Matters of Moment, February 1958



The Racing Season Commences

The 1958 motor-racing season has commenced. The fifth New Zealand Grand Prix has been contested over the Ardmore circuit and, in the midst of much unfortunate uncertainty as to its status, resulting in unavoidable ill-feeling, the Argentine Grand Prix followed, with, as important supporting events, the City of Buenos Aires Grand Prix and the Buenos Aires 1,000-kilometre sports-car race.

At Ardmore a British victory was achieved, for that versatile and accomplished driver Jack Brabham, from Australia, won at record speed in an “oversize” F. II (2-litre) Cooper-Climax. Brabham averaged the record average speed of 79.3 m.p.h. and equalled the lap record set up two years earlier by Stirling Moss in a 250F Maserati, which is a splendid start to the 1958 season for Brabham and the little racing-car factory at Surbiton. Ross Jensen’s 250F Maserati finished second, 30 sec. behind the winning Cooper, after being delayed amongst the straw bales, and third place was taken by R. Roycroft’s 4½-litre Ferrari, both New Zealand drivers. Archie Scott-Brown led in the Lister-Jaguar for four of the 75 laps but was overtaken by Brabham and later retired. Lewis-Evans’ Connaught retired with engine trouble and Salvadori came home in fifth place, his Connaught running far from properly. Apparently over 40,000 spectators watched this 150-mile curtain-raiser to the 1958 racing season, in which nine retired out of 24 starters. As we close for Press we learn that the Argentine Grand Prix was won by Stirling Moss (2-litre Cooper), Musso (Ferrari) was second and Hawthorn (Ferrari) third, With Fangio (Maserati) fourth. Does the R.A.C. still wish to see this race excluded front the World ‘Championship series?

This early start to the racing season reminds us that motor racing is virtually an all-the-year-round sport and that things will begin to burn in Europe and England at Easter, with the Pau Grand Prix and the usual twin Bank Holiday race meeting of the B.A.R.C. at the improved Goodwood circuit in Sussex.

Meanwhile, analysis of the 1958 Monte Carlo Rally occupies enthusiasts and critics. While this great winter rally is not necessarily so tough as some other Continental rallies run later in the season—it depends largely on the weather—the British have taken to the Monte as they have to the 24-hour race at Le Mans, so that both these contests have an enormous publicity-value in English-speaking countries, and this year Britain had by far the most powerful entry numerically. Because Motor Sport closed for Press as the rally competitors were embarking on their adventurous journey and arduous final test we cannot give results in this issue but will sum-up the rally next month. As, by now, you must be extremely rally conscious—if you are not this is certainly not the fault of the technical and daily papers, Motoring News or the B.B.C.!—it is appropriate to announce that the Sestriere Rally takes place in Italy from February 27th to March 2nd and the R.A.C. British Rally follows, from March 11th to 15th.

National Saloon-Car Championship

Championships are a popular aspect of motor sport in the present day and age. Driver championships, marque championships, a production sports-car championship, rally, trial and hill-climb championships we have, Motor Sport promotes the Club Championship at Silverstone and the Brooklands Memorial Trophy Championship at Goodwood each season, and now comes news of a National Saloon-Car Championship.

Those who enjoy watching closed cars which outwardly resemble those they use on their lawful occasions, locked in combat round the British race circuits, will welcome this invitation to greater intensity in this entertaining and in field of motor sport. The organisers are the British Racing and Sports Car Club, who, by sensibly limiting the modifications which may be made to engines while encouraging experiments conducive to better roadholding, appear to have framed a very worthwhile Championship. Points will be scored during 1958 at B.R.S.C.C. meetings, competitors being divided into four capacity classes, the Final to take place at Brands Hatch on October 5th. This is, however. a driver’s, not purely a car, championship. The entry fee is £1 1s., regulations and entry forms are available from the B.R.S.C.C., 6, Buckingham Street, London, W.C.2, and the Championship Trophy is the Bonneville Cup, presented by the British Motor Corporation, together with £100 from the B.R.S.C.C.