A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
V.S.C.C. SILVERSTONE RACE MEETING (April 14th)
IN spite of bitterly cold weather both grandstands at Silverstone were full for the V.S.C.C. Meeting of April 14th, when 168 varied vehicles contested a One-Hour High Speed Trial and ten races.
Most of the 29 sports cars that started for “the hour ” qualified, the luckless ones including a small M.G. Special, a 1934 Riley, a Lagonda Rapier, a Brescia Bugatti, three 12/50 Alvis, Winder’s early Frazer Nash, an Avon-Standard, a V-radiator 1926 2,625-c.c. Alfa Romeo and a 1934 Speed zo Alvis.
The first 5-lap scratch race was a runaway win for Bradley’s 41-litre Bentley, smoking somewhat, from Ashley’s fast Frazer Nash and St. John’s A.C. Six-engined Frazer Nash. Martin’s Riley Special spun at Becketts.
A 5-lap Handicap followed, and again one car led all the wayRiseley’s 1931 Aston Martin with carburetters protruding from its bonnet. Crabtree’s blown 1Hitre Alfa Romeo held second place fir three laps, but the back-markers came up in force, Hutchings’ 328 B.M.W. and Morley’s slab-tank 2-seater 41-litre Bentley occupying second and third places.
Vintage cars up to 750 c.c. sjc., 1,100 c.c. normally aspirated, now assembled in numbers for the Spero and Voiturette Trophies to-lap scratch race. Entries ranged from a quite splendid replica of the original racing Austin Seven of 1923, in mottled finish, by McElligott, somewhat spoilt by hydraulic front brakes, to Winder’s pathetically pedestrian ex-Marcus Chambers’ Marshall-Nordecblown single-seater Austin Seven. Batho drove his nice AmficarRiley in a ” period ” crash-hat and it carried its racing number on a ” 200-Mile Race ” vertical disc on the tail. Abrahams has further tuned his neat Singer Junior Special this year by fitting a tachometer, and McLellan, of the Salmson Register, was appropriately, if slowly, mounted. No-one proved able to Catch Mayhew’s non-vintage-looking Riley Nine and the Spero Trophy was a Riley benefit, Binns, Heap and Scott in these cars following the winner home. Marsh’s Ulster Austin deservedly won the Voiturette Trophy. May’s Humber Special just won a race-long ding-dong with Lockhart’s Peugeot-J.A.P.
Another 5-lap Handicap saw Retter’s Aston Martin lead throughout, Beavis’ Riley Nine finishing second and Goodman’s Lea-Francis, which has a” Brooklands ” air about it and a 3-carb. Alvis Silver Eagle engine under the bonnet, third.
The Edwardian Handicap produced pre-race drama in the starting of Mephistopheles, the entire paddock, almost, being cleared so that the 21-litre Fiat could be tow-started behind a Jaguar saloon. Alas, it defaulted on the line. This left six runners, a crash-helmeted Mrs. Jeddere Fisher appearing first over the skyline in her lofty Lancia Theta. This isn’t a racing car, so Barry Clarke’s Talbot, which won handsomely from Lord Montagu’s Coupe de PAuto Sunbeam, both off the same mark and Neve’s T.T. Humber just beat Sir Francis Samuelson’s T.T. Sunbeam which had 5-sec. start. Clutton„ in Persil overalls, lapped at 60.18 m.p.h. in the Itala, to no avail.
So to the to-lap Allcomers’ Scratch Race which spectators as well as competitors could really enjoy. Syd Day’s E.R.A. proved difficult to start but from the back of the grid he stormed through the field. After four laps the Hon. P. Lindsay in the E.R.A. Remus led Murray’s green E.R.A. and Day was third, having taken Waller’s E.R.A. into Woodeote. A lap later Murray, driving very fast indeed (he lapped at 82.93 m.p.h.) was close up to Lindsay but the order was unchanged for another two laps, after which Murray got past bind
say, who was troubled with a boiling radiator, sticking throttle and other minor maladies. It was a splendid sight—Murray sliding wildly, the E.R.A.’s starting handle swinging from side to side, Lindsay on the grass out of Woodcote trying to hang on.
