Grand Prix Of New Zealand
The Grand Prix of New Zealand, held on the Ardmore airfield was open to Formule Libre and attracted a number of European drivers. Moss drove a Rob Walker Cooper-Climax, with 2,014-c.c. engine, Bonnier his lightweight 250F Maserati, Flockhart a B.R.M., and Shelby and Schell the two Buell 1958 Maseratis, one of them fitted with the latest pointed nose and high finned tail. The rest of the field being made up by drivers from the southern hemisphere, among them Brabham and McLaren with Coopers, the two Jensens, and Thackwell.
The meeting was run with two short heats of 30 miles each and a final of 150 miles, the field being divided for the two heats, and of the finishers the 21 fastest lined up for the final. In Heat 1 Brabham finished ahead of McLaren, Bonnier and Schell, while in Heat 2 there was some alarm and despondency when Moss broke a drive-shaft on the Cooper on the last lap while leading, leaving Flockhart to lead home Shelby and the two Jensens. By pushing the crippled Cooper the last half-lap Moss was able to qualify for the Final.
Thanks to Brabham loaning parts the Walker Cooper was just ready for the Final, but had to start from the back of the grid, leaving Bonnier, McLaren, Brabham and Flockhart in the front row, but, in the rather chaotic start while Schell was jumping the flag, Flockhart stalled his engine. Although Bonnier led on the opening round, it was Moss who was in the lead on the second lap, his slight handicap on the grid really making him go, and from then on he was unchallenged, leading Brabham in the other 2.2-litre Cooper by nearly 1-1/2 min at the end of the race. Flockhart held a worthy third place for 23 of the 75 laps, but he then had an oil-breather break and lost oil, so had to stop, and about the same time ScheIl’s 1958 Maserati went out with engine trouble and Bonnier retired with steering trouble. None of the Maseratis showed much hope of challenging the Coopers, apart from Ross Jensen’s, for he challenged McLaren for third place until the clutch went sick and he had to drop back. Shelby was not terribly happy with the second of the Buell Maseratis, and after 41 laps Schell took it over and brought it home in fourth place. With the rest of the runners driving rather elderly machinery, it was not surprising that they did not get into the picture, but a very worthy effort was that of Gibbons with his Lycoming Special, who finished in eighth place, this car having a flat-four air-cooled aeroplane engine fitted with home-made fuel injection.
Results (top five) — New Zealand Grand Prix — 75 laps — 150 miles
1. S. Moss (Cooper-Climax F1) — 1 hr. 48 min. 24.4 sec.
2. J. Brabham (Cooper-Climax F1) — 1 hr. 49 min. 53.4 sec.
3. B. McLaren (Cooper-Climax F1) — 1 lap behind
4. C. Shelby/H. Schell (Maserati 250F) — 1 lap behind
5. R. Jensen (Maserati 250F) — 1 lap behind
Fastest lap: S. Moss (Cooper) in 1 min. 24.8 sec. — 84.90 m.p.h. (new record)
Lady Wigram Trophy Race
After the New Zealand Grand Prix Flockhart stayed on with the B.R.M., while Moss, Shelby, Schell, and Bonnier returned home, and in the 150 miles Trophy race the Bourne équipe had a well deserved win, in spite of strong opposition from Brabham with the Cooper. Although the Australian took the lead for a little, Flockhart never lost him and they passed and re-passed a number of times, victory finally going to the Scotsman, and this success should give the B.R.M. team a decided boost-up for the coming Grand Prix season.
Results — Lady Wigram Trophy Race — 71 laps — 150 miles
1. R. Flockhart (B.R.M.) — 1 hr. 41 min. 4.0 sec.
2. J. Brabham (Cooper F1) — 1 hr. 41 min. 6.7 sec.
3. B. McLaren (Cooper F1) — 2 laps behind
4. S. Jensen (Cooper F2) — 3 laps behind
5. J. Mansell (Maserati) — 5 laps behind
6. R. Gibbons (Lycoming Special) — 5 laps behind
Fastest lap: J.Brabham (Cooper) — 1 min. 22.1 sec. — 92.8 m.p.h. (new record)
In a third race in the New Zealand International calendar the works Cooper had its revenge over the B.R.M., when McLaren beat Flockhart, while Brabham finished in third place.