Two days of VSCC at Oulton Park

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Again this year the one-time one-day VSCC Meeting at the pleasant OuIton Park circuit was spreading over two days, a feast of motor racing, bicycle racing, beauty parade and auto-jumbling, attractive to participants but rather tough on spectators; it involved this scribe in 415 miles’ motoring, for instance… However, it enabled 14 races to be held, in cold, damp conditions on the Saturday, in sunny weather on the Sunday.

The first big race at this Richard Seaman Memorial Trophies Meeting sponsored by The Observer was the Vintage 10-lap Scratch event. Nick Mason’s 35B Bugatti took the lead from half distance, after Kain’s Bugatti had fallen back to second place. with A G Smith’s very fast Super Sports Frazer Nash third, Threlfall’s Mcdowell fourth. Mason’s average speed was 75.23 mph. There followed the Seaman Historic 12-lap Scratch race, in which Martin Morris in ERA R11B fought a great battle with Felton’s monoposto Alfa Romeo, the latter passing on lap 7 only to make a nonsense of it at Island hairpin two laps from the finish, to retire. Mason won at 85.04 mph and Bill Morris in ERA R12B “Hanuman” took second place, ahead of the ERAs of Brian Classic, Thwaites, Venables-Llewellyn and Chris Mann, followed by the Aston Martin Atom-engined Attenborough Special. It was an unhappy race, because first of all Knight’s ERA-Riley was left at the start with a broken halt-shaft, then David Black, going very quickly, rolled his P3 Alfa Romeo at Lodge corner, suffering minor injuries that took him to hospital, and Anthony Mayman in the ex-Raymond Mays’ black ERA R4D went into the safety wall at Old Hall corner, splaying out the front wheels as the ifs broke away, also on the first lap. The Cheshire Building Society Allcomers’ 15-lap Scratch race saw Neil Corner in tremendous form, his 1960 3-litre Dino Ferrari catching Mayman’s 1959 ex-Halford Lotus-16 after three laps, to storm away, lapping all but the Hon A Rothschild’s 1958 2 1/2-litre P25 BRM. The best Nick Mason in the 250F Maserati could do was third, ahead of Martin Morris’ ERA, the BRM having achieved its place after the Lotus fell sick at ten laps. Corner’s drive was quite magnificent, his speed 92.18 mph, his best lap at 94.56 mph, compared with Mayman’s best of 94.03 mph and the BRM’s quickest of 87 62 mph, which Mann’s Lotus-16 bettered by 0.36 mph, before a dropping out a lap from the end, when in third place.

The first important race on the Sunday was the Vintage Seaman, over 12 laps from scratch In this there was no challenge for Tim Llewellyn’s 8.3-litre Bentley, which led throughout, winning at 79 54 mph and setting fastest lap at 80.55 mph. Ron Footitt did his best in the AC-GN but was 21.1 sec in arrears, and even Mason’s Bugatti had to settle or third place, ahead of Harper’s 1926 Aero Morgan. Kain’s Bugatti challenged Mason but retired after seven laps, and Barry Clarke’s A7 failed to complete a lap. Neve’s 1914 TT Humber was in its usual consistent form and was the only Edwardian to show the spectators a car of this class.

If the 15-lap Allcomers’ Scratch race was regarded as the highlight of Sunday’s racing, Anthony Mayrnan certainly made it so. He drove the Lotus that was once raced by Innes Ireland with enormous verve, building up an enormous advantage, so that at the finish only second-place man Chris Mann in the other Lotus16, and Nick Mason’s light-weight Maserati 250F were on the same lap. Indeed, Mayman won by no less than 1 min 14.8 sec, and averaged 90.53 mph, with a best lap at 91.89 mph, which was atonement for his disasters of the day before. In fact, the field was rather spaced out and in the “other” race Felton’s Alfa Romeo led home C Mayman’s interesting 1959 DBR4 GP Aston Martin arid Bill Morris in “Hanurnan”. Of the three Talbot-Lagos, Pilkington’s was 7th, ahead of de Cadenet who was driving Margulies, 4CL Maserati, and Colin Crabbe got his Lago in 11th, a place ahead of Wilson’s.

Supporting these main races were several short races. The winners of these are given in the results (I hope they go in, this time!) There remain one or two noteworthy performances, that deserve mention. For instance, the sometimes temperamental vee-twin Trice of Stewart Gordon’s took a second and a first place in the “four-lappers”, the neat Attenborough Special was in great form, winning twice as did Ricketts’ Riley and Caroline’s 1928/29 Morgan three-wheeler looked like being placed in the 10-lap Scratch race, being third when it retired on lap 8 with a cracked head on one of its two cylinders. P Venables won a four-lapper in a rare blown L-type MG special, and the flying R. J B Smith in the Super Sports Frazer Nash was up to 5th place in the Vintage Seaman race when a chain came off, and a pit stop dropped him far behind. There was a close finish for second place in the sixth four-lap Handicap, when A K Stephens in ERA R12C beat Walker in the ex-Bristow Ford-powered GN by 1 1/2 sec. although the former had lapped rather faster. In the last event Martin Morris’s son was given a chance to drive ERA R11B but sensibly took it easily, not catching Jaye’s Attenborough Special. The Gibe Alvis hit the protective pile of tyres at Lodge in the twelfth race and bent back its near-side front wheel. It was an interesting two days; but will Oulton Park please invest in a second Bailey exit bndge? —W.B.

 

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