Boys will be boys

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

Current page

181

Current page

182

Current page

183

Current page

184

Current page

185

Current page

186

Current page

187

Current page

188

What happens when you let some of the greatest drlvers of a generatlon loose in 1100cc saloons?

One-make races, as regular readers might already have noticed, are not my favourite thing. Once in a while they were regarded by some motor manufacturers as a usefully headline-grabbing one-off promotion.

Fifty years ago, right at the end of the 1962 racing season, BMC ran just such an event for the Molyslip Trophy, a 15-lap supporting race to the Autosport 3-Hours at Snetterton. While the feature event was quite sufficiently unusual at that time, by starting in evening light and running into the dark, the Molyslip Trophy was for saloon cars, but not just ordinary, run-ofthe-mill saloons. Instead, the field comprised a dozen of the then brand-new BMC AD016s or Austin and Morris 1100s. At one stage early in the race Christabel Carlisle led the entire pack but the battle developed with Graham Hill and Michael Parkes making the running, their twin 1100s just inches apart, ferociously pursued by Graham Warner, Sir John Whitmore, Jack Brabham and the rest. Rally star Don Morley drove one of the cars, Jimmy Clark another, while Alan Hutcheson — a Riley 1.5 regular who had a somewhat controversial reputation at the time for aggressive manouevring, a precursor of almost any modern BTCC contender — was also in that unruly pack.

I guess within such a scenario someone had to draw the short straw, and in this case it was the Cooper F1 team’s No 2 driver Tony Maggs who found himself, as one report put it, “…on the end of a multiple lateral evasive manouevre on the Home Straight. He was forced onto the grass where he went flat-out head-on into an earth bank put there to protect the flag marshals. The car was badly lozenged and the mountings for his safety harness were strained to the utmost, but his straps held him long enough(!) to ensure that he was completely unscathed. Scratch one 1100. Shortly after this Alan Hutcheson got into difficulties” — presumably he spun — “…and Jimmy Clark and Roy Salvadori, who had earlier been right up at the front but were delayed in the Maggs incident, became unavoidably involved in the ensuing shunting match, which resulted in their retirement…”.

John Whitmore always had an ability to make the most out of low-powered saloon cars, never scrubbing off speed he could not retrieve, and as the 15 laps ran out he “got to the front, time and time again, and actually led across the timing strip on the last three laps, finally getting the decision from Graham Hill by little more than the thickness of a tyre”.

Graham Warner — head of the Chequered Flag dealership and racing team — and Michael Parkes finished third and fourth. Just in case it’s of interest, John got his 1100 around the old Snetterton circuit in a fastest-lap time of 2 minutes 24.2 seconds, 67.65mph. From my recollection of the 1100 that’s remarkable. I guess over Snetterton’s ripples and bumps the self-levelling, roll-controlling Hydrolastic suspension must have worked pretty well.

That year’s 3-Hour race itself fell to Michael Parkes’s dark-blue Equipe Endeavour/ Mar anello Concessionaires-entered Ferrari 250GT0, but Jimmy Clark had starred in John Ogier’s Essex Racing Team Lotus 23 despite progressively losing gears after stripping first as he popped the clutch at the start. As his car staggered off the startline, the potential dangers of a brand-new RAC diktat were highlighted. The Snetterton pit straight was quite wide and starting grids there had habitually been arranged to allow five cars abreast, 5-4-5-4. The RAC had already condemned that pattern as posing unacceptable risk, instead making event organisers line up their cars 4-3-4-3. But when the organisers for that year’s 3-Hour race had applied for their permit, they had asked for an increase in the previous maximum number of starters. The RAC’s response had been to allow the increase, while specifying instead a 3-2-3-2 grid pattern with a minimum 20 yards between rows. This placed the back row way down around the old Paddock Bend, which became the site of the Russell chicane in later years. The consequence that Jimmy’s terrible start highlighted was that as he staggered off the startline he was being passed on both sides by cars which had been accelerating for several hundred yards before ever reaching him, so they were flashing past him within mere inches at a differential speed of 80-90mph and rising…

Jimmy later admitted that this had been one of the most terrifying experiences of his entire career. Had the track been wet and his Lotus hidden within a cloud of spray it could have been catastrophic. As it was he got away with it, and after just five laps he had taken third place and two laps later was poised to take the lead. But at Riches Corner the Lotus 23’s fuel filler cap sprang open and a plume of spilling fuel followed the car down into The Hairpin. Jimmy tried to reach out and shut the cap, but with fuel splashing onto the rear tyres his car spun and he lost five places.

At 30 laps Jimmy had recovered to take the lead from Parkes’s Ferrari, but as darkness fell he began losing more gears. Under braking into The Hairpin his Lotus was then suddenly, literally, lit up at the rear as leaked oil surged onto the hot exhaust and ignited, only for sharp acceleration to blow out the fire. Dick Protheroe’s E-Type Jaguar briefly helped light the pits by catching fire there. But after three hours Michael Parkes won for Ferrari, amongst 24 finishers from 35 who had started. Just ten seconds before the maroon was fired to signal the finish, the PA system’s main electrical cable was accidentally severed — so the event ended in silence, to widespread confusion amongst those hardy spectators who had stayed on.

Somehow, that 1962 3-Hour meeting had just about seen Snetterton at its best. Certainly Jim Clark would remember it, as indeed did Tony Maggs… and, no doubt, BMC’s bean counters, too. One third of their brand new promotional race field had just ended up bent and one written off. So tell me, Hoskins, whose idea was this?

Related articles

Related products