The First Brands Hatch International of 1951

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ON Whit-Saturday, in warm Spring sunshine, the boys and girls assembled in considerable numbers to see the first of three 1951 International Formula Ill race meetings at Brands Hatch Stadium, backed by that excellent newspaper, the Daily Telegraph.

The International element was represented by the Dutch Beels-J.A.P.s of Les Beels and Richardson, the American Schell’s Cooper, the brightiy-hued Swedish Effyhs with roll-hoops, of Ericsson and Pepperson, Piero Taruffi driving ”Pa” Cooper’s Mk V Cooper-Norton, appropriately painted red, and Liagre’s D.B.

No one doubted, however, that British drivers would win the prizes. Taruffi took the racing seriously, going down to study the form of others at Paddock bend after Beardshaw had overtaken him here in a heat., and asking for some sorbo padding round a stay and tighter seat support, before driving again. He was also somewhat puzzled about the clutchless changes you do on a Cooper. In the end he netted a third and a fourth in the heats.

B. C. Ecclestone astonished the pundits in Heat 1 of the Open Challenge Race by winning in his Cooper-J.A.P. from Alan Brown—hero of Luxembourg-in his latest Cooper-Norton. Beels toured but Schell led Smith’s Cooper-J.A.P.

Richardson’s Beels was no faster in Heat 2; which Brake, driving a bit shakily at times, won from R. Frost’s yellow J.B.S.-Norton, the radio aerial of which reminded us of the cut-out rods fitted on r.t.p. petrol model racing cars! Brown’s Kieft third, after a tussle with Street’s C.R.M. Pugh’s Cooper paused and Baker’s Cooper left the course at the top bend, being effectivety pulled up by the roughened edges of the grass surrounds.  Westcott’s J.B.S. won Heat 3 from Beardshaw, who caught Taruffi at Paddock bend. Lewis-Evans’ old white Cooper-J.A.P. contrived to pass inside Taruffi at the top bend but went off in a big way at Paddock bend. Pepperson’s Effyh was slow, Nurse’s Cooper slower and Harold Daniell’s Emeryson retired.

Brandon won Heat 4 from Gray and Braid, all in Coopers, the race enlivened by Headland going off into the rough at Paddock bend but managing to return to the race, stopping a lap later with earth in the air intake-a cunning means the organisers seem to have devised to eliminate wild drivers!

Heat 1 of the Daily Telegraph Internatioital Trophy Race followed, Lowe’s Cooper misfiring, J. Gregory’s Cooper also in trouble, while Bryde lost time hedging and ditching. Ecclestone won again, from Don Parker’s J.B.S. and Paul Emery’s Emeryson. Schell toured-in a previous heat he had been credited with a new 69.23 m.p.h. lap record, but time-keepers have erred before. In Heat 2 Richardson’s Beels retired, Brown went off at Paddock bend when baulked, and Brandon won, only to stall beyond the finish. Brake was second, Powell-Richards’ Kieft third after a fine duel with Headland, whom he passed in a magnificently spirited piece of driving, on the outside of Paddock bend.

Dryden’s neat, J.B.S. led off in Heat 3 but was soon passed by Brown and later left the road on the back leg and damaged its steering. Brown won, pursued by Westcott and Rippon, Taruffi, fourth after a slow start, altliough he lost ground into corners to Peppersoit’s Effyh. Gray’s Cooper-J.A.P. won Heat 4 from Loen’s original J.B.S. and R. Frost’s J.B.S. Grose drove his Grose well, bobbing about busily in the cockpit.. The French D.B. was unhappily in the touring category.

Eric Brandon, continuing his 1951 supremacy, then won the 15-lap Open Challenge Race from Gray and Brake after Ecclestone’s J.A,P. motor had given in while leading the race.

Next some Edwardians lined up for a Le Mans start and indulged in a three to six lap handicap, in which. the 1908 Itala, ably driven by Ewen, proved an effective antidote to the comic aspect of some of the others—it was fourth at-note this-49,18 m.p.h. including the dead-engine start. A Wolseley won, from a 1900 two-cylinder Darracq and Chambers’ very quiet, fleet two-cylinder Renault, announced as 1904 but looking very 1909-11-ish. Major Pitt’s Alfonso Hispano-Suiza was slower than a model-T Ford and a Mors chain-drive T-head chassis with vast gearbox impressive in size only. A Vulcan touter essayed a brief servicing stop.

So to the 40-mile Final of the International Trophy Race, with its valuable prize. Again the pundits were let down, for whereas Brown was expected, by arrangement, to lead Brandon home in the Ecurie Richmond Mk. V Coopers, it was motor-cycle record holder Gray whose Cooper soon led and kept ahead of Brown throughout! Its J.A.P. engine must be a good one, well assembled! Brown was admittedly hampered by damaged rear suspension. Brandon eventually retired, after Loens had passed him.  Unfortunetly for Loens the old J.B.S. again developed its wheel-discarding habit, and when a stub-axle broke, severing, a brake line, he shot head-on through the paling fence at Paddock bend. Luckily, no one was hurt, but no doubt the scrutineers will not love Loens in future! This episode allowed Paul Emery, cornering on his absolute limit, to bring the Emeryson, now Norton-engined, in third, followed by Harold Daniells’ sister car. More of this at another International Meeting on June 23rd.

Results :

HEAT WINNERS
HEAT 1, CHALLENGE RACE: B. C. Ecclestone (Cooper-J.A.P.), 68.5 m.p.h.
HEAT 2, CHALLENGE RACE: D. N. Brake (Cooper-Norton), 65.08 m.p.h.
HEAT 3, CHALLENGE RACE: J. F. Westcott (J.B.S.-Norton), 63.69 m.p.h.
HEAT 4, CHALLENGE RACE: E. Brandon (Cooper-Norton), 65.57 m.p.h.

HEAT 1, INTERNATIONAL TROPHY: B. C. Ecclestone (Cooper-J.A.P.), 66.03 m.p.h.
HEAT 2, INTERNATIONAL TROPHY: E. Brandon (Cooper-Norton), 65.93 m.p.h.
HEAT 3, INTERNATIONAL TROPHY: A. Brown (Cooper-Norton), 66.23 m.p.h.
HEAT 4, INTERNATIONAL TROPHY: D. H. R. Gray (Cooper-J.A.P.), 64.93 m.p.h.

FINAL, OPEN CHALLENGE RACE. – E. Brandon (Cooper-Norton), 66.08 m.p.h.; 2nd: D. H. R. Gray (Cooper-J.A.P.); 3rd: D. N. Brake (Cooper-Norton).

EDWARDIANS RACE: 1st; A. E. Crips (1910 Wolseley), 27.06 m.p.h.

FINAL, INTERNATIONAL TROPHY RACE. – 1st: D. H. R. Gray (Cooper-J.A.P.), 65.43 m.p.h.; 2nd: A. Brown (Cooper-Norton); 3rd: P. Emery (Emeryson-Norton).