The V.S.C.C. at Oulton Park
THE beautiful setting of Oulton Park, the scene of the V.S.C.C. Richard Seaman Trophies Meeting, was set off to perfection by sunny weather, and a splendidly varied day’s racing was run off successfully, if somewhat behind schedule.
On the Friday Cameron Millar rolled his ex-Hunt Maserati 250F which he was driving for the first time and which was timed at 115 m.p.h. through the Knicker Brook 1/4-mile in a gusty wind. Millar was soaked in fuel and had a tyre mark on one shoulder but escaped broken bones; he talks of repairing the mechanical damage in time for the V.S.C.C. Silverstone races.
After the parade of Concours d’Elegance cars Sheffield’s limit 1932 D-type 850-cc. M.G. with J4 body led throughout to win the first race from Peters’ scratch 31-litre S.S., which displaced Copson’s limit Riley for third place. A similar 5-lap handicap followed, a generous start enabling Venables-Llewelyn’s Speed 25-powered Alvis Silver Eagle to win very easily. He was followed over the finishing line eventually by Hutchings’ 328 B.M.W. and Martin in Freeman’s Spa Aston Martin.
The first of the day’s big races, the Seaman Trophy Vintage Race, was led for three laps of the 12 by G. St. John’s 3513 Bugatti, but it couldn’t hold its water, and Burton in Sir Ralph Millais’ Sunbeam “Tiger,” its throttle linkage now properly constituted to enable George to use all its 320 or so horses from the twinblower 4-litre V12 engine, went into the lead and was able to tour home, to win at 75.16 m.p.h. After St. John had retired on lap five, Sowden’s great 8-litre Bentley (declared as 8,425 c.c.) took second place, and as Arnold-Forster was taking it carefully in deference to his “hot” 5-litre Delage, McCosh’s 4 1/2-litre Bentley moved up into third place, with Footit’s A.C./G.N. a gallant fourth. Edwards’ Ulster Aston Martin won on handicap, from Harry Rose’s blower 41 Bentley. So the once-so-unreliable “Tiger” had done it again, although it only did 92 m.p.h. through the “trap,” against 104 by McCosh, 103 by Sowden, 100 1/2 by Horton’s 35B Bugatti.
One of the highlights of the afternoon was the 5-lap Morgan Race and the Morgan 3-Wheeler Club deserves the warmest praise for fielding representative Morgan models, from 1927 Aeros to a 1939 F-Super, beautifully turned out and sensibly driven in spite of not being-permitted the traditional acrobatic passengers. In their special enclosure these fascinating, cyclecars were formed into a long line, the talk was enchantingly Morgan, the tents went up, repairs were completed. The V.S.C.C. had very evidently done the right thing in having the 3-wheeler fraternity as their guests. . . . The race itself was a grand battle between Cameron’s well-known 1933 Matchless Super Sports and Guess’ 1934 model of this type, until the latter retired on lap four, leaving Cameron to notch up another victory and Caroline to bring his 1927 Aero-J.A.P. home second, well ahead of Musselwhite’s 1932 J.A.P. Super Sports. The winner averaged 63.04 m.p.h., while fastest time, 8o m.p.h, was clocked by Edmunds’ 1930 J.A.P. Super Aero. The Morgans are not to be scorned!
The most eventful race was the 20-lap Seaman Historic Trophy Race. After three exciting laps Lindsay got the lead in the E.R.A. “Remus,” in spite of being on a high axle ratio which pulled down the performance. Waller challenged until he had to come into his pit with nothing more serious than No. 3 plug lead adrift. This gave a determined Bertie Brown in the ex-Howe E.R.A. second place, Doc. Taylor third in the 3.3 Bugatti, followed by Freeman’s stripped sports Aston Martin and Morris in Blight’s twin-carburetter Talbot HO. Corner’s monoposto 2.9 Alfa Romeo had to stop for water (it had trouble with an inoperative water pump in practice), Dunham, at his wife’s insistence, making a welcome reappearance in his 1938 Speed 20-powered 12/70 Alvis single-seater, broke a plash-rod, and many cars overheated. Waller, back in the race on lap six, drove with determination to win back his second place by lap 14, Brown, who was closing on Lindsay, having spun off at Island Bend on the previous lap, perhaps baulked by a slower car. So Lindsay won by 51.8 sec., at 77.74 m.p.h., in the best gentleman-driver tradition, being timed down Knicker Brook at 104.6 m.p.h., as was the 3.3 Bugatti (Waller had done 100.5 here, and fastest lap at 80.68 m.p.h., Brown’s E.R.A. 107 m.p.h.), his fourth victory in this race. It was historic car racing at its best. On handicap Freeman’s Aston Martin won from Brown in the ex-Dobbs’ 1.8-litre Riley.
