Before the war the last race meeting of the season at Brooklands used to take place during the middle of October, with the light fading early and a decided nip in the air. The idea was to attract visitors from the Olympia Motor Show. In 1938, for instance, the last meeting was held on October 15th and, had war not intervened, there would have been motor racing at Weybridge on October 14th, 1939
Nowadays we tend to close the season rather earlier, but the B.A.R.C. Meeting over the Silverstone Club Circuit on October 9th was in the tradition of these old Brooklands Autumn Meetings; and the weather was wonderful. The entry was said to be the largest ever for a meeting of this kind and in terms of’ sober numbers totalled 166. We were apparently not wanted, the Press Box being locked up all the afternoon.
Vic Wilson from Rhodesia led the 10-lap sports-car scratch race all the way in his ex-Hill/Marenello Concessionaires 275LM Ferrari, after which it was taken home in a Thames van. Second place was very warmly contested, between Moore’s Lotus 30 and Widdows’ Lotus 23-B.R.M.., 4.7-litres beating 1-litre by 1.2 sec. Hovenden, not in a 30/98 of Huxley fiction but driving a 5.3-litre Attila-Chevrolet, spun into the Woodcote ditch on his first lap and broke the gearbox, while Nathan’s Brabham BT8 Oldsmobile was a non-starter. The winning Ferrari averaged 88.3 m.p.h. and made fastest lap, at 90.45 m.p.h., but Clark’s Ferrari couldn’t do better than fourth place.
Nothing could match Hewitt’s 1.7-litre Ford Anglia in the 7-lap saloon-car scratch race. It has registration number 105 E, carried advertisements for N.G.K. sparking plugs and used 6.00 x 13 front, 700L x 13 rear Dunlops, this Luton Motors Group Ford winning at 81.27 m.p.h. by 4.6 sec. from Jackson (Ford Anglia 1.5) and Fawsitt (Ford Anglia 1.6) who fought a hot duel for second place, which the former took by 0.6 sec., tail-sliding out of Woodcote. He set a new class saloon-car lap .record of 81.99 m.p.h., a speed Hewitt equalled.
The 7-lap Marque scratch race was extremely good value, because a titantic battle for the lead was fought between Dawson’s Austin Healey 3000, Lawrence’s lightweight Morgan 4 coupe, and Moore in an Austin Healey Sprite coupe which not only kept up with the bigger cars but out-cornered them and boxed in whoever was behind. In the end, however, the Sprite’s brakes appeared to weaken and it finished third, Dawson and Lawrence. crossing the line so close together that the time-keepers couldn’t separate them, although Dawson was given the race, at 79.61 m.p.h. The remarkable Sprite, however, made fastest lap, at 81.08 m.p.h.
The 10-lap scratch race for ” Clubmen’s ” sports Cars looked like a runaway victory for Bennett’s Chevron-Ford, which pulled out a big lead from McLaughlin’s Mallock U2 Ford but then lost its oil pressure and eased up, to win by only 0.2 sec., at 82.63 m.p.h. Lynch’s Lotus 7-Ford was third and Meacham’s Terrier-Ford won its duel with Reader’s sister car.
A 7-lap scratch race for saloon ears up to 1,000 c.c. promised well, nor were we disappointed. The first four places were occupied by a frenzied mob comprising the two Frazer Imps of ex-policemen Calcutt and Brown, Nathan’s converted Imp and Digby in the Cave A40. Nathan tried all he knew to beat the opposing Imps, trying to pass outside them at Beckett’s, boxing in Brown when he could, only to blow-up while in second place a lap from the finish. So Calcutt won, at a rousing 76.92 m.p.h., from Digby, both drivers setting the saloon-car class lap record to 78.44 m.p.h. Brown’s Hillman Imp was third, the Rootes cars staving off an enormous field of B.M.C. Minis, from which Heavens’ Austin-Cooper S emerged in fourth place. [Commentator K. Best refers to the Minis as ” Noddies’ and admitted he isn’t enamoured of them; I prefer the more affectionate term; “Minibrics”-Ed.) After this these saloon cars went home by trailers, the Imps included!
In the 7-lap scratch GT race Rootes’ development engineer Unett led for three laps in a Sunbeam Tiger coupe, in Spite of a spin at Beckett’s, but let Clark, in a Ferrari 250LM, by, to win at 87.35 m.p.h. The Tiger then began to boil, but finished. second, 5.6 sec. in arrears, while Jackie Bond-Smith drove her usual polished race, to. come in third in Konig’s Lotus Elan.
The 10-lap scratch race for F.L. and F.3 racing cars was rendered sensational by a mix-up at the start, which involved a lot of cars (nine, the commentator said) and sent Lockspeiser to hospital (no details-Press box closed!). Yellow flags waved furiously for two laps, but nothing could stop Bennett from running away with the lead, in Ashcroft’s twin-cam 1.5-litre Repco-Brabham-Ford. Stiller came round in second place in his 997-cc. Brabham-Ford, winner of his class, and Long’s LotusFord was third. The race was won at 91.62 m.p.h., Bennett lapping at 93.97 m.p.h. Ewer, with a push-rod 1,598-c.c. Ford engine in his Brabham, held third place for four laps, then fell right back to sixth.
Two 5-lap handicaps concluded a very pleasant meeting only slightly behind schedule, although the ” Delayed Start ” notice had to be displayed before the second one. Mrs. Bond-Smith was on scratch, Miss Jackie Smith (Cooper S) on limit, in the first handicap, which pleased the commentators. Quick’s. Jaguar-E won, at 79.69 m.p.h. In the last race Fellows’ Jaguar-E lost its gears as it moved off and Fraser’s Lola-Climax led after four laps, but, penalised one minute for false-starting, lost to: Gardner’s Lotus 7-Ford.-W. B.