VSCC Donington

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Once again the VSCC’s curtain-closer was the Richard Seaman Trophies meeting at Donington Park, where conditions ranged from damp to soaking; but the afternoon’s racing contrived to run during the drier interludes.

True to recent form, the Brooklands Society Trophy race saw Julian Bronson’s Riley Blue Streak lead from the flag, shadowed by Philip Walker’s MG K3 replica which finished only a second adrift Ian Bentall’s 4 1/4 Bentley briefly held third before being ousted by Duncan Ricketts in the Majzub Dixon Riley, whose run was halted by a throttle linkage problem allowing Barry Cannell’s 4.3 Alvis to collar third.

Six-times winner Tim Llewellyn started from the second row in the Sotheby’s Vintage Seaman Trophy, but by the end of lap one the 8.3-litre Bentley was already in front from poleman Mark Walker (Parker-GN) who spun through 360 degrees on the chicane exit to lose out to Robin Baker’s Hispano-Delage, which was embroiled in a scrap with Gary Caroline’s Morgan and John Baker-Courtenay (Sunbeam ‘Tigress’). Walker fought back to second, but went missing at half-distance. ‘Tigress’ took up the chase, only to drop back after a brief ‘moment’ on the final lap as Baker took a comfortable second from Caroline, Baker-Courtenay and Stuart Harper (Morgan).

An educated gambler would have put money on Philip Walker to win the Ron Flockhart Memorial Trophy with his Lotus 16, but his stake would have stayed with the bookies — on the first lap the car veered off the track as a rear wheel parted company. Walker brought the car to a halt without too much damage. This left a predominantly F2 and FJ field led by Roddy McPherson’s CooperBristol, chased by a close group with Mark Gillies (Brooke Special), Ian Nuthall (Fisken’s CooperBristol) and Spencer Flack’s similar car. Nuthall dropped behind Flack and at three-quarter distance Gillies slipped past McPherson to take a lead which he held to the finish. Behind Flack and Nuthall came Tony Steele’s FJ Lola Mk2, ahead of Bob Gilbert with yet another Cooper.

This year, the pre-war race for the Richard Seaman Trophy boasted five ERAs (four more than last year!) plus the Brooke Special to do battle with Sir John Venables-Llewelyn in the Felton Alfa P3, although the total of 14 starters was somewhat disappointing. Very much the man in form. Sir John powered into an immediate lead and looked set for a comfortable victory, with Duncan Ricketts (ERA R1 B) heading the pursuit from Ludovic Lindsay (ERA ‘Remus’) and John Ure in AJM1. Lindsay pressured Ricketts, moving ahead on lap four as Ure spun, and one lap later the leader threw away his chances by spinning the Alfa at the Old Hairpin in a self-confessed case of driver error. New leader Lindsay resisted Ricketts to take a popular win in an event which his late father, the Hon Patrick Lindsay, and Remus last won back in 1981. The pair outdistanced David Morris (ERA R11B) in third, while Ure recovered to finish fourth from Gillies and Tony Stephens (ERA R12B).

Making some amends for the Seaman retirement, Mark Walker easily took the John Goddard Trophy with the Parker-GN, a spirited scrap for second just going to Julian Bronson (Riley) from Geraint Owen’s well-sorted DH-Riley, with 6.1-litre Gipsy Major engine, and Bob Gilbert leading home a trio of Bentleys with his 4 1/4.

Due to its clash with the Louis Vuitton finale, the 1950s Sports Car entry was depleted, but Valentine Lindsay eschewed Silverstone to place his Birdcage Maserati on pole from Marshall Bailey’s Manx-tail Cooper. Although Lindsay bogged down at the start, he had ousted Bailey for the lead by lap three, with Kelvin New in third with his very rapid (for 1200cc) Rejo. A quick spin briefly dropped the Maserati to third before consolidating a lead which never came under serious threat, in spite of a charge from David Pennell (Jaguar D) in the closing laps to finish second and take fastest lap, as Bailey settled for third from a close-following New. Variety was added by Kerry Horan (Allard K2) and Rupert Richards (Morgan Plus 4) who completed the top six.

Wins in short scratch races fell to Bob Graves’ pretty Amilcar C6 and Stuart Harper’s Morgan Super Aero from Baker’s Hispano-Delage, while handicap winners were Piers Leigh (Lagonda Rapier), Jane Tomlinson (Alvis) and Paul Gregory’s V8 Riley.

The MOTOR SPORT Brooklands Memorial Trophy was settled in favour of Julian Bronson, who, with one win and a second during the day, overhauled Mark Walker, whose solitary win was not sufficient to retain his lead.