Brands Hatch, Easter Monday

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After several days of cold winds, the weather turned fine for the opening meeting of the B.R.S.C.C. at Brands Hatch on Easter Monday. The entry list was not as good as it was on the same occasion last year, but the 500-c.c. exponents had a good outing, with some very close racing. The sports-car field was not so fortunate since the presence of Peter Gammon and his Cooper-Climax made things rather trying for the would-be winners, who had to content themselves with the sight of this Cooper always about half a mile ahead.

The normal programme of races was scheduled: the Sporting Record Trophy race, the two sports-car races, the J.A.P. race, and an extra consolation event.

At 2 p.m. prompt Heat 1 of the Sporting Record event began. On the opening lap D. J. Strange and S. Lewis-Evans had a scrap but things settled down to Lewis-Evans, Hall and Taylor in that order, with Hall trying very hard, especially at Druids’ Hill Bend, but until the eighth lap the order remained the same, until Hall squeezed by, to remain in the lead for the last two laps. This was one of the most exciting events of the 500-c.c. programme.

The next heat began with Wicken in the lead, soon to be challenged by Bridger, who took first place, with Boshier-Jones third. This carried on for some time until Wicken again took over the lead for four laps, with Boshier-Jones losing ground rapidly. On the seventh lap Bridger slid past on the top straight and there he stayed to receive the flag, Wicken, Boshier-Jones and Raby behind him.

The first final of this race proved to be an uneventful one. Stuart Lewis-Evans held the first six laps, with Bridger, Hall and Wicken hovering behind, but the final round saw Wicken first, having taken Stuart on the seventh lap, and Bridger third. Hall, Eccles and Koring retired with mechanical trouble.

The second final was a more interesting affair, with Luke’s purple-mauve-coloured Cooper in the lead at the beginning being chased down to fourth place by Mayne, Heyward and Summers. The field spread out during the course of the 10 laps but Mayne crossed the line at 64.53 m.p.h.

The extra event, not scheduled on the programme, was a 10-lap consolation race, in which Raby excelled himself by leading from beginning to end. His nearest rivals were Iszatt, who had been trying very hard all day, and Jones in a Kieft, who later slowed up on the ninth lap, allowing Barrett to come into second place, with Iszatt third.

The J.A.P. race resulted in a win for H. C. Taylor, chased by Jones and lszatt and later by Bennett in an Arnott. For about half a lap Iszatt took the lead, only to be caught again by Taylor; Bennett and Iszatt fought it out valiantly but on the last lap Bennett moved past his sparring partner into third place. Speed for this race was 67.13 m.p.h.

And so to sports cars. The two 12-lap races, one for 1,200-c.c. and one for 1.500-c.c. cars, were won easily by Peter Gammon in his Cooper, who had an absolute cakewalk over his rivals T. Barnard and W. S. Frost, who kept together well in their Mk. IX Lotus cars during both events, finishing second and third respectively in the 1,500-c.c. race, after steady driving. P. Bailey’s Tojeiro had a brief look in at second place for the first two laps but was gradually pushed further down the scale to do battle with Stacey’s Lotus-Climax. One of the non-starters was Crombac’s Lotus, which had rear suspension trouble on the Continent and was unable to appear.

The 1,200-c.c. event was almost a repeat of the above, with Stacey climbing up the scale and Taskent and Nisbet battling along behind until Nisbet retired along with Harris, also in a Lotus. An unusual sight was M. P. Phillippe’s M.P.S. travelling along with the rear half of the bodywork missing, having met up with a bank. Perhaps it was cooler like that anyway. The fastest lap was made in this race by Gammon at 71.31 m.p.h.,a fitting end to the start of the season’s small-car racing. — I.G.

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