The Bank Holiday Meeting of the B.A.R.C. promised to be a first-class occasion but, although it was held in sunshine before a record crowd of 55,000, it fell short of that promise. Alberto Ascari and Baron de Graffenried failed to appear, there were many non-starters, and the big race of the day, over 21 laps, had five finishers, only four of whom completed the full distance, while the result was marred by a protest. As some compensation, we saw the first appearance of the new 2 1/2-litre Maserati and H.W.M. cars, and Parnell’s 1953 Ferrari with new 2 1/2-litre engine lapped as fast as the supercharged B.R.M.s and Salvadori’s 1954 Maserati. Moss ran only in the 500-c.c. race and was undistinguished in the Beart-tuned Cooper-Norton.
The Lavant Cup Race For G.P. Formula Cars
(7 Laps, Scratch)
Ascari was prevented by his Lancia contract from driving the 2-litre Vandervell-Thinwall Special, and de Graffenried’s Maserati, Whitehead’s Cooper-Alta and the Emeryson were other absentees amongst the new 2 1/2-litre cars.
Reg Parnell led all the way, using lots of road, in the Leslie Hawthorn-tuned 2 1/2-litre Ferrari, chased by Salvadori, whose 2 1/2-litre Maserati finished a mere 0.6 sec. behind, both drivers lapping at 89.81 m.p.h. Rolt had Rob Walker’s fuel-injection Connaught firmly in third place until the magneto drive sheared on Lavant Straight on the last lap, letting Ken McAlpine’s Connaught take this position. Marr’s Connaught spun off at Paddock Bend. Thirteen ran.
1st: R. Parnell (Ferrari), won by 0.6 sec., at 88.77 m.p.h.
2nd: R. F. Salvadori (Maserati).
3rd: K. McAlpine (Connaught).
Fastest lap: Parnell and Salvadori, 89.81 m.p.h.
First Easter Handicap, Sports Cars (5 Laps)
This race produced an exciting finish, for after E. W. Cuff-Miller in Alexander’s Allard had led all the way from the “limit” mark, Jimmy Stewart in an Ecurie Ecosse XK120C Jaguar and Tony Rolt in the famous “Old No. 18” Le Mans XK120C Jaguar of the same Scottish team swept up to pass him on the run in, Rolt, giving Stewart 5 sec. start, finishing 2.8 sec. behind him. Duncan-Hamilton in his Le Mans practice XK120C spun off at Lavant Corner, Protheroe ran onto the grass at St. Mary’s in his XK120, and the driver’s door of Bix’s XK120 kept flying open. Seventeen ran.
1st:. J. R. Stewart (Jaguar), 15 sec. … 82.11 m.p.h.
2nd: A. P. R. Rolt (Jaguar), 10 sec.
3rd: E. W. Cuff.Miller (Allard), 55 sec.
Fastest lap: Stewart and Abecassis (H.W.M.). 83.88 m.p.h.
The Chichester Cup Race For Formule Libre Racing Cars (5 Laps, Scratch)
Ken Wharton drove the new short-chassis Mk. II Type 15 B.R.M., which screamed round in the lead, the noise from its stub exhaust pipes tremendous, from start to finish, chased by Salvadori’s Maserati, which this time had found all its form and, besides holding off Parnell’s Ferrari, closed right up on Wharton in the run in for a “photo finish.” Ron Flockhart spun off at Madgwick while leading the field from the grid, a nasty experience which put him right behind. He pulled all the stops out thereafter to get the older B.R.M. home fourth. Thirteen ran.
1st: K. Wharton (B.R.M.). won by 0.4 sec., at 88.7 m.p.h.
2nd: R. F. Salvadori (Maserati).
3rd: R. Parnell (Ferrari).
Fastest lap: Wharton, Flockhart, Parnell, Salvador), 90.38 m.p.h.
