Parker Wins 500-c.c. Race for Kieft
A huge crowd saw Hawthorn do exactly what Ferrari intended him to do at Silverstone on the occasion of the Daily Express B.R.D.C. International Trophy Meeting on May 9th. He won his heat and the final of the International Trophy with the Formula II Ferrari and the Production Sports Car Race in a 4.1-litre Ferrari America, which he had not even sat in before coming to England and which ran in third gear throughout, followed home by Tom Cole’s similar Ferrari, a car just back from fourth place in the Mille Miglia and retaining the same Pirelli tyres used during the closing stages of that race. The “Flying Horse” and Hawthorn had every reason to be satisfied with the day’s racing and certainly the tall, blonde British ace from Farnham was a popular, modest victor.
Don Parker won an exciting 500-c.c. race in his very effective Kieft and Moss the Production Touring Car Race in a Mk. VII Jaguar saloon which was considerably faster than any other car in this event. Everyone admired Moss for pluckily driving after a nasty accident on the Thursday, when he left the course in the Type C Jaguar at Abbey Curve and was pinned beneath the overturned car. But he never got into his stride in the other races, being seventh in the Sports Car Race, his Jaguar beaten by the Ferraris, two DB3 Aston-Martins and two other Jaguars, and ninth in the final of the International Trophy, in which, for some unaccountable reason he stopped to refuel. But he chased de Graffenried’s Maserati at a discreet distance in his heat. Connaughts, driven by Salvadori and Rolt, put up the only challenge to Continental opposition.
In the final, wheel-sawing Baron de Graffenried jumped the start and retired in a dudgeon, but it was good to see Bira driving in his old, polished style and Chiron going fast in the blue Osca before retiring. It was a well-run, accident-free meeting held in fine weather – a credit to the B.R.D.C. and to the generous Daily Express. And a fine omen for another vast attendance at the British Grand Prix at the same venue on July 18th – W.B.
The training period was alarming by reason of Stirling Moss’ accident, probably caused by the Type C Jaguar, which was lapping at 90.96 m,p.h., losing adhesion due to a change of surface at Abbey Curve, and the late arrival of the Gordinis, and Rosier’s and Hawthorn’s Ferraris due to a French dock strike. L. Lewis-Evans in his 500-c.c. Cooper seemed to enjoy leaving the course on every possible occasion but was safer during the actual racing. Moss had the use of a beautifully equipped Rootes workshop-lorry, presumably as he is their Competition Manager – rather droll, as he was driving Jaguar and Cooper cars. Hawthorn used a Lancia Aprilia as transport – proving that he is not only a front-rank G.P. driver but a discerning young man where personal transport is concerned. Ferrari mechanics and two O.M. Ferrari transports attended him.
On Thursday the new top-dressing rendered the corners slippery and many were the gyrations at these points, Keen damaging a wing on one of Jim Mayers’ new sports Kiefts and Salvadori spinning in the fuel-injection Connaught, which later required attention in the Paddock, its “mysteries” covered by a layer of overalls while the injectors were dismantled. Rodney Clarke looked troubled – or does he always look like that ? Mike Couper’s DB2 Aston-Martin circuit-car was much admired, but the competing DB3s did not arrive until Friday afternoon.
500-c.c. RACE (15 Laps)
Moss (Cooper) non-started. In practice Bicknell and Parker had both lapped at 85.67 m.p.h., Brandon one second slower. They shared front row on the grid with Truman.
For two laps after flag-fall Parker led from Bicknell’s yellow Staride, then Bicknell got in front, although Parker closed a narrow gap to a matter of a car’s length through the corners. By lap four he was leading again and Brandon was in third place. Smith (Smith 500) spun off on lap 10. Bicknell seemed at this stage to be losing ground, but on laps 7, 8 and 9 he again headed Parker. But the lightweight Kieft with its lightweight driver went ahead by lap 10 – the sort of racing the crowd loves, especially as the Staride immediately re-passed the Kieft. However, lap 13 saw Parker sweep by on Beckett’s Corner to lead to the finish and win by a mere second – a fine race. Brandon was obviously in trouble but held his third place.
Heat 1 – INTERNATIONAL TROPHY – Formula II Cars (15 Laps)
This turned out to be an uneventful but interesting race. Baron de Graffenried led all the way in the new Maserati, pulling out a big lead. Moss sat behind in his new Cooper-Alta (delightfully rendered by one “daily” as a “Bristol-Alta”) and Bira was secure in third place in his Autocourse Maserati. Tom Cole, Anglo-American driver in blue overalls in a yellow Ferrari of the Atlantic Stable, hit, a tub, later ran out of power, but the only retirements concerned Kelly’s Alta, rammed by Cole, the Gordini driven by Meires in place of Behra, and Aston’s A.B. (in which, as someone remarked, the butter melted early on, rendering it worthless), and Stuck’s A.F.M. in a great dice with Ian Stewart’s Connaught. Gerard became so Continental at the start that he was penalised 1 lap, for jumping the flag – but as he never ran higher than fifth after the race settled down it didn’t matter. The Connaughts (Rolt and McAlpine) gave a taste of what was to come by finishing fourth and fifth.
