VSCC Silverstone Race Meeting
Fine weather and the usual variety of interesting cars brought such a crowd that there was quite a traffic jam getting away, over an hour after the last race had ended. David Llewellyn had spent the winter sorting out the suspension of his fearsome 24-litre Bentley-Napier and altering its steering ratio, with the result that it now corners properly and runs reliably and is thus more than a match for the ERAs. An intriguing detail is the Bentley-Napier’s wire torque-stay on top of the o/s rear spring only. The engine now starts readily on the button and its misfiring days are behind it. It won two races, one of them the Itala Trophy 10-lap Scratch Race, breaking the vintage lap-record both times, leaving it at 1 Min. 10.6 sec., or 81.99 m.p.h. This cheerful aero-engine exponent was accordingly awarded the Kettering Tyres KTS “Driver of the Meeting” Award, on the unanimous recommendation of Peter Hull and Bill Boddy.
In the Itala Trophy Race the Bentley-Napier was easily able to hold off a determined Hamish Moffatt in Wall’s single-seater Bugatti. Moffatt was 23.2 sec. in arrears at the finish. The big car, on 7.50 x 20 rear Firestones, does all the circuit except Beckett’s in top gear and was probably doing 130 m.p.h. or so down the brief straight. Apart from this fine performance, the Itala Trophy Race was a Bugatti benefit, Kain, in a Type 43, and St. John finishing third and fourth, after Kain’s Bugatti had become very rough and fallen from second place.
In the 5-lap handicap in which Llewellyn brought the Napier Lion-engined Bentley out again he had a five-second start from Moffatt who was now in Arnold-Forster’s ERA. Perhaps the monster should have been re-handicapped, for a mighty fine drive only brought Moffatt to within one second of it at the finish and Llewellyn had eased off until he found Hamish alongside at Beckett’s on the last lap. As Llewellyn again broke the vintage lap-record he deserved his victory. The ERAs of Bill Morris and Venables-Llewelyn were third and fourth.
The other big race was the 15-lap All-Comers Scratch Race but it was a dull procession, with Corner’s Maserati 250F inevitably in the lead, followed discreetly by the blue sister car of Cameron Millar, with the Hon. Patrick Lindsay trying hard to close on Millar in his ERA “Remus” which he was doing on the corners. Thus they finished, Bill Morris a lap behind. Cottam was trying another of Millar’s 1956 Maserati 250Fs but was very slow, and Roberts, who has taken over Wilks’ Lotus 16 on Bill’s retirement had clutch trouble before the start.
The meeting had opened with the customary One-Hour High-Speed Trial, from which Pollack’s 4-1/2-litre Invicta, Scott’s 3-1/2,-litre Delahaye, Taylor’s British Salmson, Mrs. Goulder’s Riley, and Hamilton-Gould’s Austin 7 retired and Mrs. Arnold-Forster’s GN, Mrs. Drake’s Amilcar, Fantom’s optimistic well-driven 14/40 Humber tourer and Walker’s Alvis failed to cover sufficient laps. Southey’s Austin 7 was more appropriate to 750 MC than VSCC affairs and the aforesaid Alvis had its screen frame bandaged-up, not because it had broken but to make the scrutineers happy in their fiat-out pursuit of the safest possible motor-racing.
The first handicap produced a “new” GN, in the guise of Freddie Giles in Jan Bryer’s JAP-engined “Salome”, which is a Morgan three-wheeler with a GN back-end. It was joined in a later race by the GN Martyr, now Meadows-engined, driven by Lionel Stretton and Barry Clarke had his GN-Powered-by-Ford in the field again, a GN puzzled by its cooling water which it tried to boil away. To return to the first race, Stephenson had no difficulty in walking away with it, sliding his Frazer Nash in appropriate fashion, Long afterwards Burrell’s Bentley finished the race, closely pursued by Manson’s Riley. The next handicap was an even bigger walk-over, Kirby’s imitation Ulster Austin running right away from Hall’s Lagonda and Duff’s early Speed 20 Alvis. Three M-type MG Midgets and Grant’s Ruby-engined Vernon-Derby were interesting runners. Rogers’ AC Special was absent, as it had been stolen on the Friday.
