Sunshine and Castrol R

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The final VSCC meeting of the year at Cadwell Park on August 26th was blessed with perfect weather. The peculiarly appetising smell of disgustoburgers, the undeniably pleasant smell of Castrol R, the wooded parkland, and the meandering circuit, summarise for me what is the most enjoyable race meeting of the year. Not forgetting the cars of course, and a brief walk around the paddock showed that there was a typically interesting array of machinery this year: from the regulars, such as Lord Raglan’s Bugatti Type 51, Caroline’s Morgan, and Dick Smith’s supercharged Nürburg Frazer Nash, to some beautiful cars that at least I hadn’t spotted at the Park before, most notably Boswell ‘s 12-litre Bequet-Delage, and Marr’s 4.8-litre supercharged V8 Maserati. One rather enjoyable surprise was a collection of at least half a dozen Brough Superior motorcycles.

The first event of the meeting was the Spero and Voiturette five lap scratch race for 1100cc unsupercharged and 750cc supercharged machines. DF Fletcher-Jones suprised no-one by finishing first in his 1100cc Lagonda-Rapier, thereby winning the Spero Trophy. The Voiturette Trophy is awarded to the first 750cc car home and the Austin Seven of F Hernandez continued the unbroken run of success of those little cars in this event, finishing second overall. The winner of the handicap was WS Gordon in the Trice Special.

The five lap scratch race for Frazer Nash and GN cars was once again won by Andrew Smith in his father’s Nürburg Frazer Nash. He quickly pulled out a lead over Martin Stretton, who despite a considerable amount of sideways acrobatics, could do little to reduce the gap. J Giles brought his AC/GN home in third place, and the real battle of the race, for fourth place, was eventually decided in favour of Adam Smith in his father’s highly developed (to the point of fitting two spark plugs per cylinder) 1800cc Frazer Nash.

There then followed a four lap handicap event which was won by F Giles in his GN with a fastest lap of 2 min 2.20 secs. Redmond came home second in his 1937 3 1/2-litre Jaguar, and third was J Guyatt in his 1936 Talbot.

Event four, a ten lap scratch race for pre-war racing cars proved to be a relatively easy win for Mayman in his ex-Raymond Mays ERA R4D finishing some nine seconds ahead of Martin Morris in R11B. Duncan Ricketts finished third in R1B pursued by Bruce Spollon in R8C. Further down the field there was some exciting racing between Gullies in a Riley, and Marr in his supercharged Maserati, the Riley proving more nimble in the corners, the Maserati’s power pulling it ahead on the straights. Eventually the Maserati’s engine went slightly off-beat and the duel was decided in favour of M Gillies. There was also a good dice between Jaye in his Alta and Morris in Chapman’s ERA E-Type, the pair making a fine sight as they circulated together. The fastest lap of the race fell to Mayman at 1 min 50.10 secs, and the winner of the handicap was Morris in an ERA.

Event five was a four lap scratch race that was won with relative ease by Summerfield in his Avon Bentley, although by the end only two seconds separated him from D Robinson charging hard in his Riley, and setting fastest lap in the process. Third place went to D Barbet in his 1937 1 1/2-litre Riley, with Black winning the handicap in his Aston Martin.

A fierce contest in the sixth race for vintage racing cars saw Ivan Dutton lead in his Type 35B Bugatti, hotly pursued by Tim Llewellyn in the 8-litre Bentley, Boswell in the Bequet-Delage (a 12-litre First World War V8 aero engine in a 1923 Delage Grand Prix chassis), Cardy in another Bugatti and Caroline in his quick Morgan. Stretton once again provided us all with some spectacular driving, once or twice straying from the racing surface and in one frantic oversteering slide showering me and my ice cream with grass and dust as I crouched to take photographs at The Mountain. Dutton held his lead until the eighth lap when a mechanical problem befell him at the back of the circuit beyond Park Straight. The lead was therefore handed to Llewellyn who brought his vast and slightly oversteering Bentley home in first place ahead of the awesome Delage and Caroline who had overtaken Cardy. Fastest lap was achieved by Dutton in 2 min 0.60 secs.

The seventh race was a four lap handicap event and it was a delight to see P Harris win in his 1924 3-litre Bentley on proper vintage tyres, and with lights etc all on board. Second place went to J Moss in a 1930 lnvicta and third to A Metcalfe in a 1934 Lagonda. C Mann in his Triumph drove the fastest lap of the race in 2 min 17.20 secs.

The eighth race of the day, a ten lap pre-1961 scratch race, had a sadly depleted entry list. Promised for the event were a pair of 1958 BRMs, two Cooper-Bristols, and a host of other machinery that failed to materialise. Consequently the race was won by a country mile by Mayman in his Climax-engined Lotus 16. Some 66 seconds behind was Bill Morris in his E-Type ERA followed by Payne in a Cooper and Stephens in ERA R12C. The race was really more of a procession than anything else, the only excitement being the dice between R Burrell in his Lea-Francis engined Connaught and M Gillies in his Riley. Burrell managed to hold off Gillies for the full ten laps, however. The fastest lap unsurprisingly went to Mayman at 1 min 45.30 secs.

Race nine was a four lap handicap won by Milligan in a 1 1/2-litre supercharged MG, followed by J Mason in his 1936 1 1/2-litre Riley and T Metcalfe in a 1-litre Lagonda. Fastest lap went to J Guyatt in a 3 1/2-litre 1936 Talbot at 2 mins 10.50 secs.

The final race promised to be one of the most exciting of the meeting. It was the Williams Monaco Trophy race, an eight lap scratch event for two-seater Grand Prix cars that Sir John Venables Llewelyn has more or less made his own, winning every race but one since 1983. This year as always he was driving Lord Raglan’s 1932 Bugatti Type 51, and he got off to an excellent start pulling out a clear lead from Ivan Dutton also in a Type 51 and Dick Smith in his Frazer Nash Nürburg. Behind him was Dean in another Type 51, Boswell in the Bequet-Delage, Horton, Cardy, Willis and Conway, all in Bugattis. The race continued at a furious pace until the third lap when a shrill whistle signalled the marshal’s to bring out the red flags, and stop the race. Jardine had unfortunately rolled his Bugatti, although he still managed to walk back to the paddock, while his car did not look that badly bent.

The restart saw Venables-Llewelyn once again take the lead, but the order behind him was significantly revised. He was hotly pursued by Dick Smith in the Nash, and then Boswell in the Bequet-Delage. Behind them came a stream of raucous Bugattis headed by Dutton in the Type 51. Quite a ding-dong battle raged between Horton and Cardy for the shortened five lap race, Horton eventually nipping past Cardy on the final lap to claim fifth place.

Smith ran out of fuel on the last corner of the last lap, and although Boswell nipped inside him, and beat him to the flag, Smith nevertheless came second on the aggregate scoring from the two halves of the race. The final order therefore was Llewelyn, Smith, Boswell, Heimann, Horton, Cardy, Willis and Conway, with the fastest lap going to Venables-Llewelyn at 1 min 56.00 secs.

It was a good finish to a superb day’s racing. The really delightful thing about Cadwell Park is that there are never any awful traffic jams on the way out, and only a few Bank Holiday caravans to contend with on the way home. I shouldn’t think that Lord Raglan had too much trouble passing those on his way back to Wales in the Type 51. CSR-W.

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