The 2nd Clubmen’s Championship was held on the full Silverstone circuit and this alone produced excitements. Organisation was in the hands of the Aston Martin O.C., Eight Clubs and 750 M.C., who came in for criticism because no timekeepers attended for practice and so grid-positions meant nothing, an unfair start to races of a mere 5 to 10 laps’ duration. This was hardly good enough for a public meeting billed as a Championship—so many champions these days! The first race attracted an excellent field of historic and vintage cars but the handicap was so complicated that no-one except the officials knew what was happening. In spite of some real motoring by Ashley’s Frazer Nash, the victor was J. A. Williamson in his 3-litre Bentley, from Sinclair Kerr in the ex-Powys Lybbe 12/50 Alvis, Riseley’s Aston Martin being third. Day set a new Historic Car lap record of 92.11 m.p.h. in his E.R.A.
The expected duel between the Lotus 23s of Beckwith and Bloor hardly materialised in the next event, for the former driver remained comfortably ahead, leading from the first lap. The rest of the fast boys gradually overtook Pendleton’s Lister-Jaguar, Oliver’s D.R.W. finishing third, ahead of Nicholson’s Lola. The smaller cars outclassed the over-1,100-c.c. class, Beckwith’s fastest lap being at 98.85 m.p.h., compared to Pendleton’s best of 93.09 m.p.h. Three Terriers ran, Miller’s leading Mears’ home. This race was rather a procession.
Attwood demonstrated his mastery of F.J. racing by leading all the way in the next race in the Midland Racing Partnership Cooper. There was a terrific tussle for second place, Bradley’s Cooper from the same equipe failing to catch Fenning’s Ron Harris Lola by less than a length, the next two across the line, Prophet’s Alexis, recovered from a practice shunt, and Olthoff’s Alexis, after a very delayed start, also being in exceedingly close company. Future slides at Copse were forecast when Hawker’s Cooper spun through 180° and Hine’s Lola gyrated in the middle of the course. Dibley’s Lola was amongst those which retired— in this case, into the Scuderia Light Blue’s Daimler ex-ambulance, used as a transporter.
The G.T. and Production Sports Car Race was led for two of its ten laps by Beck’s ancient but highly-modified, alloy-bodied Jaguar but its brakes were no match for those of Sturgess’ E-type coupe, which went ahead to win easily, whereas Beck ultimately retired. The outstanding performance, however, was that of Jones’ gull-wing Marcos coupe, which kept at bay the Elites of Nathan and Taylor, to finish second in the entire contest. What could have been a nasty incident happened when Llewellyn’s ex-Protheroe Jaguar took to the grass at Copse and flick-rolled. The driver was pinned under it, as smoke began to curl from the engine, the marshals unable to get to it for some time, as cars were coming by in close succession. Eventually it was lifted up sufficiently for the driver to be removed. Luckily the fire never developed. A Land-Rover crossed the track to deal with it and everyone was relieved that nothing too serious developed. Hemming’s Triumph spun beyond the overturned Jaguar later on, going nose-on into the ditch, Unett’s Sunbeam Alpine gyrated in front of the pits and two Lotus cars spun at Copse. Lively !
The 750 and 1172 Formula cars had a combined 5-lap race, won respectively by Small’s Austin and Mallock’s U2. Unfortunately there was a pretty bad shunt by the farm, one car catching fire and the driver being taken to hospital.
The 10-lap Saloon Car Race was tremendously exciting— 10 laps seemed quite enough, let alone six hours! For six hectic laps Powell’s lowered Mk. 1 Jaguar duelled with Craft’s 1½-litre Ford Anglia, but they both slid off together at Club corner, the lead then being taken by the Anglias of Peer and M. A. Young, John Young’s brother, who were having an equally desperate battle. On the last lap Young took his rival to will by 1.2 sec., at 86.67 m.p.h. Both Fords had engines tuned by Superspeed Conversions Ltd. Peer’s was a 1½-litre; Young’s was given as 997 c.c. but no-one believed it! These two Anglias held off the 3.8-litre Jaguars of Woodroffe and Morgan, T. M. Young’s Superspeed Ford Anglia being fifth, after a duel with Hextall’s Tornado-Classic, There was lots of action, the 3.4 Jaguars of Marston and Hadoulis spinning in company at Copse, demolishing the wall, Williams’ 3.4 Jaguar gyrating at Stowe and falling back. Lancaster-Brown lost his Saab at Copse on lap four, doing it no good at all, the bonnet ripping off as it hit the bank, while Embley’s Mini Minor caught fire.
