The "Daily Mail" Festival Of Motor Sport
The Daily Mail can congratulate itself that its Festival of Motor Sport at the fast Boreham Circuit over August Bank Holiday week-end was a signal success. The car races, efficiently organised by the West Essex C.C. under the direction of G. E. Matthews, were so full of interest that even the heavy rain was no great distraction. There is a carefree lack of red-tape about the arrangements at Boreham which comes as a pleasant change from the "bureaucracy" experienced at certain other venues. The big crowd of some 75,000 dispersed swiftly after the meeting, and prompt Press facilities were much appreciated. Straw bales are rather too much in evidence, nor did we like the proximity of the spectators to the racers, with but a rope protection, but these things will be improved.
Highlight of the day's racing was Mike Hawthorn's prodigiously praiseworthy drive in his familiar Cooper-Bristol, which for many laps led the entire field of Formula I and II cars, which lapped the sole surviving B.R.M. twice before that luckless car retired, and which eventually finished third behind Villoresi's and Landi's 4½-litre Ferraris, winner of the Formula II race, his average speed only 0.61 m.p.h. slower than Luigi's in the Formula I race! This was probably regarded by Hawthorn as just another race in which, rather damply, he could enjoy displaying his undisputed prowess. But the result is more far-reaching, placing greater emphasis than ever on the splendid preparation of this particular Cooper-Bristol and a warm reflection on this combined product of the great Bristol Aeroplane Company (not afraid of utilising an engine design so successfully developed by Germany before the war) and the Cooper Car Company which arose at Surbiton out of humble but enthusiastic aims, at about the same time (another firm not afraid of adapting to its needs proven components, as witness the Fiat-style i.f.s.).
Luigi Villoresi, back in the cockpit after his unpleasant accident, pleased us all by setting a practice lap in the dry at no less than 103.45 m.p.h. in that fearsome, very powerful and awe-inspiring Indianapolis-style Ferrari with which he finally, though uncomfortably, caught Hawthorn and won the Formula I race-of-the-rains. Great credit, too, to little Chico Landi, native of Brazil, where the nuts come from, who closely pursued Villoresi into second place in his yellow Ferrari, driving extremely well, undaunted by a tyre change.
As at Silverstone, neither B.R.M. finished, with Gonzalez crashing and Wharton going out after 174 miles with gearbox failure. Although this time Raymond Mays was presented with a number of ready-made excuses—Gonzalez was pushed off by another driver, the rain made him crash, the immense power of world-beating machinery is of no value on such a wet course, and so on—he will be ill-advised to advance them. Neither B.R.M. ever got "into the picture," and that brilliant driver Ken Wharton found his car so tricky to handle that he was never able to stave off the better Formula II cars, let alone his Formula I rivals, in a race where the severe conditions were the same for all; save that the first four finishers in the Formula I race were "playing away"! Indeed, his lap times were pathetic, nor in practice in the dry did Gonzalez get closer than 1.95 m.p.h.to Villoresi's best lap. Mays' original conception was excellent but nonsensical handling of the project and continual failure of a complex design to motor as intended, has all but obliterated that Good Intention. They failed dismally to respond to the Daily Mail's desire that they should have a final opportunity to prove themselves and "make their exit in a blaze of triumphant glory." B.R.M. must now he quietly disbanded—and as for a B.R.M. car for the 1954 Formula, wouldn't support from the industry and public subscription be better directed to furthering the achievements of cars already eminent in present-day Formula II racing, in which our H.W.M.s and Cooper-Bristols have been magnificent, with Connaught and E.R.A. coming through strongly?
Turning to happier things, Stirling Moss displayed perfect style in winning the big sports-car race in the XK120C Jaguar, which never faltered, and Parnell kept the 2.7-litre Ferraris at bay with the surviving D.B.3 Aston-Martin. Frazer-Nashes dominated their category and Ken Wharton their drivers, popular Jim Mayers won his private duel against the Cooper-M.G., Metcalfe's aged Fiat won its class, while Alan Brown's Cooper just disposed of Don Parker's Kieft in a hard-fought Formula III race, Moss third in a borrowed Cooper.
