Moss Proves He is The Master
THE final Oulton Park Meeting of the year was in every way a great success, with exciting racing, in delightful weather, before a big crowd. The Cheshire-C.C. put on the last 2 1/2-litre F.1 race to be held in England before the new 1 1/2-litre Formula comes into operation, and so interesting was this race that Oulton Park should be several steps nearer being considered as an excellent circuit over which to run a future British Grand Prix.
Another good idea was to run the F.J. race in two heats, aggregate times to count, which sustained interest over a total race distance of 38 laps without the cars having to cover the entire distance without respite
The patrons who flocked to the pleasant surroundings of the Cheshire circuit were rewarded by the prospect of seeing Stirling Moss race against World Champion Jack Brabham, with up-and-coming Graham Hill in the new lightweight B.R.M., which ran with bolt-on back wheels and Weber carburetters in place of the fuel injection seen the previous weekend at Snetterton, and of pondering on whether Surtees would at last win a car race.
In practice Bonnier’s B.R.M. had gearbox trouble, and even on the Saturday morning the Paddock was littered with dismantled F.J. machinery. The Centro-Sud entries did not practise at all, having arrived late after their transporter had crashed in Germany. Moss exhibited the promise to come by getting Rob Walker’s Lotus round at 1 m.p.h. below 100 m.p.h.–exceedingly fast for Oulton’s sinuous circuit.
At the start of the Gold Cup Race Moss got away badly and Brabham’s Cooper led, but soon both Ireland and Jimmy Clark in the lighter works Lotus cars had gone by the World Champion. Surtees retired with fuel pump failure. The two Centro-Sud Cooper Maeratis went out like damp squibs – what a wasted journey! – but Moss was getting quickly into his stride. Further back, Hill sat behind McLaren’s Cooper, with Bonnier close up—towards the end of the race Hill got by and although the tail-sliding Cooper tailed him for a time, Graham pulled away before the end.
Meanwhile the two Lotuses led, until Naylor “lost” his J.B.W. Maserati in trying to follow Ireland through Lodge Corner, clouting Clark, who had to retire, after winning £30 for fastest lap in the first 15 laps – another bright idea of the organisers to keep the race going.
That left Brabham second and not seemingly able to get a sight of Ireland. Then the leading Lotus went straight on at the Cascades and, although Ireland kept the engine going and was quickly back in the race, Brabham and Moss went by. But wait, Innes had the Lotus really wound up, and must surely have been dicing close to his personal limit, for a lap later he positively sailed past Moss on the far straight and another lap saw him overtake Brabhamon the inside of Lodge Corner and go right away. If he didn’t overdo it again Ireland must win—alas, the Lotus gearbox proved unequal to this furious motor racing and the luckless Ireland, who deserved far better, coasted to a standstill by Knicker Brook at half distance.
Just before this Moss had closed up on Brabham and sat now on one side, now on the other of Brabham’s sliding tail—Stirling looked as calm as ever, as had Ireland, but Brabham seemed to be somewhat anxious, perhaps conscious that dirt-track tactics, even at Oulton, wouldn’t keep Moss behind much longer. Sure enough, Moss went past going towards Knicker Brook and, once clear of the Cooper, drew away easily, displaying his undisputed mastery.
So the race settled down to the inevitable procession. Moss won at 93.85 m.p.h., touring almost, at the end. Brabham was safely second (93.42 m.p.h.), Hill third (93.16 m.p.H.) McLaren finished fourth, ahead of Bonnier, with Gurney in a sick B.R.M. sixth, Henry Taylor’s Cooper seventh, Halford’s Cooper eighth. McLaren was credited with fastest lap, at 94.3 rn.p.h.
Clark, Trevor Taylor. and Arundell had no difficulty in finishing I. 2, 3 for Lotus in the first F.J. heat, Surtees going out with gearbox trouble in Tyrell’s Lotus. Henry Taylor got no farther than the grid —gear-selector trouble.
In the second heat Surtees led at the start but was soon out with the inevitable gearbox failure. Clark won again, from Trevor Taylor, McKee’s Lotus third and Staples, to whom everything happens, lost a wheel from the Deep Sanderson. Matlock pressed on well in his U2 in unsuccessful pursuit of the Bennett. The linal F.J.order was Clark (Lotus), Taylor (Lotus), Arundel (Lotus), McKee (Lotus), so it was a Lotus-dominated meeting. Taylor set a new F.J. lap record of 89.38 m.p.h. The F.J. cars were weighed on an ingenious Dexion weighing machine in the Paddock.
After Moss’ victory the crowd stormed the track as he came round in a Sunbeam Rapier to display the Gold Cup—a touching demonstration of the affection people feel for Stirling. Afterwards, to the last man and girl, they resumed their places behind the barriers, as only an English crowd would ! A splendid meeting !–W. B.