The Lotus Elites of Ecurie R.C.S. were in full command of the second G.T. and Production Sports Car 10-lapper, finishing in the order, Alderson, Bennett, with never a wheel out of place. The Earl of Denbigh’s Jaguar E shook off some Lotuses to finish third, ahead of Welch’s Lotus, a contest that put Danby’s Lotus in the ditch after a wild spin out of Copse on the last lap. Lap two saw Ward’s Lotus spin at Copse; John Gott’s Austin Healey 3000 hit it, with some damage and much more to the Lotus, from which a seemingly dazed Ward climbed slowly out and limped away.
The final race was for Formule Libre cars, ranging from a 997-c.c. Terrier to Summers’ 4.7-litre 320-b.h.p. Cooper-Chevrolet that was described in MOTOR SPORT last month. Summers was hopeful of beating the lap record of 111.86 m.p.h. held by Ireland’s Lotus. He streaked away from the field but, just as the throaty V8 engine was getting nicely warm, the gearbox expressed disapproval and he had to be content with a lap at 107.3 m.p.h. After his retirement on lap four Attwood’s F.J. Cooper took the lead, holding off Hart’s Lotus for three laps, until the luckless Hart was seen to be pushing his car home, so that Olthoff’s Brabham took a well-deserved second place, ahead of Prophet’s Alexis, which fought off Beckwith’s Lotus. Syd Day ran his E.R.A. for fun, nor was it disgraced, for although it only beat two cars, one of these was Sievwright’s 4-cylinder 2½-litre ex-Portago Ferrari, which, in spite of its driver encouraging it by wearing the traditional blue overalls, only managed eight laps, and had been lapped by Summers in four. The other car beaten by Day was Mrs. Gibbs’ Lola; both did nine laps. The old E.R.A., which had the honour of being on the programme cover, was lapped by the winner on its last time round. The P.A. people, K. Douglas and P. Scott-Russell, are to be congratulated on a no-nonsense commentary, although badly neglected by Race Control. The results, which were very delayed, show the main winners as:
Historic Racing Cars: J. A. Williamson (Bentley)
Sports/Racing Cars: M. H. Beckwith (Lotus) 97.62 m.p.h
Formula Junior: R. Attwood (Cooper) 101.15
G.T. and Production Sports Cars (1): R. Sturgess (Jaguar) 88.51
G.T. and Production Sports Cars (2): D. C. Alderson (Lotus) 89.60
750 Formula: B. Small (Austin) 74.20
1172 Formula: A. M. R. Mallock (U2) 87.81
Saloon Cars: M. A. Young (Ford) 86.67
Formula Libre: R. Attwood (Cooper) 100.58
Fastest lap of the day: C. Summers (Cooper-Chevrolet), 107.3 m.p.h.
THE B.M.C. ROLLS-ROYCE
Apparently the British Motor Corporation is serious about a link-up with Rolls-Royce Ltd. and an inexpensive B.M.C,-R.-R., for, according to Alexander Thomson, writing in the Sunday Express of September 30th, “The first trial model of a ‘baby’ Rolls is already being road-tested in a heavily camouflaged form. The new Rolls is also intended as a challenger to Germany’s Mercedes, which reigns supreme on the Continent.”Mr. Thomson confirms that this car is a result of B.M.C. and R.-R. pooling their joint experience (“But do not buy B.M.C. shares until the past year’s results are out,” he advises) and reference to Mercedes suggests that it could use the 3-litre B.M.C. power unit.
So far none of our eagle-eyed readers has sent us a photograph of this “heavily camouflaged” prototype but, remembering how one of them spotted the prototype ADO16, we live in hopes!