When we were young it was “the thing” to go to a circus on Boxing Day, but fashions change and now it is motor racing!
The Boxing Day Meeting of the B.R.S.C.C. at Brands Hatch was graced with lenient weather last Christmas, although the course was damp. First of the seven races was the FIII race, which Skelton’s Martin-Norton led throughout, to win at 64.66 m.p.h., after making fastest lap at 67.23 m.p.h. Koring’s Smith-J.A.P. came up into second place on lap three and stayed there for the next seven laps ,Zains’ Flash Special ousting Pollard’s Arnott-J.A.P. from third place on lap three. An ambitious special which didn’t work was the Cooper, which had a front-mounted J.A.P. engine, Norton gearbox and front drive by chain. Front suspension was leaf-spring and wishbone, the cylindrical fuel tank was out in front, with an oil cooler above it, the oil tank was at the front off-side and rear suspension was swing-axle.
Costin had an excellent outing in the 1,100 c.c. Sports Car Race. which he won in fine style at 67.41 m.p.h. in a Lotus-Climax, from Prior’s Lotus-Climax and McKee’s Elva-Climax. Engineer Costin set best lap at 69.53 m.p.h. After occupying the lead and the centre of the road on lap one Jones’ Lotus-Climax spun off at Druids Hill Bend, involving Lewis’ Lotus-Climax, which raised Xmas mirth by promptly spinning again as it attempted to rejoin the race.
The Series Production Sports Car Race was a magnificent battle between Wilks’ Le Mans Replica Frazer-Nash (63.64 m.p.h.) and Williamson’s Lotus-Ford, the 2-litre car having slightly superior acceleration and speed. Williamson and Wilks passed one each side of Crisp’s TF M.G. climbing up to Druids, the Lotus just gained the lead, then, as Commentator Bolster told us it’s roadholding that counts, off went the Lotus in a spin! Spinning off earned disqualification, so that was that. Lawry’s Lotus-Ford was a discreet second, ahead or North’s TR2. Prior’s Lotus retired and Warnell’s A.C. Ace spun, but not off the course, continuing with a flasher flashing.
The John Davy Trophy Race for saloon cars saw Tommy Sopwith motor his 3.4 Jaguar to *nth good effect that no doubt was left as to his driving ability but some as to how standard was his engine! He averaged 61.61 m.p.h. for the ten laps and broke the saloon-car lap record, held by a Healey, by two seconds on a damp course—it now stands at 63.77 m.p.h.
Smoke suggesting oil surge kept Jaguar tans’ fingers entwined. Sir G. Baillie’s slower 3.4 Jaguar was second, hotly pursued by Mackay’s stupendous blown Ford Anglia, so bravely driven that it kept ahead of Scott-Brown in Uren’s 1900 Alfa-Romeo, which even fell back towards the end. This was about the best race of Boxing Day, further enlivened by a duel between a Riley Pathfinder which just held off Young’s i.o.e. Ford Anglia. A 1.5 Riley, in its first competition, wasn’t impressive, although able to outrun a blown Fiat 600. Sprinzels’s blown Austin-Speedwell A35 beat a Borgward Isabella into fifth place.
The ten-lap Formule Libre Race was a Brabham benefit, the versatile Australian leading all the way after the start had sorted itself out, in Rob Walker’s 2-litre Cooper-Climax.
He won at 72.54 m.p.h. and set a new Brands Hatch lap-record of 58.8 sec. (75.92 m.p.h.). He was closely pursued by Ireland’s 1½-litre Cooper-Climax, with Lewis-Evans, who led momentarily after the start, third in the Willment-Climax. Crabb’s Tojeiro-Bristol spun at Druids, being narrowly missed by Clarke in Ireland’s Lotus.
The ten-lap Christmas Trophy for 1,100 c.c. cars proved an exciting race. Scott-Brown positioned his Elva-Climax a few inches from the line to allow for creep and as the flag fell Allison stalled the engine of his Lotus, causing Gibbs to take to the grass, narrowly missing a picture-maker. Then, out of Druids, where all the drama was concentrated, Allison’s Lotus was hit by Ireland’s, bad body damage resulting. Meanwhile Raby’s Cooper-Climax led Hill’s team Lotus by a very slender margin, Raby having more speed along the straights but losing ground on the corners. On lap seven Raby spun and let Hill into the lead, but he continued, the finish being in that order, Hill winning at 70.61 m.p.h. and setting fastest lap at 72 m.p.h. Campbell-Jones (Lotus-Climax) drove well, beating Scott-Brown to third place when the Elva’s engine passed out, Archie coasting in.
Cowley (Cooper-Norton) led throughout to win the FIII Yuletide Trophy Race at 68.66 m.p.h. from Don Parker’s Cooper-Norton and Zain’s Flash Special, Cowley lapping fastest, at 70.41 m.p.h. — W. B.