Lister-Bristol Wins First British International Sports-Car Race Of 1955
W.A. Scott-Brown Victorious in B.R.D.C. British Empire Trophy Race at OuIton Park
The 17th International British Empire Trophy Race was run off at Oulton Park by the B.R.D.C. on April 2nd. It proved to be a convincing single-handed victory for Archie Scott-Brown in the 1954 Lister-Bristol, entrant Brian Lister winning the B.E. Trophy and £250, including the Lucas and Dunlop prize monies. The heats were won, respectively, by L. Leston in a new Connaught, Reg Parnell in a newly-engined Aston Martin, and by the 3-litre 750 Monza Ferrari of M. Sparken. As Scott-Brown was disqualified because of disabilities from competing in the 1954 race he has every reason for warm self-congratulation and we are very pleased for him.—W. B.
The Paddock was a centre of interest at Oulton Park before the start of the race, because so many new sports cars were present. The Lister-Bristols consisted of Alan Moore's and J.G. Sears' new cars with disc brakes, new fairing above the front wheels and headrests for the drivers, and Scott-Brown's well-known 1954 car of the central yellow paint band and yellow dash, with larger Lockheed brakes and Jaguar D-type gear ratios. These cars were driven up the ramps of their van when oil-draining and other maintenance was necessary.
G. Nixon had a 1 1/2-litre Lotus-Turner with two-plug twin o.h.c. engine having S.U. fuel injection, Eric Brandon's new Halseylec had a twin-S.U. Coventry-Climax 1,100-c.c. engine, rack-and-pinion steering, transverse leaf-spring i.f.s., ditto i.r.s., and a Bristol gearbox, while the two Type 550 Porsche Spyders, of which Seidel's was the ex-Hermann car, were attended by a Mercedes-Benz 300 saloon and an Opel Kapitan.
J.H. Walton's Cooper-Bristol was outstandingly well presented and carried the Reg. No. RUM 2. The Osca of Jacques Peron, happy Frenchman, was l.h.d., on Michelin "X" tyres, with 1/4 elliptic rear springs and tendered by a Citroen Six and a Ford Prefect. Peron attended to brake adjustment between races, laughing philosophically when the car tried to tumble off crude jacks.
Colin Chapman had his new Mk. IX Lotus and Coombs his Connaught-Lotus, the Loti of Nurse and Naylor having M.G. engines. The Austin-Healeys of Macklin, Flockhart and Shale were Sebring disc-brake cars, Macklin's wearing a large "M." Anthony had a Lotus-Bristol, which he overturned in practice, but Scott-Russell's Lotus-Bristol was an absentee.
The two 750S Ferraris arrived in a Bianchi Visconteo lorry; Sparken's car was on Dunlop tyres, Piotti's on Pirellis, although at Goodwood on Easter Monday both were on Dunlops. Parnell's Aston Martin had a new 83 by 76.8-mm., 2 1/2-1itre engine, special wire wheels and disc brakes. The works DB3S cars ran sans radiator grilles. Bicknell had his Borgward-engined Bevis.
Heat 1 (16 Laps, 44.17 miles approx.—Cars up to 1,500 c.c.)
Leston, bare-armed, led all the way for Connaught in the non-tail-finned car, pursued by McAlpine in the tail-finned Le Mans Connaught, hampered, they said, by understeer. Nurse retired with run big-ends after holding third place, which was taken by Peron's Osca. The Porsche drivers failed to make the best of their cars and the Bevis crashed. Coombs' Lotus sheared an axle-shaft key and Burgess' Osca was delayed by pit stops for oil.
1st; L. Leston (Connaught) ... 34 min. 24 sec. ... 76.99 m.p.h.
2nd; K. McAlpine (Connaught) ... 34 min. 31 sec. ... 76.80 m.p.h.
3rd; J. Peron (Osca) ... 35 min. 32 sec.
Fastest lap; Leston (Connaught), 79.53 m.p.h.
Heat 2 (16 Laps, 44.17 miles approx.—Cars from 1,501-2,700 c.c.)
Scott-Brown, who had made fastest lap in practice by a clear two seconds, found the Lister-Bristol less handy in the rain than Parnell did the Aston Martin, losing his lead on lap nine. Crook's Cooper-Bristol held third place ahead of Keen in the 1954-winning Cooper-Bristol. The de Dion Frazer-Nash of Brooks beat the Austin-Healey 100S cars convincingly.
1st; R. Parnell (Aston Martin) ... 34 min. 41 sec. ... 76.43 m.p.h.
2nd; W.A. Scott-Brown (Lister-Bristol) ... 34 min. 58 sec.
3rd; T.A.D. Crook (Cooper-Bristol) ... 35 min. 20 sec.
Fastest lap; Parnell (Aston Martin), 79.53 m.p.h.
Heat 3 (16 Laps, 44.17 miles approx.—Cars over 2,700 a.e.)
In heavy rain the French driver Sparken, who had been speed-sober in practice, drove an impeccable race, never placing a wheel wrongly, so that his Ferrari outclassed Hamilton's larger D-type Jaguar. The Aston Martin DB3Ss were by no means outstanding for works-sponsored cars, for Whitehead was slow, Wharton ran fifth, and Salvadori was left on the line, only Peter Collins having a decent go; he finished third because Abecassis tried too hard in the H.W.M.-Jaguar and spun off at Druids' Corner. Piotti was a waster of time in the other 750S Ferrari and broke its transmission after 12 laps. A nasty accident happened when Berry's XK120 Jaguar, at Knicker Brook on lap 14, hit Kelly's carefully-driven C-type Jaguar as it overtook Blond's C-type Jaguar, Kelly being shunted through a group of officials and a B.B.C. box, which was demolished. Kelly and three officials were injured, one of them seriously. Sparken was exceedingly calm after the race, agreeing to sign autographs if the kids would come over to his van, where he sat out of the heavy rain.
1st; M. Sparken (Ferrari) ... 37 min. 05 sec. ... 71.48 m.p.h.
2nd; D. Hamilton (D-type Jaguar) ... 37 min. 17 sec.
3rd; P. Collins (Aston Martin) ... 37 min. 33 sec.
Fastest lap; Warton (Aston Martin) and Hamilton (D-type Jaguar), 73.63 m.p.h.
Final, On Handicap (25 Laps, 69 miles approx.)
Run in heavy rain, this looked to be Sparken's race, deservedly, until the Ferrari weakness prevailed and he retired with clutch failure after 12 laps. Brooks' Frazer-Nash was off-colour, needing plug changes, and overheating. Parnell's Aston Martin nearly displaced McAlpine's Connaught on handicap, Leston's having retired when in a strong position, but it began to misfire, so Scott-Brown, driving the Lister-Bristol magnificently, held off the larger car and gained a well-deserved and popular victory for a "special" sports car. Shattock drove truly magnificently also, making fastest race average in his tail-finned, glass-fibre-bodied R.G.S.-Atalanta, which, although having only part-type C Jaguar mods. to its engine, averaged 74.74 m.p.h. to Hamilton's 72.41 m.p.h. in the D-type Jaguar (which was sans tail-fin). Michelin "X" tyres contributed to the roadholding and Shattock duly won the Dunlop £50 prize !
1st; W.A. Scott-Brown (Lister-Bristol) ... 55 min. 45 sec. ... 73.52 m.p.h.
2nd; K. McAlpine (Connaught) ... 56 min. 10 sec. ... 69.92 m.p.h.
3rd; R. Parnell (Aston Martin) ... 56 min. 25 sec. ... 72.62 m.p.h.
Fastest race average; R.G. Shattock (R.G.S.-Atalanta), 74.74 m.p.h.