The Eight-Clubs Organisation, which comprises the A.C. Owners’ Club, Cemian M.C., Chiltern C.C., Hants & Berks M.C., Harrow C. C., Lagonda Club, Lancia M.C., and Seven-Fifty M.C., held its annual Silverstone Race Meeting on June 2nd. The weather had changed from heat-wave to chilly breeze, so that summer skirts swirled in the wind and duffle coats were not out of place. To compensate, no accidents happened and Kenneth Best and Barclay Inglis gave an excellent commentary to the large crowd which assembled at this private meeting.
The morning session was devoted to two 40-minute, high-speed trials, each with a “Le Mans.” start and one compulsory pit-stop, at which either four plugs had to be changed or the front wheels interchanged. In the first, for cars up to 1,500 c.c., J.M. Burn’s D.K.W. was faster than Moreton’s TA M.G., Baxter really went racing in his Kieft, Low’s R.L.M. with blown Ford Ten engine exhibited excellent aeceleration out of the corners, Dr. Turner took his corners wide in his Standard Ten saloon, and Moreton’s M.G. MGA rolled to rest on the outside of Woodcote Corner, while Morell’s M.G. MGA ran its big-end bearings, but still qualified. Bell’s Morris Minor tourer sounded fit, and it led Lambert’s D.K.W. saloon, while Coakley’s Lotus was nearly as fast as the Kieft. Henry’s Wolseley 4/44 saloon rolled and smoked and Dixon’s M.G. MGA retired, as did New’s old B.M.W. and Tornei’s M.G. TC.
In the second of these V.S.C.C.-type high-speed trials, which are such excellent training for racing, the cars were of 1,501 c.c. to unlimited capacity, with Pat Moss allowed to run her M.G. MGA. Little Miss Flockton drove her Triumph TR2 well but was delayed for over three minutes watching her male helpers change plugs, and the Elva Team Ford Anglia, with i.o.e. head, rumoured to give 78 b.h.p. and to do 97 m.p.h., driven by Peter Gammon, was likewise delayed, the distributor having to be removed to get at the plugs – many people would have done better to have swapped wheels, even bolt-on ones, surely? Miss Betty Haig’s Frazer-Nash had the loudest exhaust note and made a rapid pit-stop, Morrison’s Jaguar XK120 was boiling when it stopped for the plug-swap, Bridges (TR2) and Hindes (Aston Martin DB3S) elected to swap wheels, the latter by far the quicker, Pat Moss made her tyres scream round Woodcote on a good drive, but Lancaster’s Ford Consul, Mackenzie Low’s Elva Ford and Gamble’s TR2 all retired, the Ford after a mere three laps.
It was nice to see Jack French’s Simplicity circulating, rebuilt the night before after being run into at Mallory Park, but the little Austin was not very fast as it was using two gaskets in conjunction with an Ulster head, giving a compression-ratio of only 5.4 to 1. It had a neat ex-aircraft 1 3/4-gallon auxiliary fuel tank on the door in front of the passenger’s seat.
All the races were over five laps: some scratch, which were the usual processions; some excellently handicapped by Charles Bulmer. The first was for 750 and 1,172 Formula cars, Millard’s Austin winning the former at 61.01 m.p.h. from Stanley and French, with Nick May’s Austin going sadly slowly in spite of its 5.25-to-1 back axle. Laverton’s Mk. VI Lotus-Ford with spatted back wheels led the 1,172 cars convincingly, winning at 66.72 m.p.h. from Anstice-Brown’s Mk. IX Lotus and Lowry’s Mk. VI Lotus. Cross’ Austin retired on lap one.
The Lagonda Handicap was a victory for Long’s 1929 2-litre tourer, which overtook Bugler’s 1935 Rapier coupe on lap four, after which Naylor’s 1934 Rapier Special and Lyne’s 1934 4 1/2-litre Type M45 saloon came by to fill second and third positions. The winner averaged 51.57 m.p.h. and Michael’s 1936 lowered 4 1/2-litre made fastest lap, at 65.04 m.p.h., compared to the winning Lotus-Ford’s 68.75 m.p.h. in the 1,172 race.
In the next (scratch) race Dickie Steed’s Cooper-Jaguar not only led all the way, to win at 76.69 m.p.h., but set fastest lap of the procession, at 78.02 m.p.h., Trimble’s C-type Jaguar being second and Taylor’s Lotus-Climax, identified by stripes running along the centre of the body, third. Cornish’s Halton-Tojeiro retired on lap four.
In the following scratch race Bailey’s ex-Relay Race Singer Nine two-seater held on to Leo’s blown 2-litre Lagonda for four laps, passing on the last lap, to win at 58.96 m.p.h., making best lap, at 59.56 m.p.h. Inwood’s A.C. was third. The only retirement was Uten’s Ford.
