Moss triumphs over weather in Inter-Continental race — Dan Gurney’s Chevrolet shakes the Jaguars — Tony Marsh does 102.70 mph. lap in FJ race but Jim Russell wins— Maserati wins Historic Car race
With the fate of the Inter-Continental Formula in the balance, several of the Continental events having been cancelled, the Silverstone International Trophy race appeared to be the first and last chance of the Formula to establish itself. However, it appeared to be doomed from the start as the necessary Continental opposition was not forthcoming; Ferrari, after having declared that he was going to build two 3-litre cars obviously changed his mind and when Baghetti won the Syracuse GP so convincingly he was left in no doubt as to which Formula he should support. Porsche have nothing larger than 2-litres at present and Maserati are not particularly interested in motor racing at all so the Continental opposition came from two Cooper-Maseratis of the Centro-Sud team and the Maserati engines in the back of the Fred Tuck Cooper driven by Tony Marsh, and Brian Naylor’s JBW.
Works entries came from Cooper, Lotus, BRM, Vanwall, and Scarab while Yeoman Credit and UDT-Laystall made up the likely runners. Some shuffling of cars went on, Rob Walker lending his Lotus to Yeoman Credit while Brabham drove a Yeoman Credit Cooper, having loaned his car to Ron Flockhart. Surtees was loaned by YC to Mr. Vandervell to drive the new Vanwall. The field was depleted by the withdrawal of the Camoradi team who were too busy preparing for the Monaco GP, while Rob Walker’s other car for Trintignant non-started and Mike Parkes crashed in the Yeoman Credit Louts during practice because, it was thought, of a suspension breakage while Gurney’s Lotus, not surprisingly, was loth to go in a straight line after its prang at Goodwood.
During practice McLaren had gone round in 1 min 34.2 sec, which equalled Ireland’s lap record made last year in the Lotus, while Moss in the Walker-Cooper did 1 min 34,8 sec, followed by Brabham, Hill, Ireland, Salvadori, Brooks, Surtees and Clark. Surtees’ time of 1 mm 36:6 sec looks promising as the Vanwall was not handling too well on the faster corners. The car is based on the Lotus-Vanwall which appeared briefly last year but with around 290 bhp to withstand the chassis is much stronger than that of the Lotus, while the suspension, although of similar design, is beefed up in accordance with Mr. Vandervell’s ideas. The engine has been stroked to 2,600 cc and mated to yet another new transmission system, the gearbox being similar to the five-speed box fitted to the interim front-engined Vanwall which appeared at Reims last year.
With three of the supporting races disposed of, the weather which had been tolerable, deteriorated and as the cars came out for their warming-up lap heavy rain began to fall. The drivers received their briefing, John Eason Gibson no doubt telling them not to do anything silly in the wet, and the two young Italian Formula Junior drivers Bandini and Natili now driving the Centro Sud Coopers were given a separate exhortation in Italian. As Kenneth Evans dropped the flag Ireland crept between McLaren and Moss and accelerated away with them, but Brabham made the best start and was first round Woodcote on lap one followed by McLaren, Moss, Surtees, Henry Taylor and Brooks. Natili obviously paid little attention to his briefing, for he overturned on this lap at Club without personal damage. Brooks and Ireland revolved at Abbey and continued without losing their positions, while Graham Hill spun the other BRM at Abbey on lap three as did Geoff Richardson in his Cooper-Alta; Hill continued but Richardson visited his pit and retired. The track was obviously very slippery and the excited commentators were falling over themselves to report various excursions. Surtees was handling the Vanwall beautifully and he passed Moss on lap five and and moved into second place on that lap when McLaren lost the Cooper at Woodcote and went into the ditch. The commentator exhorted the crowd to applaud him for this effort and as the poor driver was forced to walk past the grandstands to return to his pit the crowd were able to warm their hands for some time, although their applause could have been better directed towards those who were “keeping it on the island.” Ron Flockhart was well up in sixth place despite a spin at Abbey, while Graham Hill, who had been playing with the suspension settings of his car before the race, went off at Club and spent about 15 laps extricating and starting the car. Moss re-passed Surtees to gain second place, while Henry Taylor was fourth from Brooks, Flockhart and Chuck Daigh going extremely well in the Scarab which was delighting the crowd with its deep-throated bellow.
