The B.R.D.C. successfully put on a very full day’s racing at Silverstone, but unfortunately a gloom had been cast over the meeting by the fatal accident to Harry Schell who, in the rain, lost control of his Cooper at Abbey Curve and, hitting the marker wall as the car slid backwards, was thrown out and killed instantly.
During the wet practice session Moss “lost” his Cooper as he accelerated out of the Paddock round Woodcote. It spun into one of the F.1 Aston Martins that was parked at the pits, severely damaging both cars. Mechanics had to work all night putting the respective engines into spare chassis frames and for a time Moss the Master became Moss the Menace. It may be this change to another chassis which caused Moss’ retirement in the International Trophy race, because a front wishbone broke when he was in the lead. The lone Vanwall proved unsatisfactory and was withdrawn – Tony Vandervell is a perfectionist but we hope he will have his cars ready before the season is too far advanced.
The starting grid for the 150-mile Trophy Race had Moss in pole position in Walker’s Cooper (1 min. 50.4 sec.), and Bonnier’s B.R.M (1 min. 52.6 sec.), Gurney’s B.R.M. (1 min. 53.8 sec.) and Phil Hill’s Ferrari (1 min. 55.6 sec.) keeping it company. Moss made a ragged start in a field of 25 cars and as they roared away Bonnier led into Copse, followed by Gurney, Graham Hill, whose B.R.M. had forged up from the third row, and Moss. Greene’s Cooper-Maserati got away late. However, at the end of lap one Moss had the Cooper in front of Bonnier, Ireland’s Lotus fourth, Brabharn in the new, very low F.1 Cooper fifth. Moss was setting a great pace and although Gurney, Hill and Surtees, whom Chapman had put in the Lotus originally destined for Clark, were up with the leaders, already Stacey’s Lotus was a little way behind in the “second race.” Later Stacey and McLaren closed up and after Gurney had dropped back to retire, Gregory’s Cooper-Maserati led this “second race” duelling with Phil Hill’s crisp-sounding V6 Ferrari.
Moss, cornering as only he can, was pulling out a bigger and bigger lead and behind came Ireland, with Brabham getting the Lotus in his sights. The race settled down to be a very high speed procession. Taylor’s Lotus stopped for a plug change, Salvadori’s ‘carburettor’ Aston Martin was being bothered by plug trouble, while Trintignant’s ‘fuel-injection’ Aston was never in the picture. Parnell’s Cooper was overheating. Tony Marsh’s broke a fuel-line, McLaren stopped to have a sticking throttle attended to and Surtees’ race ended when the Lotus began to lose oil.
On lap seven Moss went round in 1 min. 35 sec, (110.917 m.p.h. – a new lap record); on lap 15 the flying Stirling had lapped Piper’s old-type Lotus and everything seemed set for a Rob Walker victory. However, Ireland was displaying the prowess that has put him in the forefront of this year’s drivers, the new Lotus had the roadholding and performance to do this justice and it became evident that he was catching Moss as well as leaving the World Champion behind.
Stop-watches clicked and the fact that Burgess had retired his Cooper-Maserati as it lacked brakes and Campbell-Jones was suffering clutch slip on his Cooper went almost unnoticed. On lap 25 Ireland passed Moss to hold a faint advantage. Four laps later Stirling was a length behind and next time round he was again in the lead. He now knew he would have no easy victory and he piled on all the Cooper could take – in closing on the Cooper Ireland had pushed up the lap record to 1 min. 34.2 sec. (111.86 m.p.h.).
For another four laps Moss led, but on the 33rd lap, as the Cooper came into Copse corner, it was seen that its offside front wheel was leaning inwards. The strain of lapping at over 110 m.p.h. had broken a suspension wishbone. With consumate calm Moss waved Ireland on, steering with his other hand on to the grass on the outside of the corner, where the Cooper subsided, leaving the luckless Stirling to walk away disgruntled.
For a time the race held little of interest, although Gregory was pressing Hill’s Ferrari hard, Allison’s Ferrari was overheating due to a dented nose-cowl and Bonnier was in trouble with the B.R.M. brakes, causing him to retire. By lap 37 Brabham was seen to be hanging the Cooper’s tail out on to the grass verges and to be 6 sec. behind Ireland. Expressionless, Graham Hill brought the sole remaining B.R.M. along in third place. Brabham would knock perhaps half a second off Ireland’s lead, then they would remain at the same distance for several laps: by lap 44 the gap was only 3.8 sec. However, the brilliant Innes Ireland was equal to the World Champion in Cooper’s latest F.1 car, and the compact little Lotus-Climax went over the line 1.6 sec. ahead, chalking up another victory for Cheshunt and a G.P. driver who has arrived! Stacey’s team Lotus was fourth.
1st: I. Ireland (Lotus-Climax F.1) – 1 hr. 20 min. 41.4 sec. – 108.82 m.p.h.
2nd: J. Brabham (Cooper-Climax F.1) – 1 hr. 20 min. 43.0 sec.
3rd: G. Hill (F.1 B.R.M.) – 1 hr. 21 min. 53.6 sec.
No other car completed the full distance. Hulme’s Cooper was placed 12th. to win the F.2 section at 98.48 m.p.h. The winning Lotus used Esso fuel and oil, Dunlop tyres on Lotus wheels, Weber carburetters, a Ceco fuel pump, Lucas ignition, Champion plugs, Armstrong dampers, Brico piston rings and Girling brakes with Ferodo pads. It set a new lap record of 111.86 m.p.h for the slightly improved Silverstone circuit.
