Alan Cox reports on an old favorite with a new title
Following Cadwell Park the previous week, the VSCC made another welcome return on August Bank Holiday Monday, this time to Oulton Park, although not for the traditional Richard Seaman Trophy races which have now made their home at Donington, but for the inaugural Sir Henry Segrave Memorial Trophy. Cheshire weather was not at its most welcoming for this auspicious occasion with heavy rain during morning practice and intermittent showers throughout the afternoon, but this didn’t dampen the pleasure of being back at the VSCC’s spiritual Northern home.
As at Cadwell, entries in the main scratch races had failed to attract a number of regular favourites, an inordinate number of non-starters thinning grids further, but by combining the Williams Monaco Trophy with the Segrave Memorial Trophy for vintage racing cars, the opening race drew a healthy 32 starters. Current Williams holder Julian Majzub placed his Bugatti 35B on pole from Ivan Dutton in Alfred Smith’s similar car, and from the start Majzub took the lead from Sir John Venables-Llewelyn with Lord Raglan’s Type 51; but, struggling with fearsome understeer, the leader was soon down to third behind Dutton, to retire on the penultimate lap after running wide and breaking a rear wheel. On the same lap, lain Stewart (Morgan) dropped out of a hard-won fourth elevating Mark Walker to third with the Parker-GN, from Mark Gillies (Dixon Riley) and Gary Caroline (Morgan). So the VenablesLlewelyn name appears once more on the Williams Trophy, while Dutton took Segrave honours as first vintage finisher.
Ian Donaldson sailed gingerly to victory in the Fifties Sports Racing Car race with Andrew Pisker’s Jaguar D-Type, his first in the category, never coming under pressure and winning by half a minute from the nimble Lotus Elite of Simon Hadfield (the experiment of inviting a GT class yielding just one starter). But for an opening-lap spin, David Pennell might’ have made Donaldson’s win less of a formality, the Groveair boss working the Costin-Lister through to take third, well clear of Ron Gammons having a rare outing with his Devin, Nick Linney impressed with his newly acquired Lister ‘Knobbly’ in less than ideal conditions, closing on Gammons at the finish, while Gregor Fisken completed the top six after a large handful of spins on his debut with the 1956 Le Mans ex-Allison/Hall Lotus 11.
Another flag-to-flag win was the story of the Post-war Racing Car race, with Philip Walker and the Lotus 16 in a class of their own. Returning to racing after a three-year lay-off, Roddy MacPherson held a race-long second place with his Cooper-Bristol although he was harried first by Gregor Fisken (Cooper-Bristol) and then Mark Gillies (Brooke Special) after Fisken ran wide at Lodge, but the Cooper driver fought back to take third at the flag. Graham Burrows spun away his place, handing fifth to David Pennell (Maserati 250F). Tony Steele’s Lola was first of a select Formula Junior group in eighth.
A meagre nine starters from 19 entries made the grid for the Pre-war Racing Car race, with one contender in the shape of Sir John Venables-Llewelyn with Felton’s Alfa P3 failing to complete the warm-up lap with suspected magneto failure, Duncan Ricketts was never headed, with Sally Marsh’s ERA R1B, although early chase was given by Mark Gillies with the Brooke Special until lap 5, when he spun into the gravel at Shell avoiding the leader, his race over. This promoted Ted Dunn’s Riley Falcon Special into runner-up spot, some way down, while Tony Seber brought Philip Walker’s Turner-MG into a deserved third place after Tim Rides retired his recently acquired ex-Seber Wolseley Hornet with clutch problems. Ben Fidler (Lagonda Rapier) claimed fourth, one lap down.
The handicap race for Morgan three-wheelers provided an easy win for the superstar pairing of Bill and Maggie Tuer with their Racing version, coming through from scratch to take the lead on the second lap, with Gary Caroline (passengered by the somewhat inert ‘A Ballast’) storming through to take second with his vintage Super Aero from Greg Biggy/lan Bain. In the short Scratch races, Philip Walker took his second win of the meeting with his MG K3 Replica from Gary Caroline (Morgan) with the second race being a Frazer Nash benefit, Robert Beebee just pipping Bill Kirkpatrick ahead of Tony Crowther’s rare Rally, Handicap winners were David Biggins (Vauxhall), David Knight (Dodd Special) and Richard Parsons (Frazer Nash).