PRODUCTION TOURING CAR RACE (17 Laps)
This was quietly instructive, if you discount tyre howl ! The results are the operative feature. The crowd roared when Dixon (not the great Fred) was seen to have dented the front of his Javelin, and were quick to applaud Foster as he passed Trouis’ Sirrica Aronde through Stowe Corner. Moreover, Sparrowe’s Minor held Tony Crook’s Bristol 400 here. Jacobs drove his 1 1/4-litre M.G. saloon very well indeed, and Hitching’s old Healey had the legs of Rogers’ 2 1/2-litre Riley. Moss naturally led all the way, setting a new touring-car lap record for Jaguar. Dunham drove the Alvis with spirit but was beaten on speed by Grace’s smaller Riley.
Heat 2 – INTERNATIONAL TROPHY – Formula II Cars (15 Laps)
Hawthorn was never headed, the red Ferrari (No.1 car of its type) pulling farther and farther away from Wharton’s Cooper-Bristol, although the Farnham driver worked hard at the wheel at times, whereas the Birmingham driver held his arms far more steady. Peter Whitehead was driving well in third place in his Cooper-Alta, Harry Schell was doing one of his best drives in the Gordini, and Chiron lapped faster than anyone – 93.25 m.p.h. – to bring the trim Osca through the field.
Coombs’ Connaught fell sick after six laps, by which time Salvadori’s Connaught had come up to fourth place ahead of Trintignant’s Gordini, Chiron sixth, Schell falling back. Alas, Trintignant went out with a snick – the old transmission trouble.
Hawthorn lapped the Turner after only six rounds. On lap 11 Salvadori petrol-injected himself past Whitehead. So the heat ended, the Ferrari a second ahead, with a stern duel between Schell and hard-pressing Collins in an H.W.M.
PRODUCTION SPORTS CAR RACE (17 Laps)
There were exciting, if odd, production cars in this race, such as the new “Monkey Stable” Kieft-M.G.s, the latest Frazer-Nash coupé driven by Wharton, a Kieft-Bristol and Davis’ Cooper-M.G., JOY 500.
Hawthorn led all the way, the 4.1-litre Ferrari America, with its all-enveloping body equipped with full-width insect-deflector and low sidescreens, running like a train. Parnell held the DB3 Aston-Martin in second place until passed by Tom Cole’s 4.1 Ferrari on lap 12, after Reg had run a bit wide on a corner. Rolt had occupied second place in a Type C Jaguar until displaced by the smaller Aston-Martins and most of his team-mates, and Moss never got going in Stirling-style in his Jaguar.
Allard had the grand-daddy of slides in his JR Allard, stopping astride the safety-bank at Beckett’s, and finishing up like the cow with the crumpled horn.
A surprise was the ease with which Davis’ hard-used Cooper-M.G. vanquished the new Kiefts, of which Keen’s stopped for some time between Beckett’s and Stowe corners.
Brown drove very fast in the all-enveloping Cooper-Bristol, Jacobs, in a Frazer-Nash with crackling exhaust note, was very quick indeed and pressed truly hard by Collins’ Aston-Martin, but Duke seemed unhappy and the clutch objected. Quite early Duncan Hamilton retired the Type C Jaguar with a plug lead off – don’t ask its why he didn’t replace it. Black’s Frazer-Nash tried to shed its exhaust-pipe and the remaining Allards were slow.
INTERNATIONAL TROPHY FINAL—Formula II Cars (35 Laps)
The final promised well and it was a splendid race. Hawthorn led lap one, was passed by de Graffenried, but was ahead again on lap four. After this he pulled out a bigger and bigger lead, as Ascari and other aces from Modena have done before him on this circuit. De Graffenried had jumped the flag, which in England costs a minute penalty, and, learning of this from his pit, he gave up after 16 laps, while still in second place – apparently quite certain he couldn’t catch Hawthorn and that Hawthorn wouldn’t stop !
Wharton had held a brilliant third place for 16 laps but as de Graffenried fell out Salvadori came past him and thereafter a mysterious trouble in the Bristol department dropped the yellow-nosed Cooper farther and farther back. Thus Rolt, driving in his usual steady, fast style, moved to third position and Bira calmly held on behind him. Incidents were few, although Bryde had a fire in his Cooper-Bristol and suffered slight burns.
Trintignant lost a wheel from the Gordini, which unhappily injured a spectator.
Moss in his new Cooper-Alta never got higher than fourth (lap one) and lost 12 sec. having live gallons of fuel put in on lap 29, when running in sixth place.