A Cooper Benefit
Pau, France, May 18th.
This year the Pau G.P. held on Whit Monday was for Formula 2 cars and, as is becoming popular in Europe, it was preceded by a Formula Junior event. Practice was held on Saturday and Sunday, and with two National Monomill races on the second day the whole week-end saw the pleasant town of Pau, situated at the foot of the Pyrenean mountains, enjoying almost continuous motoring sport. The Formula 2 event had a certain amount of interest taken from it by the withdrawal of the official entries from the Scuderia Ferrari and the Porsche factory, these two cars having been involved in a crash at Monaco the week before. As a concession, Enzo Ferrari gave permission for Jean Behra to drive his own single-seater Porsche Special, which was much appreciated, because works Ferrari drivers are seldom allowed to risk their lives in other makes of car.
Saturday’s practice, held in fine weather, was split up into two periods for the twisty 2.76-km. circuit has a short lap time and the break allowed drivers to make adjustments and alterations and then try again. The fastest lap ever made by a F.2 car was by Trintignant with a Cooper-Climax last year in 1 min. 38.4 sec., and some idea of the progress being made in 1½-litre cars can be gained from Behra’s time of 1 min. 36.2 sec. which he recorded with his special Porsche after only a very few laps. He was by far the fastest, the next best being Masten Gregory with 1 min. 40.3 sec. driving Alan Brown’s Cooper-Climax. For many of the drivers it was a case of learning the tricky little circuit, for Cooper drivers like McLaren, Brabham, Marsh, Henry Taylor, Jack Lewis, Barclay, Greene and Campbell-Jones had not been to Pau before, nor for that matter had the two Belgians Bianchi and de Changy. In addition to the row of Cooper cars, there were three central-steering RSK Porsches in the hands of Seidel, Goethals and de Beaufort, and a I.h.d. model driven by Schell, but they were all rather outclassed. McLaren was quickly learning the circuit in Ken Tyrell’s Cooper-Climax and Bianchi was driving well, as was Lewis, fresh from his victory in the Paris Cup at MontIhery. Brabham was in trouble with a slipping clutch and misfiring, and Taylor and Marsh practised consistently in close company, while Gregory was looking very dicey with new tyres on the rear of the Cooper.
At the end of the first practice it looked as though Behra was going to be quite unchallenged and that 1 min. 40 sec. was going to be a good bogey time. However, after the Formula Junior cars had done some practice the F.2 cars came out again and the situation changed completely. Having learnt the way round the circuit the Cooper boys now began to turn on the steam and there was a whole row under 1 min. 40 sec. Behra went even faster in the Porsche, with a time of 1 min. 35.7 sec., but surprise of the afternoon was young Lewis, who took his immaculate dark blue Cooper-Climax round in 1 min. 36.7 sec., to make second fastest time, much to the chagrin of the other Cooper drivers. Trintignant was next, in Rob Walker’s new Cooper with wire wheels, but using a Climax engine in place of the Borgward originally entered, and then came Gregory, Taylor, Bianchi. McLaren and Marsh, with Brabham still in trouble with clutch slip and just out of the picture. Slowest of the F. 2 entry was Seidel with 1min. 46.3 sec., and it is interesting that the fastest Junior Formula driver was Zanarotti with a Stanguellini in 1 min. 48.9 sec.
On Sunday the Junior Formula drivers had two short practice periods and the F.2 cars had one long session. Behra was still pretty confident of being fastest and did not do a great deal of practice, waiting to see how the opposition fared, and with the track dry and the weather distinctly cool they began to fare pretty well. Brabham had cured his clutch trouble and got down to 1 min. 37.6 sec., with Gregory just behind him, but McLaren beat them both with 1 min. 36.6 sec., while Lewis did not improve on his time of the previous day. The Walker-Cooper now began to respond to carburation adjustment and Trintignant stirred things up with a lap in 1 min. 35.6 sec. to beat Behra by one-tenth of a second. Before the Porsche driver could retaliate, rain started to fall and then a steady downpour set in and serious practice was ended. Everyone stopped at the pits and covered their cars over, waiting to see what was going to happen, but it soon became obvious that the rain had come to stay. After donning oilskins Marsh went off to find out how the circuit was in the wet and this stirred up Taylor and Barclay, who joined him, and soon many more went out and braved the wet and slippery track. Naturally, all hopes of any further improvements on times were gone and practice finished with Trintignant in the lead. Before the rain started the Junior Formula times were lowered, fastest being the Argentinian driver Borden in 1 min. 46.6 sec., which put him right on the tail of the end of the F.2 runners.
