GAMMON DOES THE HAT-TRICK at Peterborough M.C. Silverstone Meeting
THE Peterborough M.C. ran off a very slick meeting at Silverstone on September 19th, their plan of starting races when they had the competitors ready and not to a pre-determined time-table working perfectly and considerably speeding up the
programme, so that eleven five-lap races were run off in about hours.
It was certainly Gammon’s day and by fairly flinging his M.G.
through the corners he gained three ” firsts,” including winning the MOTOR SPORT Handicap in masterly fashion, passing a bunch of competitors round Woodcote in the run-in. We look forward to seeing this M.G. engine in a Lotus chassis next season, which we believe to be Gammon’s intention. The vintage-car handicap had a ” field ” ranging from French’s Simplicity Austin to Dr. Ewen’s Italia, the latter accepted by the organisers as a sports car whereas its 45-year-old association with G.P. racing sometimes excludes it. Moss’ fast if smoky blown
Alfa-Romeo won at 54.32 m.p.h. front Emminson’s G.P.
Bugatti and Pratt’s G.P. Bugatti. Unfortunately, Fitzwilliam stalled his beautiful 1930 ex-Le Mans long-chassis blown 2.3 AlfaRomeo across Woodcote after an episode to avoid Gibbs’ Riley and Orr-Ewing’s 44-litre Bentley shunted it into the ditch, folding up one streamlined wing, etc. Casualties were confined to machines. French’s tiny Austin slipstreaming the [tale was a fine sight; what 12 litres did in 1908 three-quarters of a litre just about equals today. The next five-lap handicap (all races were for sports cars) was won
by Arthur Matlock on sheer cornering virtuosity. His Austin Seven, with linered-down Ford Ten engine, went round Woodcote so fast that every lap we thought he would lose it. Instead, he won at 62.35 M.p.h., a very comfortable distance ahead of Lord’s H.R.G. and Marriot’s Buckler. Welford in a Treen Riley Nine had a shocking broadside at Woodcote, using the full width of the road to correct it, while Stringer’s Rayburn Griffiths would have been second had it not spun inwards at Woodcote in the run-in. Indeed, the finish was hectic, for Lord ran into the ditch, but motored on unconcernedly. Two laps from the finish of the third race, Len Gibbs, his Riley
in better form than it has been for some time, took the lead, to win at 65.24 m.p.h. from Steed’s .J.A.G. with stroked Consul engine and Gammon’s scratch M.G. Threlfall indulged in about-turns in the Turner, and Evans’ Nimrod wasn’t quick.
Moss, off from the 35-sec. mark, had an easy win in the next handicap, the old Alfa-Romeo averaging 63.08 m.p.h. Walker’s ” Bluebelle ” Bentley was second. 2.2 see, in front of Major Bailey’s Bentley. Sears, braking sensationally in clouds of smoke at Woodcote
with tyres howling and taking all the road, won the fifth race, another handicap, in a Smart XKI20 Jaguar, at 68.16 m.p.h. Everard’s DB2 Aston Martin gave hint 10 sec. start and was very close at the finish, Gammon netting another ” third.” The Bentleys, opposed by Binns’ lone and too-slow 30/98 Vauxhall,
then had a five-lapper to themselves. It proved exciting. Burton getting home by the narrow margin of 3.4 sec. from Bailey. at 68.88 m.p.h.-an excellent speed-with Morg,an’s ” limit ” 3-litre third behind the thundering 44s. Some scratch races for different capacity cars followed. Gibbs
won the 1,250-c.c. race at 66.05 m.p.h. from Nigel Allen’s Lotus and Metcalfe’s evergreen (only it’s black) Fiat. Mallock cornered ever more determinedly, all wheels drifting ever closer to the Woodcote ditch, but always was he master of his exceedingly fast little car. Gammon now got down to business, taking first the 1-litre race front Dargue’s M.G. and Steed’s J.A.G., at 68.29 m.p.h., and then coming out again to capture the 2-litre race at 71.53 m.p.h. front Baxter’s L.M.C. and Brooks’ Frazer-Nash. The spectators overlooking Woodcote certainly had good Willie and I thought I stitY a vulture sitting on the commentator’s box ! Gammon’s superior speed can be judged by the fact that in win
ning the over-2-litre section of this rage, Head’s Type C Jaguar averaged only 70.6 m.p.h., although we have seen Tyne Cs cornered more rapidly. In this category. Waring’s Lago-Talbot, which had so frightened the handicapper that it was put at ” owes 15 see.” in on early race. was second, Sears’ XK120 third. A combined 750/1,172 Formula scratch race came next-more ” good value ” at NV oodeote ! French, in the epic Simplicity Austin which he built for under £90, exclusive of wheels and tyres, won the 750 Nut in a canter (except that Jack never canters!) at 58.82 m.p.h., from Whitehouse’s ” outsize” all-enveloping Austin and Grintsley’s little ” special.” This is ” Simplicity’s ” seventh victory. It weighs 6i cwt. and is good for over 70 m.p.h. Incidentally, it is for sale. In a similar kind of ” canter” Nigel Allen’s sleek Lotus
took the 1.172 section at 64.54 m.p.h., Matlock just keeping him in sight and Barron’s B.D.S. finishing third.
Although it took a long time to handicap, the MOTOR SPORT Trophy Handicap was worth waiting for-as it includes only the faster cars, it usually is. Gammon was 12th after the first lap, in the same place after lap two, but had reached 10th place by lap three. It seemed he could never do it, especially as he was only in sixth place with a lap to go. But on this final lap he pulled out all the stops, the back wheels looked as if they never stopped spinning, and, passing fearlessly a bunch of rivals round Woodcote, he won by 1.6 see. at 71.74 m.p.h. -.a grand effort and a fine race. Lord’s H. R.G. was second, and it was only 0.2 of a second in front of Sears’ XKI20, so it. was a truly epic finish to a very friendly and enjoyable day’s racing. -W. B.