Boxing Day at Brands Hatch

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74

D.K.W.-engined Elva Wins Formula Junior Race from the Lola-Ford

THE now-traditional B.R.S.C.C. Race Meeting took place at Brands Hatch on Boxing Day, a record crowd watching very exciting racing over a track never dry and in a driving downpour for the last two of the six 10-lap races.

The. Production Sports-Car Race was led for eight laps by TaIlis in a splendid Le Mans Replica Frazer Nash, after which Graham Warner came past on the inside of Clearways to take the lead in his white Lotus Elite. Shepherd-Baron had been throwing his l.h.d. Alfa-Romeo Giuliani Sprint Veloce saloon about with the utmost abandon, and he was rewarded with third place after Clark had “lost” his Lotus Elite at Druids and smote the bank backwards – giving rise to speculation as to which broke first, the car or the rear suspension. Gaston’s Sprite hard-top managed to hang with the larger cars, after which came a great deal of empty track before Venner-Pack’s Sprite appeared. Naturally, Tallis won the over 1.600-c.c. class, and after the timekeepers had discovered that they were at Brands and not the Crystal Palace, whose speed conversion table they had been using, we found that Warner had averaged 61.85 m.p.h. and that fastest lap was made by the unfortunate Clark, at 64.88 m.p.h., compared to Tallis’ best lap at. 64.7 m.p.h.

The next race, for the Christmas Trophy, was for unlimited capacity sports cars and demonstrated beyond doubt that the Lola is Road-Holding Champion. Driven by Rees, this 1,100-c.c. Climax-engined car started badly from the third row of the grid. but on the third lap it was in third place. Rees then sweeping past Prior’s Lotus Seventeen and Graham’s 2-litre Lotus Fifteen to build up a lead which was 10.1 sec. as he crossed the finishing line ahead of T. Threlfall’s Lotus Eleven. The Lola had beaten four over-2-litre cars, including a Lister-Jaguar, C-type Jaguar and a Cooper-Jaguar, proving the organisers pessimistic in offering a consolation prize for the first 1,100-c.c. car to finish. Indeed, 1,098-c.c. cars were first and second. The finish was exciting, for Graham closed to within three-quarters of a length of the smaller Lotus, the timekeepers making no distinction between them, and Lee’s Lister-Jaguar, back in fifth place behind Prior, shook-off Woolfe’s C-type Jaguar after a tussle. The incredible Lola-Climax averaged 67.19 m.p.h. and out-lapped everyone, at 69.75 m.p.h. The Arden and Tojeiro retired.

Next came the Francis Beart Trophy Race for 500-c.c. racing cars. No-one challenged Pitcher’s Cooper-Norton, but Don Parker held second place for seven laps, until his Cooper-Norton expired going up Pilgrim’s Rise. Thereafter Jones and Ellis were virtually tied together in a battle for second place, Jones remaining ahead. Pitcher averaged 61.98 m.p.h.

So to the John Davy Trophy Race for Formula Junior cars, for which everyone was waiting. One non-starter was Graham Warner, the B.M.C. engine of his Gemini having lost its flywheel in practice, causing the car to spin off and clout the bank backwards, damaging the tail and Lotus-like rear suspension. However, a fine field of these new, fast single-seaters came to the start, with de Selincourt’s Elva-B.M.C., Arundell’s Elva-D.K.W., McKee’s Cooper-B.M.C. and Chris Threlfall’s Elva-D.K.W. on the front row of the grid.

After the flag fell McKee’s Cooper went fractionally ahead and de Selincourt spun off on the first lap. Arundell, although hampered by slow pick-up of the two-stroke engine, led in the very fast blue Elva from his team-mate Threlfall, with the Cooper third, Hine’s Cooper fourth. After three of the ten laps the order was the same but Ashdown had come up to fifth place in the Lola-Ford. Clearly the Formula Junior Lola handles with the same superiority as the sports Lola and Ashdown was pressing the leaders hard, being third behind the two Elvas on lap four, when Williamson spun off in the Gemini-B.M.C. On lap five Ham’s Elva-B.M.C. retired, a lap later one of the Coopers was out and Stacey had a fast spin, ending in a full-lock slide into the bank coming out of Druids in the lone rear-engine Lotus-Ford. Ashdown was now making a tremendous effort to take Threlfall, keeping those spectators not in their cars on their feet. On laps eight and nine possibly a quarter of a length kept the Elva in second place as the cars crossed the line, and as they came downhill into the bottom straight on the last lap they were on the tail of the leading Elva, as if Arundell’s engine had tightened up.

Arundell managed to keep ahead, winning by 0.4 sec, a 63.88 m.p.h, but with a stupendous effort Ashdown got the Lola home ahead of the other Elva. Fastest lap (65.45 m.p.h.) was made on the wet track by Threlfall’s Elva. So Elva and Lola are ahead for Formula Junior honours (and orders ?) in this country, the Coopers being too slow and the Lotus appearing unstable – anyway, it couldn’t qualify for an award as it lacked the essential roll-over safety bar. Arundell got a fine reception, as he deserved to do, after finishing but his lap of honour nearly petered out because the two-stroke engine was tired after a full ten laps and clouds of smoke were streaming from the cockpit.

Graham Hill, Grand Prix driver, who apparently didn’t know it was raining, the shower, then decided to take a bath, which he did before the astonished Brands Hatch public, encouraged by commentator John BoIster.

Having previously tasted Brands’ haphazard parking arrangements and having a night of vintage motoring ahead of me, I now decided to leave, only to discover that the owner of Standard RTM 97 had parked across the front of my “Minibric” and locked all his doors – a happy 1960 to you, sir !

The remaining two races ? They were almost washed out but I did not have to go any farther than a local filling station to hear from the purnp attendant how impressively Whitmore’s Austin Seven had cornered in the Yuletide Trophy Race – which confirms the advertising value of motor racing. The winners are listed below. W. B.