Glorious shirtsleeve weather blessed the opening meeting of the VSCC’s racing season, the traditional GP Itala Trophy meeting at Silverstone, and after last year’s experiment to restrict the title race to original cars, this year’s event for the Itala and Lanchester Trophies once again admitted vintage specials and hybrids. Stanley Mann’s 8-litre Bentley, Mark Walker’s Cirrus-engined Parker-GN and Duncan Smith’s Bugatti 35B swapped the lead before the Bentley dropped back, letting Robin Baker’s Hispano-Delage into third. With fading brakes, Walker just held off the Bugatti at the flag, with Smith claiming the Itala Trophy.
The lead duel between Philip Walker (Lotus 16) and Ludovic Lindsay (Maserati 250F) was the highlight of the Peter Collins Memorial race for post-war racing cars. Although Lindsay held the lead for only the opening lap, the pair were never separated by more than a few lengths, 0.3 seconds splitting them at the finish. Burkhard von Schenk (250F) held a lonely third place.
Ludovic Lindsay’s quest for the Christie’s Patrick Lindsay Memorial Trophy, named in honour of his late father, was thwarted by oil pressure problems with his ERA R5B in testing. In his absence, Sir John Venables-Llewelyn dusted off Rodney Felton’s Alfa P3 once more and raced to an untroubled win but runner-up spot was always in doubt as John Ure (ERA AJM1) was pressured for the entire 12 laps by Duncan Ricketts (ERA R1B) and although Ricketts just posted the faster lap, he never managed to take the place.
Stirling Moss made a rare foray into VSCC racing, shaking down Valentine Lindsay’s Birdcage Maserati prior to Monaco’s Historic meeting, opting to start from the back of the 1950s Sports Car race and keeping to a modest rev limit. Up front, Frank Sytner looked to have another win with the Bamford D-type Jaguar, closely heading Robert Brooks (Lotus 15) and James Shead (Kurtis 500S), only to find that he and the Kurtis had been adjudged to have jumped the start, giving Brooks the victory from Sytner.
In spite of flames on the underside of the engine bay of his Riley Blue Streak Special Julian Bronson made it a hat-trick of wins in the Fox & Nicholl Trophy, outpacing the Alvises of Barry Cannell and Albert Sparrowhawk.
1976 French Grand Prix race report
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