Excellent racing and some rare machines vied for Alan Cox’s attention at VSCC Silverstone in June
The race of the day was the Hawthorn Spanish Trophy which saw a triumphant return to the track for John Ure, who took Peter Mann’s ERA AJM1 to a close-fought victory from Ludovic Lindsay’s famous ERA ‘Remus’. The leaders scrapped furiously for the duration of the 12-lap event with added interest in the shape of pole-position man Mark Gillies, with the Brooke Special, who closed up to third with a few laps remaining, as the lead battle weaved its way through the backmarkers. ‘Remus’ finally lost the lead to Lire when a braking problem caught out Lindsay at Becketts with two laps to go, and although he fought back, it was the 1 1/2-litre car that made the line first, from Lindsay by less than two seconds as Gillies dropped back. He, in turn, finished clear of Ted Dunn’s rapid Riley Special, while Tony Stephens in Bill Morris’ ERA R12B got the best of Robin Lodge (Maserati 4CM) and Jost Wildbolz with his and Peter Mann’s newlyacquired ERA R4A.
The Boulogne Trophy for Vintage cars, sadly, could not compare with April’s entry for the ltala Trophy, but the outcome was the same nonetheless. Ivan Dutton won, but this time after a pit lane start in Alfred Smith’s Bugatti 358 to cure a leaking oil filter, and having lost a piston in testing the day before. Up to sixth by lap three, Dutton took the lead from Geoff Smith (Frazer Nash) two laps later and ran away with proceedings from then on. Smith took a comfortable second from the Riley fight, settled in favour of Clive Temple from Tony Irwin, followed by the fabulous 1922 Miller driven by Bill Morris.
A welcome returnee was Don Orosco with his Scarab collection, but from the front row, he had a fraught time in the Hawthorn Memorial Trophy race; he shadowed Philip Walker (Lotus 16) for the first two laps before a misfire slowed his progress and prompted a pit visit on lap five. This left Walker out on his own to take a comfortable Win from Robin Lodge (Ferrari Dino) with Jeremy Agace progressing to third on his debut with his ex-Chris Mann Lotus 16, after stalling on the grid.
Burkhard von Schenk (250F) followed, ahead of Mark Gillies, first pre-war finisher.
On a weekend he would prefer to forget, Orosco stalled the sports-racing Scarab and started from the back, allowing Frank Sytner to dominate the Hawthorn International Trophy and to win as he pleased with the JCB Jaguar D-type. Barrie Williams (Tojeiro) gave chase but was never close enough to challenge and looked headed for second until a spin at Luffield on the final lap allowed Robert Brooks (Lotus 15) to take the place. ‘Whizzo’ recovered in third while Orosco’s reward was fourth, and fastest lap. Jeffrey Pattinson (Cooper Monaco) and David Pennell (Costin Lister) completed the top six.
Early pacesetter in the Vintage Allcomers was the 8-litre Bentley of Spencer Flack but his lead lasted only one lap before he was displaced by Mark Walker (Parker-GN), the Cirrus-engined special pulling away before Flack retired with worrying noises coming from the engine. Things appeared cut and dried, only for Walker to lose fuel pressure on the last lap, and before it was restored he had been passed by Robin Baker’s Hispano-engined Delage. Walker closed to within 0.8sec at the flag, while the Sunbeam Tigress of John Baker-Courtenay took third shadowed by a closing Ben Collings (Bentley 8-litre).
The first scratch race for the Bill Phillips Trophy saw Bob Burrell’s familiar V12 Bentley-Royce power into the lead; but given a few more laps, the Riley Blue Streak of Julian Bronson might have rewritten the script. Joining the grid late, Bronson was forced to start from the back and proceeded to storm through the field, crossing the line only a few lengths adrift of the winner. Barry Cannell (Alvis) had joined the battle for the lead, but succeeded in keeping Stephen Bulling (Bentley) at bay for third.
Cannell and Len Thompson (Lagonda) disputed the lead for the first five-lap Scratch Race before tangling and ending in the gravel at Copse, leaving a delighted Frank Lockhart (Rover Special) to inherit victory well ahead of the battling duo of Stephen Bulling (Bentley) and Paul Smeeth (Richard Bolster Special). Vying with the pre-war race for best race of the day, the final Scratch Race saw Graham White (Riley) hound Paul Gregory (Riley) all the way to the line. Handicap wins went to Peter Henry (Riley), defeating Barry Cannell (Alvis) in the closest finish, Jo Waterfield (Frazer Nash) and James Broomfield (Alvis).
Following on from the success of last year, VSCC committee member Julian Ghosh had assembled a superb collection of pre-war exhibits for the Racing Car Review, including Dean Butler’s Maserati 8CTF resplendent in the colours of Lucy Schell’s Ecurie Bleue Indianapolis team, and Peter Rae’s Maserati 8CL, one of only two built. Other notables included 1920 GP Ballot, 1921 Salmson Prototype, Julian Majzub’s IT Sunbeam and the GN ‘Kim’.