Snetterton's Spring Race Meeting
Peter Gammon (Cooper-Climax) Wins Both His Races
The Snetterton M.R.C. held the first National Race Meeting of the English season at the 2.7-mile Snetterton circuit on March 25th. This move to Sunday racing attracted a good crowd of spectators but perhaps the club would have been wiser to have commenced its programme earlier. The meeting was scheduled to start at 2 p.m. but the first race did not begin until 2.15, and consequently the last event was run off almost in the dark, one driver using his headlamps, another sidelamps, the sun having set in a huge ball behind a bank of black cloud. At 7 p.m. the exit road was still choked with cars and coaches; fortunately, once through, A11 provides miles of fast going back to London, at all events until Bishop’s Stortford, this part of England possessing more than any an affinity with France for spaciousness and straight roads. Most of the morning the public had practice to watch and the afternoon produced some close racing. The next National Race Meeting at this Norfolk circuit, this time organised by the Eastern Counties M.C., is scheduled for June 17th. — W.B.
5-Lap Race (Sports Cars up to 1,500 c.c.)
A field of eleven was reduced to eight, as Welch’s Fiat, Ladds’ TC M.G. and Kitchener’s recalcitrant f.w.d. Alvis were non-starters. Richards’ M.G. MGA “Little Bull” led all the way, chased by Carargie’s sister car, which was cornered less tidily, burning more rubber but making little impression on the leader. For a while Hoffman’s Lester-Hoffman, a PA M.G. Midget, held third place but was later overtaken by Digby’s Ford Ten-powered D.B.M. with laminated-wood all-enveloping body, and also, on the last lap by Coe’s F.C.B., a two-carburetter Standard Ten disguised by an all-enveloping glassfibre body. The last-named car was entered by Capt. H. W. Bunbury, who well remembers the grand old days of motor racing. Tail-ender was Hardman in his pre-war Riley saloon, its enormous verve on the corners delighting everyone and making up for its tail position in the race.
1st: R. Richards (M.G.), won by 5.4 sec., at 69.57 m.p.h.
2nd: R. Carnegie (M.G.)
3rd: S. J. Digby (D.B.M.)
Fastest lap: Richards, 71.36 m.p.h.
5-Lap Race (Unlimited Sports Cars)
Two Austin-Healeys and Woozley’s Aston Martin DB2/4 non-started. Stoop’s Frazer-Nash Sebring led the first two laps, then Dalton passed into the lead in his Austin-Healey 100S. For another lap a length separated the two cars, then Stoop fell back a bit, only to close up on Dalton round Coram Curve. On the last lap Dalton’s brakes seemed to play tricks at the Esses and he spun; Stoop avoided him by going straight until he had the situation summed up, after which he went round the outside of the Austin-Healey, missing it, according to commentator Ken Best, by 2 cms. Dalton recovered to hold second place, ahead of Ogier’s Jaguar XK120, Ogler continuing his good driving we noticed last year. Shepherd brought his Mercedes-Benz 300SL home fourth and winner of the poorly-supported over-2,700-c.c. category, but never really used its performance; indeed, on lap one Hurrell’s Triumph TR2 led it comfortably.
There were seven TR2s and four Austin-Healeys in this race and they finished in the order: TR2 (Burrell), TR2 (Howard), TR2 (Samson), TR2 (Staunton), A.-H. (Mrs. Steed). A.-H. (Walker), TR2 (Taylor), A.-H. (Bailey), with other cars, including Longton’s special-bodied Healey Silverstone and Sir G. Baille’s Lancia Aurelia sandwiched between, the rest retiring or finishing nowhere. Maybe this proves something or other!
1st: R. Stoop (Frazer-Nash), won by 1.4 sec., at 78.09 m.p.h.
2nd: J. F. Dalton (Austin-Healey)
3rd: J. L. Ogier (Jaguar)
Fastest lap: Stoop and Dalton, 79.8 m.p.h.
10-Lap Race (Sports/Racing Cars up to 1,500 c.c.)
After Lord Kimberley had cleared the course in his handsome Renault Amiral, the sports/racing cars, nearly all of them of only 1,100 c.c.(!), were assembled, being wisely segregated from mere sports cars. Alas, Colin Chapman’s new Lotus and Jim Russell’s Cooper-Climax Mk. II, said to have an experimental 1½-litre engine, were non-starters.