Second Easter Handicap, Sports Cars (5 Laps)
Tony Crook came through the field strongly to take the lead on the last lap from Steed’s J.A.G.-M.G., while Cliff Davis came up into third place in his Tojeiro-Bristol, just ahead of Alan Brown’s Cooper-Bristol. Crabb’s Kieft spun at Lavant and Hampton’s Austin-Healey retired after dislodging much of the chicane fencing, which damaged the exhaust system. Twenty ran.
1st: T. A. D. Crook (Cooper-Bristol), 6 sec. … 81.5 m.p.h.
2nd: R. D. Steed (J.A.G.-M.G.), 31 sec.
3rd: F. C. Davis (Tojeiro). 6 sec.
Fastest lap: Crook, 84.37 m.p.h.
Third Easter Handicap, Racing Cars (5 Laps)
C. J. Hamilton, from “limit,” looked to have this in his cubbyhole, and he drove his old E.R.A. steadily and well to lead until Tony Rolt in Rob Walker’s Connaught (mended) pipped him on the line. Parnell was third after equalling his former lap speed. Alan Brown ran out of road in the Cooper-Bristol, Kennington’s crash-hat fell off (black flag), and Lance Macklin (2 1/2 H.W.M.) and Parnell demolished some more of the chicane fencing. Nine ran.
1st: A. P. R. Rolt (Connaught). 8 sec. … 87.28 m.p.h.
2nd: C. J. Hamilton (E.R.A.). 72 sec.
3rd: R. Parnell (Ferrari), scratch.
Fastest lap: Parnell, 90.38 m.p.h.
The Earl Of March Trophy For 500-C.C. Cars (5 Laps, Scratch)
Les Leston led securely in his Cooper-Norton, but Don Parker (Kieft) and R. G. Bicknell (Revis) duelled for second place, Bicknell taking the lead on lap four and doing some lawn-mowing at St. Mary’s. Here A. E. Elliott cornered too fast for his Cooper, which rolled over, sending up a fine dust cloud. The ambulance took a long time to reach him and the breakdown truck went along to add an unnecessary obstruction at the side of the course. Elliott recovered later. Bennett spun his Arnott but resumed. Fenning (Staride) put on a spurt at the finish for fourth place, passing Nuckey’s Cooper. Moss, in a Beart/R. R. Jackson Cooper-Norton, was disappointingly eighth. Fifteen ran.
1st: L. Leston (Cooper). won by 1.2 sec., at 82.19 m.p.h.
2nd: R. G. Bicknell (Revis).
3rd: D. Parker (Kieft).
Fastest lap and class lap record: Leston. 83.4 m.p.h.
Fourth Easter Handicap, Racing Cars (5 Laps)
In spite of a 2-sec. re-handicap Hamilton’s E.R.A. won, keeping just sufficiently ahead of Somervail’s E.R.A. Goodhew’s 4CL Maserati, which he has endowed with two-stage supercharging, was third, ahead of Marshall in the old 6C Maserati. Leston’s Cooper 1,100 retired, Simpson’s misfired and Holt found Graham Whitehead’s E.R.A. off form. The Rover-B.M.W. gyrated at Woodcote. Ten ran.
1st: C. J. Hamilton (E.R.A.). 58 sec…. 78.49 m.p.h.
2nd: J. Somervail (E.R.A.). 55 sec.
3rd: J. Goodhew (Maserati), 38 sec.
Fastest lap: Goodbew, 81.51 m.p.h.
