This season saw a new venture in the historic racing field when Anthony Bamford of JCB, helped by Bill Allan and Nigel Moores of Speed Merchants, sponsored a new kind of championship, one which combined both historic single-seaters and sports cars. This added a much needed shot in the arm to the latter and, while perhaps not having such an effect as on the sports cars, provided a number of single-seaters with several additional outings.
Full grids and some exciting scraps ensured the success of this venture which, after six rounds, came to a fitting and satisfactory conclusion at Crystal Palace. Two drivers, Bob Owen and Bill Wilks, finished equal on points and the Trophy was therefore awarded jointly, the drivers to hold it for six months each. Owen drove an exciting ex-Moss Type 60 Maserati and also provided a later Type 61 Birdcage Maserati for Joscelyne. Wilks was seen at the wheel of his usual Lotus 16-Climax single-seater. The two winners therefore came from two of the three separate Championship classes, the large sports cars being the ones to miss out.
Neither of the eventual winners had started the series in a good position, for Wilks had been absent from the opening round at the Silverstone Martini meeting while Owen had been forced to drive round stuck in 3rd gear. Thus it was that neither of them had been in the lead before the final round at Crystal Palace, which was an all-historic meeting organised by the AMOC. Until then Peter van Rossem’s Lotus-Bristol Mk. X had a narrow lead, although the hero of the series had been Neil Corner in his Aston Martin DBR4 in which he had won three races, not entered for the Snetterton round and suffered a practice fire at the BDC Silverstone. Corner was unbeatable again at the Palace but such is the scoring in the Championship that even four wins was not enough.
The final round did, in fact, see the Championship cars split into two races for the first time and while Corner easily won the single-seater race, William Green in JCB’s own Maserati Tipo 61 pulled away from Nicholas Faure’s Hexagon-entered ex-Ecosse D-type Jaguar in the sports-car race, with Owen taking the up-to-2-litre class.
A memorable sight of this enjoyable day was undoubtedly the pre-war Historic Racing Car race with three ERAs on the front row of the grid at what is Britain’s sole remaining pre-war track. The sight of Martin Morris in R11B and the Hon. Patrick Lindsay in “Remus” battling for the lead after Lindsay had driven a classic race through the field following a bad start will long be remembered. Lindsay, who was eventually slowed with a bent push-rod, had also been one of the stars of this Championship when, at the earlier Uniflow Trophy meeting at Silverstone, he had driven “Remus” through pouring rain to a very worthy second place in front of more modern machinery. Sights like this may well be repeated next season for Bamford has pledged that the Championship will be even better in 1972.—I. R. W.
[Yes, all right. But for Heaven’s sake, where is all this historic racing sponsorship going to lead us? Some members of the VSCC are beginning to question the wisdom of having post-war racing cars at their meetings but at least the VSCC sets an engine-location/date-limit, and they have not opened their ranks to post-WW2 historic sports cars, which are well catered for by the separate Historic Sports Car Club. Although financial help for motor racing in whatever form is not to be scorned, at present VSCC meetings provide almost the only racing on the non-professional, race-for-the-fun-of-it basis which was such a pleasant aspect of Brooklands for so many years. If more and more money is offered to those who race the older cars there could be a tendency to favour the big-money meetings at the expense (no pun intended) of less financially-rewardiog fixtures, there could be a temptation to mix post-1960 racing cars with the 1950/60 sports cars, and it is possible that a clash of dates or just the expansion of old-car racing might detract from the present happy position of this branch of the sport, for which the VSCC deserves almost all the credit. I am sure Anthony Bamford is far too shrewd a person, far too great a vintage/historic enthusiast, to let any of this happen in the future running of his JCB Championship. But I am equally sure that possible trends along the road of popularising pre-1940 and pre-1961 motor racing should be examined now, and detrimental developments guarded against, before any rot which might be starting to form destroys something which many of us enjoy and would wish to protect.—W. B.]