Gonzalez wins the Richmond Trophy convincingly in “Thinwall” Ferrari. Outstanding driving by “Mike” Hawthorn in new Cooper-Bristol. Moss dominates Half-Litre Race in his Kieft.
Goodwood was the Mecca of 50,000 motor-racing enthusiasts on Easter Monday. The weather, after a brief shower in the morning, was ideal, the racing as instructive as it was exciting. The new chicane had been slightly eased for the occasion.
The presence of Fangio and Gonzalez and the promised duel between Geoff Duke and Stirling Moss in the sports-car handicap—Duke in his first car race with a DBIII Aston-Martin, Moss in an XK120C Jaguar— undoubtedly drew the crowds. But perhaps the high-spot of this pleasant meeting was the sheer driving skill of young JM Hawthorn, holder of the Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy, who won two races and finished second to Gonzalez in the big race, in his new, as yet unpainted, Cooper-Bristol, lapping at 87.28 mph to Gonzalez’ 90-mph lap record for the new Goodwood circuit. Hawthorn only received his Cooper-Bristol a few days before the meeting and his performance has put this newcomer right to the forefront of Formula II racing cars. It had a virtually standard Bristol engine and, unlike the Cooper-Bristols of Brandon and Brown, a long “snozzle” on top of the bonnet to lead air to the carburetters; it also had different gear-ratios from those of the other Cooper-Bristols. World Champion Fangio drove John Cooper’s own Cooper-Bristol but it was less satisfactory and he was never in the picture. Duke beat Moss in the Aston-Martin/Jaguar tussle, aided by 25 sec start, but Stirling’s fans saw him supreme in the 500-cc race, in which the Kieft lapped at 79.56 mph. Ferodo were in evidence, their banner-tug aircraft overhead, their band playing before the meeting, and their brake linings arresting the meteoric passage of one, Froilan Gonzalez.
Levant Cup Race (6 Laps—Unblown 2,000-cc cars)
Hawthorn led all the way, finishing with no others in sight. Abecassis, in a rather hastily prepared 1952 HWM, wheels locking, ran clean through the chicane, neatly removing the “turn right” arrow. This on lap 1, which let Alan Brown’s Cooper-Bristol into second place, pursued by Brandon’s Cooper-Bristol. The Aston-Butterscotch followed them for a while before giving way to mechanical sickness. By the end of the second lap Hawthorn was out on his own in his trim silver car and after four circuits he had lapped Richards’ new 1,087-cc HAR. Far away behind, Brown held off (by 1 sec) Brandon after a mighty battle, and the rest of the field, headed by Murray’s 2-litre Ferrari and Gaze’s Alta, were nowhere. The Cooper-Bristols had arrived!
1st : JM Hawthorn (Cooper-Bristol). Won by 20.8 sec at 83.18 mph. Fastest lap : 84.7 mph. 2nd A Brown (Cooper-Bristol). 3rd : E Brandon (Cooper-Bristol).
Earl of March Trophy Race (6 Laps–500-e.c. Cars)
Moss and the Kieft led all the way, building up a comfortable lead after two laps. Clarke’s Cooper held second position for four laps, was passed by Brown’s Cooper and, perhaps spurred on to even greater speed, had a brake lock at the chicane on the last lap, the car sliding into the wall to lose a sure third place to Coombs’ Cooper. Bob Gerard’s Cooper retired with engine seizure, nor was he alone !
1st : S Moss (Kieft). Won by 5.2 sec at 78,07 mph. Fastest lap : 79.50 mph. 2nd: A Brown (Cooper). 3rd : J Coombs (Cooper).
