The Vintage SCC’s first Silverstone race meeting this year happened on April 21. It marked some changes since last season. In the first place, Woodcote corner had disappeared from the Club circuit, replaced with a complex of slower corners, rather out of sight of the spectators in the covered stands. This made the following straight faster, with hard braking for Copse in consequence, but inmates in the centre of the circuit are no longer allowed to drive out to watch from there. So it was mostly a case of straightline close-up race-viewing, especially from the elaborate new Pressbox! To see vintage cars cornering quickly you might prefer Cadwell Park, or OuIton Park. . . .
Another change was to see many of the competing cars covered in Mulberries — a sign of the times; but we seem to recall that the VSCC once said that cars would never wear advertising decals at its events . . . . However, to compensate, the vintage car enclosures behind the stands had one of the biggest assemblies ever, even to an A7 Ruby saloon. Some like the aforesaid changes, others do not, and there were grumbles about those using the centre car parks finding themselves in wire-fenced enclosures, like animals in a zoo, necessitating much walking to inspect the cars or see them in action . . . . The programme gave the lap distance of the new Club circuit as 1.625 miles, against 1.608 miles of the former circuit, and although the drivers seemed to like the new corners, many of the paying spectators will miss the faster action at old Woodcote . . . . Although there were no accidents, the meeting ran some 45 minutes late, against VSCC tradition; perhaps the slower lap speeds had not sunk in? But an entry of 265 takes some handling . . . . An entry largely of bogus cars in varying degrees.
On a happier note, sons and daughters of well-known parents were driving, a good augury for the VSCC’s future, and before the racing Gerry Marshall gave a grand demonstration in Mason’s Mk. 2 V16 BRM, showing that he has lost none of his tail-out cornering abilities, ably emulating those of Fangio and Gonzalez. . . . There was an unhappy incident in practice when the brakes failed on Doug Mares Maserati V8 RI and after nearly getting it round old Woodcote it rolled on the loose stuff, with minor injuries to driver and car.
Mayman’s unusual sports Maserati won the Fox & Nicholl race at 73.33 mph, from Grist’s Alfa Romeo and Chris Mann’s Alfa Romeo. The 12 lap Mulberry race was a duel between the rear-engined Coopers of Harper and Hannen, which the former won by 1.4 sec., at 84.72 mph, with Mann’s Lotus 16 third, followed by the 250F Maseratis of Lindsay and Mason. But how odd to see Cooper Climax cars racing at a VSCC event! Apparently more acceptable than Mayman’s Lotus 16 or ERA R4D, which entries were apparently refused by the HGPCA.
The Artscope Itala Trophy Race was the expected victory for Tim Llewellyn’s big Bentley at 74.29 mph. It was followed home by Mason’s Bugatti but on the last lap all eyes were on the battle between Peter Morley, half blinded by smoke, in the Bentley-Napier, and Keith Schellenberg in the Barnato Hassan. In the run to the finish 24-litres ousted 8-litres, by just 0.8 sec. The Christie’s Patrick Lindsay 10 lap race was the expected victory for Mayman in R4D, at 80.59 mph, after his usual polished performance. It was an ERA “triple”, Lindsay in R5B second, Ricketts in R1B third. Jolley’s big Alvis was next in, and Jaye’s Alta did well to finish fifth. The new President set an example by spinning R8C.
The 10 lap Allcomers scratch race saw Mayman, now in his Lotus, take the flag after another polished run, with the Hon. A Rothschild trailing him in the slightly smoking, genuine BRM P25, Lindsay’s Maserati third. But the outstanding drive was that of Willy Green in Lindsay’s Indy Offenhauser “Turtle Drilling Special”. From the back of the grid because of the slow getaway imposed by the two-speed transmission he worked through the field, to finish in a fine fourth place. Mayman averaged 82.3 mph. It was unfortunate that the commentator did not understand this last start position of the American car, nor of the Olsen Offenhauser which Guy Edwards had driven well in the Mulberry frolic, until forced to retire. . . .
To support these races there were 5 lap handicaps, the respective winners being Robinson’s Riley, and Blakeney-Edwards’ Frazer Nash. Also 5 lap scratch races, won by Fisken in the Richard Bolster Special, at 69.75 mph, and by Gibbs’ Frazer Nash, at 65.71 mph. Points were scored for the various trophies but as these will change after VSCC Donington (May 26) and VSCC second Silverstone (June 16), we will give the position in the July MOTOR SPORT
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1970 French Grand Prix race report
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