EIGHT CLUBS SILVERSTONE MEETING Full Programme of Races Expeditiously Completed (JUNE 6TH)
THE Eight Clubs’ organisation—Hants & Berks, Harrow, Cernian, Chiltern, 750, Lagonda, Lancia and A.C. Owners—excelled itself with its Silverstone meeting this year. Sixteen races were run off under the able direction of Barclay Inglis, not only to time, but towards the end of a long day, ahead of time. The programme consisted of two One-Hour High Speed Trials and fivelap handicap and scratch races. The competitors were grouped to provide close racing in the latter contests and handicapping was arranged by the handicap expert, Charles Blamer. It all worked out excellently, although we believe that next year a further improvement will be a limitation of entries or, perhaps, the inclusion of some longer events, for with the same cars appearing several times in races all of five laps, the programme is lengthy and has a” sameness” mildly reminiscent of a school sports-day. But it is a striking indication of the present-day popularity of the Sport that an entry of 166 sports cars had been obtained for a race meeting on a week-end when there was quite a lot of motor sport up and down the country. The day must be written down as a great tribute to the Eight Clubs’ organisation, especially as they had James Tilling and Robin Richards to do the commentary and detailed results were handed to competitors not long after the end of the 16th, or last, race
The first One-Hour Speed Trial saw 24 cars qualify. There were some enlightening examples of over-, underand no-steer on the corners. Nobbs drove his Buckler fast, but its brakes seemed to waken towards the end and he ran wide several times and smote the marker,drums. Vaughan’s early Frazer-Nash seemed a handful, cornering close, in, neither Carter’s Ford Anglii nor Till’s Ford Popular were fast enough, and Miss Carlyon un her M.G. at Becketts, to be promptly replaced by co-driver Inwood. Waters qualified with his nicely-original Q-type M.G., Scott likewise with his Arklay, in spite of misfiring, but Brown (M.G.) made several onslaughts on the drums and Green (Riley) spun, neither qualifying. Ness’ Ford Special suffered excessive front wheel patter, but nevertheless cornered fast. One Austin Seven driver came into his pit far too fast, slid and rolled the car over on to his unfortunate codriver, who was waiting to change a wheel. The incident looked ugly, but luckily the culprit escaped injury and his co-driver escaped with a dislocated shoulder. The second one-hour event saw Akroyd out early, his blown 1,750-c.c. Alfa-Romeo with a holed gasket. Brierley’s B.S. Special had to pause while its silencer was re-fastened, as did Range’s rapid 2i-litre Riley saloon. Keeling’s Jaguar leaked oil, Wilkinson toured round sedately in an old A.C., too slowly to qualify, and Rogers had trouble with his Riley saloon near the end and also failed. Gelberg’s Riley saloon pressed on regardless, being held nicely when it spun at Becketts on one lap, in front of war-disabled spectators. Buekler had an Aquaplane special camshaft in his Buckler and qualified, sending a marker bin on the inside of Becketts flying on one occasion,
so closely did he corner. Goodearl also pushed along well in his Aerodynamic H.R.G., to do two more laps than he needed to do to qualify. The first race was a five-lap 750 Formula scratch event. Davidson’s Lotus led for two laps, but had to give best to the astonishing Arthur Matlock, in that so-effective car, “Simplicity.” built by Jack French, who has written so much common sense about how to instill speed into the famous Seven. West’s well-known Austin came up into third place behind these two. There was a nasty episode when Tilt’s Austin overturned at Beeketts. The driver was thrown out and lay on the track, after the little car bad rolled so viciously as to suggest a collapsed wheel. The following cars fortunately avoided both man and inverted machine, although two cars collided mildly beyond the main accident. Tilt was carried off unconscious but soon recovered. A hitch in the organisation was seen when an aged Standard ambulance came, after some delay, down the inside of the course and had to wait before it could go across ; if the ambulance had used the outside of the straight it could have got round Becketts and left the circuit while racing was in progress. And, with deference to the B.R.D.C. who provided it, this isn’t a very imposing blood-wagon to present to an injured driver. Of course, they could bring their own, if fussy. Just as onlookers’
nerves were returning to normal, Holden did a tricky bit of passing on the inside at Becketts and promptly spun, a manoeuvre he repeated at Woodcote.
In the first of the five-lap handicaps, Hill’s Empire Special should have won easily, but he miscounted his laps and pulled in one short. letting the race go to Evans’ neat Ford Special, which caught Peter Binns’ limit Riley Nine saloon, in which Peter was working hard and grinning happily, on the last lap. Allott’s H.R.G. was third.
The 1,172 Formula scratch race followed, the second such event to be run. We were denied the pleasure of seeing Matlock conduct his Austin-Ford, because all his big-ends had become bigger in practice. Desoutter’s Lotus had a run-away victory from Evans’ Ford, which it overtook going into Becketts on lap two. Nigel Allen in the sister Lotus lost time at the start and went crop-exploring at Becketts on lap four. Small’s D.H.S. was second, Bendall’s Ford third.
In the following five-lap handicap, Pratt’s Riley saloon led until taken near the finish by Howarth’s fast Jaguar XK120, which might well have an XK120C head. Easdale, snaking a bit under the brakes, propelled his blown 1,750 Alfa-Romeo into second place, and Bendall’s Ford again took third place. It was pleasant to see Swab’s Amilear in effective action.
In the next five-lap scratch race, Hill rectified his earlier mistake and won in the Empire Special, from Greig’s M.G. and the Porteous Special. Nancy Mitchell went through Becketts as fast as most in her grey H.R.G. and faster than some XK120s. Another handicap saw Steed’s J.A.G.-Consul come through to win from Brierley’s D.S. Special and Woodward’s big Lagonda. Cooper’s Buckler shed its oil-filler but, in answer to the driver’s considerate enquiries, no oil.
There now came a well-fought battle between 17 A.C.s, ranging from Liming’s game 1933 saloon to a bevy of Bucklands. This was a splendid field for a one-make club to assemble and a nice tribute to Barclay Inglis, who, now an Allard owner, commenced his sporting activities with the A.C. marque. Inwood won in a 1936 tourer, with Lass’ post-war saloon second and Hurlock’s 1951 saloon third.
As the afternoon wore on we saw Rawcliffe gain a win in his II.R.C., Jackson drive his J2 Allard to two skilful scratch victories and Desoutter score again with the Lotus. The final scratch race .was an exciting struggle between Howarth’s Jaguar, Carnegic’s Jaguar and Jackson’s Allard, which finished in that order, holding off Terry Moore’s II.W.M.-Jaguar, Major Bailey’s fast Bentley and Peter Waring’s nice Lago-Talbot.
The MOTOR SPORT Winners Handicap provided an excellent finish to an ambitious meeting. This time Major Bailey’s thunderous . 41 litres came through the field, the Bentley taking the lead on the last lap, to win at just over 69 m.p.h. Pratt had kept his well-driven Riley saloon out in front for four of the five laps, but on the final lap a whole bunch of correctly-handicapped competitors swept by, Moss’ smoky Alfa-Romeo being second and Allen’s Lotus third.
So concluded a well-conducted meeting. The crowd looked like a record and by half-time all the programmes were sold out—and the programme was worth the shilling charged for it, if only for the picture of “the neatest thing on wheels” in Harvey NicholsLambretta advertisement !