The line-up for the Grand Prix was as follows:
See table representing the grid formation.
The sky was distinctly ominous when the flag fell at 4 p.m. and the 20 starters got away, and Gregory did a superb start from the third row and led down to the station hairpin, followed by McLaren, Behra and Trintignant, while Seidel was in trouble from the start and Hicks was late away. Having got in front, Gregory was really using the clear road, Behra got into second place, and McLaren and Brabham were side by side, and this lot had already left the rest behind, headed by Taylor and Lewis, followed by Brabham, who was suffering from a misfire. On lap four Behra got past Gregory on braking but overdid things up by the Casino and spun in a big way, bending a wheel and dropping to the back of the field, arriving at the pits to fit a new one and rejoining the race two laps in arrears. This let Trintignant get at Gregory and these two started a very close battle, with McLaren sitting behind and watching. The American was obviously enjoying himself and was power-sliding the corners and looking very comfortable, though Trintignant outbraked him on lap nine, only to be re-passed again on the following lap. Behra was driving very hard to make up for his mistake and was lapping faster than the leaders, though still being in last place. Lewis had got the better of Taylor and was fourth but could not keep up with McLaren, and Bianchi was driving well in sixth place leading Marsh. After that there was quite a gap and Gregory and Trintignant were already lapping the tail-enders, of whom de Beaufort and Munaron had retired. Poor Brabham was right out of the picture and stopped at the pits to try and cure his misfire, but it was traced to magneto trouble and he finally retired.
At 20 laps Trintignant was still on Gregory’s tail and McLaren was happily third, 22 sec. behind, while Taylor had passed Lewis as the new young Cooper driver was suffering from fuel-pump trouble and misfiring. Behind them Marsh was trying hard to make an impression on Bianchi but getting nowhere and Greene was in eighth place and the last one on the same lap as the leader. On lap 22 Trintignant scratched past Gregory on the pits curve but the American retook the lead as they braked for the station hairpin. However, that was the end, for the Alan Brown Cooper started making a grinding noise from its rear end, and on the next lap Gregory stopped at his pit and again at his signalling station to allow his mechanics to listen. On lap 26 his race was run, for the crown-wheel and pinion had given out, and this left Trintignant way out on his own and quite unchallenged, for though Behra was trying all he knew he had no hope of catching up. At about this time it began to rain once more and for a time the race settled down, though Lewis was still suffering from fuel starvation and was slowing all the time, so that Marsh took fifth place from him. On lap 29 Behra, who was just behind Trintignant on the road, overtook the leader, so that the Porsche was now only one lap in arrears, but Trintignant was not worried and had no intention of doing anything silly. In third position after Gregory’s retirement was Henry Taylor driving a fast, steady race, but on lap 33 he had the misfortune to pick up a nail and got a puncture, and the slow lap and pit stop to change it put him back to 10th position and let Bianchi up into third place, whereupon the young Equipe Belge driver spun on the downhill hairpin and Marsh took third position.