After the two big races the handicap races were resumed. “Tovell’s Treen Riley 9 looked a likely winner until it went on fire at Beckett’s. Morgan in his triple-blower Eccles Rapier replica then came noisily through to win from Abson’s non-supercharged Lagonda Rapier and Collis’ 4.3 Alvis, the Alvis skilfully held in a nasty slide at Woodcote on the run-in.
The next handicap resulted in a very close finish between the 4-1/2-litre Lagondas of Macdonald and Hall, the former’s 1937 model pipping the 1936 version by 0.8 sec. Poynter’s Lea-Francis was next home. We then had the second win by the Bentley-Napier, as already described, and a final five-lapper, in which Macdonald won for the second time, giving these two “heavy-metal” drivers the lead in the 1973 Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy contest. Cock’s Riley and Cherrett’s blown 1750 Alfa Romeo took the places.
Morley’s Pacey-Hassan Bentley is now smart instead of scruffy and has had its body rebuilt to original outer-circuit form, from plans supplied by Wally Hassan, a practice other owners of Brooklands cars might well follow. Neve’s TT Humber was the only competing Edwardian. It, too, was looking very smart, after a repaint, and a repaired and replated radiator, the joint work of GKN and Serck. Wicksteed did the High-Speed Trial and a handicap race in the 1923 No. 1 racing 12/50 Alvis. with bolster tank and liberally drilled chassis. Neither of Gahagan’s entries were effective, his ERA minus its forward gears and his MG minus fuel.–W.B.
15-lap All-Comers’ Scratch Race:
1st: E. N. Corner (Maserati) ….. 83.01 m.p.h.
2nd: A. C. M. Millar (Maserati)
3rd: The Hon. P. Lindsay (ERA)
10-lap Itala and Napier Trophies Scratch Race:
1st: D. W. Llewellyn (Bentley-Napier) ….. 78.93 m.p.h.
2nd: H. Moffatt (Bugatti)
3rd: B.B.D. Kain (Bugatti)
First 5-lap Handicap:
W. R. Stephenson (Frazer Nash) ….. 74.12 m.p.h.
Second 5-lap Handicap:
J. Kirby (Austin 7) ….. 59.85 m.p.h.
Third 5-lap Handicap:
P. J. Morgan (Lagonda Rapier) ….. 70.03 m.p.h.
Fourth 5-lap Handicap:
I.G. Macdonald (Lagonda) ….. 63.47 m.p.h.
Fifth 5-lap Handicap:
D. W. Llewellyn (Bentley-Napier) ….. 77.60 m.p.h.
Sixth 5-lap Handicap:
I. G. Macdonald (Lagonda) ….. 64.38 m.p.h.
Fastest lap of the day: Corner ….. 85.13 m.p.h.
New Vintage Club Circuit lap record: Llewellyn ….. 81.99 m.p.h.
Kettering Tyres KTS “Driver of the Meeting” Award: LLewellyn.
Leaders in the 1973 MOTOR SPORT Brooklands Memorial Trophy Contest: Llewellyn (Bentley-Napier) and Macdonald (Lagonda), 36 points each; Hall (Lagonda) and Moffatt (Bugatti and ERA), 26 each; Stephenson (Frazer Nash), Kirby (Austin 7), Morgan (Lagonda Rapier), 18 each; Burrell (Bentley), Abson (Lagonda Rapier), Cook (Riley), 13 each; Manson (Riley), Duffyy (Alvis), Lindsay (ERA), B>B>D> Kain (Bugatti), Collis (Alvis), Poynter (Lea-Francis), Morris (ERA), Cherrett (Alfa Romeo), 8 each. Next Round: Oulton Park. June 16thh.