Surtees provided the next sensation by spinning at Abbey and came into the pits with the nose full of dirt and grass, losing two minutes whilst the mechanics went gardening. This dropped him to thirteenth place and his subsequent climb up the chart was one of the features of a cheerless race. Brian Naylor went off at Woodcote and was prepared to re-start but no one would push him so he was forced to abandon. Salvadori passed the Scarab, and having discovered all about wet weather driving set off after Flockhart who was still holding a steady fifth place.
Moss closed on Brabham and began the familiar fist-waving act but he was forced to find his own way past without the aid of blue flags and he did so on lap 23. Brabham offered no resistance and Moss was soon away into the distance driving as only he knows how, holding slides beautifully at Woodcote and sometimes not getting the wheels in the straight-ahead position until he reached the bridge. He was soon 10 sec in front of Brabham and had done a lap at 93.75 mph which was fantastic even though the rain had eased off. Still the incidents occurred in rapid succession; Salvadori passed Flockhart into fifth place behind Brooks, Graham Hill stopped at his pit to check on a suspected oil leak, Marsh lost most of the oil from the Cooper-Maserati and neatly distributed it round the circuit, while Bandini, who had been going steadily in the Centro-Sud, came in and the mechanics commenced a major overhaul and all the while Moss increased his lead and the only other two drivers who were trying hard were Chuck Daigh in the harshly sprung Scarab and Surtees in the skittish Vanwall. On lap 34 Brooks, who had been driving better than of late, lost his fourth place when he visited the pits to complain about the car, the weather, the state of the track, but as no one had a remedy for any of the complaints he was sent back out, now in sixth place, to be passed by Daigh shortly afterwards.
By lap 45 Moss was well over a minute in front of Brabham and the order was Moss, Brabham, Taylor, Salvadori, Flockhart, Daigh, Brooks and the flying Surtees who was now well in his stride so that within live laps he had nosed into sixth place. Soon Moss had lapped Brabham, who made no effort to stave him off but came past his pit pointing alternately at his goggles and his rear tyres. The race now looked set for the finish; but Clark’s Lotus in ninth place expired with clutch trouble, and the Lotuses of Allison and Ireland spun off and stayed put at Maggotts. Flockhart decided that he could do something about Salvadori if he tried and on lap 63 he passed him and as Salvadori had been catching Henry Taylor in the Rob Walker Lotus he soon overhauled the UDT driver to gain a well-deserved third place. Unfortunately, when overtaking Bandini he took the inside line at Copse and went straight on into the bank only nine laps from the finish, so ending a fine drive. This left the order as Moss, Brabham, Salvadori, Taylor, Surtees, Brooks, Daigh, Bandini and Hill, which order they maintained to the miserable end. Brabham dashed off for an aeroplane to take him to Indianapolis and Moss drove straight into the paddock, thoroughly wet.
With the increase in power which has been extracted from the Ford and BMC since last season a 100 mph FJ lap was quite feasable. Practise took place in dry but windy conditions and Pete Arundell’s and Jim Russell’s laps of 1 min 45.8 sec (99.60 mph) were quickest. They were followed by John Love’s 1,100-cc Cooper-Austin in 1 min 46.0 sec, with Peter Ashdown’s Lola-Ford and Tony Marsh’s Lotus Twenty, both recording 1 min 47.0 sec and making up the front row.
At the start Trevor Taylor crept through from the second row and the field stormed into Copse with Arundell taking the lead hotly pursued by Russell, McKee and Tony Maggs in a Tyrell Cooper-Austin. These five began to break away from the field and constantly passed and re-passed, Taylor leading for two laps then Russell taking over for one, then Maggs got through and led for three laps, but in passing some back-markers Russell managed to whip into the lead and gained several seconds over his pursuers.