At 37 laps Trintignant was over 30 sec. in the lead and another shower of rain swept the circuit, but he was driving beautifully and the Cooper-Climax was sounding perfect. At lap 42 the heavens opened and the circuit became like a skating rink and visibility was negligible, so that many drivers just had to dispense with goggles and peer hopefully into the teeming rain. By now only Trintignant and McLaren were on the same lap, with 35 sec. separating them, but then the New Zealander had an almighty spin on entering the finishing straight, luckily not hitting anything and continuing on his way. Already Bianchi had spun once more in the heavy rain and had dropped to seventh place, and Greene was up in fourth place; but not for long, for the excitement of McLaren’s huge long spin stirred up the flag marshals, who put Greene off his stroke and he spun at the same place and in just such a big way. Although he stalled his engine he was able to push-start and continue, but poor Barclay, who did a similar thing, hit a wall and bent his Cooper. At 50 laps it was still pouring with rain and the order was Trintignant, McLaren on the same lap, then Marsh, Bianchi, Lewis and Behra one lap in arrears, and Greene, Taylor, Campbell-Jones at two laps. On the very next lap Behra passed Lewis and Taylor passed Greene and things settled down once more for a few laps, and by 60 laps the sun had started to shine though there was still gentle rain falling and the gap between the first two cars was 88 sec., or a lap and three-quarters. Bianchi was driving very hard in his first Formula 2 race and had caught and passed Marsh, who in turn was being caught by Behra, while Lewis had dropped further back quite unable to use full throttle on his Cooper.
On lap 65 Behra arrived at the station hairpin and tried to outbrake Marsh and take fourth place, but he underestimated the wet-driving ability of the ex-Hill-Climb Champion and found himself spinning backwards into the straw bales. Undaunted, Behra carried on the chase with a very bent right-hand rear wheel, a dented tail and his exhaust pipe almost closed up. Trintignant was now touring round at his ease, lapping in 1 min. 55 sec., and when Bianchi caught him up the Frenchman let the yellow car go by, to be on the same lap. Nobody could catch anyone now and the last 10 laps were soon ticked off, with Trintignant being the winner for the second year running; McLaren had driven a sensible and steady race, thoroughly deserving his second place, and Bianchi had done remarkably well to finish on the same lap. Behra had tried his hardest and failed, but had a new F.2 lap record to his credit as some consolation.
XIX Grand Prix of Pau — Formula 2 — 80 Laps — 220.800 Kilometres — Wet
1st: M. Trintignant (Cooper-Climax) 2 hr. 23 min 34.5 sec. 92.273 k.p.h.
2nd: B. McLaren (Cooper-Climax) 2 hr. 24 min. 49.3 sec.
3rd: L. Bianchi (Cooper-Climax) 2 hr. 25 min. 06.1 sec.
4th: A. E. Marsh (Cooper-Climax) 1 lap behind.
5th: J. Behra (Porsche Special) 1 lap behind
6th: H. Taylor (Cooper-Climax) 1 lap behind
Notes on the Cars at Pau
Trintignant used Rob Walker’s new Cooper with wire wheels, fitted with a Climax engine as this chassis was not modified to take the Borgward. McLaren and Gregory drove Coopers belonging to the Alan Brown/Ken Tyrell stable, while Bianchi and de Changy drove the 1959 Coopers belonging to the Equipe National Belge, this being the first race for the cars. Brabham drove his own ex-works 1958 Cooper, Jack Lewis his own 1959 Cooper, and other private owners of Coopers were Marsh, Greene, Campbell-Jones, Barclay and Taylor. There were four 1959 Porsche RSK models, driven by Goethals, de Beaufort. Seidel and Schell, the last being a car from the Paris Porsche agent, while Behra drove the cut-and-shut RSK he built at Modena. There were two sports OSCAs, a new one in the hands of Cabianca and an old one driven by Munaron, and to complete the list was Hicks with a 1957 Lotus used by Team Lotus last season.
[Formula Junior results were published last month.]