They finished in the order Murray, Day, Waller, and Chapman, all in E.R.A.s A splendid race, Murray averaging 78.96 m.p.h.
Further back in the field Clifford’s Alta was black-flagged for trailing what proved to be a piece of rag, and Begley’s A.F.M./ 13.M.W., Stacliffe’s Alta, Charnock’s 4.3 Alvis and the DerbyMaserati retired and Merrick’s blown 750 M.G. came to its pit.
The next 5-lap Handicap incorporated an Inter-Register Trophy race, which excused the presence of 2and 4-seater Austin 12/45, a scruffy Sunbeam 25 coupe, Humber 9120s and other improbable racing machinery. After a gaggle of Austin Seven Chummies had been caught, Marsh’s Ulster Austin won strongly from May’s Humber Special (1923/29-8/t8-cum-9/20) and Clarke’s Edwardian Talbot. Runners included Butlin’s smart Amilcar, Copping’s 12150 Alvis with its frame turned upside down, Watts in the Peugeot-J.A.P., with large back wheels, and Wilson’s s.v. Aston Martin. The to-lap Itala Trophy Race for vintage and historic racing cars had a mixed field, from ” Mephistopheles ” to Winder’s Austin Seven, with Blanford’s Riley listed as 1929 in spite of its 11-litre 4-cylinder Centric-blown engine. Horton’s 1924 2-litre Bugatti actually had Dunlop ” herringbone ” 710 x 90 tyres on its front alloy-spoke wheels. Bradley’s Bentley, a 4-seater running stripped, took the lead, pursued by Ridley’s Semmence, until the latter tired after half-distance. Tozer’s Amilcar Six then took up the chase, to be replaced a lap later by 13ergers 2.3 G.P. Bugatti, which is how they finished, followed in by Mudd’s Alfa Romeo and Binn’s Brooklands Riley Nine. Bradley not only won but made fastest lap, at 72.19
The meeting concluded with a couple more 5-lap Handicaps, in the first of which Berridge drove a nicely original-looking M.G. NE Magnette but the winner of which was Morley’s Bentley, from the A.C.-Frazer Nash and Cottarn in Chapman’s E.R.A., Waller’s E.R.A. retiring early when a vital something came adrift and released all the oil pressure. The last race was won fairly easily by Askew’s neat blown 1,750-c.c. Alfa Romeo 2-seater, Ashley’s Frazer Nash coming through %Try creditably from ” to sec.” to take second place ahead of Beavis’ Riley Nine. It was amusing to see Wickham’s 1929 Alvis beetle-back with one aero-screen and Brooklands outside exhaust and Mann’s 1931 Alvis beetle-back with discreetly-hidden exhaust and fold-fiat screen together on the line; the latter car got away better but was eventually overtaken by the vintage version. Millar again ran a 19,26 30/98 Vauxhall Wensum, his wife’s Christmas present to this keen Sunbeam exponent. Moffatt’s Brescia Bugatti was fourth.
So ended a splendidly supported meeting, which indicates the enthusiasm that exists in 1962 for pre-1931 motor racing. The entry was excellent, although there could be fewer of those ” specials ” that are more in the ” boy-dicer ” than the vintage tradition, and less of the very touring models temporarily turned racer. Lindsay did not run his Napicr-Railton because he wanted to run his E.R.A. and cannot drive .both at once, but he promises to demonstrate it at the V.S.C.C. Oulton Park Meeting, perhaps in company with Schellenberg’s Bentley—you did say demons! rat e, not race, Sir ?
An interesting car in the Paddock was the E.H.P. that G. W. Olive raced at Brooklands, its handsome mahogany-planked body in fine condition and a twin-cam, twin-S.U. 1,750-c.c. Alfa Romeo engine replacing the original French blown engine; a square opening in the middle of the radiator still exists where the inlet pipe passed through.—W. 13.
Something like 12,000 spectators were present. The next V.S.C.C. Race Meetings will he at Oulton Park—don’t miss this one!—on June 23rd and another Silverstone Meeting on July 21st.