Hawthorn (Cooper Bristol) is Brilliant Victor of Sussex Trophy Race
The weather was bleak but dry for the Whit-Monday Meeting at Goodwood—the racing likewise. It was one of those International fixtures notable for its lack of International entries. The six races were run off with that efficiency and strict adherence to schedule for which the BARC is justly famous, but suffered from lack of new cars, non-starters, and perhaps a lack of originality. The meeting was composed of the 500-cc International Trophy and its two preceding heats, two sports-car handicaps and— best race of the day by far—The Sussex Trophy race for Formule Libre cars.
The 500-cc cars were out in force but we prefer Goodwood without them. [In Chapter IX of “Trumpet Voluntary” GB Stern divides the world into those who like noise and those who love quiet. I love motor racing, but dislike the noise of the 500s.—Ed]
Non-starters included the Thinwall Ferrari, possibly being saved for Dundrod, the HAR, Duncan-Hamilton’s XK120C Jaguar and Charles Bulmer’s BMW-Bristol. [The last-named for the unhappy reason that the Scrutineer apparently had never heard of flexible-couplings in steering columns and would not pass the car with, perhaps, 1/2-in of perfectly normal movement at the steering wheel for this reason. The Stewards upheld the decision but we hope that by now the BARC has apologised to the entrant and refunded his entry fee.—Ed]
FR Gerard’s Cooper-Norton was obviously in excellent form and. driven with outstanding prowess, it lay third behind George Wicken’s Cooper-Norton and DS Shale’s Kieft-Norton for two laps of the first heat of the 500-cc International Trophy. Then, with Shale, a new comer of real promise, now in the lead, Gerard disposed of Wicken and a lap later he was leading himself, winning at 76.94 mph, 0.8 sec ahead of Wicken who regained his place from Shale. Gerard also made fastest lap, at 78.54 mph.
Here it is time to remark that the Chicane after Woodcote Corner has again been modified—widened, and marked by proper brick walls. This constitutes a great improvement, for the cars take it faster and in less of a procession. Presumably, a new lap-record counts from this Whitsun Meeting—Hawthorn’s 87.27 mph in the last race. At the Chicane in this first heat, Tyrrell’s Cooper spun on the first lap, stalled, ran over a marshal’s foot as it was re-started, then stalled again in mid-track. Later, on lap five, GE Thomas’ Cooper spun off here, to retire.
Heat two was notable for the manner in which Don Parker’s Kieft-Norton, lightened even below Kieft lightening standards(!), worked up to lead from the fourth to the final seventh lap, winning at 75.22 mph, 0.6 sec ahead of Bicknell’s Revis-JAP and Annable’s Kieft. Ken Carter had been right there until the Chicane, through which he was unable to pass Parker, after which he was “swamped” on the run-in. Parker made fastest lap, at 77.28 mph. Braid’s Mackson spun, going into the Chicane on the first lap, possibly because Gray’s Cooper stalled in its path, and it dented its nose on the new marker-wall, Braid retiring on the next lap. Huxley’s Cooper spun off at Woodeote, the Arengo and Fenning’s Cooper also retired. The Arnotts ran in close formation, Brown leading Brise. Les Leston (“Leston of Luxembourg”) drove fast but never got amongst the leaders.
Next came a Sports-Car 7-lap Handicap, which Mr. Ebblewhite (the handicapper) had handed to the limit-men, Bucknall in his blown 1,087-cc special-bodied MG and de Edwards’ Silverstone Healey. These two spent the race in a stern struggle, Edwards passing just before the beginning of the last lap to win at 70.67 mph, 0.6 sec ahead, having made up 2 sec handicap. Tasker’s Healey was third. Mitchell’s Frazer-Nash fulfilled earlier promise by making best lap at 78.4 mph, before indulging in some grass-cutting antics. Black had a “thing” in his XK120, denting a wing. Tye took the Chicane untidily in his XK120, while Simpson’s Allard finished a poor last. The whole race was rather dull (particularly when compared with John Bolster’s rapid negotiation of the Chicane in a Morris Minor!) and so was the similar handicap which followed. A gaggle of T-type MGs led for a while, but by five laps Lamb’s Silverstone Healey had washed-out the leader’s 90 sec start and itself led the race, after which it pulled out a bigger and bigger lead, winning at 73.5 mph by no less than 34 sec. Second place went to Jim Mayers, driving his Lester-MG with real fire from scratch, lapping at 76.6 mph. Brooks’ Healey was third, ahead of AS Metcalfe’s very game, pre-war Fiat Balilla. FC Davis (Cooper-MG) tried very hard while praiseworthily retaining full control, but Mayers gave him seven sec start and passed him in three laps, although Griffiths in the IoM-winning Lester-MG, starting level, was a place behind Davis at the finish. Davis caught Ruddock’s Lester-MG, which had seven sec start, in three laps. Thus does Cooper-MG/Lester-MG rivalry continue ! Rogers gave a polished show in his Riley saloon, but Sparrowe, his Morgan 4/4 sprouting weird air-scoops, fell back.
