Aintree "200"

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The Aintree ”200″ for Formula One cars received a predominantly British entry and in fact all the cars were British. This fact, added to the miserable northern weather, gave no incentive for Liverpudlians to leave their TV sets as the race was televised by the BBC and the admission prices at Aintree for a family could buy a TV licence. The works Lotus cars were still last year’s models and getting decidedly tired, but Brahham had a new Cooper which was slightly lower and slimmer than the 1960 model but otherwise little altered. The remainder of the field consisted of the usual Lotus and Cooper mixture with the addition of the two works BRMs for Hill and Brooks, the Equipe National Belge Emerysons for Lucien Bianchi and Andre Pilette, and Keith Greene in his Len Terry-designed Gilby-Climax.

In practice Graham Hill had been round the twisting Aintree circuit (which must be infuriating to the driver of a fast car) in 2 min 00.2 sec, followed by Brabham in 2 min 6.06 sec, although he later had bearing trouble, while Moss also suffered bearing trouble and was relegated to the ninth row on the grid. Bruce McLaren completed the front row of the grid with 2 min 01.4 sec. The second row held Surtees and Clark, each having done a 2 min 02.1 sec, and Jack Lewis with his privately-owned Cooper having done 2 min 03.0 sec.

After the preliminary races were dealt with the Formula One cars began to warm up as the rain began to bucket down, and John Cooper, looking heavenwards, said a rude word and set about changing the tyres of Brabham’s Cooper to the new high-hysteresis rubber Dunlop racing tyres which give a marked improvement in adhesion in the wet. These are only available in the size for F1 cars and some of the cars had to go without as not enough have yet been made to supply private owners.

As the flag fell the field disappeared into a cloud of spray, With Brabharn getting a perfect start and going straight into the lead, but others were not so lucky and Graham Eden and Lucien Bianchi collided in the murk and George Morgan in Tommy Atkins’ Cooper received a badly dented nose which forced him to retire on lap one. Eden was able to continue but the Emeryson was definitely out. The order on lap one was Brabham, McLaren, Hill, Surtees, Marsh, Lewis, and Moss, but the Rob Walker Cooper completed only two laps the motor ruining its bearings again. Brabham began to pull away from McLaren who had passed Jim Clark, who, like all the other Lotus drivers, was finding the car a handful in the wet. Shortly afterwards Graham Hill in the BRM and Surtees in the Yeoman Credit Cooper also went past Clark. At the back of the field Masten Gregory was getting the hang of the Camoradi Cooper in the wet and he began to slide the car about in typical Gregory fashion. Brooks, in the other BRM, was going very gingerly in eleventh place, showing none of his old skill and was soon passed by Gregory.

At the front, Brabham and Mclaren drew away into an impregnable lead while Surtees and Hill duelled for third place. Jimmy Clark was well back in fifth spot, in front of Henry Taylor. Gregory was still storming through the field and when Henry Taylor’s UDT Lotus retired with gearbox troubles he moved up to sixth and eventually passed Clark for an excellent fifth place. At half distance the race as such was over and everyone, including the drivers, began to wish that it was over and done with, but the race ran its allotted 50 laps with the order at the end being Brabham, McLaren, Hill, Surtees, Gregory and Lewis, the latter having passed an ailing Clark.—MLT.

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