Bob Gerard (E.R.A.) Sets Castle Combe Record To 86.25 m.p.h.

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The Bristol M.C. & L.C.C. ran off some very interesting races at their Castle Combe Meeting on October 4th. The race commentaries were given by W. G. Kay, who did an excellent job without recourse to the feeble humour which spoils so many present-day commentaries and is, in our opinion, out of place at any but minor club meetings.

The first event was a 7-lap heat for Formula III cars, in which Moss, the Kieft director in a Cooper, pulled out his usual masterly lead from the placemen, Loens’ Kieft and Parker’s Kieft, to Loens’ advantage. Stirling won by 3.4 sec., at 78.18 m.p.h. Emery in the Emeryson had a stern duel with Brise’s Cooper-J.A.P. and Habin’s Erskine took to the grass at Camp corner.

The second 500-c.c. heat followed and proved heart-stopping for even hardened spectators, for Bicknell’s Revis, finding new form now that it is Norton-powered, I. Brown’s Cooper and Headland’s Kieft came round lap after lap as if roped together, Charles going into the lead on lap three, losing it three laps later to the Revis after leading the dicing-trio into corners at speeds seemingly possible only in a Kieft and then dropping back, so that Bicknell won by 6.2 sec. from Brown, at 75.9 m.p.h., Headland third. Jopp’s Cooper nearly lost its tail and was flagged in, and Lewis-Evans’ Cooper and Fay Taylour’s Cooper succumbed to mechanical maladies. Gerard (Cooper) came in a strong fourth.

Next we had the 10-lap 1½-litre sports-car race. Tyrer had no difficulty here, winning by 5.6 sec. at 71.52 m.p.h. in the Fiat-B.M.W. Behind, Davis and Mayers fought a mighty battle in their respective M.G.s, Cliff’s Cooper leading on all save the sixth lap, when Jim gradually out-accelerated it in his Lester car, only to drop well back—which, on past form suggests that the “Monkey Stable” car Jim sold recently to the States was the fastest of the three. Lewis did a spectacular spin in his Jupiter at Quarry, Dobbs’ J.N.D.-Buckler broke down and a Porsche finished nowhere.

Moss now clinched 500-c.c. affairs by winning the 10-lap final in the Cooper out of sight of the rest—actually 8.8 sec. in front of Parker’s Kieft, with Leston third. Stirling averaged 79.7 m.p.h. and set a new 500-c.c. lap record of 80.59 m.p.h., paving the way for some demonstration lappery by John Cooper’s very trim Cooper record car. During the race Bicknell and Tyrrell both went mowing the grass at Old Paddock Bend.

The over-1½-litre 10-lap sports-car race was a runaway victory for Ian Stewart’s XK120C Jaguar, which averaged an easy 78.66 m.p.h., coming across the line 16.6 sec. ahead of Oscar Moore, who handled his H.W.M.-Jaguar particularly well to hold off a determined Ken Wharton in the Frazer-Nash. Mitchell’s Frazer-Nash was fourth. Dobson’s Jaguar fifth, Watkins’ Caddy-Allard well up, whereas Shea-Simonds’ Ardun-Allard was led by Stapleton’s Aston-Martin and Bryde was slow in the Chrysler-Allard.

The 20-lap Formula II race proved enlivening. As they came bunched into Old Paddock Bend on the first lap Barber’s Cooper-Bristol slid, met the reverse-camber on the outside of the course, skidded sideways and came back across the course. Alan Brown’s Cooper-Bristol hit it and sent it back across the road, where it was rammed again by Peter Whitehead’s Alta, both cars finishing up on the outside close to the spectators, whereas Brown came to rest on the inside. Mercifully all three drivers were unhurt but their cars were badly damaged. Meanwhile the leaders had gone through and Moss had the new G-type E.R.A. in the lead. Unfortunately the steering soon gave trouble and he waved Salvadori in the Ferrari “four” on to win, which he did by 1.4 sec., at 85.38 m.p.h., from Wharton’s Cooper-Bristol, which only overtook Ninian Sanderson’s Cooper-Bristol after a stern chase—good show Ecurie Ecosse! Salvadori set best lap, at 85 rn.p.h.

The 1½-litre 10-lap racing-car race was a gift for Wharton, who led throughout in the E.R.A., winning by 3.8 sec., at 81.58 m.p.h., after lapping at 84.06 m.p.h. Behind, a brave Barber held second place in the Cooper-J.A.P., going off the course momentarily on one occasion. On lap four Graham Whitehead passed him in the ex-Shawe-Taylor E.R.A., but Graham fell back after two more laps, so Barber was second again, Thompson in Rob Walker’s E.R.A.-Delage just taking third place from Whitehead, both cars sounding rather worn out. Webb’s Turner rode with noticeable smoothness over Castle Combe’s rough places.

The last race, 15 laps for Forrnule Libre racing cars, was rather depleted but proved exciting. In the first place, Bob Gerard in his old 2-litre E.R.A., drove magnificently, never being challenged, so that he won by 12 sec. at an average of 85.15 m.p.h., beating the previous race average over 10 laps by 3.88 m.p.h. and breaking his own lap record by 2.61 m.p.h. (new figure: 1 min. 16.8 sec., 86.25 m.p.h.). Behind, Peter Walker at last had the 2-litre s/c. Cooper-E.R.A. motoring, and although smoke filled the cockpit on one lap he pressed on regardless, to finish second, ahead of Wharton’s Cooper-Bristol. Graham Whitehead’s E.R.A. had enough after three laps, the E.R.A.-Delage was sick and Salvadori seemed now to lack speed in the Ferrari, which finished fourth, ahead of Richardson’s 1,781-c.c. s/c. R.R.A. and Marr’s Connaught. Barber again performed, his Cooper-J.A.P. leaping high into the air over a bump after leaving the course momentarily at Old Paddock Bend on lap three. At the tail-end the Frazer-Nash single-seaters of Shelly and Odlum circulated noisily but slowly—look the other way. H. J. A.

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