One of the richest races in Britain this year, the 2,000 Guineas at Mallory Park on Whit Monday for Formula One cars attracted some of the latest machinery but several of the cars which had been promised in the pre-race publicity did not turn up, which was little consolation to the crowd, variously estimated at between 30,000 and 50,000, all paying £1 each, who expected to see a works Ferrari doing battle with the British cars.
Three V8 Climax engines turned up, being fitted in the back of Surtees Monaco Lola with short nose, Jim Clark’s works Lotus 25 and Jack Brabham’s private Lotus. The foreign opposition consisted of the Scuderia Venezia Porsche for Jo Bonnier and de Beaufort’s privately owned Porsche, while the rest of the thirteen car field comprised Masten Gregory in a 4-cylinder U.D.T.-Laystall Lotus, Graham Hill in Rob Walker’s 4-cylinder Lotus, Mike Parkes in a Bowmaker-Yeoman 4-cylinder Cooper, Colin Davis in the Scuderia Venezia Lotus, Ian Burgess in the Anglo-American Cooper, Tony Shelly in his Lotus, John Dalton in Tim Parnell’s Lotus and John Rhodes in Bob Gerard’s Cooper-Ford.
In practice on the morning of the race Jimmy Clark lapped the 1.3-mile circuit in 51 sec., Jack Brabham did 51.6, Graham Hill 52.0, John Surtees 52.6, Bonnier 53.2, de Beaufort 53.4, Masten Gregory and Ian Burgess 53.8, John Rhodes 54.0, Mike Parkes 54.2, Tony Shelly 54.4, Colin Davis 56.2, and John Dalton 58.0. By comparison Peter Arundell in the works Lotus 22 F.J. car did a practice lap in 52 sec., which would have put him on the front row of the Formula One grid; and this tiny circuit is by no means composed of tight bends.
After several of the preliminary races had been disposed of the grid lined up with Clark, Brabham, Hill and Surtees on the front row and at the drop of the flag Surtees, from the inside position, hurtled into the lead from Brabham, Gregory, Hill, Clark, Bonnier, Parkes, Shelly, Rhodes, Burgess, Davis, de Beaufort and Dalton. On the second lap Graham Hill had squeezed past Gregory for third place and Clark was already coming up to challenge Gregory. Further back Bonnier was being pressed by Mike Parkes while John Dalton had already stopped out on the circuit with fuel starvation, and Burgess called into the pits for a plug change. By lap 10 Clark was well clear of Gregory in fourth place and closing right up on Graham Hill while Parkes had disposed of Bonnier and was setting about passing the luckless Gregory. Surtees was maintaining a steady increase over Brabham while the Hill and Clark duel was slowly catching Brabham. However, on lap 19 Clark pulled into the pits to tell the mechanics that the oil pressure was disappearing on the corners and he pulled out again having dropped to seventh place. But after completing another four laps he pulled in again for a long stop, the oil pressure gauge still reading low although the engine sounded just as healthy as Surtees’. This left the race in a rather dreary state as no one looked like catching anyone else except Parkes who got past Gregory for fourth place on lap 28. In fact, from lap 28 to the finish on lap 75 there was only one positional change, when Shelly passed de Beaufort for eighth place on lap 37. Surtees gradually increased his lead over Brabharn until at the finish he was 18 sec. in front, with Graham Hill a steady third in his first Lotus drive for some time. This rather rare win for Surtees had been most profitable and more important the Lola seemed just as happy at the finish as if did at the start.
The rest of the day’s programme contained a three heats and final G.T. event. Chris Summers’ hot T.V.R. Grantura winning the first heat from Rodgers’ Ace-Bristol, Pat Fergusson’s quick Turner-Climax holding off the usual gaggle of Elites in heat two, while Mike Parkes in his Ferrari GTO beat Graham Hill’s E-type, now with Dunlop knock-off disc wheels, by 1.4 sec. in the third heat, with John Surtees in another Ferrari GTO in third place. As the fastest fourteen went through to the final the result of the third heat was repeated and was notable for some dicey pushing and shoving when the three leaders passed the E-type’s of Hobbs and Protheroe. A race for B.M.C. Minis saw the works Cooper-Minis beaten again, this time by Mick Clare who beat Bill Blydenstein into second place. while Tony Maggs only just got through into third place after a dice with Borrowman’s Cooper-Mini. The Formula Junior event saw Peter Ryan adding to his growing reputation in Europe by tailing Peter Arundell’s works Lotus for the whole race, then nipping through on lap 28 to win by a second. Behind them a fierce dice for third place ended in Frank Gardner in the Brabham getting the verdict.
Although the organisation of the actual racing went smoothly enough and the crowd got a good view without the circuit owners haying to pay for grandstands, the organisation as far as the Press was concerned was amateurish in the extreme, any information having to be fought for or obtained via the announcer on the few occasions that the loudspeakers were audible, and some of the gate marshals appeared to be village idiots specially drafted in to stop anyone going about their lawful business. The official results were inaccurate, which was not so serious for those who had been taking notice but members of the daily press do not expect to have to correct official results before telephoning their offices. Perhaps by next year the Nottingham Sports Car Club and the Mallory Park people will have sorted out these problems and be able to run an International event properly. M.L.T.