Loreau and Armagnac First at 68 3/4 m.p.h. in 745-c.c. DB Panhard, Chased Hard by the Hawthorn/Trintignant 3-litre Ferrari and the Musso/Mantovani 2-litre Maserati.
The above heading tells in a few words the story of the 1954 R.A.C. Tourist Trophy race and emphasises the point made recently in Motor Sport that, whereas the Continent has developed 750-c.c. sports cars to a high pitch of speed and reliability, Britain not only hasn’t, but has no sports car of this capacity.
There wasn’t much wrong with the handicapping of this year’s T.T, organised by the able Ulster A.C., yet although Hawthorn set a new sports-car lap-record of 92.38 m.p.h. (4 min. 49 sec.) he was unable to catch the leading 745-c.c. DB Panhard by a matter of 13 sec., although he and Trintignant averaged 86.08 m.p.h., highest average of the race. Their Ferrari was a four-cylinder 3-litre all-enveloping car. Musso and Mantovani also chased hard, with the 2-litre six-cylinder all-enveloping Maserati, to finish third at 80.88 m.p.h.
For the rest it was mostly a tale of disaster. Jaguar fielded two of the new 2 1/2-litre cars, but both had engine trouble, the Wharton/ Whitehead car finishing fifth behind the Taruffi/Fangio 3.3-litre Lancia, but at a speed of 4.79 m.p.h. slower, while Moss did his habitual halt-and-push by the finishing line into 18th place after his car had lost oil-pressure and, incidentally, clouted a bank. The highest placed Aston Martin was the Whitehead/Poore car, in 13th place.
Timed over a flying kilometre Taruffi’s 3.3 Lancia clocked 140.5 m.p.h., Fangio’s 3.8-litre Lancia 140.1 m.p.h., Ascari’s Lancia 144.6 m.p.h., and Hawthorn’s 3-litre Ferrari 132 m.p.h. in the early stages of the race and you could almost hear Donald Healey’s howls of wrath!
Fangio’s Lancia then shed oil and was retired, leaving the World Champion to share Taruffi’s car, Collins’ DB3 Aston Martin broke its propeller shaft, Macklin’s Osca succumbed to ignition trouble, two Loti were out, Perdisi’s Maserati was disqualified for failing to start on the button, and Hamilton’s 3 1/2-litre Jaguar retired with a defective oil-scavenge pump.
Belucci’s Maserati fell out sans water circulation, the Ascari/ Villoresi Lancia was delayed after spinning and hitting a bank (grass, not cash) and Salvadori, for the same reason, retired his Aston Martin.
Ascari finally went out when the Lancia discarded its propeller shaft.
So ended a very well-fought, exciting French/Italian T.T., with Britain consoled by the splendid driving of Hawthorn and by the very fine running of a team of Triumph TR2s in the hands of McCaldin/Maunsell, Lund/Blackburn, Dickson/Richardson, another team of TR2s also finished intact, taking the second team award and following this make’s very fine showing in the Alpine Rally. Frazer-Nash took the series-production sports-car award.