Formula II Lotus and Cooper Teams with Twin-cam-engine Cars Fight for Leading Places
Warmer weather arrived on June 9th for the B.R.S.C.C. meeting at Brands Hatch when drivers and spectators alike looked forward to a few hours of pleasant sport.
The customary schedule of events included Formula II and Formula III racing and sports cars. Formula III types were off to a good start early in the afternoon when several different types of 500 c.c. cars hurtled round the 1.24-mile course. A speed of 68.30 m.p.h. was put up by Koring in his Smith 500, a good effort for one of the elder racing cars of this type. Wagner and Shaddick came in second and third to complete the placings.
Then to the sports car races; 1,000 and 1,500 models took to the course for a fine display with some of the leading drivers in the country present. This meeting was the first outing of some of the twin-cam-engined Cooper and Lotus models, so considerable interest was aroused. Principal drivers in the leading cars were Roy Salvadori, Colin Chapman and Archie Scott-Brown, this time in the Elva. Team Lotus came up trumps again when first place went to Colin Chapman, leaving Roy in the Cooper to occupy second place ahead of Frost in another Lotus. The tables were turned, however, in the next race, the Formula II event for 1,500-c.c. cars, because Jack Brabham in the twin-cam Cooper together with Salvadori in a similar model fought off the opposition of Allison and Mackay Fraser in Lotus cars also with the latest twin-cam engines from Coventry. Mackay Fraser being able to reach third place only to hold up the reputation of Lotus. Brabharn’s speed here was 72.70 m.p.h.
The Sporting Record Trophy Race for 500s was a Russell-Bridger-Parker contest, all the cars being very close together even to the finish. Jones held the lead for a few laps until Russell and Parker took over half-way until at the end Russell was followed in by Bridger with Don Parker having fallen to third place.
In the production sports-car race, the opening laps were somewhat chaotic, Calvert’s Alfa-Romeo Giulietta nearly didn’t avoid Tomei’s M.G. TD in the mad scramble at the starting line and North in a TR2 and Hudson’s 100S Healey were involved in a melee at the bottom of Druids, leaving Prior sitting in a bent Lotus-Ford. Ian Walker was the hero of this round, driving the ex-Graham Hill yellow-coloured Lotus-Ford to victory ahead of Parker in the Willment-modified Lotus-Ford. Most interesting spectacle was the way the little Alfa-Romeo pushed along behind John Webb in his familiar Jensen 541, the latter having to retire with broken front shock-absorber near the finish.
The 1,100 Sports-Car Race followed and this might well be called the “Spectators'” race. It could hardly be called the drivers’ race, for every few minutes there was an incident of some sort, fortunately nobody was injured. Hall, in the Lotus, led off with Raby and Ashdown following in line astern, but Raby retired on lap four. George Hill had one or two spins as did Ellis at Druids. Mathieson in a Lotus lost a wheel after taking paddock bend, all of which resulted in a shower of sparks, a wheel spinning off in reverse into the countryside and for a moment a worried driver who very expertly brought the car to a stop on the grass verge. The stub axle was replaced, together with the one on the opposite side which was also found to be cracked, in time for Crystal Palace the following day. Another mishap occurred when Parker’s Lotus motored off backwards at the same spot at quite a rate of knots arriving on the bank taking along one or two posters for good measure.
The final 500 event began with Koring in the lead, followed by Finucane and Ham, but by the eighth lap Bridger was leading with long gaps in between cars. Koring lost a wheel at the bottom of Druids, but was not seriously injured. Bridget’s speed was 73.20 m.p.h.
Lastly came the second part of the Formula II event won by Jack Brabham with Mackay Fraser second and Les Leston third. Brabham’s speed in the Cooper in this event was 71.93 m.p.h., so conconcluding the day’s racing, leaving the enthusiasts to speculate on the similar events to take place within the next 24 hours at Crystal Palace. — I. G.