron-Alvis as Duncan Ricketts ran wide in Sally Marsh’s RIB. Martin Stretton, looking for a follow-up win after Donington in Margulies’ 4CL Maserati, pulled out from the lead trio after completing the first lap with a shower of sparks from deep inside the cockpit singeing his overalls as a coupling at the rear of the gearbox broke up. Ricketts pressured the Giron into a spin, and took the lead at half-distance as the rain returned, holding off Venables-Llewelyn to take a narrow win in the 1 1/2-litre car. Donald Day had R14B going well in third, from Gillies in the White Riley, and a recovering Jolley.

Spencer Flack took the early lead of the Boulogne Trophy race with his latest 3/8 Bentley creation, but the damp conditions suited the nimble Morgan three-wheeler brigade best, in the shape of David Caroline who dominated once in front to win comfortably from Stuart Harper’s Morgan Aero with Tim Llewellyn in Julian Majzub’s Pacey-Hassan Bentley just displacing Flack on the last lap. Sadly, Rick Hall was unable to take his place in Cedric Brierley’s Connaught ‘C’ Type for the Hawthorn Memorial Trophy as he was hospitalised with acute appendicitis, his place being taken by Willie Green who led from start to finish, shadowed initially by Amschel Rothschild’s BRM P25 and Nigel Corner, having his first race in Neil’s Tasman Dino Ferrari — not a very forgiving device on a wet track. The first of two spins dropped him out of contention, Ludovic Lindsay inheriting the place with his Maserati 250F. Corner recovered gingerly to haul back to fourth, from Roddy Macpherson’s Cooper Bristol.

Frank Sytner scored an impressive win in the 1950s Sports Car race with Sir Anthony Bamford’s D-Type Jaguar, taking the lead on the second lap when Gary Pearson spun his Lister Jaguar at Copse, collecting a sizeable dent in the nether regions and ending his race there and then. Second place was the subject of a titanic battle between Steve Griswold’s vividly-coloured Lister Chevrolet and John Harper in Louwman’s Lotus 15, the American-engined car being pressed hard by Griswold, but never quite having the match of Sytner’s Jaguar. Harper’s efforts were rewarded with second place for the final three laps, but on the last lap through the complex the Lister’s superior grunt told, just wresting second place at the finish. This splendid dice outpaced the remainder of the field, Ron Gammons taking fourth with the Devin from Nick Mason’s Birdcage Maserati. John Seber (Wolseley Hornet) beat David Freeman’s Spa Special Aston in the short Scratch race, while Handicap winners were C G Evans (MG), R S Welch (Riley) and Andy Bell (Aston Martin). ASDC

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