The 15-lap Final of the 500 International Trophy, started by DM Glover of United Lubricants, donor of £500 prize-money. consolidated Gerard’s half-litre supremacy. He led throughout, driving a faultlessly-prepared car perfectly, lapping Brise’s Arnott four laps from the finish. The Cooper-Norton averaged 77.98 mph, lapping at 79.7 mph. George Wicken was second, a respectful distance behind-15.6 sec, as Gerard crossed the line. Don Parker worked his maroon Kieft up to third place after ten laps and stayed there, although be nearly lost this place to Bicknell when he spun at the Chicane, a lap from the finish—he kept his engine going in spite of rolling backwards, and got away very swiftly, almost in Bicknell’s path. Parker made, too, fastest lap-79.7 mph. Brown in the Arnott pushed NB Johnson in Christie’s Cooper for all he was worth, until Johnson went off the course before the Chicane on lap ten, and retired.
The 15-lap Sussex International Trophy Race was unquestionably the best race of the day, in spite of having eight non-starters. Webb drove his nicely-finished Turner Special and Clive Lones his startling Kieft with 1,100-cc V-twin JAP engine. A pity this race could not be run in heats and a final as originally intended, due to lack of entries (24 all told). The first lap order was Poore’s Alfa-Romeo, Gerard’s ERA, Hawthorn’s Cooper-Bristol. After which, Hawthorn, fresh from his success at Charterhall, passed inside Gerard as the ERA cornered wide and ran right away with it, driving superbly, exciting power-slides from the Chicane included. He lapped at the aforesaid 87.27 mph, winning at 85.13 mph, 2.6 sec ahead of Gerard, who handled his old E.R.A. spendidly, but just couldn’t catch the unblown Cooper-Bristol. Poore had to be content with third place, his Alfa-Romeo seeming to lack some of its former speed. Graham Whitehead drove his ERA into fourth place after his usual polished race, but Tony Holt vanished with a broken piston on lap eight after getting the ERA-Delage into fifth place. Gaze’s 1951 HWM went very sick on the twelfth lap. The remaining placing after the first four were : McAlpine (Connaught), Kelly (Alta), Cooper (Cooper-Bristol), Webb (Turner) and then Erie Thompson in Rob Walker’s Delahaye which nobly disposed of Watkins’ 5.4-litre Allard. The Kieft lasted for five laps but Mann’s 2.6-Monza Alfa-Romeo pulled in after only two laps.
Challenge to Historians
The News-Chronicle on May 27th, writing of The Monaco Sports Car Races, remarked that Mme Ivonne Simon would compete and continued : “For the first time in history a woman will brave the thrills and dangers of a Grand Prix.” This seems a nice challenge to motor historians. For instance, if the News-Chronicle can pass off the Monaco sports-car races as a “Grand Prix” we feel entitled to put the old Targa Florio in this category and then there is no need to search the records to challenge Charles Fothergill’s statement, for it is well known that Madame Junek nearly won this great race 24 years ago in her 2.3 GP Bugatti, keeping ahead of such great drivers as Carnpari, Chiron, Divo, Conelli, Brille-Peri and even Nuvolari, until a leaking water-pump delayed Mme Junek 60 miles from the finish, with victory in sight. She finished fifth. Countess Einsiedel also drove a Bugatti in the 1928 Targa Florio. On the other hand. the Monaco race is officially titled a GP, the Targa Florio was not, so perhaps Fothergill is right after all. The News-Chronicle also stated : “Spain is making her first serious attack on a classic event with two “Pegasus”—which overlooks Hispano-Suiza’s entry in the Coupe de l’ Auto of 1910, which was at least sufficiently serious to win that race ! The “Pegasus” is in reality the Pegaso, of course.
A rather amusing blunder was made by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mr John Boyd-Carpenter, when, recommending a reduction in the proposed “flat-rate” tax on cars of 6 hp and 7 hp, in the House of Commons on May 8th, he symbolised the Austin Seven as the type of car whose owners he wanted to assist. This resulted in the Light Car energising the elaborate machinery of the AA into taking up this matter direct with the Treasury for, argued the Light Car. “the original Austin Seven had a Treasury rating of 7.8, therefore, the taxable hp was 8.” In actual fact the original Austin Seven had a Treasury rating of 7.2, its original dimensions of 54 by 76 mm. (697 cc) being later increased to 56 by 76 mm (747 cc) to give it a better chance in Class H racing. But both versions were 8 not 7, horse-power for taxation purposes. And if politicians split atoms we suppose Motor Sport may split hairs