As good a day's racing as one could wish for, on which more detailed comment follows, with pictures in the centre pages.—W. B.
The Smaller Sports Cars -- And The Great Wharton/Hawthorn Duel
The first race was devoted to sports cars up to 2,000 c.c., divided into three classes. In the 1,100-c.c. division Le Strange Metcalfe's evergreen Fiat (only it is black, in contrast to its driver's Persil-suiting) won happily after Sparrow's Morgan 4/4 fell ailing with severe blow-by past a piston. Baker in his PB M.G. and Heath's 1,087-c.c. M.G. engaged in a duel, the former cornering wide but Heath not quite fast enough to always pass inside at the corners. Stocks was having a brave tussle with his 1,087-c.c. M.G., which sported twin air-scoops on its bonnet side.
1st: C. Le S. Metcalfe (Fiat), 1 hr. 14 min. 16.6 sec. 67,85 m.p.h.
2nd: A. Baker (M.G.), 28 laps.
3rd: E. Heath (M.G.), 28 laps.
The 1,100-1,500-c.c. section saw popular Cliff Davis in his "Ferrari-style" Cooper-M.G. the contents of a Lester-M.G. sandwich, for these days Cliff's car is not quite a match for Jim Mayers' and Griffiths held third place in another Lester-M.G. Mayers passed inside Marr's Aston-Martin on one occasion at Waltham Corner and Davis held the side of his car like a 500-c.c. dicer. Likewise, Jacobs put his M.G. through inside Harewood's M.G. Ruddock never got his Lester-M.G. really going and was lapped by the Cooper-M.G. Allen's Consul-powered Lotus, which had a spinning-session in practice, was a non-starter due to a road accident that morning.
1st: J. Mayers (Lester-M.G.), 1 hr. 12 min. 33.2 sec. 79.39 m.p.h.
2nd: C. Davis (Cooper-M.G.).
3rd: P Griffith (Lester-M.G.).
The 2-litre Class was a Frazer-Nash benefit, Mike Hawthorn, who had borrowed a Mille Miglia model from Beckwith-Smith, engaging in a stern battle with Ken Wharton in the Mk. II Le Mans Replica car. Wharton led from the start, but Hawthorn was doing prodigies with the wheel and picking up place by place. Even when rain made the course slippery, Hawthorn threw his car through the corners and after 12 laps he led, only to be passed by Wharton at Hangar Bend on lap 20. But on the next lap, as Wharton braked audibly at Waltham Corner for Metcalfe's Fiat, Mike came up inside Wharton and passed between the rival 'Nash and the Fiat! On the next lap Wharton did all he knew and scraped into the lead again as these two went down the straights as if tied together. Then Hawthorn's car began to slow and he was obliged to abandon it at Orchard Corner after 24 laps. Thus Wharton drove on to victory, compensation, we hope, for being B.R.M.-mounted in the big race! He was followed in by the Le Mans Replica Frazer-Nashes of Salvadori, Crook, Stoop's Mille Miglia car and Peacock's Le Mans. Wells (Riley) had a pit stop, Stocks (Lester-M.G.) retired, and Kelly (Jowett Jupiter) was delayed due to overheating.
1st: K. Wharton (Frazer-Nash), 34 laps in 1 hr. 12 min. 26.2 sec. 84.49 m.p.h.
2nd: R. Salvadori (Frazer-Nash).
3rd: T. A. D. Crook (Frazer-Nash).
Fastest lap: Wharton (Frazer-Nash), 87.95 m.p.h.
The Half-Litre Tussle
The 500-c.c. race was over only 10 laps, and was obviously going to be a fierce struggle. Moss, his Kieft unrepaired since its accident at Swansea, drove John Cooper's Cooper, an entry that so often provides a last-minute mount for luckless drivers. Halfway through the race rain began to fall but there were no accidents, although the usual retirements. The story of what befell is best told by studying the six leading positions lap by lap (as seen at Orchard Corner):--
Lap 1: Wicken (Cooper), Brown (Cooper), Parker (Kieft), Moss (Cooper), Webb (Kieft), Truman (Cooper).
