BOXING DAY AT BRANDS HATCH
THE best of good fortune did not attend the B.R. & S.C.C. in its bold project of staging the second Christmas race meeting at Brands Hatch -Stadium on Boxing Day, for by then the sunshine of Christmas Day had given place to heavy rain and cold winds. However, so great is the enthusiasm for motor racing that spectators braved the unwelcome elements to watch a slickly-conducted programme of varied races—in this they were aided by the amenities at the Kent circuit which enable. saloon cars, parked on steep embankments, to act as individual grandstands. Moreover, in spite of the seasonable weather, Father Christmas duly arrived by helicopter—Duncan Hamilton, fortifying himself from a silver flask.—and a barbecue of Alfred Moss pigs was in progress behind the grandstand. The writer, -suffering from influenza, was glad to find that the Crittall windows of the Press box were completely air-tight, and from this excellent vantage-point, fed with John Webb Press Services race bulletins, he was able to follow the racing in comfort.
Practice unfortunately produced two accidents and a remarkable narrow escape. Lovelace (Cooper 500) hit the fence and broke an arm, and Jim Russell and Ivor Bueb, seeing the red flag at the finishing line, braked hard, their cars coming in contact one with the other. Bueb’s went up on two wheels and, leaving the road for the cambered grass infield, seemed as if it must overturn. Miraculously, it fell back onto all four wheels: Russell was less fortunate and was removed to hospital with a broken rib.
Heat One of the Yuletide Trophy Race for 500 c.c., run over ten laps, opened the programme, rain still falling steadily. Cowley, in Ray Petty’s Petty-Norton, got away first, only to spin off, so that Colin Davis in his green Cooper-Norton led lap one, closely pursued by Bueb’s Cooper-Norton, with Tyrrell’s Cooper-Norton in third place, ahead of Bicknell’s Bevis and Baby’s Kieft. Already Johnson’s Cooper-Norton was in trouble, but the leaders maintained their positions until, on lap three, Bueb was seen tn be well in front of Davis, However. Bueb overdid things, allowing Davis to regain his lead and go well ahead Of Tyrrell. Behind came Bicknell, Bueb, back in fourth place by lap five, and Raby, after which no one was in sight for a long time, until Welton’s Cooper-Norton tugged by. Davis, making no mistakes and his luck holding for once, built up a lead the length of the top straight from Tyrrell and Bueb took third place when Bicknell dropped out, driving hard and touching the grass on occasions. Thus they finished, except that Bueb again overdid things, allowing Baby to finish third. Welton fourth. Consolation—Bneb made fastest lap, at 65.45 m.p.h., Davis averaging 63.28 xnp.h. Emphasis on the state of the course was provided by Bueb’s fastest lap, which Was over 9.see. slower than his F. III lap record. Heat Two followed, George Wicken taking the lead from Don Parker at Druids’ Hill Bend, going through on the inside. He turned up the wick to such good effect that his Cooper-Norton went sick on the seventh lap, coming to rest opposite the Paddock. This left the Kieft with an unassailable lead from Bridger’s Cooper-Norton, Barrett’s Cooper third, but Parker had not shown any great love of racing in the rain, his average speed a mete 61.72 in.p,h. Wicken set fastest lap, at 65.26 m.p.h. Incidentally, as the leaders began lapping the back-markers by half-distance, some of the chaps must have been averaging only 50 m.p.h. or so As a change. from 500s the Lex Trophy Race, over 15 laps, was for non-supercharged sports cars up to 1,200 c.c. It promised a fine duel between Colin Chapman in his Lotus-Climax and Ivor Bueb in a Cooper-Climax. Unfortunately Bueb didn’t make a very good start, whereas Chapman was off like a squib. Bueb spent the race trying to wash out the deficit of