VSCC Silverstone

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100

The Gods smile

The Vintage Sports-Car Club again bribed the weather gods, so its first race rneeting of 1989 on April 15 was held in dry conditions, before a record crowd. The new chicane was, however, generally disliked, and from a personal viewpoint the newly-fenced enclosures gave the feeling of being in a zoo, and the new Jimmy Brown Press complex was locked up! Practice had seen the ERA “Remus” suffer blower-drive trouble, rectified by some hectic all-night work.

Things began with the High-Speed Trial: 21 cars surviving the 40 minutes, nine qualifying, including a rare Squire, and four retiring, all Rileys. The Fox & Nicholl race for the bigger sports-cars (mingled with road-rigged specials and disguised racing-cars) was a justifiable victory for Pilkington’s Talbot (which actually ran in the 1938 French GP) at 76.94 mph. Heimann’s ex-Sparrowhawk 4.3 Alvis was second, Burrell third after his V12 Bentley-Royce had fought a race-long duel with Spollon’s quiet but aggressive Monza Alfa conversion, winning by a mere second …

A five-lap handicap was won by Thumpton’s Lagonda Rapier, at 71.01mph, before the Itala Trophy Vintage Scratch Race was contested. In this Boswell drove the Bequet Delage with its Aries-built 12-litre Hispano V8 aero-engine with smooth precision, lapping at 79.48 mph. Next home were the 35B Bugattis of Mason and Horton, and Schellenberg was fifth in the massive handful of 8-litre Barnato-Hassan, now painted, and going down a gear for the chicane, watched by Wally Hassan.

This time the duel was between the two vee-twin Morgans of Caroline and Harper, in that order, until Harper was black-flagged for loss of his visor! Boswell deservedly scooped-up the Itala, Lanchester and Handicap prizes. Clutton celebrated 53 years of racing the 1908 GP Itala with a lap at over 61 mph, Barry Clarke’s A7 0.6 seconds quicker by dint of being blown, but Stacy Marks was hampered by a dancing front axle at the chicane.

Another skilled drive enabled Foster to win the next handicap in his Montlhery MG, at 67.76 mph. Jamieson’s 35A Bugatti lasted only a lap but Brewster had fun in his ball-gate, big-tyred A7 Chummy. Anthony Mayman had no trouble, in ERA R5D, in running away with the Christie’s Patrick Lindsay Pre-War Scratch Race, but decently slowed at half-distance and let Ludovic Lindsay in “Remus” and “Driver Of The Day” Duncan Ricketts in R1B go by — but only for one lap! The ex-Mays lightened ERA’s quickest lap was at 88.91 mph and it won at 85.97 mph. Colborne’s 6CM Maserati was fourth behind these three ERAs, but far back, leading handicap-winner Jolley in the Giron Alvis and Llewellyn in the 3/8 Bentley; Pilkington’s Talbot was the only other car to go the full distance. Eight retired, Spollon’s ERA with low oil pressure, Mann’s with a water leak. ERA R12C non-started, with transmission maladies.

A further five-lap handicap saw Warrington’s 11/2-litre Riley win, at 68.37 mph, and then it was time for the ten-lap Allcomers’ Race. This could have been magnificent, had not Mayman in the 1959 21/2-litre Lotus 16 had the clutch go solid on the warming-up lap. He had to start last, from the pit-lane. However, he was fourth by lap three, third next time round, and second to Corner’s flying 1960 3-litre Dino Ferrari by lap six.

At the finish 2.4 seconds separated them, Mayman lapping the faster, at 94.97 mph to Corner’s 92.86 mph. But who knows how much Corner had in hand? Exciting stuff!

Neil won at 90.88 mph, after his usual impeccable drive. The Hon A Rothschild was a good third in the 1968 BRM P25 and de Cadenet fourth (and first on handicap) in Hannen’s B-type Connaught, holding off C Mayman in the 1952 Ferrari 500/625.

That left another handicap and a five-lap scratch race. The former was won by Bugler’s big Lagonda, at 65.66 mph (Motor Sport represented here by Kimberley’s ex-saloon 41/2 Bentley), the latter by Colborne, whose 6CM Maserati averaged 83.0 mph. In the lunch-hour the Invicta Parade had been run.

At the end of the day eight drivers were level in the Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy contest, whose next round is at Silverstone again, on June 24. WB