Lap 2: Brown, Moss, Parker, Wicken, Brandon (Cooper), Webb.
Lap 3: Brown, Parker, Moss, Brandon, Wicken, Webb.
Lap 4: Brown, Parker, Wicken, Moss, Brandon, Webb.
Lap 5: Brown, Parker, Brandon, Moss, Webb, Leston (Cooper).
Lap 6: Brown, Parker, Moss, Brandon, Webb, Leston.
Lap 7 : Brown, Parker, Moss, Brandon, Webb, Leston.
Lap 8: Brown, Parker, Moss, Brandon, Webb, Leston.
Lap 9: Parker, Brown, Moss, Brandon, Webb, Leston.
Lap 10: Parker, Brown, Moss, Brandon, Webb, Leston.
On the run-in, however, Brown just pipped the Kieft, so Parker again had victory snatched from him with the chequered flag almost in sight! The Beels, Nurse's Cooper, and Wicken's Cooper retired, the last two sans carburetters.
1st: A. Brown (Cooper), 21 mm. 27.8 sec. 83.86 m.p.h.
2nd: D. Parker (Kieft), 21 min. 28.2 sec. 83.84 m.p.h.
3rd: S. Moss (Cooper), 21 min, 36.6 sec. 83.29 m.p.h.
Fastest (500-c.c. record) lap: Brown (Cooper), 90.3 m.p.h.
The Big Sports Cars -- Type C Jaguar Supreme
The rain cleared and on a wet, but drying, track the bigger sports cars lined up for their 100-mile (34 laps) race. Three Type C Jaguars started and in one of them Moss led from start to finish, with never a falter, winning at the fine average speed of 88.09 m.p.h. and establishing fastest lap, at 90 m.p.h. Behind him Duncan Hamilton in the other XK120C was trying all he knew, sliding his corners, but he had to be content with second place. The Ecurie Ecosse Type C driven by Ian Stewart eliminated itself at Hangar Bend, mowing down seven onlookers in the process. After 19 laps the XK120 Jaguar of the same Ecurie blew up approaching Railway Corner and spun two-and-a-half times before it came to rest, to the consternation of Sir J. Scott Douglas, Bt. In the 2-3-litre class Torn Cole's blue and white, all-enveloping 2.7 Ferrari two-seater led for six laps before Parnell's D.B.3 Aston-Martin caught him. As the race progressed Cole was troubled by failing brakes and both Abecassis on the other D.B.3 and Salvadori in Baird's sister 2.7 Ferrari passed him. Cole momentarily re-passed the rival Ferrari but couldn't retain this lead. However, only one Aston-Martin finished, for George's retired with fuel-feed maladies. Peter Clark drove his D.B.2 Aston-Martin well—but why was he sans crash-hat? The overall positions over five laps were:
Lap 1: Moss, Parnell, Cole, Hull (Jaguar), Swift (Jaguar). Dobson (Jaguar).
Lap 5: Moss, Cole, Parnell, Hamilton, Abecassis, Dobson.
Lap 10: Moss, Hamilton, Parnell, Cole, Abecassis, Salvadori.
Lap 15: Moss, Hamilton, Parnell, Abecassis, Cole, Salvadori.
Lap 20: Moss, Hamilton, Parnell, Abecassis, Cole, Salvadori.
Lap 25: Moss, Hamilton, Parnell, Abecassis, Cole, Salvadori.
Lap 30: Moss, Hamilton, Parnell, Cole, Salvadori, Abecassis.
After Abecassis' retirement Dobson's XK120. took sixth place, or third place in the over-3-litre race. Goodhew's Lagonda was amongst the retirements, which included Swift's XK120 and Jacobs' Allard. Gale's Darracq went notably for a pre-war car, finishing fifth in its class behind Hull's XK120.
1st: R. Parnell (Aston-Martin D.B.3), 1 hr. 11 min. 27.6 sec. 86.35 m.p.h.
2nd: R. Salvadori (2.7 Ferrari).
3rd: T. Cole (2.7 Ferrari).
Over 3 litres:
1st: S. Moss (Jaguar Type C) 1 hr. 9 min. 28.4 sec. 88.09 m.p.h.
