In only its third visit to Mallory, the VSCC has proved that it has found an excellent home for the Williams Monaco Trophy race, formerly based at Cadwell Park, and this year’s event on the 18th July produced a superb battle for the meeting’s title race. In recent years the race, for two-seater Grand Prix cars, has struggled to attract a representative entry and although this year saw only ten starters — and only three representatives of the Molsheim marque — Julian Majzub was anxious to end Sir John Venables-Llewelyn’s run of successes and, indeed, it was Makub’s ex-Campbell Bugatti 35B that led the opening laps by a whisker from Sir John in Lord Raglan’s later Type 51 Bugatti.
On lap three Venables-Llewelyn slipped past but was unable to open up any lead, Majzub hanging on tenaciously with plenty of opposite-lock out of the hairpin. In lapping backmarkers, the blue 35B took an opportunity and went through, only for Sir John to challenge again when Majzub slowed during further lappery. The twin-cam 51 cooly kept up the pressure right to the end and aided by a very ragged exit from the hairpin on the final lap by the single-cam 35B managed to close to within 0.4s as a delighted Majzub took the flag.
Richard Pilkington was unchallenged in third with the Totnes Museum’s 4 1/2-litre Talbot from Mark Gillies (White Riley). Bill Morris drove the ex-Chula/Habershon 1926 GP Delage, not seen for ten years and now owned by German Eckart Berg. Treating the car with due respect, Bill brought it home in fifth. The Vintage race saw a flag-to-flag win for Freddie Giles in the AC/GN Cognac Special, its engine rebuilt since its Silverstone win in April, while Stuart Harper (Morgan Aero) held off Gary Caroline’s Morgan to take a comfortable second. Andrew Smith held up Frazer Nash honour in fourth from Frank Hernandez (Austin 7 Special) with Nick Leston (Lovell-Elkhart) surviving a spin and contact with Knapp’s ‘Nash in sixth. Craig Collings made a hasty exit from proceedings when his 8-litre Bentley caught fire at Gerards.
The Patrick Marsh Trophy for pre-war sports cars (transferred from Oulton this year) saw a lead dice settled in favour of Ian Bentall’s Bentley from Julian Bronson’s firespitting supercharged Riley while the most entertaining duel of the race featured Adam Painter’s pretty Maserati 4CS and Martin Stretton in Simon Bull’s Invicta, the pair proceeding side-by-side for much of the distance, the verdict going to the Maserati. Things might have been different if Stretton had remembered to prime the second magneto before the start! Duncan Ricketts briefly held sway in the Pre-War Racing Cars race with Sally Marsh’s ERA RIB before Martin Stretton took the lead at the Esses on the second lap in Dan Margulies’ Maserati 4CL and proceeded to race to a comfortable win, while Ricketts had to ward off the attentions of Mark Gillies, going better than ever with the Brooke Special, now fitted with a 2-litre ERA engine, and such was his pace that he set second fastest lap 0.3s adrift of Stretton’s time. Paul Jaye was the only other unlapped runner with the Alta, after the demise of Spollon’s ERA, Phil Walker finishing fifth with the ex-Gerard single-seater K3 MG.
The other main scratch race, the Bob Gerard Trophy in honour of Leicester’s most famous racing son, was something of a procession, variety being added to a field of six Cooper Bristols by the ERAs of Donald Day (R14B, an ex-Gerard car with second place in the 1949 British Grand Prix to its credit) and Peter Mann (R9B). The quickest Cooper Bristol driver of modern times, Roddy Macpherson, drove into the distance in his very well-developed example but, surprisingly, it was the ERA of Day which gave chase followed by Mann in R9B. Graham Burrows made Mann work for fourth place with his Cooper Bristol with Adam Smith finishing a lap down in Chris Browning’s example. Phil Walker emerged as the most successful driver of the meeting taking wins in two scratch races with his increasingly rapid MG K3, the first after a fine battle with John Seber (Wolseley Hornet) and the second after an equally impressive fight with Stuart Harper’s Morgan. In the latter race the evergreen Frank Lockhart made one of his rare appearances this year with the Rover Special to take third, lapping faster than the race winner! The two handicaps went to Day with his ERA, and Welch with his Riley Special. ASDC