The VSCC’s racing season opened with the traditional Silverstone fixture on April 3, a healthy 270-car entry being attracted for the 11-race programme.
Debuting Sean Danaher’s pretty Maserati 4CS in the Fox & Nicholl Trophy, Martin Stretton hounded Richard Pilkington’s 4-1/2-litre Talbot T26SS relentlessly after displacing early leader Ian Bentall’s 4-1/2-litre Bentley. Although the Maserati nosed in front briefly, the French car’s three-litre advantage eventually told… just. Stretton was a mere half-second adrift at the flag, and both drivers shared fastest lap.
Amschel Rothschild’s ’59 Dutch GP-winning BRM P25 seems to be restored to full health and was a convincing winner of the Peter Collins Post-War Trophy race, ahead of an excellent battle between the 250F Maseratis of Nigel Corner and Ludovic Lindsay, resolved in Corner’s favour after he used lapped traffic to best advantage. Nick Mason’s 250F was fourth.
Tim Llewellyn looked a certainty to win the Sam Clutton Itala Trophy in Julian Majzub’s Pacey Hassan Special, only to drop out two laps from the end. That allowed the ever-present Freddie Giles through with the AC/GN (né Cognac Special), Giles winning by a distance from Mac Hulbert’s improving Alvis Silver Eagle and a somewhat subdued Peter Morley. The latter’s Napier Bentley held off Nick Mason’s familiar Bugatti T35B by just one-tenth of a second, after Mason had scythed his way through from the back of the field, having started with a 10s penalty.
Stretton led the Patrick Lindsay Trophy race from start to finish in Danaher’s 4CM. He was pursued initially by Ludovic Lindsay in ‘Remus’, until the slow-starting Duncan Ricketts found a way past in Sally Marsh’s ERA R1B. Ricketts’ efforts saw him equal Stretton’s fastest lap. More ERAs completed the top six, John Ure (R9B) followed across the line by Donald Day (R14B) and Jeffrey Pattinson (R6B).
Although the meeting was run in wintry temperatures, rain held off until the 1950s sports car race. The soaking conditions negated the practice advantage of Lister drivers David Ham and Steve O’Rourke, and it was the three D-type Jaguars of Frank Sytner, Gary Pearson and John Harper which set the pace, all three excelling in the spray. Pearson trailed Sytner by only a second at the end, but had the consolation of fastest lap. Ham and O’Rourke brought their Listers home next, although the irrepressible Stretton – having his first run in a Maserati 300S – was challenging for fourth when he spun at Copse.
The five lesser races were won by Walker (MG), Watson (Riley), Rowe ILagondal, D Caroline (Morgan) and G D Caroline (Morgan); 22 qualified in the High-Speed Trial, and six failed. A S D C