THE programme was styled the “Official Race Card” and was priced in shillings; the drivers were accorded the courtesy Mr. or Mrs. before their initials and the newest car was made in 1938, but it didn’t happen at Brooklands. Instead, May Bank Holiday Monday saw 24 regular VSCC competitors assembling on the grid at Thruxton for the annual Brooklands Society Memorial Trophy Handicap race over six laps of the Hampshire circuit.
With cars ranging in engine capacity from the 747 c.c. of Mrs. Threlfall’s diminutive Austin Ulster to the 7,360 c.c. of Mr. Parker’s Rolls-Royce P III engined Bentley special and in performance potential from the slow (lapping in over 2 1/2 minutes) to the fast (down in the 1 1/2 minute range, the handicap must have been a nightmare to work out. The resulting staggered start race was extremely difficult to follow since the very slow only had to race for five laps, having been given a credit lap, while the very fast had to cover seven laps — a task made nigh-on impossible by the damp track conditions, following a couple of sharp and very cold showers. First away was Mr. Mawbey in a Riley Brooklands, followed ten seconds later by the VSCC’s Competition Secretary, Mr. Grant-Peterkin, in his 3 / 4 1/2-litre Bentley and Mr. Seber with a Wolseley Hornet Special. Next group away consisted of Messrs: Bugler, Threlfall and Liddell (Lagonda, Lancia and stripy Straker-Squire respectively), half a minute behind the Riley. At one minute, with seven laps to cover was Mr. Footitt with his Cognac Special. In the same group, but on six laps was Mr. Chant and the 4.3-litre Alvis Special “Brutus” while Mrs. Andreason, Mrs. Threlfall and Mr. Willoughby (MG, Austin and AC) had to cover but five laps.
Only ten seconds behind were Messrs: Parker, Lake, Wills and Fantom (Bentley Royce, MG — six laps and Lagonda, Humber — five laps). The final group left the start line 1 minute and 40 seconds after the first car, and amongst them were the two ERAs of Mr. Day and Mr. Morris which both had to cover seven laps. Mr. Gahagan’s ERA, on the other hand, started from the same spot, but only had to race for six laps.
First past the start line after the first lap was Seber, followed by Grant Peterkin who had allowed the Wolseley Hornet past him when momentarily baulked by the Riley Brooklands on the approach to the first corner. First time through, Footitt was trying really hard, racing himself in a mid-field void and leaving the spectator in doubt whether the car or driver was winning. Morris and Day looked set for a close duel— the Morris car in recent years has been one of the fastest ERAs on the circuits, but has now been caught up by the other 2-litre cars such as Hon. Patrick Lindsay’s and Day’s, and soon succumbed to the latter as Day was determined to make up for his hard handicap despite the damp track, powering the green ERA through the corners in a series of beautifully controlled slides.
While the three fastest cars were doing their best to overcome their debit lap, carving through the field as fast as they could, Campbell with a credit lap to his advantage, was taking his Fiat engined Austin 7 special to an insurmountable, but undetectable lead. Seber the apparent leader pulled away slowly from Grant-Peterkin and Threlfall dropped back to allow Liddell past. Mr. Howell, in the last batch, but on six laps with his entertaining, if somewhat scruffy, Sunbeam was trying hard, but could not do much about the front runners. Despite all his efforts, Day finished a lowly seventeenth, nine seconds behind the ever sideways Footitt and over a minute behind the eventual winner, Campbell. Seber was second, Grant-Peterkin third (although the intelligent spectator might well have put these two as first and second, for so it appeared) with Mr. Sparrowhawk’s Alois 12/17 fourth. An entertaining, if confusing, race in which Day and Footitt really shone, providing the crowd with some delightful demonstrations of car control.
The other races in the eight race programme were not particularly well supported apart from the Atlantic Computers sponsored series for Historic GT cars which saw a full grid of delectable machinery dicing over 12 laps. Leader until half distance was Tony Charnell’s Lola 212, but he was pressed the whole time by Ray Mallock’s Lola T70 which took the lead on the seventh lap and held it to the end, finishing one second ahead of Charnel). Vin Malkie, with his Chevron B19 was sandwiched between Charnel, and Mallock for the first three laps, letting the latter through on lap four and then gradually losing touch with the leaders as they pulled out a ten second lead.
Reg Woodcock took his TR3 to victory in the AMOC Thoroughbred Sports Championship race, building up a huge lead over Michael Salmon’s DB4 Aston Martin in a heavy hailstorm. The Seldon Classic Sportscar Championship Race went to John Brindley in a Lotus 23 and the HSCC Post Historic Road Sports Championship race was won by the delectable AC Cobra of John Atkins. John Brindley was also first across the line in the Formula Junior event with a Lotus 22 while the combined grid for the Gates Valley Historic Formula 3 and Willhire pre-1965 single-seaters Championships went to Mike Littlewood in a Brabham B72. The final race of the day for 750 Formula cars was won by the Wessex Hague of G. Randall. — P.H .W.