The B.A.R.C. Opens The Season
Renault, R.W.G., Jaguar, Connaught, Lotus, Morgan, R.G.S.-Atalanta, Frazer-Nash and Cooper-Bristol Win Races At March Members' Sports-Car Goodwood Meeting
In delightful weather the B.A.R.C. held the first of its Members' Meetings at Goodwood on March 27th. The excellent entry necessitated ten races, and many exciting incidents were witnessed, resulting in a number of dented motor cars, but miraculously no personal injury. The races were run absolutely to time, cars for one race coming out of the Paddock as those from the race preceding were coming in. There was an excellent attendance; the handicapping could have been closer. The commentary was shared between Tony Curtis, James Tilling and MacDonald Hobley of Television fame.
This meeting was the first round of the 1954 Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy contest, for which the prize money has been increased to £125. The leaders to date are: R. Watling-Greenwood (R.W.G.), 8 points; M. W. Head (Jaguar XK120C) and P. D. Gammon (Lotus-M.G.), 7 points each; T. A. D. Crook (Cooper-Bristol), R. G. S. Shattock (R.G.S. Atalanta). J. Coombs (Connaught) and A. P. O. Rogers (Cooper-Bristol), 5 points each; R. W. Moore (Renault), C. A. S. Brooks (Frazer-Nash), B. G. P. de Mattos (Morgan). P. Scott Russell (Cooper Bristol) and F. G. Nichols (Lotus), 4 points each; R. W. C. Wheeler (Jaguar), L. Gibbs (Riley), J. H. Bailey (Bentley), T. Sopwith (Sphinx) and P. Ravenshaw (Jaguar), 3 points each. The next round takes place at Goodwood on May 1st, commencing at 2 p.m.
The first race was a five-lap handicap for closed cars. K. W. Moore led for three laps in his Renault 750, aided by twin carburetters, until G. H. Williamson made up his 1 mm. 35 sec. disadvantage and put his Morris Minor tourer, with four-carburetter Riley Nine engine(!), in front — the hood was erect, but this seemed to us an odd way of qualifying as a "closed car." Alas for Williamson's ingenious means of endowing an s.v. Morris Minor with some much-needed pep, the engine went sick on the last lap and the Renault again took the lead, the Morris sliding badly out of Woodcote, but closing right up, so that it was the Renault's turn to slide from the chicane. They ran to a neck and neck finish — alas, again, for the starter had dispatched the Morris and two other cars a minute too soon, so that the visual results of this exciting race were rendered null and void. R. W. C. Wheeler's Jaguar was placed second, Foster's .s.v. Morris Minor saloon third and L. M. D. Janke's similar car fourth, although none of these went past the finishing flag in that order. But the Renault's victory stood, and was deserved. Alan Brown made fastest lap, from scratch, in Chases Aston Martin DB2, McMillan pressed on hard in his smart DB2, but Everard's DB2 retired at Woodcote on lap one with a broken throttle spring.
1st: K. W. Moore (Renault). 56.4 m.p.h.
2nd: R. W. C. Wheeler (Jaguar).
3rd: A. T. Foster (Morris).
Fastest lap: A. Brown (Aston Martin), 72.24 m.p.h.
The first of the five-lap scratch races followed, confined to 1,100-c.c. non-supercharged sports cars, attracting eight entries. R. Watling-Greenwood, who had spent the winter making his very attractive Ford Ten-engined more attractive than before — it weighs 9 cwt. — led all the way, keeping Len Gibbs' Riley Nine at bay. But on lap three, after sliding broadside at St. Marys., A. Marsh, who has forsaken his old 12/50 Alvis for a Lotus, passed E. G. Nichols' Lotus, just after a Hunter, overhead, had gone through the sound barrier. S. A. Mitchell and J. D. Bridgewater, driving M.G. and Lester-M.G., respectively, had a race-long duel. Mitchell refusing to be beaten into the chicane. E. J. Kehoe, sitting low and wearing a crash hat that made him Iook rather like a jockey, finished last in his misfiring Brooklands Riley Nine.
1st: R. Watling-Greenwood (R.W.G.), won by 5.4 sec., at 68.35 m.p.h.
2nd: L. Gibbs (Riley).
3rd: A. Marsh (Lotus).
Fastest lap: R. Watling-Greenwood (R.W.G.). 70.13 m.p.h.
Another five-lap scratch race, for non-supercharged sports cars over 3,000 c.c., came next. Again one car led all the way — M. W. Head's well-prepared XK120C Jaguar. Neither did the second or third positions change, T. Sopwith's new Sphinx of the Equipe Endeavour — Allard JR with special Armstrong-Siddeley Sapphire engine — and R. E. Berry's XK120 Jaguar keeping close but unchanging company throughout, both closing on the leading Jaguar into Woodcote Corner. Berry very creditably made fastest lap, but the bearded Orr-Ewing in his old 4 1/2-litre Bentley with modern shock-absorbers got the loudest applause. Shattock, whose R.G.S. Atalanta now has an untuned Jaguar XK120 engine which provides more power than last year's Lea-Francis, was the first of many to destroy the hurdles of the chicane.
