VSCC Donington

Once again, the Richard Seaman Trophies meeting at Donington on October 1 brought the VSCC racing season to a close and attracted healthy entries for most events, with Tim Llewellyn taking his fourth Vintage Seaman while David Morris took his first Historic Seaman Trophy to add to father Martin’s tally of ten victories.

The Brookiands Society Trophy featured a varied field, with John Seber’s Wolseley Special setting the early pace from Mark Gillies with the Brooke Special, and Paul Grist’s fabulous Alfa 8C/35 making a cautious start. On lap three the Alfa took the lead, with Seber demoted to third on the following lap by Gillies and slipping back to fourth behind Julian Bronson’s Riley Blue Streak Special at the finish as the Alfa claimed its first victory since its rebuild.

As is his wont, Tim Llewellyn dominated the Vintage Richard Seaman Trophy with his familiar (yet still unpainted) Bentley 3/8, romping away from a somewhat processional race with Mac Hulbert holding a race-long second with his Alvis Silver Eagle Special, followed at a distance by John Baker-Courtenay with Merryfield’s Sunbeam Tigress. After briefly holding fourth place, Peter Morley’s Napier Bentley went off-song, leaving Ben Collings (Bentley 3/8) to do battle with Guy Shotton’s well-driven Morgan Super Aero, the Bentley getting the verdict by a mere second and pipping Liewellyn for fastest lap.

The lead for the Morgan Three-Wheeler Race was never in question, marque stalwarts Bill and Maggie Tuer dominating proceedings with their Racing variant, although second-place finishers Greg Bibby/lan Bain (Super Sports) were harried all the way by Chas Reynolds/Mike Wilkinson (Super Sports), the pair being split by only 0.1sec at the flag. Guy Shotton/Andrew Jones and Bob Angell/Bob Barlow (both Super Aeros) filled the next two places.

The early laps of the Ron Flockhart Memonal Trophy should have been fairly relaxed for Phil Walker (Lotus 16), as his closest contender Tony Merrick was forced to start the Ferrari Dino 246 from the back of the grid, but an inspired Merrick was on to Walker’s tail by the end of the opening lap! At the chicane on lap two Merrick was through but unable to shake off the Lotus, and three laps later the order had been reversed, and although shadowing Walker for the remainder of the race, clutch problems intervened and the Dino had to settle for second. Rick Hall in Cedric Brierley’s Connaught C-Type had a lonely run to third place, ahead of Robin Lodge (Dino 246) and Tony Smith (ex-Duffy/Burdell B-Type Connaught). Ian Nuthall completed the top six after an excellent drive with Grant-Peterkin’s F2 Alta. After a first-lap spin, and experiencing gear-selection difficulties, Julian Majzub brought his 308 Alfa to the finish after his first race in the car.

Of the five ERAs (and ERA-Delage) entered, only one made it to the start of the Richard Seaman Historic Trophy (surely a record?) after Tony Stephens broke an input shaft in practice with Bill Morris’ R12B. The field was further reduced when Duncan Ricketts pulled off with the Majzub Alfa after the warm-up lap, not wishing to further risk the gearbox. However, the sole ERA was all that was needed, and after taking the lead from Gillies’ Brooke Special at the end of lap two, former Team Lotus’ mechanic David Morris took R11B to an untroubled win to continue the family tradition in this event. Gillies tried gamely to hold on to second, but was unable to resist the pressure from Matt Grist in father Paul’s Alfa 8C/35 to finish a fighting second from the Brooke Special, these three being the only runners to complete the distance. Martin Redmond (Alta) and Terry Cohn (Alfa Monza) were the only other finishers after Phil Walker (Turner-MG), Ted Dunn (Riley) and Paul Jaye (Alta) all fell by the wayside in the latter stages.

Mark Gillies’ attempts to take at least one victory at the meeting finally came to nought after the diff broke on the Brooke after leading the first lap of the Goddard Trophy, allowing Tim Llewellyn to take his second trophy of the day with the Bentley 3/8, followed to the line by a closely-bunched trio of Julian Bronson (Riley), Tony Seber (Wolseley) and Phil Walker (MC K3 Replica). Frank Lockhart (Rover) kept Stephen Bulling’s Bentley at bay for fifth.

Donington is a circuit which appears to favour the D-type Jaguar, and, for once, Gary Pearson (Lister-Jaguar) was unable to mount an effective challenge to Frank Sytner, who led the 1950s Sportscar Race from flag to flag with Sir Anthony Bamford’s D-type, only to find, as he pulled in to collect his garland, that he had been penalised ten seconds for an alleged jump-start, although Pearson was generous enough to acknowledge that he thought Frank had won the race fair and square. Ex-rally man Ian Donaldson has rapidly come to terms with Pisker’s shortnose D-type, his exuberant style netting him third place from the similar car of Groveair boss David Pennell, who survived a persistent challenge from James Knight’s Lotus 15.

The final Scratch Race was won by Graham White (Riley) with the Riley of Richard Line getting the best of Ken Painter’s pretty Maserati. Handicap victories went to Richard Line (Riley), John Way (Austin) and Peter Cobb (Frazer Nash).

Winners of the Derbyshire Life and Countryside Concours d’Etat for competing cars in each of the main races were Robin Lodge (Ferrari Dino), Julian Majzub (Alfa 308), Kerry Horan (Allard K2) and Robin Baker (Delage/Hispano), whilst it was especially pleasing to see Donald Day enjoying a day’s release from hospital, and in particularly good spirits after his horrifying accident at June Silverstone.