A dull, wet British Empire Trophy race

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Henry Taylor’s Lotus-Ford Wins B.R.D.C. Silverstone Finale

TEEMING rain in practice, more rain on the day, spoilt the B.R.D.C. British Empire Trophy Race over 105 miles of the full Silverstone circuit on October 1st. The hoped-for attendance was some 10,000 down but at least Club drivers were able to unleash their cars over the outer circuit.

It was, perhaps, not entirely fair to amateur F.J. exponents to allow drivers of the calibre of the Taylors, Arundell and McKee to compete, and the down-graded Empire Trophy Race, run in rain, was virtually a procession after the first 12 laps, so far as the first six places were concerned, except when D. Taylor’s Lola-Austin took fifth place from Holmes Cooper-Austin for eight laps, until it shed its fan belt and retired.

Otherwise these six leaders circulated, well spaced out, in the order – H. Taylor, having his first taste of driving a Lotus-Ford, Arundell (Lotus-Ford), Dietrich, making very effective use of the new rear-engined Elva-Austin, Trevor Taylor (Lotus-Ford), Hulme (Cooper- Austin) and Rhodes (Cooper-Austin). That is how they finished, Taylor winning at 80.78 m.p.h. and only the first four covering the is 35 laps. The winner made fastest lap, at 84.97 m.p.h. There were several incidents, in which car, but not drivers were injured.

Of the supporting races, Naylor’s Cooper-Monaco with 3-litre Ferrari engine had little difficulty in winning the 75-mile Sports-Car Race at 93.22 m.p.h. from Halford’s Aston Martin DBR2 and D. Graham’s 2-litre Lotus, which beat Bekeart’s 3.8 Lister-Jaguar, fifth place going to J. Russell’s well-driven 2-litre Lotus, which held off Salmon’s 3.8 Jaguar. Derisley was able to hold Major Baillie’s 3-litre Aston Martin through the corners with his Lotus-Ford!

Sir G. Baillie had the Production Touring Car Race taped, his 3.8 Jaguar saloon winning at 81.2 m.p.h. from D. Taylor’s sister car, but all eyes were on Shepherd’s fantastic Austin A40, which finished third, and only 0.71 m.p.h. slower than the winning Jaguar, vanquishing two 3.4 Jaguars ! After a stern dice, Leston’s Volvo showed two works Sunbeams the way to the chequered flag but it was a close thing.

The Historic Racing Cars looked and sounded fine but this race lacked the Schellenberg spectacle. Gahagan’s ex-Dobson 2-litre E.R.A. led for some laps, then the smaller-engined E.R.A.s of Day and Chapman ran away, the former winning at 79.57 m.p.h.— an excellent speed, especially as rain in the closing stages of play made these elderly racing cars only faintly controllable. Clifford’s Alta should have been third but he had “moments” at Copse on the final lap and Gahagan, gritting his teeth, used power rather than discretion on this occasion, to pass. Hale demonstrated with 90-degree slides the extreme control afforded to its driver by a Type 37 Bugatti, even in a spin.

A dreary day’s racing concluded with a G.T. Race won by a hair’s breadth by Gibson’s 3.8 Jaguar at 79.76 m.p.h., from Warner’s (79.73 m.p.h..) and Summers’ (78.92 m.p.h.) Louts Elites, followed by Stoop’s Porsche (78.89 m.p.h.). In this race Hobb’s self-changing Jaguar and Parkes’ Lotus Elite slid sideways at Copse and others executed double spins and continued racing in the right direction, which we are sometimes told is an accomplishment only of the best Grand Prix drivers.- W. B.