A spring in its step

The VSCC has a more structured race programme in this, its 75th season, leading to bumper grids for its well-attended Spring Start meeting at Silverstone
By Paul Lawrence

In one of the Vintage Sports-Car Club’s best season openers for some time, veterans Richard Attwood and John Harper were the big winners during the Spring Start meeting at Silverstone.

The VSCC’s move to bring more structure to its racing programme proved an instant hit, with big grids across the day. Importantly, the higher profile trophy races, which have suffered modest support recently, featured bumper fields. With a crowd of 6000, it was the perfect start to the racing element of the club’s 75th anniversary season, and it was 60 years, almost to the day, since the VSCC’s first Silverstone race meeting.

Attwood hopped aboard the Aston Martin DBR4 of Hubert Fabri for the Rothschild and Lindsay Memorial Trophy race, going head to head with the ERAs of Mark Gillies (R3A) and Mac Hulbert (R4D). Twenty years of Grand Prix car development did not make this a walk in the park for Attwood, however, who ran a measured pace in the early laps. Once into his stride, the 69-year-old moved ahead of the ERAs, though the hard-charging Gillies held on bravely to finish within a quarter of a second of the Aston.

The HGPCA season opened with a 12-lapper for Pre-66 cars and it was Mark Piercy who grabbed the early lead. However, Harper was soon menacing the Cooper T53 with his Brabham BT4 and there was an air of inevitability about the way that the later car edged ahead. Piercy then spun, which took the pressure off Harper.

In Harper’s wake was a fine tussle for second place as the Cooper trio of John Clark, Nick Wigley and Rod Jolley went at it hammer and tongs. That was how they finished, although the recovering Piercy tigered back to fourth at Jolley’s expense.

On a day when entry levels exceeded the club’s expectations, the 46-strong field for the 1950s sports car race was a tremendous response and a second race was added to allow a split in the entry with the quicker cars out first.

Julian Majzub could have won in the thundering Sadler, but a ride through the Brooklands gravel trap delayed him sufficiently for the race to become a cat-and-mouse affair between aviator Tony Bianchi (Farrallac Allard) and Ewan McIntyre (Lotus 15). V8 power won the day, but it was close. John Clark had a rather easier win in the second race aboard his Cooper Bobtail.
Other notable wins went to Sam Stretton (Alta) in the Fox and Nichol Trophy race and Geraint Owen (Bugatti T35B) in the GP Itala and Lanchester Trophies race.