The Formula Junior Race
From a huge field of mixed F.J. cars, Lotus again emerged victorious. Taylor’s Team Lotus-Ford established a big advantage which expired after 11 of the 25 laps, at Copse, with an overheated engine. Jimmy Clark thus took the lead and held it throughout, however hard Surtees – the “Eternal Second” – worked away at the wheel of the Cooper-Austin, to leave H. Taylor’s Cooper well behind. After the Taylor Cooper had overcooked its engine McKee’s Lotus Ford took third place, ahead of Arundell’s Lotus. It was entertaining to see Summers sideways on, in an endeavour to keep his Lotus-Ford in front of McKee and Arundell, which he wisely didn’t try to do for long, but in general F.J. cars look mild round Silverstone and it was a dull race. There was much carnage – retirements included the Stanguellini-Fiat (low oil pressure), Threlfall’s Elva-D.K.W. (engine failure), a Deep Sanderson (water pump failure), Taylor’s Lotus-Ford (engine trouble), Ian Walker’s Lotus-Ford (broken gear lever), the Cooper-Smith-Ford (no water), Prior’s Lola-Ford (no sparks), Ashdown’s Lola-Ford (engine trouble), Jopp’s Elva-Austin (engine trouble), and Summers’ Lotus-Ford (engine failure). The Gemini Fords were too slow. Geoff Duke lapping the faster, at 93.25 m.p.h.
1st: J. Clark (Lotus-Ford) – 45 min. 51.0 sec. – 95.75 m.p.h.
2nd: J. Surtees (Cooper-Austin) – 45 min. 56.6 sec. – 95.56 m.p.h.
3rd: M. McKee (Lotus-Ford) – 46 min. 37.8 sec. – 94.15 m.p.h.
Fastest lap: T. Taylor (Lotus-Ford) 97.93 m.p.h.
The Supporting Races
International Production Touring Car Race – 12 Laps – 36 Miles
This race was divided into four classes, the largest class for over 3-litre cars containing six 3.8 Jaguars, while the 1,600 to 3,000-c.c. class consisted of four Ford Zephyrs. In the 1,000 to 1,600-c.c. class four Volvos were challenged by two Rileys, a Sunbeam and a Borgward, and the International flavour in the 1000-c.c. class was provided by two Auto Unions, which were opposed by a host of B.M.C. products.
Moss in the Equipe Endeavour car got away to a bad start and was led for a lap by Salvadori in John Coombs’ similar car, followed by Baillie, Graham Hill driving the Team Speedwell Jaguar, and D. L. Lewis. These five went away from the rest of the field, the only positional changes in the early stages being when Moss passed Salvadori and Hill passed Baillie. In an incredible sixth place was Les Leston in his Volvo, which was leading Uren’s Jaguar, while most of the other cars in the 1,600-c.c. class were leading the Ford Zephyrs from the next class up. Leading the smallest class was the Auto Union of Isacson, who was well in front of the Mini-Minors of Shepherd and Aley.
Towards the end of the race Salvadori passed Moss and Lewis pit-stopped with an ominous rattle in the engine of his Jaguar, letting Leston into fifth place. Salvadori lapped at 89 m.p.h., nearly a second better than Moss, and averaged 87.55 m.p.h.
International 1,500-c.c. Sports-Car Race – 25 Laps – 75 Miles
The entry for this race showed which class is suffering most from the advent of Formula Junior and a number of Lotus Elites were accepted to make up a reasonable field. Although several 1-1/2-litre Lotuses were entered they were no match for the 1,100-c.c. Lolas of Ashdown and Rees, who went into the lead right from the start and never looked like being headed. They were followed at a distance by Graham Eden’s 1,100-c.c. Lotus and the 1,500-c.c. cars of Kerrison and Breakell.
On the first lap Keens in a Lola, Brierley in his fast Elva and Keith Greene in the Gilby left the track, the Lola catching fire and being seriously damaged although none of the drivers was seriously hurt. Ashdown in the yellow Lola opened up a large gap over Rees but misfiring set in and the latter closed the gap considerably. However, the trouble cleared itself after two or three laps and the gap was once again re-established. Well behind them Kerrison and Breakell duelled constantly for third place, honours eventually going to Kerrison. J. B. Wagstaff in an Elite had an uncomfortable moment when these two passed him, one on either side, at Copse.
With the crowd drifting away the race dragged on to its conclusion, with most journalists wishing that it had been restricted to 10 laps. Ashdown once again proved the speed of the Lola, lapping at 96.49. m.p.h., and Alan Rees showed that he is a very fine driver. Ashdown averaged 95.17 m.p.h.
International Unlimited Sports-Car Race – 25 Laps – 75 Miles
Divided into two classes, 1,500 to 3,000 c.c. and over-3,000 c.c. this race received a poor entry of 20 cars, which was further reduced to 14 when they lined up on the grid. Most disappointing non-starter was the Ecurie Ecosse 2.4-litre Cooper-Monaco, which was not ready in time. With little opposition, Salvadori in his Cooper-Monaco went into an enormous lead from Brian Naylor’s Cooper-Maserati, Tom Dickson’s Lotus and Michael Taylor’s Lotus, both being 2-litre cars. Jim Clark held fifth place in the Border Reivers DBR1 Aston Martin but after three laps retired with a broken throttle linkage. He had already been passed by Tony Marsh’s 2-litre Cooper-Monaco, while the other real sports/racing cars, the D-type Jaguars of Charles, Salmon and Flockhart, were well down the field, behind the sprint cars.
Salvadori built up a tremendous lead over Naylor, while Taylor passed Dickson into third place. only to lose it when he was forced to retire at Becketts. Just before the race ended Dickson got past Naylor, whose Maserati engine was sounding rough. Salvadori broke the outright sports-car lap record with a time of 1 min. 42.4 sec. (102.9 m.p.h.) and averaged 100.73 m.p.h.