A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
V.S.C.C. Thruxton Race Meeting (September 14th)
Footitt (A.C./G.N.) Wins Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy from Cobb (Frazer Nash) and Abson Lagonda Rapier)
For its final race meeting of the year the Vintage S.C.C. chose Thruxton circuit, which proved a sporting course for vintage-type cars, although rather bumpy for the smaller ones. Practice was uneventful, except for Farquhar performing the first (and very neat) V.S.C.C. spin at the chicane in his long-tailed ex-Dixon Riley 9, Alison breaking his Lagonda’s back axle but quickly replacing it, and Densham’s Vauxhall putting its newly-acquired fan through a radiator hose.
Saturday morning, however, produced a furious thunderstorm over Thruxton, with balls of fire and loud explosions, so racing began on a wet track. A 4-lap handicap, which incorporated the Light Car Race, saw Gilbert’s 12/70 Alvis Special take Mrs. Scott-Moncrieff’s Frazer Nash on the final lap, third place going to a rather distant Mrs. Cherrett in her 1928 Alfa Romeo. This was fairly gentle stuff, the Alvis doing fastest lap at just over 64 m.p.h. and Mrs. Arnold-Forster’s G.N. taking the Light Car Award, at 44.13 m.p.h. The next 4-lapper was warmer, Stirling’s Frazer Nash wearing down the initial big lead of Jones’ 30/98 Vauxhall to win from Dudley’s Aston Martin LM6, with Cobb’s Frazer Nash third in spite of shedding a chain as it left the start. A bolt fell out on Densham’s Vauxhall and it had no ignition.
A third 4-lapper produced excitement, for Footitt, in the running for the Motor Sport Cup, went into the lead on lap 3 but was hard pressed by Abson on the last round, the A.C./G.N. hitting that awkward kerb at the chicane, Abson avoiding it by swerving right and over the grass. The Lagonda thus snatched victory by a margin so narrow the time-keeper couldn’t measure it, with Boyce (Frazer Nash) some way off in third place.
In the Spero and Voiturette Trophies Race [One has to forget ancient V.S.C.C. verses about Buzz Box Owners . . . !—Ed.] over eight laps, Coles drove neatly to win the main section in his 1933 blown J4 M.G.. after he had shaken off a strong initial challenge from Ely’s Riley, which later retired, having shed a push-rod. Farquhar’s Riley battled with Howie’s Riley for a while, then pulled away to take second place, Sutton’s Ulster Austin, which had more speed than Clarke’s Ulster and Moores’ blown Ulster, taking third place (and the Voiturette Trophy) from Howie. Another 4-lap handicap was sandwiched between this race and the big race of the afternoon, and was a walk-over for Wood, deputising for Mrs. Wood and going very well in the low-chassis 4½-litre Invicta, from Stewart’s 1923 3-litre Bentley. Behind, Cobb seemed about to improve his position in the Motor Sport Contest, which he now led on points, but he gave way to Eaton’s Frazer Nash at the chicane on lap 3, thereafter out-accelerating it, and finishing with both Boyce’s and Eaton’s ‘Nashes ahead of his. Clutton was going quickly from scratch until his Type 43 Bugatti came slowly by, sounding horrid; it was axle trouble.
The 10-lap All-Comers’ Scratch Race for Historic Racing Cars saw Neil Corner unchallenged in his 1959 3-litre G.P. Aston Martin. He pulled further and further away from Lindsay’s Maserati, winning easily, with a fastest lap of 90.41 m.p.h. Wilks held third pace all the way in his Lotus until coming out of the chicane for the last time, when, having closed right up on Lindsay, he have his engine all it could take, to snatch second place by mere inches. Brewer brought his 3-litre G.P. Aston Martin into fourth place, ahead of Cottam, whose Connaught took Pilkington’s Cooper-Bristol on the run home. It was a good race, Corner well pleased with victory in a car which handles less easily than his Maserati, Millar drove his Maserati 250F in place of his still-mythical 3-litre but it was slow and lasted only to half-distance, Potter went s.o. at the chicane on lap 2 during a rough ride in the E.R.A.-Delage, and President Barker circulated bravely among the racers in his Mille Miglia Lancia Astura. Martin Morris drove his 2-litre E.R.A. splendidly, to win the Pre-War Sections, at 82.67 m.p.h.
Three more 2-lap handicaps completed the programme, the first of which was won by Batt’s Lagonda Rapier special. The next one was most exciting, as deciding the winner of this year’s Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy. Corner in his beautiful Type 35 Bugatti, having been handicapped out of his first race, elected not to run, so it was left to Footitt to consolidate his placing. Gue drove his low-chassis 4½-litre Invicta very hard indeed, to build up a huge lead. But the flying A.C./G.N. wore this down, to go ahead, and only Wailer in the E.R.A., driving one of his finest races, from the scratch mark, got by, passing on the wide Brooklands curve on the last lap. Stephen’s Alvis was third. So Footitt had the Trophy unassailably. The last race saw Brough’s Riley Gamecock lead all the way, from the limit mark.
So, just before the rain returned, the Brooklands Memorial Trophy and the £150 prize money were presented by Winifred Boddy, to the pop of the champagne cork under a sombre sky. None of the three cars involved are known to have run at Brooklands but were of the type which could have been seen there:—
Footitt’s A.C./G.N., first with 65 points, has a very highly-tuned triple-S.U. A.C.-Six engine, which is taken to 6,000 r.p.m. and has a “pretty high” c.r. It runs on Pirelli tyres and Shell petrol and oil.
Cobb’s Fraser Nash, second with 55 points, has a 1928 chassis, originally powered by a blown Anzani engine, and a Vitesse body. It now has a 1936 single-carburetter twin-cam British Salmson engine with A.J.S. pistons, lubricated with Castrol “R”. It runs on Michelin “X” tyres.
Abson’s Lagonda, third with 54 points, was bought as a 1935 chassis and its twin-cam Rapier engine was bored-out to 1,485 c.c., retaining the pre-selector gearbox. At Thruxton it had a 5.28-to-1 axle ratio. It runs on Avon Turbospeed tyres and uses Castrol or Essolube oil.
Jardine’s 16-valve Bugatti nearly did a slow roll at the chicane but decided otherwise.
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Cameron Millar ran his splendidly-restored 1922 Strasbourg Sunbeam for the first time for 30 years. It looks nearly 100% original, except perhaps for the shape of the spare-wheel cover.
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The only Edwardian was Mitchell’s 1912 Alfonso Hispano-Suiza, which motored nonchantly to the meeting, raced, and went away again, as any good Edwardian fast tourer should.
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Lindsay claimed to have a runny left eye, which was blind to Wilk’s successful last-moment overtaking bid in the big race.
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In the 10-lap All-Comers’ Race Lockhart contrived to pass Waller’s E.R.A. one lap from the end, a fine performance by the non-supercharged Rover Special against the supercharged car—but note that the Rover now has a 3-litre engine!—W. B.