1st: M. W. Head (Jaguar), won by 1.4 sec., at 76.87 m.p.h.
2nd: T. Sopwith: (Sphinx).
3rd: R. E. Berry (Jaguar).
Fastest lap: R. E. Berry (Jaguar), 78.4 m.p.h.
The last of the five-lap scratch races was for 1,101-1,500-c.c. non-supercharged sports cars. Peter Gammon's Lotus led all the way until the last lap, when its last year's Lucas-tuned M.G. engine misbehaved for once and Coombs, driving the very beautiful 1954 1 1/2-litre sports Connaught, was able to get away, whereas formerly he had been staved off by the tremendous acceleration of the Lotus and a mysterious fluffing out of the corners of his racing-type four-carburetter engine. Gerry Ruddock's Lotus-M.G. had run noticeably well until this last lap, when it fell back behind P. S. Bailey's Riley-engined Bailey Special and R. D. Steed's J.A.G.-M.G. P. J. Sargent was busy controlling tail slides in his M.G. Recent contributors to Motor Sport's correspondence pages will be interested to learn that of the M.G. contingent two TCs led a TD, and that a new TF came home a bad last!
1st : J. Coombs (Connaught), won by 8.0 sec., at 75.92 m.p.h.
2nd: P. D. Gammon (Lotus-M.G.).
3rd: P. S. Bailey (Bailer-Special).
Fastest lap: J. Coombs (Connaught), 78.83 m.p.h.
The next race was again a scratch contest, but over ten laps, for 1 1/2-3 1/2-litre non-supercharged sports cars. Alan Brown gave a polished exhibition of driving in Chase's Cooper-Bristol, until the car shed its throttle connections on the fifth lap, after lapping B. R. Hovenden's Austin-Healey. This let C. A. S. Brooks into first place after an excellent drive in D. Hely's Frazer-Nash, with Head's XK120C Jaguar second, Tony Crook, waving one arm at the innocent Head, holding-off Cliff Davis' Tojeiro-Bristol for third place. There was plenty of incident. Sir Jeremy Boles (Aston Martin DB3) went off at Woodcote, but continued, R. J. L. Threlfall's glass-fibre-bodied R.G.S.-Atalanta retired, as did R. F. Peacock's Frazer-Nash, and Sopwith went head-on into the chicane with the imposing radiator cowl of the Sopwith, but reversed out and resumed with spinning back wheels. A. McMillan, in the ex-Tyrer Mille Miglia B.M.W., hit the chicane a glancing blow — the hurdles took terrible punishment during the afternoon, the sports-car boys certainly "winding up the springs" at this first-meeting-of-the-season.
1st: C. A. S. Brooks (Frazer-Nash), won by 1.8 sec., at 79.7 m.p.h.
2nd: M. W. Head (Jaguar).
3rd: T. A. D. Crook (Bristol).
Fastest lap: A. Brown (Cooper-Bristol). 83.08 m.p.h.
The first of the open-car five-lap handicaps saw W. J. Watson's special-bodied "limit " 12/70 Alvis lead sedately for three laps, after which Peter Gammon's Lotus-M.G., recovered from its earlier malady, washed out its 1 min. 45 sec. handicap and took the lead, chased by Ruddock's Lester-M.G. and M. Anthony's Lotus-M.G., these two running as if tied tightly together. However, A. P. O. Rogers — he of the Riley saloon last season — was driving with skill and determination — a somewhat rare combination — in his ex-Crook Cooper-Bristol and on lap five he took second place. Coombs, who had started from scratch in the new Connaught, passed Anthony but not Ruddock.
The very, first lap produced "heart-stoppers," Bailey and Anthony sliding badly at the chicane, a mode of cornering which J. Fiander (Tojeiro) emulated on lap two, to the delight of most of the onlookers. C. H. Threlfall's Turner retired.
1st: P. D. Gammon (Lotus.M.G.). 78.12 m.p.h.
2nd: A. P. O. Rogers (Cooper-Bristol).
3rd: G. A. Ruddock (Lester-M.G.).
Fastest lap: J. Coombs (Connaught). 79.85 m.p.h.
Leading away in the next five-lap handicap S. A. Mitchell spun his 1,096-c.c. M.G. at the chicane, denting the tail of the neat racing body; he continued unabashed as Kehoe's Brooklands Riley Nine went by. Watling-Greenwood was now in command of the race in his very effective R.W.G. G. Akroyd's Riley Nine had passed its Brooklands counterpart by lap two, but was thereafter displaced by F. G. Nichol's Lotus, with Marsh's Lotus third and M. C. Litton's M.G. fourth. On the run in Marsh tried very hard to keep ahead of Litton and G. B. Hewitt, whose M.G. had come into the picture, but he got into a series of shocking slides and resultant swerves; he recovered miraculously before entering the chicane despite Hewitt, who had passed Litton, hitting him, and as he went by we felt that racing-driver Marsh "had arrived."