his slow start, and by the eighth lap had come within 3.4 sec. of the Lotus, knocking off another second by the end of lap 12. Thereafter Cohn drew away, winning by six seconds, at 65.52 m.p.h. His was an impeccable performance, and he threw both hands above his head as he crossed the finishing line. Ile did his fastest lap at 67.83 m.p.h., which Bud) equalled. This is the works Mk. IX Lotus described in MOTOR SPORT last month, but for this meeting it had a new gearbox, consisting of Chapman’s own gears in an Austin A30 casing, using the A30 selectors. The Coventry-Chinax engine sounded as healthy as ever and the new gear ratios really suit the power curve. A. E. Marsh held third place all the way in another Cooper-Climax, keeping ahead of Barnard’s smart Lotus-Climax. Mackenzie Low was fifth in an unpainted Elva with L.R.G. i.o.e. cylinder head, and test-pilot Adicott did well to finish sixth in his first race, in another Elva, in this .case powered by Coventry-Climax. Behind these ears came Lewis’ Lotus-Climax,
heading a real traffic jam, until Frost (Lotus-Climax) and Adicott went by. The Halson, another car with L.R.G. head on a Ford engine, lasted only two laps and Fisher’s Kieft-Climax retired at the same time. Hicks drove well to keep his old Mk. VI non-aerodynamic Lotus-Ford up behind Lewis’ Mk. IX Lotus-Climax. Horns were blown all round the circuit to applaud Chapman after his splendid drive—his passing of back-markers, especially up Pilgrim’s Rise and round Druids’ Hill Bend was splendid to behold ! The field had been made up of an L.R.G.-head C.S.M. and the slow, tail. finned Ford-engined M.P.S. Next came the race, over 15 laps, we had all been waiting for—
the Air India Trophy Race for Formule Libre racing cars, for a trophy presented by England’s only I nternational air line. Archie Scott-Brown was driving a 2i-litre Connaught, his baptism in a G.P. car. This was the car which won at Syracuse, but with a new engine of the same type, because the Syracuse engine dropped a valve at Silveratone when Moss was sampling it. It used Veber carburetters and the car was Pirelli-shod. Opposing Scott-Brown were George Wicken in the F’,Ineryson-Alta, Brooks in a 2-litre Connaught, Holt and Young in Connaughts, Marsh in a V-twin Cooper-J.A.P., Spero in a hoary old 3-litre Maserati and Searles in a car with CooperBristol chassis, Rover 75 engine, preselector gearbox and a G.P. Alta body—a typical English Formule Libre field ! All eyes were on Scott-Brown and Brooks, who held their Con
naughts back from the line until the last possible moment, in case they crept forward. As the Union Jack fell it was the G.P. Connaught, closely followed by the Emeryson, which took the lead. Archie never looked back. Driving with his usual abandon, in spite of more power than he had controlled before, he ran away from all opposition in a matter of four laps, coming out of the slippery corners with his foot hard down and the steering locked into power slides provoked by the spinning back wheels. Behind, Wicken was going splendidly in the Emeryson, but a tail slide on lap five was the forerunner of trouble, and on lap nine he left the road and went onto the grass, letting Brooks into second place, after he had spent seven laps getting past Young. Wicken pressed on, happy about the Emeryson’s roadholding, to try to wash out his deficit, but on lap 11 he spun and dropped right back. The course was possibly getting tricky, for even Scott-Brown sent up a shower of earth as he ran wide on the last lap but one coining into Bottom Straight. Quite untroubled, this fantastic, disabled driver—a ” natural ” if ever there was one—crossed the line to win his first race in a G.P. car. at an average speed of 68.09 m.p.h., having made fastest lap at 69.53 m.p.h. As he came in to receive his laurel wreath his first inquiry was for Wicken. Brooks finished second in Riseley-Pritchard’s Connaught, with something like 100 less h.p., 26.6 sec. later, Young third, Holt fourth, Wicken fifth and Spero sixth. The Second Final of the Yuletide Trophy Race, started by Father