National Alvis Day
Hot summer weather graced National Alvis Day, which this year took place on May 24th, for the fourth year in succession. Organised by the Alvis O.C. in conjunction with the 12/50 Alvis Register, this remarkable jamboree at the Crystal Palace attracts probably the largest one-make assembly seen anywhere. When we arrived at noon the main car park contained Alvis cars as far as the eye could see, yet out on the track were still more Alvises, these being the 75 entries for the Concours d’Elegance and Driving Tests. After lunch these cars formed a parade of Alvis models, headed by P. Wiltshire’s 1920 10/30 two-seater and J. S. Sutcliffe’s 1922 11/40 tourer. S. C. H. Davis, who later presented the prizes, introduced to the spectators the guests of honour, who included G. P. H. de Freville, designer of the first Alvis model (the A.O.C. “discovered” him when he was in Australia), C. G. H. Dunham, who lapped Brooklands before the war in a Speed Twenty and a 12/70 Alvis, respectively, at nearly 120 and 113 m.p.h., Michael May, whose 1930 “Double Twelve” Silver Eagle Alvis team car used to go round Brooklands at all but 110 m.p.h., and William Boddy, Editor of Motor Sport, who rode through the Cavalcade in the back of Mays’ aforesaid Alvis, which is still both hearty and loud of exhaust!
Driving tests followed on the Crystal Palace finishing straight. The organisation for this ambitious meeting falls largely on the shoulders of K. R. Day, General Secretary of the Alvis O.C., and if you missed the occasion you may care to see if he has any programmes left over (price 1s. 6d.), because they contain many fine pictures and a good potted history of the Alvis Company. His address is: 31, Lawrence Avenue, New Malden, Surrey.
1920-1932 Class: N. H. Johnson (14.75).
1932-1939 Class: A. Harris (Speed Twenty-five).
1947-1959 Class: R. Buck (TA14).
Premier Awards of the Day:
1st: R. E. Brearley (3-litre).
2nd: J. Stephen (4.3).
3rd: N. Routledge (Speed Twenty Special).
1st: S. Fletcher (12/50).
2nd: N. Routledge (Speed Twenty Special).
3rd: R. Brearley (3-litre).
Inter-Section Shield: South-Eastern Section.
The Lucas Battery Master Switch
Due to the serious increase in the larceny of motor vehicles, and as suggested by Scotland Yard recently, all motorists should fit their vehicles with some form of anti-theft device.
Such a device, the Lucas Battery Master Switch ST350, is designed to isolate the battery from all electrical equipment, thus safeguarding the parked vehicle.
This inexpensive switch incorporates a lug which fits directly onto the battery, and a terminal which is connected to the chassis. In a matter of seconds, the motorist is able to isolate the battery from all electrical equipment. This not only renders the vehicle less liable to theft, but also provides a safeguard in the event of a short circuit, facilitates electrical repairs and prevents mischievous blowing of the horn. The price of the robustly made Model ST350 Battery Master Switch, complete with battery lug, is £1 1s.
Douglas Holt Ltd. announce that they have now taken over distribution of the Scratchmaster Touch-Up Paint Brush — a product that has been on the market for several years. Holts Scratchmaster is shaped like a fountain pen, with a small brush which slides in and out of the paint reservoir, thus automatically replenishing the paint supply on the brush itself without flooding. It is extremely handy for those little touch-up jobs that are so necessary on all cars however careful the driver may be. Scratchmasters are available in all the current factory-matched colours of each of the following car ranges: Austin, Ford, Humber/Hillman, Morris, Rover, Standard and Vauxhall.
The great majority of popular cars on the roads today are covered by the above makes, thus the range of available colours will be seen to be extremely comprehensive. New colours, as and when introduced by car manufacturers, will also be added to the Scratchmaster range. If a colour is dropped so will the appropriate Scratchmaster, but while stocks last supplies of the obsolete colour will still be available. In this way the Scratchmaster range will always be up to date.
Several features regarding the Scratchmaster itself are worthy of mention. They are as follows: there is a patented air seal in the screw cap which prevents the paint from drying hard on the brush after it has been used; the brush itself can be operated in any position; and it is so arranged that it does not annoyingly disappear into the neck the moment it is used for painting. Scratchmaster retails at 4s. 6d.
Grand Prix, by Trevor R Griffiths. Bloomsbury 500pp, £16.99.
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