1st: R. Watling-Greenwood (R.W.G.), 71.4 m.p.h.
2nd: F. G. Nichols (Lotus).
3rd: G. B. Hewitt (M.G.).
Fastest lap: M. Burn (Frazer-Nash), 75.0 m.p.h.
To a scream of tyres Basil de Mattos took his 1954 Morgan Plus Four, linered down to 2 litres and no doubt tuned by Laystall, through the corners to snatch victory on the fifth lap of race eight from Major Bailey's vintage 4 1/2-litre Bentley. Watson's "limit" Alvis proved able to beat P. J. Morgan's very "Le Mans" 3-litre Bentley along the straights, only to fall back on the corners, quite a dice developing, although after swinging wide to pass out of the chicane on lap four Morgan gallantly waved de Mattos through. D. G. Groves (Vauxhall) — ex-Cripps Special — spun round at the chicane, scattering the hurdles, but went on without stopping and Hamilton's fast Invicta experienced its usual tail skittishness at times. Nigel Mann's beautiful supercharged 2.6 Alfa-Romeo was able to catch J. Epstein in Onslow's H.W.M.-Alta, although the latter took a nice line through the chicane. J. Moore's Morgan coupé (also a 2-litre) was third. T. M. Walters' Type 55 Bugatti made all the appropriate Molsheim noises.
1st: B. G. P. de Mattos (Morgan), 71.58 m.p.h.
2nd: J. H. Bailey (Bentley).
3rd: J. Moore (Morgan).
Fastest lap: N. Mann (Alfa-Romeo), 74.87 m.p.h.
Fireworks in race nine! P. R. Crubb spun off in the Kieft-Bristol, R. Carnegie's Allard gyrated, but did not cease forward motion, and in dodging the timber on the course P. R. Crubb's Kieft-Bristol skidded off to the grandstand side of the course and J. O. Blaksley, whose XK120 Jaguar bore the scars of a head-on practice prang, shot of the road on the opposite side into the safety fence. Out ahead of all this dicery was Shattock, this time making no mistakes. Crook pipped Rogers for second place after giving his former Cooper five seconds start and the ex-Tyrer B.M.W., driven by A. McMillan, was fourth, very close behind.
1st: R. G. Shattock (R.G.S. Atalanta), 78.76 m.p.h.
2nd: T. A. D. Crook (Bristol).
3rd: A. P. O. Rogers (Cooper-Bristol).
Fastest lap: C. A. S. Brooks (Frazer-Nash), 81.36 m.p.h.
The last race should have been a victory for G. P. Green's Silverstone Healey, but he elected to drive into the new sandbank at Madgwick while comfortably in the lead. This gave Peter Scott-Russell his chance and he brought Rogers' Cooper-Bristol in first from scratch, P. Ravenshaw's XK120 Jaguar being a close second, ahead of Nigel Mann's Alfa-Romeo, which again held off the H.W.M.-Alta. P. B. Shott's Type 55 B.M.W. retired.
1st : P. Scott-Russell (Cooper-Bristol). 77.42 m.p.h.
2nd: P. Ravenshaw (Jaguar).
3rd: N. H. Mann (Alfa-Romeo).
Fastest lap: P. Scott-Russell (Cooper-Bristol), 79.56 m.p.h.
The new sports Connaught is a very nice-looking motor car. The four carburetters are in a "box," the air-intake to which is a small flap in the off-side front wing.
The R.G.S. Atalanta now has a normal XK120 Jaguar engine with two protruding air-intake pipes for its S.U. carburetters, a neat, cowled "inverted-vee" radiator and Borani wheels.
R. D. Steed's J.A.G.-M.G., which last season had a Ford Consul engine, came to this sports-car meeting in a van!
R. B. Watson's blown PB M.G. has a double-tube chassis frame, coil-spring i.f.s., and Bowdenex-operated K3 brakes.
K. W. Moore's Type 35 Bugatti has a Mercury V8 engine with Allard cylinder heads and a big air-scoop beneath the set-forward Bugatti radiator — quite a "hot-rod." The rear wheels are a combination of Bugatti and Ford.
P. S. Bailey's Bailey Special has Vauxhall Dubonnet i.f.s., a Riley 1 1/2-litre engine with four Amal carburetters and ram-intakes and coil-spring rear suspension.
D. G. Groves' Vauxhall is surely the old Cripps Special with Vauxhall in place of Chrysler motor?
The number of nicely-turned-out M.G. and Lotus Specials was notable.
J. Venn had to abandon his "burst" Healey and seek a lift back to Brighton.
It took a commentator some time to distinguish a Consul from a Zephyr. Safer, by far, to say "Ford" for all the "five-stars"!