Chichester Cup Race (6 Laps—Formula Libre)
The astonishing Hawthorn and his impressive Cooper-Bristol, engine note crisp and clean, gear-changes mere punctuations of exhaust note, tail slides skilfully held, won again, by a very good margin, from Tony Rolt, with the ERA-Delage. The first lap produced a thrill, when AG Whitehead’s old ERA spun leaving the chicane. Luckily, the following cars missed it but the incident slowed them as much as it speeded up onlookers’ hearts. Ken Richardson, late of BRM, in Vandervell’s “Thinwall” 4½-litre Ferrari, did not get as far as this, as he followed his habit of leaving the course. Duncan-Hamilton was going safely in third place in his Talbot, pursued at a discreet distance by Poore’s big Alfa-Romeo. Allard’s Chrysler TT Allard, with four carburetters and four-speed gearbox, was coming along strongly and had the satisfaction of passing the great Fangio (Cooper-Bristol), although Fangio was going through the corners with great elan and obviously having fun, after being baulked on the first lap. The order of the remainder through the chicane on the last lap is indication of how the race went—Poore, Allard, Fangio, Kelly (Alta), James (4CLT Maserati), Baird (Baird Griffon—tubular chassis containing Baird’s 4CLT Maserati engine), Gerard (1½-litre ERA) and GN Richardson (ERA). It is interesting and cheerful that Brian Shawe-Taylor entered an ERA for Thompson or Abecassis to drive, although it non-started. Wharton retired after a tough drive in the Scuderia Franera 2-litre ERA.
1st JB Hawthorn (Cooper-Bristol). Won by 10 sec at 85.43 mph. Fastest. lap : 87.28 mph. 2nd : APR Rolt (Delage). 3rd J. Duncan-Hamilton (Talbot).
First Easter Handicap (6 Laps—Unblown Sports Cars)
Main interest was in whether Moss’ XK120C Jaguar would catch Duke (25 sec start) in the DBIII Aston-Martin. Both drove impeccably, Geoff leaning, as much as you can lean in a car, with the steering, tail sliding at times, Stirling blowing his horn at slower cars. Another lap and they might have engaged, but as it was Duke kept ahead. The race went to Holt’s Jaguar, which came through impressively and just caught Swift’s Jaguar before the finish. Head’s white XK120 crumped the outer wall leaving the chicane, denting itself, and Bryde’s “one-pipe” XK120 was last, noticeably lacking the urge of the “two-pipe” cars. FC Davis drove his Cooper-MG very well, as the crowd acclaimed; so well that the BARC provisional results gave him the race ! He was actually ninth.
1st : EW Holt (Jaguar), handicap 1 min 8 sec, won by 0.2 sec at 70.24 mph. 2nd : JB Swift (Jaguar), handicap 1 min 14 sec. 3rd : G Duke (Aston-Martin) handicap 25 sec. Fastest lap : Moss (Jaguar), 82.6 mph.
Second Easter Handicap (6 Laps—Cars in Racing Trim)
This was a consolidation of Cooper-Bristol eminence, Alan Brown’s neat green car coming up from eighth at the end of lap 1 to take the lead on lap 5. Allard, the four-speed Chrysler J2X Allard showing real acceleration, made up its 25-sec handicap over Gale’s Darracq to beat this car to second place, no mean feat. The Turner and Keen’s short-tailed HRG retired. Brown was really fast, at the chicane. Some naughty passing on the right was noticed before this corner.
1st : A Brown (Cooper-Bristol). handicap 18 sec. Won by 9.2 sec at 82.15 mph. Fastest lap : 85.38 mph. 2nd SH Allard (Allard), handicap 27 sec. 3rd CPA Gale (Darracq), handicap 52 sec.
Third Easter Handicap (6 Laps—Cars in Racing Trim)
Duncan Hamilton, making the most of a good start, got the Talbot home first after a display of spirited driving. In this race Gonzalez took the “Thinwall” Ferrari and showed that it could be kept on the road, even when he spun twice at Madgwick he regained the course without much delay. But, in spite of lapping at over 89 mph, from scratch, he never got into the picture. Dunham’s 2.5 Alvis, fourth in the preceding race, found one lap enough and retired, leaving Abecassis to hold second place after three laps in the HWM. Gale took another third place, and Murray delighted the thrill-seekers by using all the road when leaving the chicane on lap 5. Mitchell’s sports Frazer-Nash went well to finish fourth. Poore’s Alfa-Romeo never left the start— transmission trouble.
1st J Duncan-Hamilton (Talbot), handicap 1 min 3 sec, won by 17.8 sec at 84.67 mph. 2nd : C Abecassis (HWM). handicap 84 sec. 3rd : CFA Gale (Darracq), handicap 1 min 29 sec. Fastest lap : Gonzalez. (Ferrari), 89.08 mph.
