Luxembourg Grand Prix (Formula III)
THIS year the Grand Prix of Luxembourg, held on May 3rd, was limited to 500-c.c. cars, and naturally a strong force of English competitors was present, there being 15 in all, composed of nine Coopers, four J.B.S.s, one Kieft and one Emeryson. Unfortunately the meeting was marred by the death of Alf Bottoms, who was killed when he crashed in the last minutes of practice, running at full throttle up an escape road at a hairpin bend and under a parked car. It is possible his shoe (he had not put on his racing footwear on this occasion) got jammed in the pedals, or, of course he may have collapsed over the wheel.
The race comprised two heats of 28 miles each and a final of 58 miles. The organisers were not too clear about how to conduct a start, the cars being lined up behind the grid, then moving up to the starting line, where they paused for a matter of seconds before the flag fell. In the first heat Walter Komossa and Karl Schermer, two German drivers with Scampolo and Monopoletta cars respectively, obviously knew nothing of the arrangements, for they arrived at the start on soft plugs, and in the ensuing chaos Claes (Cooper) and Chaussat (D.B.) were badly baulked. Alan Brown commanded the heat until he overshot a corner and it was Dryden (J.B.S.) who finished first. The second was also a J.B.S. victory over Cooper, Don Parker staying well ahead all the time. In this heat two more Germans failed to show much speed, while two very beautiful Giaur cars from Italy, based on Topolino FIAT engines, lacked power and speed. Stirling Moss completed a few pathetic laps in a Kieft, doing his reputation no good at all; he'd have been wiser to have left the car in the van.
When the field lined up for the start of the 25-lap final it looked as though J.B.S. cars were going to triumph, for Parker and Dryden were in the front row with John Cooper between them. However, it was Alan Brown who was out in front at the end of the first lap and for the next 10 laps he and Dryden fought hard for the lead. Parker stalled on the line and in getting from last position to third in one lap he strained the J.A.P. motor too much and a valve fell in after only a few laps. Cooper overshot a corner on the first lap and then proceeded to drive brilliantly, working his way up through the field. At eight laps he was eighth and by 15 laps he was third. At 14 laps Brown, who was on his own in front, had to refuel as he suspected a leaking tank and this let Carter into the lead, but only for three laps before he was forced out by a broken chain. This left Brown unassailably in front and let Cooper into second place, but at the end of the next lap his rear chain broke and that was that. All this time Rippon and Sir Francis Samuelson had been going round steadily, nursing the J.A.P. engines of their Coopers, and at 19 laps they moved into second and third positions respectively, where they stayed until the end.
There was no foreign challenge whatsoever, the Continental cars all being very nicely turned out but all lacking speed. When this country can make as impressive a show in Formula I as it does in Formula III, both on performance and "equipage," for the various English 500-c.c."Ecuries" are superbly equipped, then we may well rest content.
HEAT 1, 12 LAPS.-1st: R. M. Dryden (J.B.S.-Norton), 23 min. 3 sec., 72.9 m.p.h. ; 2nd : J. N. Cooper (Cooper-Norton), 23 min. 6 sec. ; 3rd : A. Brown (Cooper-Norton), 23 min. 53 sec. ; 4th : R. Merrick (Cooper-Norton) ; 5th : A. Nippon (Cooper-J.A.P.); 6th : F. Samuelson (Cooper-J.A.P.).
Fastest Lap : A. Brown (Cooper), 1 min 51 sec., 75.82 m.p.h.
HEAT 2, 12 LAPS. —1st : D. Parker (J.B.S.-J.A.P.), 23 min. 20 sec., 72.16 m.p.h. ; 2nd : E. Brandon (Cooper-Norton), 23 min. 36 sec.; 3rd : W. Whitehouse (Cooper-Norton), 24 min. 3 sec.: 4th : A. May (Cooper-J.A.P.) ; 5th : F. Aitkens (J.B.S.Triumph) ; 8th: M. Aurnaud (D.B.-Panhard).
Fastest Lap : Parker (J.B.S.), 1 min. 63 sec., 74.52 m.p.h.
FINAL, 25 LAPS.-1st : A. Brown (Cooper-Norton), 50 min. 27 sec., 69.06 m.p.h.; 2nd : A. Rippon (Cooper-J.A.P.), 51 min. 28 sec. ; 3rd : F. Samuelson (Cooper-J.A.P.), 52 min. 8 sec. ; 4th : G. Buytendyk (Cooper-J.A.P.); 5th : C. A. N. May (Cooper-J.A.P.).
Fastest Lap : Parker (J.B.S.), 1 min. 53 sec., 74.52 m.p.h.