VSCC At Donington

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The VSCC ran a cold but interesting meeting at Donington on May 7th, sponsored by Pirelli—so it was appropriate that MOTOR SPORT’s Editor arrived on Pirelli tyres, although I have to admit to a Dunlop spare. Appropriately again, Edwards won the five-lap Handicap for the Brooklands Society Trophy in his much-raced, ex-Brooklands Ulster Aston Martin, from Borrows’ Alvis Speed-25 and Stewart’s 3/4½ Bentley. The presentation was a cock-up, as Edwards hadn’t been told to stop, so was obliged to run from the Paddock to receive the winner’s wreath and tankard from me…

Racing was over the short circuit, although handicapping had originally been for the full course. This didn’t concern the Holland Trophy 10-lap scratch race, led all the way by the irrepressible Footitt in the AC-GN Cognac, lapping at 71.68 mph. He was soon out of sight of the Bentley-Napier, which had had enough by lap five, so that Stewart’s Bentley trailed in second, 32.2 sec behind, Faud Majzub third in the ex-Stubberfield/Wall 35B monoposto Bugatti. Class winners: Harper (Morgan Aero), Footitt and Stewart. Harper caught Howell’s “16-pot” Bugatti on the last lap and it would have been different had Dick Smith’s Frazer Nash not dropped out on lap eight while in second place… A four-lap Handicap was then won by Baker’s 1½-litre Riley Special from Spencer’s 12/50 Alvis, which made a good start, and Harvey-Bailey in the Heelis Riley 9.

Next came the exciting Shuttleworth / Nuffield Trophies 10-lap battle. The Hon. Patrick Lindsay elected to drive his ERA-Delage in place of “Remus”. David Black in the ex-Martin Tipo-B Alfa Romeo was left at the start because he had not turned the fuel on, but he was fourth by lap two. Margulies was out in front in the 4CL Maserati, hotly pursued by Felton in his 4CL, until it spun at the chicane, giving Martin Morris in Marks’ Type 51 Bugatti second place. Black was working his way up, however, driving beautifully, and Spollon (ERA) took Morris, only to commit an error which also eliminated Sir John Venables-Llewelyn’s ERA. By half-distance Black was leading, and Lindsay had come up to third place, chasing Margulies. On the final lap Lindsay closed right up on Margulies under braking into the chicane and, leaning on him coming out, snatched second place, for although Dan accelerated hard after him, the ERA-Delage was 0.4 sec ahead as they crossed the line. Black won by 42.6 sec. 3.19 mph faster than the ERA-Delage, and his marvellous monoposto 3.2 Alfa Romeo had lapped 4.40 mph faster than the hybrid ERA on its best circuit, whereas Margulies’ Maserati got within 0.30 mph of Lindsay’s quickest lap. Retirements included the luckless Brooke Special, with rods out. Margulies won the Nuffield Trophy, Stephens in the RI2C the ERA Trophy.

After these mathematics, we can look at another four-lap Handicap, the winner being Withington’s ex-Barbet A7 from Edwards in the Aston and Dean’s Silver Eagle Alvis. The fastest cars present then lined up for the 10-lap Pirelli Trophy Race, Willie Green, down to drive Halford’s Lotus, in fact sharing the front row of the grid (with the Lotus 16s of Phillips and Chris Mann) in a mysterious Maserati 250F of unusual hue, said to be car No. 2504. Willie hesitated as the flag fell, then set off with madly smoking back tyres, in pursuit of the two Lotuses. But it was Harper in the Monza Lister-Jaguar who led for the two opening laps, until Phillips, Mann and Green got past. Lindsay, now in the ERA “Remus”, was going at his expected fine pace, taking the Lister-Jaguar after the end of lap three. It then became a high-speed procession, with Venables-Llewellyn’s ERA, Cottam’s Maserati, Turner’s Connaught, and the Cognac (Ron furiously pumping up fuel pressure) behind Lindsay, followed by the stragglers. Lapping the fastest (81.93 mph), Phillips took the flag a mere 1.8 sec ahead of Mann, with Green 15.4 sec behind the second Lotus.

Next came a five-lap Scratch Race, dominated by the blown Avon-Bentley, Summerfield winning by 4.6 sec from Woodley’s Firefly Alvis, which was well in front of Burrows’ Speed-25. Dunham was corning up nicely to take the lead when his Alvis broke a couple of valve-rockers and ran home fourth. However, spares were rushed up and the third-generation of motor-racing Dunhams, in the ex-Brooklands Alvis, was able to start in the next race. This was a sort of all-embracing eight-lap Handicap, for the very handsome Goddard Trophy, in memory of the late “Jumbo” Goddard. In his honour Donington’s owner, the enthusiastic Tom Wheatcroft, first did some laps driving “Jumbo’s” Turbo 8-litre 164 mph Bentley followed by Rivers-Fletcher in the ex-Goddard Type 51 Bugatti, in consequence of which the race was started from the pit road. Tom had had a call from Mrs Goddard from Australia that morning, and he was wearing an Australian tie. . . . Dunham came through to win the enormous Goddard silver cup, although the 12/70 Speed-20 Alvis again went sick and was pushed back to the Paddock. The A-type Connaughts of Cottam and Turner were second and third, but Mann, lapping at 80.34 mph in the Lotus, could not better 7th place. Wheatcroft presented the Trophy to Richard Dunham who, with a gentlemanly touch worthy of old Brooklands days, first removed his helmet and got out of the car, and later resumed his cap. Gerry Dunham, his father, was a delighted onlooker.

As the wind grew even colder one last race remained, a five-lap Handicap, which Brydon’s Alvis Speed-20 clinched from Upston’s Riley Special and Bruce’s Brooklands-model Riley. Incidentally, Pirelli tyres were used in 1907 on the Itala that won the Peking-Paris race and the programme reminded us that Moss used secondhand Pirellis, bought from Fangio, to win the GP at Monza in 1957. — W.B.

Results
John Holland Trophy Race:
1st G. R. Footitt (AC-GN), 69.84 mph
2nd R. M. de C. Stewart (Bentley)
3rd F Majzub (Bugatti)
Shuttleworth/Nuffield Trophies Race
1st W. D. A. Black (Alfa Romeo) 74 29 mph
2nd The Hon P Lindsay (ERA-Delage)
3rd D. Margulies (Maserati)
Pirelli Trophy Race:
1st S. Phillips (Lotus), 80.22 mph
2nd C. Mann (Lotus)
3rd M. W. Green (Maserati)
John Goddard Trophy Race:
1st H. R. Dunham (Alvis), 66 28 mph
2nd A. Cottam (Connaught)
3rd B. Turner (Connaught)
Brooklands Society Trophy Race: D. J. P. Edwards (Aston Martin), 62.56 mph
Five-lap Scratch Race: B. Summerfield (Avon-Bentley), 68.25 mph
Five lap Handicap: J. Brydon (Alvis), 63.3 mph
First Four-lap Handicap: P. M. Baker (Riley), 60.80 mph
Second Four-lap Handicap: H G. Withington (Austin), 53.37 mph
Fastest lap of the day: S. Phillips (Lotus 16), 81.93 mph
Leaders to date in the MOTOR SPORT Brooklands Memorial Trophy Contest: Black (Alfa Romeo), 44 pts, Burrows (Alvis), 39 pts, Seber (Wolseley Hornet, Upston (Austin), and Edwards (Aston Martin), 41 pts each. Next round: Oulton Park, June 9th.