Back to handicaps, Simpson’s M.G. MGA led for four laps, but was beaten by Taylor’s Lotus-Climax, North’s TR2 and Steed’s Cooper-Jaguar on the final lap, Taylor winning at 72.87 m.p.h. and Steed lapping at 79.74 m.p.h. The Earl of Northesk’s TR2 retired. It was good to see Averil Scott-Moncrieff in her hushand’s Lotus, her own having given trouble en route. Morley drove an old 4 1/2-litre Bentley, obviously a vintage car as it possessed dumb-irons but with the radiator in the wrong place. The back-markers came through well to win the next race, Le Clair’s “chain-gang” Frazer-Nash averaging 50.18 m.p.h. to beat Lusty’s TR2, which, however, lapped faster, at 68.10 m.p.h. Tearle’s raucous Fiat 1,100 Special, with Morris radiator, was third, but Green’s “disguised” Connaught and Henry’s Wolseley 4/44 saloon both found three laps sufficient.
The tenth race was another scratch affair – rather like school sports, these Club Silverstones, with the same chaps appearing again and again! – which Standbridge, having cured clutch slip with the time-honoured injection of fire-extinguisher fluid, led all the way, to win at 69.18 m.p.h. in his A.C. Ace from Prior’s Mk. VI Lotus and North’s Triumph – another procession. The A.C. made fastest lap at 71.29 m.p.h. Betty Haig’s Frazer-Nash was good for only one lap. Next, another five-lap scratch race, also a procession, Mrs. Bluebelle Gibbs driving really well in her H.R.G. to shake off everyone, winning at 64.40 m.p.h. from Simpson’s M.G. MGA (which made fastest lap, at 65.78 m.p.h.) and Green’s Connaught, Dixon’s luckless M.G. MGA retiring after two laps, big-end still clanking.
The A.C. Handicap saw a fine assortment of these noble cars (alas, there was no Lancia Handicap), Sturges’ yellow 1922 Six two-seater leading for three laps, before the later starters caught it. In the end Day’s 1953 Buckland tourer won at 55.34 m.p.h. from Hicks in Miss Pullen’s 1949 saloon, Thornton’s 1938 16/80 taking third place, ahead of Jennings’ scratch Ace-Bristol, which set fastest lap at 71.47 m.p.h. Liming’s 1936 coupe retired after two laps.
The last handicap saw Boult’s Austin Seven, a 1928 Chummy with single-carburetter and Ulster head, led by Bailey’s Singer Nine until the last lap, when Cutler in Colburn’s Healey Silverstone closed right up on the Singer and Herrull’s TR2 also got past the Austin to take third place. The Singer averaged 59.48 m.p.h., the Triumph which was third made fastest lap at 68.59 m.p.h., and only Mrs. Gibbs’ H.R.G. retired from the considerable field. A good, punctually-run meeting, devoid of thrills. – W.B.
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Aston Martins At Silverstone On July 21st
The Aston Martin O.C. plans to hold an ambitious meeting at Silverstone on July 21st. Besides races for sports cars of various sizes entered by A.M.O.C. and one-make club members, a 750-c.c-.1,172-c.c. Formula scratch race and a Bentley handicap, there will be a half-hour high-speed trial and during the afternoon the St. John Horsfall Trophy will be contested in two 10-lap handicaps for Aston Martins of any sort, the David Brown Challenge Cup fought for in a 21-lap team relay handicap, and a 15-lap scratch race held for the U.S. Air Force Trophy. Fastest lap of the day earns the Emu Trophy and, apart from the races, there is to be a 21st Anniversary Parade of Aston-Martins and Aston Martins (if you follow us!) from 16-valvers and Bertelli side-valve cars to DB3S, team cars to be driven by their original drivers wherever possible. Entries close on July 7th, to R. Mennell, “Woden Law,” Firs Road, Kenley, Surrey (Uplands 0858).
Sunbeam S.T.D. Register Wolverhampton Weekend
Sunbeam cars are due to return to the place of their birth over the weekend of July 21st/22nd, when the Sunbeam S.T.D. Register holds its annual Wolverhampton Weekend. Roesch-designed, London-built Talbots and S.T.D. Darracq cars support the Sunbeams, the Saturday being devoted to a treasure hunt organised by John Coombes and an evening social in the canteen of Guy Motors Ltd., makers of Sunbeam trolleybuses, in the old Moorfield works, by kind permission of Mr. Sydney Guy. At this social ex-Sunbeam employees, including members of the old racing team, meet members of the register to discuss the old days and old cars, their numbers running into several hundreds.
On the Sunday a parade through Wolverhampton, with police escort, leads to a closed section of road in West Park, for a Concours d’Elegance, the parade commencing from the Park Hall Hotel, Goldthorn Park, at 1.30 p.m. It is hoped that racing Sunbeams from the Rootes Museum will be on view.
During the weekend an age/distance rally of up to 24 hours’ duration will also be contested, the winner in last year’s event travelling 721 miles to Wolverhamptim in a 1924 14/40 Sunbeam.
Regulations and details of future fixtures, which include parade and driving tests at the Worthing Carnival on August 4th with £15 prize money, Concours d’Elegance and driving tests at Sandhurst in September, and further social and children’s events, are available from Mrs. W. Boddy. “Carmel,” Wood Lane, Fleet, Hampshire (Fleet 831).