More gentle, but interesting, a huge field of “chain-gang” Fraser Nash and G.N. cars contested their usual 5-lap handicap, which Arnold-Forster’s alloy-bodied 1925 Anzani-‘Nash won, from the very fist A.C./G.N. to which it had given 2 min. 40. sec. start, Smart’s blown Norris Special being third.
Emphasis was on pre-war racing cars, because the later historic racing cars get their turn at Silverstone, but a 10-lap All-Comers’ Race was well supported by post-war makes, although Millar had eliminated his 1956 Maserati and the Bergel/Lindsay entry was sick, with water mixing with the oil in its sump. However, the Connaught/Cooper-Bristol challenge was met by the Crabbe and Spero Maseratis. Crabbe, driving as sensibly as he had at Goodwood, led cagily for eight laps, then a cross-threaded plug blew out and he was down on power, which gave Jim Spero his chance. He pulled well away in his father’s ex-Gould Maserati 250F, winning by 27.4 sec., at 79.89 m.p.h., Wilks’ Cooper-Bristol second, Salvage’s Connaught third. Spero also pulled out fastest lap, at 81.61 m.p.h.; no details of “trap” times were released. Of the pre-war contingent, Waller’s E.R.A. came in fourth, Lindsay, fifth on lap two, stopping to deal with a faulty pin in the S.U. piston of “Remus.” Margulies’ Connaught lost its water after leading for part of the first lap.
Three 5-lap handicaps concluded a most enjoyable day’s sport. Miss Rose’s Derby Bentley nearly won the first, until caught by the Bugattis of St. John and Eckersley, and Barradough’s Bentley, on the last lap. In the next race the Sunbeam “Tiger” unfortunately refused to leave the grid, Wilks’ Cooper-Bristol came through fast to catch Stephen’s smart Alvis Speed 20 tourer with 4.3-litre engine on the last lap, Hutchings’ B.M.W. being third, holding off Salvage’s Connaught. Around 7 p.m., those who stayed to the end saw Abrahams’ Singer Junior racer take a big handicap start and lead until swamped by the Venables-Llewelyn Alvis—how well these hybrid Alvis cars motor!—on lap four, Miss Rose finishing second, Fitton’s Austin 7 third.
It had been vintage racing at its best, so that when the latest Le Mans news was announced it seemed ridiculous to hear of Fords leading Ferraris—surely the Bentleys must be leading the Lorraines?—W. B.
Seaman Trophy 20-lap vintage race:
1st: G. Button (1925 4-litre V12 Sunbeam)
2nd: F. A. Sowden (1930 8 1/2-litre Bentley)
3rd: A. H. McCosh (1926-8 4 1/2-litre Bentley)
Seaman Trophy 20-lap historic race:
1st: The Hon. P. Lindsay (1936 1 1/2-litre s/c. E.R.A.)
2nd: P. Waller (1936 1 1/2-litre s/c. E.R.A.)
3rd: W. A. Taylor (1934 3.3-litre s/c. Bugatti)
All Comers’ 10-lap race:
1st: J. P. Spero (1953 2 1/2-litre Maserati)
2nd: W. H. Wilks (1952 2-litre Cooper-Bristol)
3rd: R. E. Salvage (1960 2-litre Connaught)
Maurice Falkner arrived in his Porsche, Pomeroy in his Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, Crozier in his Ferrari. The “Double Diamond”-publicity vintage A.C. Six and Knutsford Motors’ model-B Ford coupé were in the Paddock, the latter less gimmicky than the former, with big bottles on its running-boards.
There were four Stars in the Parade, Lodmore’s o.h.v. having interesting square-section inlet manifolding. Deakin drove a rare touring 1938 4 1/2-litre 6-cylinder Lagonda, Chris Shorrock his magnificent 1922 30/98 Vauxhall.
Neve’s 1914 T.T. Humber was again the only Edwardian racing—it was timed at 80.4 m.p.h. for the 1/4-mile, against 81.8 by a 3 1/2-litre S.S. 100. Blight’s very smart Talbot BGH 23 was able to hold the 328 B.M.W. on initial acceleration. Vincent’s twin-cam Salmson ticks-over nicely, perhaps due to its modern carburetter.