Meanwhile Summers had crashed his Kieft at Club Corner and was hospitalised with a suspected broken leg, Parkes retired his Gemini, as did Dennis Taylor with his Lola, Hicks retired his Caravelle with a broken gearbox and Dennis Hulme stopped with no oil pressure on his Cooper’s engine.
Tony Marsh had been going round followed by a smoke haze which was issuing from the cockpit, but this suddenly appeared to clear and he began to catch the leaders at a great rate so that by lap 15 he was breathing on McKee’s tail and holding fifth place, as Arundell was virtually out of the race with a broken contact-breaker which took five minutes to repair. Russell was now in a comfortable lead but Maggs, Taylor, McKee and Marsh were in a tight bunch, with Marsh going ahead on lap 22 and retaining his second place to the end. Taylor slowed right down at the end and Maggs got his Cooper into third place ahead of McKee, while Ashdown passed Love right at the end to take fifth place in the Lola. Russell won by 5.6 sec but during his meteoric chase Marsh set a new FJ lap record of 1 min 42.6 sec (102.70 mph).—MLT.
Apart from the Inter-Continental and FJ races the BRDC put three supporting races in the programme. The first was a Sports-Car Race which Moss led easily in the UDT Lotus Monte Carlo. However, this team’s usual 1-2-3 finish was split by Salvadori, who handled his Cooper Monaco magnificently and for whom Allison was no match. Henry Taylor had a 11/2-litre engine in his UDT Lotus, and won his class from the Lolas. The big cars were unimpressive, Salmon’s Jaguar beating Wober’s Jaguar and Lee’s Lister-Jaguar. Moss set a new sportscar lap record of 106.22 mph.
The Saloon-Car Race would have made mild history if Dan Gurney’s huge 6.7-litre V8 carburetter-induced Chevrolet Impala hadn’t lost a back wheel two laps from the finish, for it led all the way until this contretemps, in spite of G Hill’s efforts in a 3.8-litre disc-braked Jaguar. Both these drivers set a new saloon-car lap records, Gurney leaving it at 91.15 mph. His huge car looked comparatively steady and its acceleration. . . . It was shod with Dunlop Racing tyres and larger wheels had been made up to take wider-base covers, which may have been why one pulled over the studs. It will be interesting to see what wheels and tyres the American uses at Silverstone on July 8th.
Parkes and McLaren followed Hill home to the usual 1, 2, 3 Jaguar victory, Salvadori’s Jaguar having lost a few places when it had to stop for its open boot-lid to be secured; later it slowed at Copse with smoke pouring from the exhaust and was driven straight back to the Paddock. Had an irritated Roy over-revved ?
Harper’s Sunbeam Rapier scored an impeccable but hollow class victory and Kerrison’s 2.4 Jaguar was the only runner in its class. Aston Mini beat Whitmore’s Austin 850 to it in the 1,000-cc class, which was a stupendous battle, Whitmore making fastest lap at 77,25 mph, and actually contriving to pass Gurney’s Ihd Chevrolet on the inside round Copse—now I’ve seen everything ! Had Gurney moved over . . . for he couldn’t have seen the Austin, sitting as he was on the left of his wide 360-bhp monster !
The Historic Racing Cars had a wet track, like nearly everyone else. Day’s ERA should have won, but he became involved with Hull’s ERA on the last lap, letting Margulies’ 2.9 Maserati through to victory.—WB.
Brands Hatch, Easter Monday
After several days of cold winds, the weather turned fine for the opening meeting of the B.R.S.C.C. at Brands Hatch on Easter Monday. The entry list was not as good as…
Success At Le Mans
SUCCESS AT LE MANS proves Dunlop best -for you Le Mans is the greatest, toughest and most spectacular event in the entire motor racing calendar. Its title, "Grand Prix d'Endurance",…
Historic Sports Car Club
It may seem a little contradictory that a "historic" club should run a "post historic" race series, but the HSCC's Post Historic Road Sports Championship has proved very popular, providing…