2nd: D. Hamilton (Jaguar Type C).
3rd: W. Dobson (Jaguar XK120).
Fastest lap: Moss (Jaguar), 90.0 m.p.h.
The Big Battle -- Cooper-Bristol and Ferrari Win -- Mike Hawthorn "Tres Magnifique"
As we ate a belated lunch in the Berkeley caravan in the Paddock the rain fell in earnest and it was obvious that it was to be "umbrellas over Boreham" all that afternoon. Obviously, conditions were going to be hectic, with Formula I and II competitors unleashed together. The Formula I race should be a fight between Gonzalez in the B.R.M. and Villoresi in the wicked Indianapolis-style 4½ Ferrari. In the Formula II race Connaught hoped to be well up, for Poore's car was fast enough to win if an elusive 500 r.p.m. had been found after late night work, while it would not have to refuel, thanks to an auxiliary tank nosed in beside the engine on the near side. Downing's Connaught also had increased tankage of a different kind. The "works" Formula II Ferraris and the Gordinis were at Nurburg, while H.W.M. were regrettably absent. We missed, too, Taruffi and the Thin Wall Ferrari, it was said because Vandervell wanted £1,000 to start and the Daily Mail offered less (rumour said that of this £700 was Taruffi's fee). Spencer King gave the monoposto Rover one of its rare airings, which enabled attractively-attired Hazel Dunham to have a drive. Moss had the angular E.R.A. The Formula I field was enlivened by the 4½ Ferraris of Rosier and Landi and the Talbots of Chaboud, Cabantous (who had a car with the horizontal carburetters), Etancelin, Crespo and Levegh.
In teeming rain they got away and at Railway Corner on the first lap the leaders were: Villoresi, Rosier, Landi, Gonzalez, Hawthorn, Etancelin, Moss, Brown, Poore, Crespo, Whitehead, Cabantous, Murray, Wharton, Barber, Downing, etc. Gonzalez was third on lap two, but on the next round he approached Hangar Bend at enormous speed, found Rosier in his path, spun and badly damaged the B.R.M.'s rear end—he walked back to the pit but this time did not take over Wharton's B.R.M.
Hawthorn was thus fourth and quite happy in the rain, protected by his familiar gas-cape. Poore had slid off at Railway Corner on the second lap and pushed a straw bale onto the course before he got going again but was now making up time, passing Crespo's Talbot inside at Railway Corner.
The early order remained Villoresi, Rosier, Landi, with the Brazilian closing on his French rival—red, blue, yellow in the first three places. The inevitable pit-stops began, first Graham Whitehead's E.R.A., then Barber's Cooper-Bristol, now Simpson's Alta. Rosier seemed at home in the wet on this fast circuit and pulled away from the challenging Landi. After 13 laps Villoresi, although not seeming quite himself since his accident and obviously finding the power of the latest G.P. Ferrari too much under the circumstances, lapped Wharton, who was unhappy in the remaining B.R.M., and going very carefully, at around 78 m.p.h. to about 86 of the Ferrari. Poore passed Moss in the E.R.A. to take second Formula II place behind Hawthorn, although later the Connaught left the road and bent its nose, a pit-stop being necessary to tear away trailing metal.
Then it happened—and the drenched spectators forgot their discomfort. Hawthorn in the healthy-sounding Cooper-Bristol overtook Landi, then passed Rosier at Orchard. Moreover, he pulled out some unexpected speed as he left the two big Ferraris well behind and went in pursuit of Villoresi. The Connaught stop and trouble with the E.R.A., which had slowed, put the Cooper-Bristols of Brown and Brandon second and third in the Formula II race, whereupon Brandon lost 2 min. 14 sec. refuelling! The E.R.A. began to improve again, as Landi, in the Formula I race, threw a tyre tread, but retained third place by a lightning tyre change -- a coming man, this Landi! It happened! -- Hawthorn's 2-litre passed Villoresi's 4½-litre going into Orchard and got a decent lead on the big Italian car. Round the packed circuit smiles appeared beneath dripping hats and umbrellas! The dark green Cooper-Bristol carrying No. 4 steadily drew away from Villoresi, who was unable to use the full power of No.17 Ferrari. Brandon's stop and Moss' loss of power put Baird's Ferrari into third Formula II place, but Dobson's Ferrari had called at its pit and Loens' Cooper-Bristol was out.
