Accidents Mar the Blandford Trophy Meeting

Shillito (Riley) Wins the Formula II Race, Dryden (Cooper) the 500-c.c. Race

One's sympathy is extended to the W. Hants and Dorset C.C., whose ambitious race meeting at Blandford Camp on August 27th was marred by serious accidents. The organisation was first-class, the races run off promptly and the Press service excellent, but unfortunately three serious accidents occurred. In the third race Gordon Woods' 328 B.M.W. slid into the outer bank approaching Hood Corner, ran along it, shot across the road and demolished a bus shelter. The driver was thrown out and died in hospital soon afterwards. In the 500-c.c. race Braid's Cooper crashed at the same spot and the car somersaulted on to the roof of an army building, where it remained to the end of the day, a heaven-sent opportunity for the daily Press cameramen. The driver was flung out uninjured. Then, during the final of the Blandford Trophy Race Fairman lost control of his Riley at Engineer's Corner while going very fast in second place. The car hit the bank and somersaulted, partially blocking the road and strewing wreckage on both sides of the course. Baird's R.L.B., which was immediately behind, braked and went backwards off the course, damaging the car's front axle, Winterbottom's Cooper just squeezed through the gap, after which the red flag was displayed and the race stopped. Baird was uninjured, Fairman was suffering from a broken arm and shock. Earlier, in the first race, Orlebar's Ford special went out of control at Hood Corner and was narrowly missed by following cars, delay ensuing in removing it because a front wheel had hit the kerb and sheared the steering. Mercifully, no spectators or officials were involved.

In the five-lap race for unsupercharged 1,100-c.c. sports cars, Jacobs and Woods led throughout in their M.G.s, but Lester and Harewood (M.G.s) had a tussle for third place. Pierpoint's "1,100" F.I.A.T. was wild until a big-end melted. Parker's Parker Special had no trouble in winning the first heat of the 500-c.c. race, and Carter and May brought their Coopers through the field well. Colham's piston collapsed, Truman's Bardon spun at Hood, where Watkin's Cooper used the escape road, and Smith and Saunders retired, the latter while in second place.

Run together, the 1 1/2-litre and 2-litre five-lap sports car races saw the two Connaughts vastly superior in the latter, more stable and with superior acceleration to Crook's 328 B.M.W., which chased them, Crook all but upsetting and taking to the grass for many yards at Hood in his endeavour to close the gap. Behind, Stoop's noisy Veritas was a match for Monkhouse's Aston-Martin. Willis' B.M.W. was never challenged in the 1 1/2-litre race, although Ruddock's H.R.G. was never far away.

Brandon's Cooper 1,000 led throughout in heat one of the Blandford Trophy race, followed by Shillito's 2-litre Riley and Aston's Cooper 1,000, until Shillito shot into the escape road at Hood, only to resume, wiping his vizor, one place to the bad. Kennington's Cisitalia just could not pass Moore's O.B.M., in spite of motoring along the verge out of Hood on one occasion - it finally enlarged a big-end. Peter Clark's H.R.G. blew water vapour from a vent-pipe and retired with its Vanguard engine too hot. Winterbottom's Cooper 1,000 came through well to fourth place. Dryden won the second heat of the 500-c.c. race with Christie on his tail throughout and Page picking up places ably, to finish third. The second heat of the Blandford Trophy was most exciting, John Cooper's Cooper 1,000 having it all its own way from flag-fall, Folland doing all he knew behind until the Ferrari retired covered in oil, whereupon Whitehouse, driving splendidly, took second place, only to have the bitter experience of coasting in with a broken chain a lap from the end. This gave Baird's R.L.B. second place, Mackie's sick Rover third place, with Monkhouse's 2-litre Aston-Martin next and Crook in Baring's yellow Veritas nowhere.

The 10-lap 500-c.c. Final looked like Parker's race, for he caught Dryden after six laps. Alas, Carter passed Parker too fast going into a corner and slid broadside, Parker stalling his engine in avoiding the Cooper and being unable to restart. In the melee Dryden regained his lead and they finished thus, Hamblin's Cooper a close third.

The 25-lap Blandford Trophy final was becoming very interesting when the accident stopped it. At first it was Aston (Cooper), Hartwell (Cooper) and Shillito (Riley), Brandon being delayed by a shorting ignition switch, then by an oiled plug. Hartwell's car began to spew fuel fumes and Winterbottom's Cooper got by. After six laps Aston led by 12 1/2 sec., which he later increased. Fairman was picking up places all the time, and in spite of leaving the road at Cuckoo Corner and clouting the straw bales at Hood, he was third after 12 laps, and Aston's Cooper had blown-up, letting Shillito lead. Fairman was pressing Winterbottom's Cooper hard; behind, Moore's O.B.M. was losing ground and the Veritas was touring. Fairman was second after 15 laps and in doing all he knew to catch the other Riley, and clocking fastest lap at 88.87 m.p.h. had his accident on lap 19 which ended the race. Some people thought the race should have been allowed to continue, as Winterbottom got past the wreckage, but people invaded the road to help move the remains of Fairman's car, and oil and petrol had been spilt, so the red flag was probably justified.