VSCC Mallory Park

The VSCC was graced with a fabulous summer’s day for its annual visit to Mallory Park, attracting what was probably the largest crowd since the Williams Trophy meeting has found its home in Leicestershire. All events produced healthy grids, assisted by the expedient of combining some categories, which resulted in some interesting variety, and a number of cars not regularly seen in VSCC racing. Sadly, practice was marred by an accident which befell Keith Pointing, who was thrown out of his Riley Special when it rolled at Gerards, and was taken to hospital in Leicester having sustained serious injuries.

The opening Scratch Race saw Tony Seber at the back of the grid with the family Wolseley Special but, inspired by the challenge, he threaded his way through the 26 other starters to take an excellent win from Peter Henry (Riley) who narrowly held Graham White (Riley) at bay.

The Williams Trophy (for 2-seater GP cars) was combined with the Patrick Marsh Vintage race to swell the field and saw a tremendous battle for honours, led initially by Charles Dean (Bugatti 50B/59) from Julian Majzub (Bugatti 3513) and Sir John Venables-Llewellyn (Bugatti 51B), the latter pair sharing 11 ‘Williams’ wins between them. The trio were joined by Mark Walker (Parker-GN) and circulated in close company, drifting stylishly through the Esses as Majzub took over the lead and Dean dropped back, firing on only seven cylinders, before retiring. Majzub consolidated his lead to take a fairly comfortable win, and qualify for the Vintage trophy as well, but Mark Walker dropped out in the closing stages, leaving third place to Phil Walker’s MG from John Baker-Courtenay with the Sunbeam Tigress.

The Walker Freight Services race for Pre-’66 Racing Cars is a rarely-run category, and attracted a diverse and varied field, including a bunch of 500cc F3 cars. Paul Alexander took the lead in his ex-Revson Lotus 24-BRM from Gary Pearson, having his first outing in David Pennell’s Cooper T51, the BRM engine sounding fabulous as it wound up along the Stebbe Straight. Pearson harried the Lotus closely, breaking the gear-lever knob off in the process, but worked past after half-distance and held a narrow advantage to the flag. Race-sponsor Phil Walker brought his immaculate Tasman Brabham BT7A home in third, the first time that the marque has appeared in a VSCC race. Rob Hall (Lotus 24) followed closely in fourth from Mark Gillies’ F1 Lotus. Julian Majzub (Cooper) was easily quickest of the 500s, dicing with 250F Maserati and Cooper Bristol.

The Bob Gerard Trophy was combined both pre-and post-war cars and even with a dearth of ERA representation proved to be an ERA benefit, with Duncan Ricketts (R1B) leading from start to finish although Mark Gillies, with the ERA-engined Brooke Special, held a watching brief for the full distance. Ted Dunn (Riley Special) fended off Phil Walker (busy man!) with the Turner-MG for third over the early laps, but was shadowed home by Ian Bentall (Cooper Bristol). Steve Griswold (Cooper) proved to be best of the 500s on this occasion.

An innovation for Mallory was a 50’s Sportscar race, and although most of the regular front-runners (i e D-Types, Listers Maseratis etc) decided to give it a miss, Tony Smith entered his Aston DB3S and led from the flag, hounded by the nimble Lotus 11 of Malcolm Ricketts and the fast-starting RGS of Peter Wardle. Gary Pearson, deputising in the Cooper-Jaguar for father John, who had a slipped disc on race morning, had to start from the back of the grid, but by lap 3 was up to third, and three laps later was challenging Ricketts for the lead, Smith having slipped to third. An essay alongside at the Esses on the last lap failed to wrest the lead, Pearson settling for second. Stephen Bulling hauled his big Lister-Jaguar into fourth from Wardle’s RGS, and Rick Hall, debuting the ex-Alexander C-type Jaguar.

The Spero and Voiturette Trophies race lost favourite Phil Venables just after the start with transmission failure on the Austin/MG Special, but saw the most closely-contested race of the day with David Fletcher-Jones (Lagonda) barely more than a few car-lengths in front of Frank Hernandez (Austin 7 Special) for the whole race distance, this pair distancing themselves from Edward Way’s screaming supercharged Austin 7 and Tony Irwin’s Riley.

Julian Bronson (Riley ‘Blue Streak’) took a comfortable win in the final Scratch Race, but John Seber (Wolseley) pipped Gary Caroline (Morgan) in a virtual dead-heat to finish runner-up.

Handicap wins went to Richard Line from Tye Pountney (both Rileys), and John Kilbourn narrowly from Tony Crowther (both Rileys once more). To add some variety, a Frazer Nash in the hands of Veronica Newson held the field at bay to take the final handicap from Peter Cranage’s MG.