Gaining 5 sec. a lap on the Ferrari, Hawthorn led by no less than 41½ sec. after 42 of the 67 laps -- stupendous! Admittedly they were in separate races, but whereas a win brought £500, second place was worth but half that. And Villoresi, wet through, wiping his vizor with one hand, had other worries -- Rosier was closing on him, and Landi on Rosier. Luckily the rain eased, then stopped, improving visibility if not the surface. So Villoresi set about going faster, gaining 5-6 sec. a lap on Hawthorn, doing fastest lap at 88½ m.p.h. to Hawthorn's 83. At 50 laps he was only 20 sec. behind, lapping 2 sec. faster than the impudent English car. Rosier still held off the strongly challenging Landi, and Etancelin's Talbot stuck to its hard-won fourth place. At 43 laps Hawthorn had lapped the B.R.M. for the second time! Wharton, indeed, was never higher than ninth place and had stopped after about 85 miles to refuel.
Landi was doing all be knew to catch Rosier, sliding badly at Tower Bend, and Moss was chasing Baird' s four-cylinder Ferrari. After 52 laps Landi passed the veteran Rosier and a lap later Villoresi got by Hawthorn, who impudently re-passed! That was too much for Luigi, who went ahead again at Tower Bend. Still the Cooper-Bristol worried him for a time on the corners, but along the straights the Ferrari's speed was naturally superior. Landi was excelling himself, doing a lap at 89.6 m.p.h. on the still very wet course. With seven laps to go Landi's yellow Ferrari went past Hawthorn out of Orchard. But the flying Brazilian couldn't quite catch Villoresi and finished 10 sec. behind him, notably as the leading Ferrari made fastest lap, at 90.15 m.p.h. Lap 58 saw a disgruntled Wharton abandon the B.R.M.-- they called it gearbox trouble. It was pushed away from what could be its last public engagement, its record disgraceful.
Enormous excitement as Brown kept just ahead of Moss, in the light-alloy E.R.A. with its special Bristol engine, and it was over -- the Daily Mail's daring and interesting experiment. Regarded as a single race, Villoresi was first, Landi second and Hawthorn third, the Cooper-Bristol only 66 sec., or 0.62 m.p.h., behind the winning 4½ Ferrari after 201 miles -- as we have said, magnificent!
1st: Villoresi (4½ Ferrari), 2 hr. 25 min. 36 sec. 82.83 m.p.h.
2nd: F. Landi (4½ Ferrari), 2 hr. 25 min. 46 sec. 82.74 m.p.h.
3rd: P. Etancelin (4½ Talbot), 66 laps at 81.41 m.p.h.
4th: Rosier (Ferrari), 66 laps; 5th: Crespo (Talbot),63 laps;
6th: Cabantous, (Talbot); 7th: Kelly (Alta). 62 laps;
8th: Chaboud (Talbot), 60 laps.
Fastest lap: Villoresi (Ferrari), 90.15 m.p.h.
1st: M. Hawthorn (Cooper-Bristol), 2 hr. 26 min. 42 sec. 82.21 m.p.h.
2nd: A. Brown (Cooper-Bristol), 66 laps at 80.62 m.p.h.
3rd: S. Moss (E.R.A.), 66 laps at 80.61 m.p.h.
4th: Baird (Ferrari), 65 laps; 5th: Brandon (Cooper-Bristol), 64 laps; 6th: Whitehead (Ferrari), 63 laps;
7th: Murray (Cooper-Bristol); 8th: Poore (Connaught), 62 laps; 9th: Cortese (Ferrari); 10th: Downing (Connaught), 61 laps;
11th: Dobson (Ferrari), 60 laps; 12th: King (Rover); 13th: Bryde (Cooper-Bristol). 59 laps.
Fastest lap: Brandon (Cooper-Bristol). 86.81 m.p.h.