The Richmond Formule Libre Race (21 Laps, Scratch)
This should have been the big event of the afternoon but it flopped badly. In the absence of Ascari, de Graffenried, Nuckey, Hall, Emery, Webb, Brown, A. G. Whitehead, Brooke and Whiteaway, only 13 cars started, and after Thorne’s Connaught had spun off and Parnell’s Ferrari had succumbed to gear-selector failure, the thing became a procession. Wharton had swapped B.R.M.s with Flockhart and he led, by several lengths along the straights and by a little daylight at the corners, from Salvadori’s 2 1/2-litre Maserati. At a discreet distance behind and about equally spaced came McAlpine’s Connaught, Marr’s Connaught and Flockhart, who, after leading for a lap, found the new B.R.M. losing power. After about five or six laps no one else was left in, except for Peter Whitehead’s 2 1/2-litre Cooper-Alta (lapped by Wharton after 13 laps) and Boulton’s Connaught (lapped after 11 laps). The only interest lay in whether Salvadori could pass Wharton. The B.R.M. seemed to exude a smoke haze and then smoke was seen to issue from the cockpit. Salvadori’s screen was obscured by this Energol Oil film and he also found no room in which to pass Wharton. On lap 19 he attempted to go by on the inside at Levant Corner, the Maserati’s near-side front wheel rammed the off side of Wharton’s car and the B.R.M. spun. Both cars stopped but Wharton kept his engine running and continued, whereas Salvadori stalled. The B.R.M. went on to win at 86.4 m.p.h. A protest was lodged by Salvadori’s entrant, but was not upheld by the Stewards. Quite a sensation resulted as crowds waited to hear the verdict. It was said, variously, that Salvadori was baulked; that Salvadori couldn’t have won anyway because Wharton always pulled well away along the straights; that the oil-exuding B.R.M. was in an unfit state to race and should have been flagged in (that in the Chichester Cup Wharton’s B.R.M. was allowed to continue although the fuel filler cap had sprung open); that even if Salvadori’s screen was covered in oil film he could see over it; that the switch of B.R.M. drivers was not correct under the rules. Who was really to blame will probably always rank as one of motor-racing’s insolubles. Our opinion is that the protest was a pity, because Wharton and Salvadori are well able to take care of themselves, and that if a “shunt” happens it is all part of the game. Wharton said over the p.a. that if it driver gives way to someone behind him it wouldn’t be motor-racing, while SaIvadori, questioned afterwards, was emphatic that he wished to make no criticism of Wharton and dissociated himself with the protest. Not a very happy ending to a rather flat race! Salvadori equalled the B.R.M.’s best lap speed.
1st: K. Wharton (B.R.M.). won by 10 sec.. at 86.4 m.p.h.
2nd: K. McAlpine (Connaught).
3rd: L. Marr (Connaught).
Fastest lap: Wharton and Salvadori. 88.34 m.p.h.
Traffic congestion after the meeting was not too bad, in spite of the record attendance. But the Sussex Constabulary, having routed Midhurst-bound traffic via Singleton, might have provided a point-duty constable at the junction with the main road at Singleton village.
It is pity that several drivers disobeyed the B.A.R.C. racing rule which says that cars shall keep station in finishing order on the lap which follows the chequered flag.
The official hand-outs referred to the chicane fence as “wattling fence.” The fence we once ran into on Watling Street was a good deal harder … !
Salvadori’s sports Maserati was minus its off-side headlamp, a legacy of Oulton Park!
Smart — the blue and white dust-sheets of Ecurie Ecoss.
The sports Emeryson is the 9-Hour Race Aston Martin DB3 coupé with a Jaguar XK120 engine.
The G.P. Emeryson, with 2 1/2-litre Alta engine, holed its sump at a dip in the road on the way to practice.
Bickenell’s Bevis had its Norton engine started by turning the jacked-up back wheels a la model-T Ford!
One official was seen to reverse his Heaeyy rapidly into the infield as a race started – he was listening to a horse-race commentary and the nasty, noisy racing cars threatened to drown it!
Sid Greene respectfully removed his cap when entering the Stewards’ office about the protest concerning the last race. Both he and Salvadori were all smiles when they emerged, in spite of an adverse judgment. Actually, as Salvadori had retired, had their protest been upheld the only effect would have been to lift the Connaughts into first and second places, not to give the Maserati the race!
J. Rolls’ s/c 1,100 Turner pranged the chicane in practice and wasn’t repaired in time to start.
R. A. Page’s Cadillac-engined H.W.M. was a regretted absentee. Rob Walker’s “shopping car,” his DB2 Aston Martin with very “hot” 3-litre DB3 engine, was driven by Eric Thompson.
Two Goodwood questions: Isn’t Kennington’s crash hat just too chic? And aren’t the girls every bit as charming as in the Brooklands days? — W B.