Veteran Edwardian Vintage
A section devoted to old car matters
VSCC Thruxton Race Meeting (August 31st)
Peter Morley (Bentley-Napier) Wins the Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy
With the unavailability of Donington the final VSCC race meeting of 1974 was held at Thruxton, in alternating heavy rain and sunshine. It marked the last round this year of the Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy Contest which Peter Morley, who was leading it, easily clinched with his fourth outright win, after another excellent drive in the splendid 24-litre Napier Lion-engined Bentley Special. He had 6.00 x 19 Dunlop Racing tyres on the front wheels and those special 7.50 x 20 treaded Firestones on the back and an even stronger piece of chain above the o/s back spring to restrain back-axle torque! The big engine thrives on any kind of low-octane petrol and oil.
P. T. Fleming scored two second places in his 1937 Riley Special, "made from two Kestrels", which gave him second place, with 42 points to Morley's 72. Ron Footitt in the Cognac Special AC-engined GN took an excellent second place among the big cars in the John Holland Memorial Trophy Race, bringing his score to 39 points, and placing him third. Neither of these cars, either, are fussy about their petrol and oil diet but both were on Avon tyres. The Editor's wife, Winifred Boddy, presented the Trophy and the £150-worth of prize money to these drivers and the Replica cup to I. Macdonald (Lagonda), last year's outright winner.
The opening 4-lap vintage and p.v.t. scratch race was won so easily by a Fearnley's Meadows Frazer Nash that it was over before the chequered-flag was waved. Rather a procession, Fleming's Riley Special was second, well ahead of Ellison's Riley Special. The 8-lap Holland Trophy Scratch Race for vintage racing cars promised, and gave, much excitement. Schellenberg, making one of his welcome but rare appearances in the 8-litre Barnato Hassan, (of sadly altered appearance), lots of SUs protruding from its Bentley engine, made the running for five laps, pursued by the determined Footitt in the AC-GN, Morley in the Bentley-Napier biding his time. The last-named even appeared to drop back. Then the Barnato lost power, plug or carburation trouble cutting out two cylinders, and Morley, who was having difficulty putting the power onto the road, took the chance he had been waiting for and swept into the lead. Footitt, who had already been passed, momentarily re-took Morley, but then the aero-engined monster, which so delights the spectators in the tradition of the Brooklands "Lightning" handicaps, went ahead, making fastest lap at 82.19 m.p.h. and winning from the GN at nearly 80 m.p.h. Schellenberg, cheerful as ever, managed to take third place.
Two races had been combined and it was Collis' 4.3 Alvis Special that won the p.v.t. section, lapping at over 75 m.p.h., from Holloway's 1936 4-1/4 Bentley and Fletcher-Jones' Lagonda Rapier. A great race, during which Burrell spun his Bentley-Royce into the infield at Allard Corner on lap 5, but continued.
To allow us to cool off, a complicated 4-lap handicap followed, with the light cars given a credit lap. Beforehand the Scrutineers' Bay had looked like a replica of the Lagonda factory at Staines in the 1920s, as Odell's engine was removed from his 11.9, but Mrs. Roberts' 1922 example contrived to start. When the results had been worked out it was found that Daniel's odd BMW had won, from Ward's Austin Chummy, screen erect and hood neatly furled, but on big tyres, from Hutchings' replica of the original racing Austin 7 of 1923. Collins took the Light Car Award in his Star.
The bigger cars made fast running in the Melville and Geoghegan Trophies 6-lap Class Handicap, Llewellyn in his blue 6-1/2-litre Bentley two-seater winning by keeping Hine's 4-1/2-litre Bentley at a just discreet distance. The winner lapped at nearly 80 m.p.h. Of the small cars Dodds' Brooklands Riley finished third and deservedly took the Geoghegan Trophy, outbraking Boyce's deflector-head Meadows Frazer Nash at the chicane on the run home. Fastest race of the day was the 10-lap Al!comers' Scratch event. Roberts in the Lotus 16 rocketed to victory at 87.95 m.p.h., with fastest lap at 90.62 m.p.h. Cottam in Millar's Maserati could do absolutely nothing about this but Venables-Llewelyn was going great guns in the 2-litre ERA, holding off many post-war cars to win the pre-war award, although by lap 6 Phillips' Cooper-Bristol ousted him from third place.
Woolstenholmes' 4.3 Alvis Special, on its podgy tyres, won the next 4-lap handicap from Fleming's Riley and Warrington in the Appleton Special, after Richmond's Blackburne Frazer Nash had led for the first four laps. Bowler chased Blight hard, both from scratch, the Mille Miglia BMW passing Talbot BGH 23 on the last lap, although in a later race this was not repeated.
It was nice to see Penman's single-seater Austin 7 on vintage section tyres, in the Spero and Voiturettes Trophies Race, in which lots of little racers spread out round the track, an Ulster Austin chasing two D12 Midgets, for all the world like Brooklands in 1930. The other Fletcher Jones drove a model race in the Rapier to win the Spero, but Dodds' Riley broke a fuel pipe and Tieche's blown J4 MG, in second place, developed engine trouble and was being pushed in as the loud-speakers were calling for it to go out for the next race! So Smith's Riley was second, Andrews' Riley third, and Cooper's Austin won the Voiturette section. Rain returned for the last 4-lap handicap. Venables-Llewelyn changed his tyres round and Waller's ERA, driven by Lindsay, borrowed "Remus's" back boots. But after the first lap Phillips' l.h.d. 328 BMW was unchallenged, although Arnold-Forster, whose wife had lost a front tyre from her GN in an earlier race, was a good second in the Delage. Venables-Llewelyn had bad moments with the gear-change when starting but brought his ERA in third.—W.B.
4-lap Scratch Race for Vintage and PVT cars : D. H. Fearnley (Frazer Nash), 68.4 m.p.h.
John Holland Memorial Trophy Race : F. P. Morley (Bentley-Napier), 79.51 m.p.h.
8-lap Scratch Race for PVT cars : H. E. Collins (Alvis), 71.17 m.p.h.
4-lap Handicap : M. N. Daniel (BMW), 63.13 m.p.h.
Melville Trophy Race : D. W. Llewellyn (Bentley), 77.39 m.p.h.
10-lap Allcomers' Scratch Race : J. W. S. Roberts (Lotus), 87.95 m.p.h.
4-lap Handicap : I. Woolstenholmes (Alvis), 73.21 m.p.h.
Spero Trophy Race : D. F. Fletcher-Jones (Lagonda), 73.67 m.p.h.
4-lap Handicap: S. F. Phillips (BMW), 67.69 m.p.h.
Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy : Peter Morley (Bentley-Napier), 72 points.
A second edition of that excellent book "Riley—The Production and Competition History of the Pre-1939 Riley Motor Cars"' by A. T. Birmingham, has been published by G. T. Foulis & Co. Ltd., Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset. It has a revised text and some fresh pictures and is to be highly recommended to all real-Riley enthusiasts. It runs to 272 pages measuring 9 in. x 5 1/2 in. and costs £4.95.