The Final Club Silverstone Meeting of 1953
N. Staffs M.C. Run Many Well-Supported Races
October 10th, one of the lovely autumn days which we enjoyed in the early part of this month, saw the North Staffs M.C. holding the last of the Club Silverstone Meetings of 1953. Very large fields were a feature of almost all the races but, notwithstanding, the meeting terminated just after 4 p.m., having commenced at 11.30 a.m.
The seven-lap scratch race for 1,200-c.c. sports cars saw Nuckey trying Chapman's Lotus to such good effect that he won at 67.41 m.p.h. from Len Gibbs' rather sick and sorry Riley, with David Small's 1,172 Formula Ford glued to their tails.
Peter Gammon, almost mowing down starter Sidney Allard [Correct spelling: Sydney Allard] as he forced his famous M.G. through from the back row, had, after two laps, established a commanding lead in the seven-lap 1½-litre sports-car scratch race. This was all the more creditable as he was trying an experimental cylinder head and Dunlop road-racing tyres in place of his usual Indias. He had quite a slide at Woodcote on one lap. Incidentally, he is preparing a new M.G. engine for his Lotus chassis and intends to sell his present car with its existing very potent engine -- a fine "buy" for anyone able to do justice to this outstandingly successful car, which has won the 1953 Motor Sport Clubs Trophy. Clairmonte's Clairmonte, with Riley engine spilling out of its low bonnet, and Dargue's neat M.G. held second and third places, chased very purposefully by Chapman in the Lotus. In the run-in to the finish Colin just poked by on the inside at Woodcote to snatch third place from Dargue in a photo-finish -- a matter of one-fifth of a second! Wadsworth's Connaught retired.
A 15-lap Formula III race promised fun and games. For two laps Headland's Martin/Headland led, with Leston up in second place, only to retire. On lap four Nuckey (Cooper) passed Headland and led to the finish. On the last lap Headland's wheels locked and he slid straight on at Woodcote but recovered in time to retain his second place ahead of Smith's Smith 500. There were several retirements, including Bueb, who lost a split-pin from the gear-change mechanism of the Bueb-R-Not.
A combined seven-lap scratch race for 2-litre and 3-litre sports cars saw the amazing Gammon off like a flash, to lead all the way, pursued by Byrnes' Kieft-Bristol and McMillan, the last-named taking right-hand corners on left lock in the white ex-Tyrer Mile Miglia B.M.W./Bristol. Haynes' Healey won the bigger category from Allen's Healey and Hitchings' Austin-Healey.
A delightfully mixed 15-lap Formule Libre scratch race followed, Marr's Connaught and Nuckey's Cooper-Bristol engaging in a warm battle which finished with the Connaught 2.4 sec. ahead as Allard waved the chequered flag. Head's Type C Jaguar was third.
Next it was the big sports cars' turn, over seven laps from scratch. Head's white Type C Jaguar won this by 2.8 sec. from Truman's Type C Jaguar, Gammon finishing in the, for him, unusual third position -- in a 1½-litre car! Oscar Moore's H.W.M.-Jaguar seemed in trouble.
The Vintage 10-lap handicap was notable for the manner in which Orr-Ewing's 1½-litre fabric four-seater Bentley, recovered from its earlier contretemps, came through the field. It won from Vessey's Lancia Lambda with bonnet undone and Walker's 4½-litre Bentley. Major Bailey drove an imposing but slow blower-4½ long-chassis, touring-bodied Bentley, his more usual Bentley having made rude noises at him when he tried to persuade it to race that morning.
A 10-lap racing-car handicap saw Leston's Cooper 1,100 win from Marsh, cornering quicker and quicker in a 1,260-c.c. Cooper, with Mare's Connaught third from the scratch mark.
The meeting concluded with a trio of seven-lap handicaps for sports cars, very complicated by reason of credit laps. In the first, Rees' Austin Seven led all the way and won from Wilks' Austin and Marler's Austin Chummy, after a hair-raising race-long tussle. Unfortunately, Jack French's Austin Simplicity overturned at Beckett's Corner and French was taken to hospital with severe injuries. The B.M.W./Bristol took the next handicap from Gammon and Dargue after a grand and fiery battle, and the final race was won by the same car, with Green's Kieft-Bristol second after Hogg (Allard J2) had thrown this position away by spinning in clouds of rubber-smoke at Beckett's. He recovered quickly, to take third place. Margulies' Delahaye went well. In an earlier race it was able to hold off Haynes' Healey.
During the meeting Fitzwilliam appeared in the ex-Waring Lego-Talbot.
Thus ended the last of the extremely enjoyable Silverstone Club Meetings for this year. Their resumption early in 1954 is awaited with keen anticipation. -- W.B.