Eight Clubs' Silverstone
The Eight Clubs’ Annual Silverstone Meeting produced an enormous entry of almost 200 packed into seventeen races. The day started fine but after several races an almost continuous downpour began to disperse the surprisingly large crowd.
The day started with two high-speed trials, followed by two qualifying races for the Motor Sport Trophy, one of which was won by Butcher’s venerable Singer, from Jenning’s Gordini-Dauphine, and the other by Thorburn’s Gordini-Dauphine, which beat Campbell’s Alexander Minx from the same mark!
The red of Italy was seen on the line in the next event, in the shape of American H. R. Jones’ A6GS 2-litre Maserati, which made a bad start in its race and just failed to catch Lee’s C-type Jaguar. But it was a close thing, and Jones’ cornering in the rain was very well controlled. R. A. V. Staples, driving a Bristol-engined A.C. instead of his normal A.C.-engined model, came through into third place.
The Electrons showed a surprising turn of speed, winning three handicaps and one scratch race between them; Torix Bennett, son of A. V. M. Bennett who makes these cars, averaged 67.84 m.p.h. to win his race, which was faster than Lee’s Jaguar had been in the previous event. C. J. Green, also Electron Minor-mounted, spun at Woodcote when leading his race but caught the car on its last revolution and continued with a marker drum wedged under the car. Not so lucky was D. T. Sinett-Jones in an A.C. 16/80, who had enjoyed some big slides on Becketts (according to the commentator), as on one lap, when attempting the same thing at Woodcote, the car went straight on into an advertising sign behind which hid a large earth bank. The front end of the car was badly damaged. A female spectator was heard to remark : “He’s lucky, the bonnet isn’t scratched.”
At last, with darkness approaching, came the final race of the day, the Motor Sport qualifying race for the Silverstone Trophy. Butcher’s Singer had a lap start plus 15 seconds and he led the race for three of the five laps before the pack began to catch up. Lewis’ A35 took the lead on lap four, with Campbell’s Minx and Wolfe’s Jensen 541 coming through the field. Wolfe normally drives a C-type Jaguar but this car not being ready the Jensen was pressed into service. Its speedo shows over 55,000 miles. But as these three went along the straight Gordon Lee’s Jaguar could be seen streaking into Woodcote. The pack was closing right up and it looked as if there would be a real traffic jam at the finish, thanks to Charles Bulmer’s excellent handicapping.
As the leaders appeared once again, Lee was indeed in the lead, with the Jensen in second place and Lewis holding grimly on to third place, with Campbell’s Hillman in fourth spot. These four all qualify for the Final at the North Staffs M.C. Silverstone meeting on October 3rd. As these four crossed the line a whole gaggle of cars appeared round Woodcote and, indeed, if the race had been 100 yards longer we might have seen a very different result. The M.G.s of Reid and Tooley and the Electron of C. J. Green were pressing hard for that fourth place.
No better praise can be given to the Eight Clubs organisation than to say that everyone enjoyed the racing, in spite of the rain and wind. — M.L.T.