Your photo feature in the June issue about the British Grand Prix in 1948 jogged my memory about my first visit to Silverstone, with my father in his (rather tired) 1934 Hillman Minx. We queued to get in from the London side of Buckingham (at least seven miles), arriving to see the end of the 500cc race (won by Spike Rhiando, in a Cooper?).
The circuit used never again took in a substantial part of the two runways, with some pretty tight turns so lap speeds were not very high. The grand prix lasted for about three hours, as required by the rules, or was it 300 miles?
After the race Villoresi, the winner, and Ascari, in second place, were surrounded by autograph hunters. Third-place man Bob Gerard, after a well-planned race in his meticulously prepared B/C-type ERA, was sitting alone on his pit counter enjoying a well-earned cup of tea and a sandwich.
Petrol was severely rationed at the time to enough for 90 miles a month, unless you were entitled to enter for essential use, so most cars were being pushed by their passengers to the exit, reached, I recall, nearly four hours after the race finished. We arrived home around 11pm to the great relief of my anxious mother – no mobile phones in those days.
T A Wells, Winchmore Hill, London