Christmas, was an easy victory for Ilueb’s Cooper-Norton, although at flag-fall Brackenbury’s Cooper-J.A.P. led momentarily. On the first lap Koring’s Smith 500 rotated several times coming into Bottom Straight after the downhill sweep, and Spreckley’s CooperJ.A.P. retired. Bicknell (Bevis) took second place from Iszatt (Cooper) on lap two and held it, and only Jones’ Kieft kept up with the leaders, Ruch lapping the tail-enders after seven of the 10 laps. Summers had ” quite a go ” in his Cooper-J.A.P. before retiring, however. Ruch averaged 63.73 m.p.h., made fastest lap at 65.84 m.p.h., and WW1 by 20.8 sec. from Bieknell. The Final of this Yuletide Trophy Race for 500-c.c. cars had plenty of incident from flag-fall, for Davis’ Cooper stalled and was twice rammed by Bridger’s Cooper, Tyrrell getting away well. sliding under wheelspin, while out in front came, according to the programme, T. B. Welton in a Cooper-Norton. This set tongues wagging, as the unknown driver held off Don Parker himself for nine out of the 12 laps. In fact, the car was driven by 11. C. Taylor, ex-grass-track rider, who had previously won the J.A.P. Trophy in a Cooper at Brands Hatch. He finished 4.2 sec. behind Parker’s
Kieft-Norton, which won at 62.6 m.p.h. after a best lap at 69.8 m.p.h. —slightly faster than the G.P. Connaught, but on a drier track. Bridger’s Cooper was third, ahead of Barrett, Tyrrell and Foreman, all in Coopers. The last race was the Martini Trophy, over 15 laps, for sports cars over 1,900 c.c. non-supercharged. It produced a mixed field of Lotus-Bristol, C.-type Jaguar, Aston Martin DB3S, Morgan Plus Four, Tojeiro-Bristol and Ferrari cars, with Derrington bringing up the rear in a queer-looking Frazer-Nash. The Ferrari of Mackay Continued on page 80
Fraser, much publicised, was an early four-cylinder 3-litre with a four-speed gearbox-not a true Monza Ferrari–driven by an American who has lived for years in Brazil. C. M. Lund, who used to ride in scrambles and has raced Cooper-J.A.P. and 11.W.G. Special cars, was an extra starter in Anthony’s Lotus-Bristol. He jumped the start but built up such a commanding lead that he incurred no penalty. Scott-Brown in a Manduca C-type Jaguar tried hard to close on the smaller car, but had a shocking moment at Druids’ Hill Bend, just not losing the car. These two ran clear of a tight pack comprising Baxter’s Aston Martin DB3S, the Ferrari, Threlfall’s Tojeiro and Cliff Davis’ Lotus-Bristol. On lap nine, as Lund was looking back to see where Archie was, Cliff Davis got past Threlfall and then the group of four began to space out, although, as Baxter went ahead, Davis clung to the tail of the Ferrari. closing on the bigger Italian car round the corners. These duels held the attention of the spectators while Lund won at. 63.27 m.p.h., crossing the line 6.6 sec ahead of Scott-Brown’s Jaguar, which, however, had put up the fastest lap of the race-64.32 m.p.h.-and held off the Aston Martin 1)1338 by a matter of 22.2 sec.; 2.2 sec, separated the muchboosted Ferrari, in fourth place, from Davis’ Lotus.
During an interval, C. A. S. Brooks did a demonstration lap in the Syracuse Connaught-more enthusiastic horn-blowing from an appreciative crowd.
Thus ended it well-run and interesting day’s sport. A crowd estimated at 34,000 attended this Boxing Day meeting, and to see many of these spectators walking bareheaded through the rain back o the ‘bus-stop was to realise the firm grip motor racing has on the British public. A pity that London-bound traffic out of the Paddock was so long delayed in the narrow lanes leading to A20. 41411*
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