Fourth Easter Handicap (6 Laps—Cars in Sports Trim)
Gibbs, driving the Le Mans HRG, led for five laps and was then passed by Eric Thompson in an Aston-Martin DBII saloon, which he had driven with great verve, holding off Denis Poore in a sister car. These cars actually had 29 sec start from Curtis’ 5.4 Allard and Davis’ little Cooper-MG. Davis drove brilliantly but obviously couldn’t catch the Astons — which reminds us, isn’t it about time these “works” cars had their racing numbers removed before venturing onto the King’s highway ? Simpson was cautious in his 4-litre Allard, but Mayers drove impressively, against too stiff a handicap (20 sec given to the DBIIs) in his Lester-MG.
1st: ED Thompson (Aston.Martin). handicap 29 sec, won by 1.2 sec at 76.34 mph. Fastest lap: 78.4 mph. 2nd: I Gibbs (HRG). handicap 1 min 16 sec. 3rd: RD Poore (Aston-Martin), handicap 29 sec.
Richmond Trophy Race (12 Laps-Formula 1)
So to the big race of the afternoon. Gonzalez had no opposition and from the first row streaked away in the Ferrari to build up a big lead, although his engine sounded somewhat rough. He set a new lap record of 90 mph, winning at over 88 mph. He judged his corners to a hair’s breadth and was steering on the throttle – how nice to see a Grand Prix driver at Goodwood! Hawthorn was allowed to drive his Cooper-Bristol in place of Brown’s car and repeated his early brilliantly outstanding performance, being an unchallenged second all the way and within 26 sec of the flying Ferrari after 28.8 miles! Hamilton took a well-deserved third place, the Talbot’s brakes calling for discretion as well as speed, after Rolt’s Delage had retired with engine trouble on lap 3. Graham Whitehead was pressed so hard by the Talbot at the chicane on lap 2 that there was scarcely daylight between the two cars. Later the Delage, Talbot and HWM passed him but he earns high praise for getting the old ERA home in fifth place. By nine laps Gonzalez had lapped Murray’s Ferrari. Watson (Alta) remained, as usual, a good-natured back-ender. Kelly (Alta) caught and pipped James’ Maserati right at Woodcote Corner, only to be repassed by the end of the next lap. This race went to those who richly deserved it.
1st: F Gonzalez (Ferrari). Won by 26-secs, at 88.23 mph. Lap record : 90 mph. 2nd a JM Hawthorn (Cooper-Bristol). 3rd : J Duncan-Hamilton (Talbot).
Hopped up ST 90s
In America the sale of increased performance for stock cars, in the form of special manifolds, carburetters, camshafts and other parts, is a flourishing trade. In England such “hotting-up” is largely an individual art, although MG and Jaguar have sensibly put this on a proper footing so far as cars of their manufacture are concerned. Now similar facilities exist for the Sunbeam-Talbot 90, although not from the Rootes Group. George Hartwell, the well-known agent of Bournemouth, has made a speciality of preparing and driving Sunbeam-Talbots in competition and he now offers Stage 1, II and III tuning for these cars. Stage 1 comprises mods, to head and valve ports, raising the compression-ratio to 7.24 to 1, use of a larger choke and alterations to the inlet manifold to improve its efficiency and partially eliminate hotspots. This is claimed to produce approximately 77 bhp at 4,500 rpm and to improve 0-40 mph acceleration from 9.6 sec to 7.5 sec.
Stage II involves the same head mods, but a 7.5 to 1 compression-ratio, a lighter flywheel, balanced with crankshaft and clutch, polished con-rods and specially graded pistons. The water trough in the head is modified to give better cooling of the exhaust valves. 80 bhp is now claimed at 4,700 rpm, and 0-40 mph in 6.7 sec. If you want to go faster still, Stage III tune, involving the Stage II mods, plus special cast-alloy inlet manifolds and two dd carburetters offers, Hartwell tells us, 84 bhp at 4,800 rpm, and 0-40 mph in 6.5 sec, 0-50 in 9.3 sec.
Other speed equipment is offered, too, such as a dynamo-driven rev-counter, seat arm-rests, knee rests, improved rear-wheel spats, leather-covered steering wheels, louvred bonnets, additional map pockets, Perspex in place of toughened screen and windows, lamp stoneguards, stiffer springs, special shock-absorbers, competition brake linings, close-ratio gears. and even special coachwork is available. So if you are a Sunbeam-Talbot owner who wishes to gild refined gold write for details to 35-41, Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth.