Veteran to classic: VSCC Donington

Mayman rules!

Donington Park saw the Vintage SportsCar Club’s 1988 racing finale on September 17, its vast paddock (ready for Formula One hospitality units and workshops) well able to accommodate the 138 vintage entrants as well as the transporters for Sunday’s Saloon-Car Festival.

Therein was an array of Hyper Lea-Francis for a parade to commemorate to the day Kaye Don’s TT victory, Tom Delaney with the actual winning “Leaf’, and we noticed two open Railtons standing side-by-side. Lindsay Eccles, successful at Donington pre-war, rode in the Lagonda course-car and had a lap on Collings’ 1903 Mercedes.

First race was for the Brooklands Society Trophy, which was presented to the winner Bruce Spollon by the commentator’s wife Mrs Willis, after his Alfa Romeo had come home comfortably in front of the Avon-Bentley, with the Bentley-Royce a close third. A handicap followed, with Leslie’s A7 leading home Dean’s Alvis Silver Eagle and Chris Mann’s Triumph Southern Cross.

Next, Tim Llewellyn had no trouble in the ten-lap John Holland Trophy Race in the 3/8-litre Bentley, winning by 7.5 seconds. Boswell stole the show in the aero-engined Bequet-Delage with his controlled slides out of the chicane, nearside rear wheel smoking, and third-placed John Howell in the seemingly indestructible blown twin-cam 3-litre Sunbeam was rematch for him. The Bentley took the Tim Birkin Trophy; it had lapped at 72.79 mph, compared to the 65.73 mph of Hernandez.’ notably quick A7.

A five-lap handicap was won by Thompson’s effective Lagonda Rapier, from Withington’s Derby Bentley and Parkinson’s T37 Bugatti. The Triumph was last this time, having stopped, and Collings’ Mercedes pulled in with nothing more serious than a broken bonnet-strap. Bulinski drove surely the noisiest TT Replica Frazer Nash of all time? So to the big event of the day, the Shuttleworth & Nuffield Trophies scratch race, over ten laps, for pre-war racing cars. Here, Anthony Mayman had the first of his four victories of the afternoon, his ex-Raymond Mays black ERA R4D soon out of sight of the opposition, and eventually winning by 4.8 seconds, having eased off towards the end. Bill Morris was next to appear, in ERA R12B, which took the Nuffield Trophy for 11/2-litre cars.

Ludovic Lindsay had been third in the flat-sounding ERA “Remus”, until a quick stop for fresh plugs dropped him to eleventh by the finish; Elmgren’s 6CM Maserati (all the way from Saabland) replaced the ERA in third place, ahead of Stephens in ERA R12C, which had fought a race-long duel with Stretton’s Frazer Nash, the latter having his “moments” at the chicane.

Mayman then came out for the five-lap scratch race, and R4D won again, once more having the race to itself until he lifted off. Mike Sayers in the Riley closed to within 1.6 seconds as they crossed the line, having earlier disposed of the big Giron-Alvis which was well driven by Holdsworth (and later considerably quicker by Jolley). Seber drove his Wolseley in what one imagines to be a hornet-jersey!.

The irrepressible Mayman now set about the twelve-lap Allcomers Race, in the Lotus 16. Yet again he was unchallenged, lapping at 85.41 mph, discreetly followed by Chris Mayman in the Maserati 250F, 34.4 seconds in arrears. Bill Morris was third, Lindsay fourth.

Anthony Mayman finally brought R4D out again for the John Goddard Trophy Race and proved he could win every race he entered. Moreover, he again broke the 1985 class lap-record (by 2.41 mph at 83.29 mph). Dear old Frank Lockhart was second in the Rover, Fishier 4.3 Alvis third. The Avon-Bentley spun at the chicane and forced Burrell’s Bentley-Royce onto the grass.

The Lagonda Rapier of Thompson then took a five-lap handicap, from Barber’s 12/4 Riley and Withington’s 41/4 Bentley.

In spite of Mayman’s great performance, Sayers was leading in the Motor Sport Brooklands Trophy battle; although he refrained from running in his second race, he improved his position by driving splendidly in the final handicap, slipstreaming Howell’s big Sunbeam to swing out and pass on the home straight and lead from lap four. Elmgren’s Maserati was second, Gillies’ 2-litre Riley third.

So the Trophy and £150 prize-money went to Sayers’ 1937 Marshall-blown Riley Sprite Special— just the sort of car which might have been raced at Brooklands. Mayman in ERA R4D, which actually ran frequently at the Track, and Bruce Spollon (in his Alfa Romeo with Monza replica body, which had unfortunately broken its crankshaft in the Goddard Trophy Race) shared second place, dividing the prize-money. The Trophy was presented to Sayers by Winifred Boddy, who was also asked to present the Ford Cup to J Bryden (Alvis Speed 20). WB