A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
VSCC Silverstone meeting (April 29th)
The vintage SCC encountered a very watery day for their first race meeting of 1972, so that the absence of simple covered bays in the Silverstone Paddock, such as were provided at Brooklands 65 years ago, seemed a scandal and my personal grievance on these occasions is that the once so useful Press box in the Paddock is, these days, the domain of the Dog-House club (for GP drivers’ wives), who surely cannot need it at what are, to them, minor events ? So we all got drenched. . . But the healthy state of VSCC racing was reflected in 184 entries, and a good attendance of umbrella-bearing spectators.
After the High Speed Trial (28 qualified, out of 39 starters), Clifford won the first 5-lap handicap in a canter in his V8 Riley Special, having caught Gunn’s blown PB MG, its tail sliding neatly, on lap four. Abson’s Lagonda Rapier came fast from scratch into third place. An interesting mixture of cars occupied the first three places in the next handicap, Palmer’s 1924 Targa Florio Mercedes, the rebuild of which was described in Motor Sport for May 1969, winning from Whittaker’s Chrysler and Andrews’ Brooklands Riley.
The 10-lap Itala Trophy Scratch Race for vintage racing cars lay between Llewellyn’s 1926/30 blue Bentley two-seater of 8.3-litres, which led all the way, Fonda’s AC/GN and Kain’s 35B Bugatti, Footitt catching Kain at half-distance. The big Bentley made fastest lap, at 72.91 m.p.h. There was more incident in the 15-lap All-Corners’ Scratch Race, in which Wilks’ Lotus 16 broke a hub and shed a front wheel and Corner’s ERA R4D seized-up solid, neither completing a lap. Again, three drivers dominated the race, Cottam with a model drive, well out in front and never a wheel misplaced on the now dry track, in his Connaught, and Bergel and Millar duelling in their 250F Maseratis. Millar took Bergel on lap six but at Woodcote on laps 7, 9 and 10 Bergel passed on the inside of the corner and nearly did so on lap 12. However, Millar, showing greatly improved form, retained his second place, with a fastest lap of 83.41 m.p.h. After Martin Morris’ ERA retired on lap 13 Fielding’s 6C Maserati qualified for the pre-war award.
The rain then returned, with four more damp handicaps to be run—at Brooklands they would have postponed racing until later in the week! Gunn’s original-looking MG won the first, from a couple of 328 BMWs. Phillips in a l.h.d. 1938 car just beating Selwyn-Smith’s 1939 r.h.d. model. The winning MG was driven in the pre-War Donington 12-Hour Sports Car Race by Humphrey Smith; it has a No. 60 Marshall supercharger blowing at about 3 1b./sq. in. and was doing around 6,000 r.p.m. in top down the Silverstone straight.
Llewellyn had a fairly easy victory in the next race from Stewart’s 4 1/2-litre Bentley and Martin Morris came through to third place from sratch, the ERA doing fastest lap, at 73.28 m.p.h., but Clinkard’s big Alvis was overtaken by less potent machinery. The astonishing wooden-wheeled Chrysler of Whittaker won the next one from Gray’s Austin 7, and Graham’s 3-litre Delage, after Clarke’s nice little 1913 Singer had led the opening stages. Pelting rain greeted the last race, in which Stephenson’s Frazer Nash contrived to lead home Johnstone’s Lea-Francis, Merrett driving the Type 43 Bugatti rapidly into third place.
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Tony Griffiths drove a 1933 Austin 7 Nippy in the VSCC High Speed Trial, because his well-known performing Chummy was damaged when a friend was driving it home from the Thruxton Driving Tests; with the Chummy’s engine and its own carburetter and manifolding the Nippy “went quite well”. Freddie Giles displayed his 1922 GN with its indecently-exposed transmission and its new 1938 Vincent-HRD 996-c.c. engine, but, alas, only as a static exhibit. The bright yellow body of the Attenborough Special was in direct conflict with the dismal weather. President Nigel Arnold-Forster had his first ERA experience, in the ex-Moffatt car, and Donald Day had an ERA of no less than 2,250 c.c.! Tim and Margery Carson were present. The course car was a very fine 2-litre Lagonda. — W. B.
V-E-V Odds and Ends.
—If anyone has any Bristol Mercury aero-engine special tools or spares, we know of someone who would be glad to hear of them. The Alvis O.C. claims to have had a new lease of life since the 1970 Alvis Tour of Britain and is increasing the-scope of its sporting activities. Details from: R. A. Cox, 23, Westgate Terrace,. London, SW10.