Cooper Wins 140-Mile FII Race at Oulton Park Gold Cup Meeting

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This year the International Gold Cup Meeting at Oulton Park, on October 5th, was a mixed car and motor-cycle meeting. If this gave the spectators who normally go only to car meetings an opportunity of enjoying the sight of Suttees’ masterly handling of a Norton and that fantastic four-cylinder M.V. Augusta machine and of appreciating Cyril Smith’s mastery of the spectacular sport of sidecar racing, there were no Formula 1 cars like the Lancia/Ferraris which made this a memorable meeting in 1955. Moreover, the International aspect, so far as the car drivers were concerned, was the usual farce, unless Australia versus the rest qualifies.

The field for the 140-mile Formula II race was composed entirely of Cooper and Lotus cars with the exception of a sports Willment driven by Stuart Lewis-Evans and Richards’ H.A.R., the engine of which seemed to run longer in the paddock than on the course. The new FII Lister again non-started. All the cars had twin-cam Coventry-Climax engines with the exception of Rob Walker’s second-string Cooper driven by Noel Cunningham-Reid and Stoop’s 1,220-c.c. Cooper which has one of the comparatively rare Climax engines possessing the bore of the 1½-litre engine but the stroke of the 1,100-c.c. unit.

The works Coopers were driven by Brabham, Salvadori, Burgess and Russell and whereas Russell was on Dunlop tyres the others were Continental-shod. The works Lotus cars were handled by Hall, Allison and Hill. In practice fastest lap was attributed to Marsh (Cooper), who said he was sure he hadn’t gone so fast, and Allison (Lotus); the latter car poked a rod out of its engine which had to be hastily replaced before race day. Both these drivers were credited with a lap time of 1 min. 50.4 sec., and they shared the front row of the starting-grid with Brooks in Rob Walker’s twin-cam Cooper and the Australian Brabham’s Cooper.

The anticipated clash between G.P. and F.II drivers and between Brabham and Salvadori did not materialise, because Brooks broke the Cooper’s transmission in attempting to get away from the start and it wasn’t long before Salvadori, who had opened by chasing Brabham, who was in the lead, with his customary fire, had his engine go sick — it became worse as the race proceeded and eventually quit altogether, Salvadori pushing the car in.

Allison did all he could to catch Brabham, backed up by Graham Hill, until Hill’s Lotus overheated, necessitating a pit-stop after it had lapped at 87.81 m.p.h., a new record, which gained for Hill the Lookers’ Challenge Trophy. Russell’s works Cooper retired after an incident associated with a locking brake on a patch of oil and Hall’s Lotus was delayed with gearbox trouble. Marsh circulated comfortably in third place as the others fell out, winning The Autocar Formula II Championship.

Wicken overdid things and suffered severe injury when his Cooper overturned, the H.A.R. broke an oil pipe, Ireland’s Cooper its crown wheel, while the Naylor/Halford Cooper overheated. Taylor’s Lotus retired with loss of lubricant, Leston shot up the escape road at the Cascades when a drive-shaft broke, after his Cooper had got the worst of a duel with Burgess and Stoop had an ignition lead come adrift.

The F.II Lotus cars had very soft rear suspension, their tails bottoming on the Oulton Park bumps but Brabham’s Cooper looked and sounded at the top of its form and it led all the way, to win the £1,000 prize and the Gold Cup.

1st: J. Brabham (Cooper)  50 laps, 1 hr. 37 min. 29,4 sec., 84.96 m.p.h.

2nd: C. Allison (Lotus) 50 laps, 1 hr. 38 min. 06.6 sec.

3rd:  A. E. Marsh (Cooper) 49 laps.

Fastest lap (record): G. Hill (Lotus), 87.81 m.p.h.

Team Prize: Lotus Team — Allison, Hill and Hall.

After the big race the 500-cc. boys had a 15-lap (approx. 41-mile) race. The first lap was marred by a four-car prang at Cascades, Bueb’s Cooper overturning in the mix-up, causing hospitalisation of this driver. Jim Russell and Stuart Lewis-Evans fought a race-long battle as if tied together. Russell’s works Cooper, after taking the lead, retaining it and finally beat the Beart-Cooper by 0.2 sec., reversing the Goodwood result of a week earlier. — W. B.

1st: J. Russell (Cooper-Norton) 30 min. 43.2 sec., 80.89 m.p.h.

2nd: S. Lweis-Evans (Beart-Cooper) 30 min. 43.4 sec.

3rd: T. Bridger (Cooper-Norton), 31 min. 35.6 sec.

Fastest lap: S. Lewis-Evans 82.42 m.p.h.