A warm sunny day, a large crowd and some of the world’s leading drivers combined to make this the finest day of racing ever seen at Brands Hatch.
As expected, after the phenomenal amount of practice he had done, Stirling Moss won the Kentish “100” Trophy for Formula II cars, but he had to fight very hard to do so, overcoming some very stout resistance from Jack Brabham and Stuart Lewis-Evans. Moss finally left the lap record at 57.4 sec., a speed of 77.77 m.p.h., nowhere near his practice lap of 56.2 sec.
The race was in two parts, each of 42 laps or 52 miles. The front row of the grid for the first part was occupied by Moss’ McLaren, Brabham and Lewis-Evans, all driving Coopers. Carroll Shelby got Alan Brown’s Cooper into the second row, but Harry Schell and Maurice Trintignant could only make the third row, behind such Brands experts as George Wicken and Jim Russell.
Moss made a poor start and it was Lewis-Evans who went into the lead, followed by Jack Brabham. Brabham passed Lewis-Evans on lap seven, to be followed by Moss on lap nine. Moss closed on Brabham but made no great effort to pass him, apparently biding his time for the second part of the race. George Wickets and Dennis Taylor spun at Bottom bend but both rejoined the race, only to be black-flagged for a check by the scrutineer. And so the race ran out with Jim Russell holding a steady fourth place from Graham Hill in the Lotus XVI. Moss’ ” traffic” driving was a joy to beheld and a lesson to everyone who aspires to competition driving. It later transpired that Moss’ car had a broken wishbone and a cracked damper which makes his drive all the more remarkable.
Moss, whose car had been repaired, was once again left at the start of the second part of the race, Lewis-Evans and Brabham taking the lead, followed by Ian Burgess, who held third spot for three laps before Moss caught him. Moss soon caught up with Brabham but he just could not get past the wily Jack. He tried every trick in the book, becoming very annoyed in the process, and only got by on lap 11, after much fist waving and signalling to the marshals that he was being baulked. This had the crowd on their feet shouting for their hero as loud as they were able, a thing usually reserved for football matches in England ! Moss soon caught Lewis-Evans and proceeded to make a big lead as he had to win by a fairly large margin in order to ensure winning the trophy and the £250. Allison and Hill were going very steadily in fourth and fifth places until Hill’s motor gave up, whereupon Jim Russell took Allison to take up the same fourth position which he held in the first heat. Moss received the laurels and a kiss from Mike Hawthorn, who was taking a busman’s holiday, presumably because he couldn’t be squeezed into a Cooper or a Lotus.
The production sports-car race was won by Ian Walker from John Lawry, both in Lotus Elites. Tom Bridger won the Lewis-Evans Trophy for Formula III cars from Lewis-Evans Jnr., who was either saving himself for the big race or didn’t like to win dad’s trophy. The final of the Farningham Trophy for sports cars was notable for the fact that Chris Bristow caused an immense pile-up when he spun at Druids, collecting five or six other cars in the process. The sorting out of wreckage took several laps and proprietors of panel-beating firms must have been rubbing their hands with glee ! Meanwhile. Alan Stacey in a works Lotus had taken an unassailable lead from Graham Hill in the Chequered Flag Lotus.
The last race of the day was for saloon cars and was the usual gift for Tommy Sopwith in a maroon 3.4 Jaguar. Doc. Shepherd and Les Leston went very fast in A35 and Riley 1.5, respectively, and Graham Hill lost a wheel from his A35 but brought it to rest on the grass quite safely.—M. L. T.
British Grand Prix Preview -- Ilmor
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