Brands Hatch International
The International meeting at Brands Hatch on August 29th gave the relatively small crowd some of the most exciting and some of the dullest racing seen at this tiny track since the same meeting last year.
The main event of the day was the Kentish “100” Trophy for Formula 2 cars, which was divided into two 42-lap parts, the winner being decided on aggregate times.
The vast majority of Formula 1 drivers (except the Ferrari team) entered for the race and even those who had not entered found some excuse to be present, for this promised to be a truly frightening race.
Stirling Moss made fastest practice lap in 56.4 sec., unofficially breaking his own circuit lap record. He was pressed very hard by Jack Brabham and, in fact, spun in attempting to better this time. Brabham did 56.8 sec. in the first practice session on Friday, but almost at the end of the second practice, when the track was clear, he went out for a few laps and eventually came down to 56.6 sec. Graham Hill had been going very fast in the Lotus and finished up with 57.2 sec., while close behind him came Joakim Bonnier in the works single-seater, open-wheeled, Formula 2 car, who lapped in 57.4 sec., as did Chris Bristow in the B.R.P. Cooper-Borgward. The Porsche has a six-speed gearbox which noticeably helped in acceleration along the straights, but drum brakes are used which may have put the Porsche at a disadvantage on braking. It will be interesting to see this 160-b.h.p. car fitted with disc brakes.
In a last-minute flurry of practising, Harry Schell was pushed out of the last 16 together with such notables as Ron Flockhart, Andre Pilette and Andre Milhoux of Equipe National Beige, Tony Marsh and Bruce Halford. Team Lotus were quite pleased with themselves in that all three cars qualified, together with David Piper’s privately-owned model. The final line-up included eight Cooper-Climax, four Lotus-Climax, two Cooper-Borgwards, one Porsche, and the Hune-Climax.
At the start of the race Brabham made the perfect start, moving away just a fraction of a second before the flag began to move and going well into the lead; Moss and Hill hung back slightly and Bristow shot the pale green Cooper-Borgward into second place as they went out of sight over Paddock Bend. The entire field appeared through Druids in the space of a few seconds and it looked almost certain that someone was going to have an accident but somehow everyone negotiated the first lap without incident, but at Kidney Bend on lap two Bristow, still holding second place, spun right round, causing Hill and Moss to take to the grass and drive round behind the marshals’ post on the inside of the bend. This lost both these drivers several places, and when things sorted themselves out Brabham had a huge lead from Salvadori, McLaren, Innes Ireland, Masten Gregory, Bonnier and Moss. Graham Hill soon began carving his way through the field with great effect and by lap 10 was in second place, driving superbly. Moss also succeeded in passing Salvadori, McLaren, Ireland and Bonnier, and settled into third place, but he was sliding badly on some corners and seemed to be making up little ground on Hill, let alone Brabham, who had a 15-sec. lead over Hill. After these early battles the field settled down to some very steady but fast lapping, with Salvadori and Gregory dropping back gradually and Bonnier getting the hang of the Porsche and moving it up through the field until by lap 22 he had taken fourth place from McLaren. Piper retired his Lotus with a broken chassis but otherwise reliability was excellent — in fact, he was the only driver to retire during Part 1.
Just as the race was about to finish, with Brabham an easy winner by over 18 sec., Ireland spun at Bottom Bend with clouds of smoke pouring from his tyres and slithered about all over the place on the straight and at Kidney, indicating that he had some oil on the tyres. Graham Hill luckily avoided his team-mate and took his well deserved second place.
During the interval we learned that Moss had sustained a broken rear wishbone in his excursion onto the grass, which was hastily welded up for the second part of the race. For the second part the front row of the grid consisted of Brabham (who had established a new lap record of 56.6 sec. during his winning drive), Hill and Moss. Once again it was Brabham who got away first and he soon established a 10-yard lead over Moss, McLaren, Gregory and Hill, who had made a poor start. The crowd sat back and waited for Moss to close on the flying Brabham but he seemed to be losing ground if anything. But at Clearways on lap four the race was virtually over when Moss spun through 90 degrees and dropped himself to seventh place. Hill had worked up to third place and on Moss’ spin he went into second spot about 4 sec. behind Brabham, followed by McLaren, Gregory, Salvadori, Bonnier and Moss. Once again Salvadori and Gregory began dropping back, apparently unable to hold their concentration on this tight circuit. Moss got to grips with Bonnier but the Swedish driver would not give in easily and Moss had to scrabble by on Paddock Bend, raising a cloud of dust from the grass. Moss held his place for only two more laps before Bonnier re-took him by imitating Moss’ manoeuvre at Paddock. By now the Cooper-Borgward was sounding ragged but the fault appeared to be on the fuel injection because the noise did not become worse.
