VSCC Two-day Oulton Park Meeting

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The vintage SCC decided to get all ambitious this year and extend its Oulton Park Meeting over two days, with sponsorship from The Observer and the Cheshire Life Building Society. Such is the momentum of vintage-car racing today that all 18 races were fully subscribed, a total of 231 entries, not including the 70 bicycles.

Events began on the Saturday with the first of many four-lap handicaps over the sinuous 2.356-mile circuit, and as The Observer told us in the programme, here were drivers who were present “to take you on a magical mystery tour of pride and passion – hold on tight”. So, holding on, we saw Ridley in his Riley 12/4 Special win this opening race very easily, at 69.88 mph, from Boyack’s Aston Martin and Toome’s 1750 Alfa Romeo, the Riley lapping fastest, at 72.0 mph. Ann Shoosmith was out again in the 1921 GP Sunbeam and Wilkinson had added a No. 8 Cozette blower, driven by two belts, to his 1921 Brooklands Replica Anzano-AC. On this showery Saturday, Part 1 of the Vintage Seaman 10-lap Scratch Race saw Tim Llewellyn the undisputed victor, the big blue 3/8-litre Bentley doing fastest lap at 77.56 mph, to win at 77.56 mph from Giles in the slim GN Beetle and Arnold-Forster in the V8 Bequet-Delage, followed home by Randle Stewart in his 3/4 1/2 Bentley and Moffatt in Wall’s T35T Bugatti, after Footitt was left on the grid sans sparks.

Mrs Shoosmith then took the next 4-lap Handicap in her recently-acquired H. M. Bentley-bodied slab-tank 4 1/2-litre Bentley from Averil Scott-Moncrieff’s T57 Bugatti and Merriott’s 12/70 Alvis, at 61.84 mph. Another 12/70, Hulbert’s, lapped quickest, at 67.0 mph. Footitt’s AC/GN again had magneto trouble in the 10-lap Pt. 1 Historic Seaman, in which David Black shot away from the start in his immaculate P3 Alfa Romeo, pursued by the Hon Pat Lindsay in the ERA “Remus” and Mason in R10B. After a lap Spollon in R8C, Willie Green in Margulies’ Maserati 4CL and Martin Morris after a poor start in R11B had passed Mason, but Green then retired with a split water hose. From then on the first three places were unchanged, Black increasing his lead over Lindsay, with Morrisslosing up at the end, by lapping fastest, at 86.72 mph. Black averaged 85.8 mph, Spollon was a lonely 4th, from Classic and Sweet in the twin-cam KN MG.

Pressing through the field from scratch in the next four-lapper, Chant in the 4.3 Alvis “Brutus” had a bad accident at Knicker Brook, suffering multiple injuries, and the race was stopped, not being re-run on the Sunday, which seems hard on the other drivers. That left three more 4-lap Handicaps and the 15-lap Cheshire Building Society Allcomers scratch race, in which post-war sports-cats were included. Chris Mann in his Lotus 16 had the lead on Mayman in Halford’s Lotus 16 until lap 5, when a fuel line came adrift and he spent a long time in the pits. So Mayman won, at 87.21 mph (best lap, 89.65 mph), with the ever-game Lindsay in his pre-war ERA next, ahead of Mason’s Maserati 250F and MacPhcrson’s Cooper-Bristol. The sports-car division went to Martin Morris’s D-type Jaguar at 86.72 mph, (best lap, 86.72 mph), from a couple of C-types. Of the handicaps, the first was largely an A7 benefit, with McGrath’s first at 60.35 mph, with de Bankes in Batho’s Riley 9 second and Way’s A7 3rd. The next was won by Mark Gifllie’s Ulster A7 at 59.25 mph. from Kirkpatrick’s Frazer Nash Special and Baddiley’s Speed 25 Alvis, and the concluding race went to the Lagonda Rapier of Fletcher-Jones, at 62.53 mph. Upson’s 1 1/2-litre Riley 2nd, Brydon’s 4.3 Alvis 3rd.

Heavy showers reduced spectatorage on the Sunday, when the four lap Handicap was to the advantage of Wortley’s Morris-Oxford Special, but the possible discomfort of the handicappers, for he hardly saw the opposition, winning at 49.66 mph. Waller’s Ulster A7 and Drewites 1 1/2-litre Riley Special, with Cecil Clutton’s Frazer Nash TT Replica 4th.

The second part of the Vintage Seaman then saw Tim Llewellyn win as he had before in the Bentley, now at 68.25 mph, with best lap at 69.29 mph (wet, you see), but this time A. G. Smith’s Frazer Nash Super Sports was 2nd, the Stewart Bentley 3rd. It was a convincing Bentley victory. Again Footitt retired, Threlfall was 4th in the McDowell after spinning in his earlier appearance, and Ghosh 7th behind Horton and Mark Stretton in spite of a similar occurrence in Templeton’s TT Vauxhall. Harper’s Morgan had not appeared, as a big end was suspect and Week’s Super Aero with protection for its magneto, retired, like the other Morgans. The 500 cc racers then had a race to themselves, as, it was said, being like Sinclairs almost invisible, they are not allowed in with more lofty racing machinery. Tibbenham’s Kieft with Triumph Tiger engine, came through town among many spins and retirements, at 66.64 mph (best lap, 72.06 mph). Harvey’s prototype ex-Brandon Cooper-JAP was 2nd, Smith’s Mk 10 Cooper 3rd.

Just as Tim Llewellyn had clinched a Vintage Seaman victory on aggregate times in the two races so David Black did thr same in the P3 Alfa for the Historic Seaman, but this time Lindsay led away and it took until lap-4 for Black to catch him. Thereafter a stirring duct ensued, but David pulled out the two seconds’ lead he needed in fact wnning by 25.2 sec. Again. Morris tan Lindsay very close, 0.5 sec between them, and Spollon was again 4th. Black won at 83.75 mph, as it rained towards the end, with a lap at 86.64 mph. The Allcomers was exciting, as the racing cars caught the sports cars by half-distance (10 laps and handicapped this time) with Mann’s Lotus leading Mason’s Maserati and MacPherson s Cooper-Bristol, until on the final lap the Lotus shed a wheel, giving Mason a surprise victory.

There were still four 4-lap Handicaps to complete the action, won respectively by Rides’s Riley Wagtail at 63.03 mph, Gillies A7 at 60.02 mph, Dunn’s Riley Falcon Special at 75.8 mph, and Johnson’s Colmore Frazer Nash at 63.15 mph. But before the last two, many of the damp onlookers had gone home, a very full day’s sport to remember. The provisional leaders in the 1985 MOtor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy Contest are: Lindsay, 83 points; Llewellyn, 72 points; Black, 67 points. Next round, Silverstone. July 6th. It was nice to see Patrick Marsh, whose idea this two-day Meeting very largely was, greeting the race winners, in spite of injuries sustained in a fall from his “penny-farthing” at Boulogne. It was great to see, too, a Stutz Black Hawk 2-seater being used as course car, but sad that the Sunbeam Tiger was a non-starter. – W.B.

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