Peter Gammon ran right away from a field of a dozen Loti, in his Cooper-Climax, proving that if last year we saw him less frequently than before, he has lost none of his skill and daring. Ashdown upheld the promise he showed at Goodwood by keeping second place in his aerodynamic Lotus-Climax in a very hard-fought, no quarters barred, race. Steed’s older Lotus-Climax was third and behind Lumsden and Barnard fought a splendid ding-dong duel in their Loti, which Lurnsden finally polished off. Poor Marriott in his non-aerodynamic Lotus-Climax had no sort of luck, spinning wildly at the Esses on lap one and retiring at the same place in clouds of smoke on lap four.
1st: P. Gammon (Cooper-Climax), won by 6.4 sec.
2nd: P. Ashdown (Lotus-Climax)
3rd: R. Steed (Lotus-Climax).
Fastest lap: Gammon, 83.22 m.p.h.
15-Lap Formula III Race
Jim Russell’s Cooper Mk. IX replaced S. Lewis-Evans (Cooper Mk. X) from the lead after the initial lap and looked to have a nicely-driven race in the bag, when a broken suspension wishbone caused his retirement on the eighth lap. Bridger (Cooper Mk. IX) now overcame a duel with Lewis-Evans, winning comfortably, with Hall’s smart white Cooper Mk. VI in third place. Harrison seemed burned-up in the cockpit of his Harrison-Cooper, which retired with splayed-out front wheels, and the only Kieft in the field had engine trouble.
1st: T. Bridger (Cooper), won by 9.4 sec.
2nd: S. Lewis-Evans (Cooper)
3rd: E. Hall (Cooper)
Fastest lap: J. Russell (Cooper), 87.57 m.p.h.
7-Lap Lotus Handicap
Handicapped by Club Lotus (but the commentators talked about their beer supplies instead of giving the handicaps, although Best did his best), the back-markers in their late-marks caught the older Loti after five laps, during which Webb’s Lotus-Ford with spatted back wheels had led from Rope’s Lotus-Ford Mk. VI. By this time Kasterine’s smart Lotus-Bristol Mk. X, largest-engined car in the field, was close up on these limit men, to take first place on lap six. Steed did all he could to hold the 2-litre car, cornering faster, if anything, and Ashdown spun at the hairpin on lap six, still, however, contriving to finish fourth behind Lumsden, while on the last lap Barnard spun like a top at the same place, but he, too, continued. A good race.
1st: D. Kasterine (Lotus-Bristol), won by 7.0 sec., at 83.41 mph.
2nd: R. Steed (Lotus-Climax)
3rd: P. Lumsden (Lotus-Climax)
Fastest lap: Kasterine, 86.02 m.p.h.
15-Lap Race (Sports/Racing Cars, Unlimited)
This produced an interesting field and good racing. Abecassis, fresh from his Goodwood victory, led for eight laps in the H.W.M., but Flockhart had a shade more power in the Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-type and got by. Alan Brown was trying the other Ecurie Ecosse D-type and seemed to find it a handful, spinning with smoking tyres at the Esses on lap four and having a number of “moments” thereafter, all without losing his (third) place, however. Head dented the tail of his Cooper-Jaguar but he, too, held his (fourth) place. The crowd was kept on its frozen toes by the manner in which Abecassis closed right up on Flockhart round Coram Curve, to lose by 0.6 sec., and by a battle between Piper in Margulie’s D-type Jaguar and “Mort” Morris-Goodall in Bryant’s Aston Martin DB3S.
1st: R. Flockhart (Jaguar), won by 0.6 sec.
2nd: G. Abecassis
3rd: A. Brown (Jaguar)
Fastest lap: Flockhart, 88.36 m.p.h.
10-Lap Handicap (Sports/Racing Cars)
This grande finale was run off in the dusk, most of the previous runners competing and Young driving the M.G.-Parsons, which has a wide tubular frame prepared by M.G. for an Australian driver some years ago, ¼-elliptic back springs with radius-rods and mainly a TF engine.
Gammon made the best of his handicap and it is doubtful if the others ever saw him! On lap eight Flockhart, whom Abecassis had kept at bay for a few laps, came into second place. Young, who had spun in practice, ending up backwards against a bank at the Esses, retired.
1st: P. Gammon (Cooper-Climax), won by 18.4 sec.
2nd: R. Flockhart (Jaguar)
3rd: G. Abecassis (H.W.M.)
Fastest lap: Abecassis 89.67 m.p.h.