Hill began closing on Brabham and chopped the 4-sec. lead down to less than 2 sec., equalling Brabham’s newly acquired lap record in the process and driving magnificently into the bargain. The Lotus sounded wonderfully crisp and, apart from a few moments when he looked down into the cockpit as if the gear-change mechanism was faulty, he drove a perfect race. Moss passed McLaren, who shortly afterwards retired to the pits, leaving Moss in a comfortable fourth place. When the times were added together the final positions were: Brabham, Hill, Bonnier, Moss, Gregory and Salvadori.
Of the supporting races, J. M. Uren made sure of the Saloon Car Championship by winning his class in his Ford Zephyr, but Les Leston, who had a chance of equalling Uren’s score, lost a core plug from his 1.5 Riley and retired with no water. He was being led by Blydenstein’s Borgward anyway which finished only 4.6 sec. behind Uren’s Zephyr. The race was won by Jack Sears in the Equipe Endeavour 3.4 Jaguar from Sir Gawaine Baillie’s similar car.
In the other saloon-car race for under 1,300-c.c. models, the two A40s of Shepherd and Williamson left Adams’ and Sprinzel’s yellow A35s standing as they left the start with a shattering roar. Shepherd took an easy lead and gradually increased it over Williamson, with Adams way back in third place. But on the last lap, to prove that history repeats itself, Shepherd went straight on at Kidney Bend and retired with engine troubles at exactly the same place as he retired during the August Bank Holiday meeting, which also occurred on the last lap.
Chris Bristow was the central figure in another incident on lap one of the Farningham Trophy for over-1,100-c.c. sports cars. The front row of the grid consisted of Graham Hill (2½-litre Lotus), Innes Ireland (1½-litre Lotus), Chris Bristow (2-litre Cooper Monaco) and David Piper (2-litre Lotus). Bristow was first away and just led David Piper at Bottom Bend but as the tail of the Cooper swung outwards Piper just touched it and the Cooper spun round. Piper and those immediately following managed to avoid the spinning car but as it travelled backwards towards the inside bank it struck Innes Ireland’s Lotus amidships, damaging it badly and temporarily stunning the driver. Bristow leapt from his car and dashed to Ireland’s aid, leaving the Cooper in the centre of the track. The marshals rushed to remove the Cooper but it was jammed in gear and the body was fouling the wheels, so as the cars came round for their second lap they had to leave it where it was, although the flag marshal had succeeded in slowing the field with the yellow flag. Piper held his lead for four laps before Hill overhauled him and went on to an unhurried win. Alan Stacey held a comfortable third place from Jim Clark, who did wonders with the cumbersome “old-type” Lister-Jaguar to take fourth place.
The Rochester Trophy was yet another win for the Lola team, honours going to Peter Gammon this time. Graham Hill stuck close to Gammon and Ashdown for several laps but gradually dropped back, although the Lotus Seventeen seems to be handling better now. Ashdown took to the grass at Kidney on lap nine, letting Gammon and Hill past, but by lap fourteen he had re-taken Hill and gained second place quite easily. Ashdown equalled his own class record during the chase.
The long day’s racing (which started at 11.30 a.m. with a regularity run for veterans and finished at 7.30 p.m.) was made up with two 21-lap races for the Autosport World Cup between Britain and Holland. Since Holland had won by 66 points to 14 at Zandvoort the British team faced an almost impossible task, although the Lotus Elites of Jim Clark, Graham Warner and John Whitmore led the race quite easily until Whitmore’s car came to rest with parts of the transmission having parted company from the plastic body. W. Poll drove well in both races for Holland in his Porsche 1600S and proved to be the fly in the ointment as far as a British win was concerned. These two races suffered from a small field and too many laps, and most of the crowd had departed when the second race came to a conclusion. — M.L.T.