The 8-Clubs Silverstone Race Meeting (June 7th)
The 8-Clubs’ organisation had a big and extremely varied entry for its annual Silverstone Meeting, which included high-speed trials and a dozen races.
The cream of 750 Formula cars was up at Oulton Park, but a big field had been mustered, out of which Cross’ Austin led far three of the five laps, hotly pursued by Lewcock’s Austin, which ultimately won, aided by Lute braking, at 56.85 m.p.h., from Fetherstonhaugh and Cross. In the Lagonda Handicap Barnett’s Rapier came through to an exciting victory at 50.17 m.p.h., from Crocker’s 4½-litre tourer, Howat’s Rapier taking third place, after confusion caused because competitors were flagged after an extra lap had been completed. Mrs. Naylor’s Rapier chewed up a fibre timing gear and retired.
Green’s Electron Minor, with Standard Ten engine, cornered steadily, aided by good driving, to win the next, scratch, race at 58.41 m.p.h., almost lapping Fish’s A40 Austin saloon. Osborn took second place, in spite of a spin, in a Thames van and Cornish drove his TC M.G. really well, into third place, followed by Bell’s Morris Minor and another Thames van (van driver T. P. Hart) – inexpensive racing, it would seem! Warner’s TA M.G. boiled merrily. Adlington’s fast Austin A35 saloon stopped with a choked jet.
A 5-lap handicap followed. Malerone’s 2½-litre Lea-Francis leading, then retiring, giving the lead to Threlfall’s Michelin X-shod M.G.-A coupé. Burne’s Triumph TR2 had come up to challenge the M.G. and won after a furious tussle, averaging 63.92 m.p.h. Behind this breathtaking finish Eyre’s Lotus Seven was third.
Another of these handicaps saw Adlington’s Austin A35 win at 56.15 m.p.h. from Ilsley’s A.C. and Bell’s Morris, the ex-Chapman Lotus 750 misfiring its distaste. Len Gibbs was reputed to be running-in the engine of his Lotus XI but he almost won the next 5-lap scratch race, Lee’s C-type Jaguar crossing the line first, however, at 74.46 m.p.h. Massey-Dawson was third, in Lewis’ Lotus Xl. Another scratch 5-lapper was won by W. E. Beedie’s TC M.G., at 64:77 m.p.h., Beedie holding off Mason’s 4½-litre Bentley for four laps, after which Reid’s series-2 M.G.-A and Derisley’s Lotus Seven came up to occupy second and third places. Nancy Mitchell cornered her M.G.-A coupé fast, finding the Dunlop Duraband tyres excellent, but Dixon’s M.G.-A and G. Beedie’s M.G.-A spun at Becketts a lap from the finish. Cooper’s Connaught was a non-starter, having broken its crankshaft in practice, and Bennett’s Fairthorpe Electron soon retired.
Matlock enlivened the 10th race, a handicap, by driving his Austin-Ford on the limit, recovering skilfully from a slide at Woodcote. However, Cocker’s Austin Special won virtually unchallenged, at 64.32 m.p.h., ahead of Rae’s Ford Special and Massey-Dawson’s Lotus XI. Yet another handicap followed. Fryer in the Tatra-like, Jowett Jupiter powered; rear-engined Scientific, with preselector gearbox, spoiling his chance by spinning on the last lap, letting Reid’s M.G.-A through to win at 65.58 m.p.h. from Bond’s fast Le Mans Replica Frazer-Nash and Easterling’s Ford-engined Lotus Six, all the leaders bunched in a very close finish. Hart handled his Thames van splendidly but Warner took an odd line round Woodcote in his TA M.G.
The 1,172 Formula race saw Matlock again trying extremely hard, until his engine boiled and he fell back. Turvey gained a well deserved win in his impeccably-driven Lotus XI, at 70.15 m.p.h. Far behind, Wershat, who had never given Matlock an inch, was second, in Lola, third place going to Boshier-Jones’ Lotus XI. Bond got his reward in the final scratch race, his Frazer-Nash, which makes lovely rough noises on the over-run, winning at 71.18 m.p.h. from Brightman’s A.C. Aceca-Bristol and Sqd./Ldr.Candy’s Halton-Tojeiro, the last-named indulging in a fierce duel with North’s Triumph TR2.
So to the MOTOR SPORT Handicap, handicapped so effectively by Charles Buttner that the last lap caused hardened spectators to turn their heads away from the inevitable traffic jam at the finishing line, although Bulmer watched the race with a delighted smile from his eerie high above the track. Alderton’s Singer Nine Special led for three of the five laps, then Ilsley’s A.C. took the lead. It wasn’t until the last lap that they really bunched up, Brightman’s A.C. Aceca-Bristol coming past the chequered flag the winner, at 70.27 m.p.h., hotly pursued by Eyre’s Lotus Seven, Hart’s Thames van, Bond’s Frazer-Nash, Lewis’ Loots Xl and Miss Bennett in the Electron Minor. It was a triumph for the handicapper as well as for the winner!