In spite of numerous heavy clouds which lingered over Northamptonshire on Saturday, May 12th, the Maidstone & Mid-Kent Motor Club was able to hold its annual meeting at Silverstone in fine weather.
At 12.30 p.m. prompt, the 10-lap race for 750 and 1,172 Formula cars got under way, most spectacular cornering being practised by Maurice Clare in the Clare 90. J.S. French’s Simplicity, being driven by Major Mallock, and A.A.D. Underwood’s pretty Buckler were there but J. Beekaert in his Lotus and J. Anstice-Brown in a similar car fought for first place, which finally went to the latter, with Buckingham’s Mk.VI Lotus in third place.
Heat 1 of the 500-c.c. car race followed. This resulted in a private dice for Taylor and Eccles in Coopers, they finished first and second respectively. J.L. Rowbotham (J.L.R.) and R.J. Trevellick were to be congratulated on the smart appearance of their cars even if they didn’t exactly go very rapidly.
Fourteen cars came up to the starting grid for the 1,500-c.c. sports-car 10-lap race. Frost’s Lotus began well on the opening lap but amongst the Bucklers, M.G.s and Coopers was a Maserati driven by Brian Naylor. By the end of lap two this car was in the lead, a position held for the duration of the race. R.F. Bloxam in his Lotus-M.G. came in second and Jackson’s Cooper third. W/Cmdr. Mackenzie in the ex-Watling Greenwood R.W.G. spun at Woodcote and J.W. Higham almost did likewise at the same point. The average speed of the Maserati was 75.48 m.p.h.
A similar event for 2,500-c.c sports cars was scheduled to follow. Here there were five non-starters but the field was quite varied and a close race resulted. The laurels on this occasion went to Austin Nurse, once again at the wheel of a fast car, this time the Lister-Bristol, with Utley’s Frazer-Nash a close third behind second-man Higham in the Lotus. Dougherty’s Cooper seemed a little unsteady on corners, particularly at Copse, Hart’s TR2 was rather slow and appeared to blow out more smoke than other models, and Clarke’s Cooper coasted to a standstill after Copse near the end of the race. Most interesting machine to view close up was the ex-Horsfall Aston Martin, timed at Brooklands in pre-war days at over 100 m.p.h. and now rebuilt for the second time by the Freeman brothers.
The car was slower than might have been expected but what it lacked in m.p.h. it made up for in appearance and standard of finish.
For the over-2,500-c.c. machines a similar event again followed. This resulted in a complete walkover for McMillan’ s D-type Jaguar, which took off well at the start and kept it up. Austin Nurse tried very hard to win first place but could only get as far as second. J.M. Trimble, however, gave Nurse a run for his money in the XK120 Jaguar but the Lister-Bristol was a little steadier on the corners.
Heat 2 of the 500-c.c. event was run off next. P. Robinson was the winner, at 74.88 m.p.h., with Scott-Bloor in second place, both driving Coopers. M.E. Wyatt had to retire to the pits at the and of his first lap and J. Middlehurst almost lost his overhead exhaust megaphone, which was gaily swinging about in the breeze.
Repeats of certain of the events then took place: one was the 750 and 1,172-c.c. race. This was a fine easy trip for Anstice-Brown in his Lotus. Next man behind was Beckaert, followed by Silk, both in similar cars, but as the race progressed the gaps between competitors widened, giving the above three a fair margin over the others. The next repeat was for 1,500-c.c. machines. Here a much larger field of entries came forward. A close contest went on between the Morgan and the two TC M.G.s which were running last; the Morgan, however, kept some way ahead. Another fight took place between McMillan’s Elva and Clarke’s Cooper. The two M.G.s were soon lapped by Bloxam’s Lotus-M.G. (SAR 5)„ the ex-Nurse car, which won the race at 74.21 m.p.h.
In the 2,500-c.c. race following, the Lister-Bristol again made its presence felt from the very beginning. Austin Nurse keeping first place and increasing his lead very slowly on Jackson’s Cooper. There was little change in the order of the runners and the cars kept going round in the same sequence.
The first handicap event came up soon after 5 p.m., very commendably ahead of the scheduled time. R. Parkes was the limit man in a Buckler, and was followed away from the line by Col. White and J. Copeman in TR2 and Austin-Healey, respectively. Col. White unfortunately had to retire when clouds of white smoke poured out of the TR2 at Beckett’s, announcing the need for some extensive engine repairs. Very crisp gear-changes were made during the course of events here by H.J. Fredman in his XK120 Jaguar, and Miss Patsy Burt put in some smooth cornering in her Aston Martin. Freeman’s Aston Martin seemed unsteady at Beckett’s and on one occasion he took the escape road on the final lap but soon returned to the field. First here was J.D. Hart in a TR2, at 58.83 m.p.h.
The penultimate event was the 14-lap race for 500s. Taylor started off well on the opening laps but Robinson held the lead for most of the race. However, by lap 12, Robinson had dropped right back to third place, allowing Taylor to win, with Scott-Bloor second. H.E. Plummer was one of the unfortunate few who had no racing to speak of, having to retire on the first lap.
Finially came the over-2,500-c.c. sports-car race. This resulted in an easy win for McMillan’s D-type Jaguar, second place going to Nurse in the Lister-Bristol, with Trimble (XK120) third. Clarke’s Cooper-Climax had to retire on lap one and Mumby (Austin-Healey) had to give up at the last moment. So concluded the Maidstone & Mid-Kent annual pilgrimage to Northamptonshire. – I.G.