Formula 1 Vanwall and Connaught Win Convincingly at Snetterton International Meeting
The ambitious and untiring West Essex C.C. were unlucky with their International Meeting at Snetterton on August 13th, inasmuch as after a record dry, hot summer, familiar weather returned on this day and rain fell during the earlier races. This did not prevent, however, a great crowd of 40,000 keen spectators from attending the racing. They were rewarded by seeing the Vanwalls win their first victory, Schell and Wharton finishing first and second in the F.1. race. The Formula Libre race developed into a great duel between Peter Walker in Rob Walker’s new F.1 Connaught and Roy Salvadori’s Maserati 250F, Walker driving this privately-owned British G.P. car magnificently to pass the Italian car and win, after Salvadori had spun off the course.
These two races alone made the trek to the remote plain of Snetterton well worth while for enthusiastic long-distance race-goers. The V16 B.R.M.s lived up to tradition, one non-starting, the other retiring after half a lap.
“Eastern Daily Press” Trophy Race. F.III. 20 Laps.
Run over a slippery track this resulted in the discomfort of Russell (Cooper), who spun on lap one while in the lead, giving place to Ivor Bueb. Later Bueb spun and his Cooper was hit by S. LewisEvans in Robin Jackson’s Cooper. Evans suffered a broken n.s. front wishbone, but Bueb continued for two laps with a bent n.s. rear wishbone before deeming it prudent to retire. This let Hall into a comfortable lead, ahead of Allison, while Russell picked up 15 places to finish third. The Hobart-Martin lasted only one lap and the Martin Special and Arnott-Norton also retired.
National Benzole Trophy Race. Sports Cars up to 1 ½-litres. 20 Laps.
This was really two races in one, up to 1,300 c.c. and 1,500 c.c., with a rather complex handicap.
Heavy rain resulted in much gyratory motoring, but through it all Salvadori in the Equipe Endeavour Cooper-Climax, which was to have been driven by Parnell, motored splendidly, absolutely sure and steady and very fast, to leave the Cooper-Climax of Bueb and Russell well behind. These two later swopped places, while Gammon’s Cooper-Climax was way back, having spun into the safety-sleepers at the hairpin on the opening lap. Steed also spun here in his Lotus. Stocks obviously hated it and sawed desperately at his Tojeiro’s steering wheel, but Hayles (Lotus) is a real wet-weather man and obviously enjoyed his drive, chewing gum, expressionless, throughout a good drive. Smith hit a marker barrel at the Esses and made a horrid mess of his Lotus-Climax.
Coombs came up into second place in his aerodynamic Lotus-Connaught, but well behind Salvadori, and Harris (Lotus-Climax) and Bueb (Cooper-Climax) were in trouble. It was left to Stacey to uphold Lotus-Climax honour.
F.III Race. J.A.P.-engined Cars.10 Laps.
This was rather dull, as there were nine non-starters. Marsh retired, Iszatt winning in the wet at a mere 63.38 m.p.h.
1st: D. F. Iszatt (Cooper) … 25 min. 33.6 sec. 63.38 m.p.h.
2nd: T. R. Spreckley (Cooper).
3rd: J. B. Walton (Cooper).
Fastest Lap: H. C. Taylor (Cooper), 69.73 m.p.h.
Redex Trophy Race. F.1. 25 Laps.
The rain ceased for this race, but the course was wet. The field contained the Maseratis of Moss, Salvadori, Gould, Rosier and Volonterio, Collins being a non-starter in the Owen car as it was still in pieces after Aintree, Brabham in the G.P. Cooper-Bristol, Peter Walker in R. Walker’s Connaught, the aerodynamic G.P. Connughts of Fairman and Mike Oliver, the latter making his reappearance in racing and both cars using two twin-choke Weber carburetters in preference to fuel-injection, Young’s F.II Connaught with F.1 engine, Boulton’s F.II Connaught, Coombs’ Lotus-Connaught and the two Vanwalls, driven by Schell and Wharton.
Right from the start Schell led, followed by Wharton, Gould third, Moss fourth, Brabham fifth, Fairman sixth. Then Gould retired on lap one, Schell began to draw away from his team-mate, and Brabham, cornering the Cooper on full opposite lock, took Moss, whose Maserati, driven recently by Claes, Macklin, Hawthorn, Gerard and Walker, was sick in practice and now appeared over-geared. Salvadori was now sixth, followed by Rosier, who went very rapidly along the straights.
Schell drove the Vanwall with his usual happy abandon, taking it close in over the bumps at the Esses, where Wharton was more effortless, on a better “line.”
Moss pressed Brabham hard, but the smaller Bristol-powered car held him on acceleration and it was only Stirling’s virtuosity that enabled him to snatch third place on lap 22, with the victorious Vanwalls far, far away.
Volonterio drove a terribly sedate, starting-money race and Boulton’s Connaught just about finished the 25 laps. But the superiority of the Vanwalls was never in doubt and they scored a very popular victory.
National Benzole Trophy. Sports Car Handicap. 20 Laps.
This was a joint up to, and over, 2,750-c.c. race, with a handicap to decide the Trophy winner.
The course was now nearly dry, as the huge mixed field lined-up for the start. Consternation was caused by Scott-Brown, who ran up a bank and rolled his famous Lister-Bristol over on lap one, but insisted on trying to resume the race after the car had been set on its wheels!
The Ecurie Ecosse D-type Jaguars of Titterington and Sanderson soon had the large class buttoned-up, and Salvadori hurled the Cooper-Maserati about to win the other race from Scott-Russell’s Lotus-Bristol.
Ogier drove noticeably well in a Jaguar XK120, and Smith was exceedingly stylish and neat.
Formule Libre Race. 20 Laps.
A most amusing field of sports cars and racing cars came out for this race, but Moss was a non-starter (he really should get his Maserati put into decent shape or else take a leaf out of Seaman’s book and be content to drive for Daimler-Benz) and Wharton decided not to run again in the Vanwall.
Schell jumped into the lead, followed by Walker, with Oliver third and Salvadori fourth, Collins coasting down the Esses with a broken drive-shaft universal joint on the B.R.M.
After four laps Schell had a comfortable lead from Salvadori and Walker, but fuel then began to issue from the Vanwall and, alas, two laps later Schell was out, with a leaking fuel tank. Peter Walker in the Rob Walker non-aerodynamic Connaught now set about catching Salvadori’s Maserati, while Titterington’s D-type Jaguar delighted sports-car fans by leading the two aerodynamic G.P. Connaughts in third place.
Walker was picking up half-a-second a lap on Salvadori and this duel became the feature of the race. He took the lead going into the Esses on lap 15, Salvadori was in front again two laps later, possessing better low-speed acceleration, but on lap 22 Walker did a phenomenal piece of driving to pass the Maserati going into the difficult second corner of the Esses. After this Walker really kept his foot down and try as he did Salvadori couldn’t close with him — he tried too hard, in fact, leaving the course to dent the off side of his car on the last lap but one, but continued in second place — grand racing and great driving.
Behind these two duellists, Fairman had got past Oliver and the sports Jaguar into third place on lap 13 only to be eliminated in clouds of smoke two laps farther on, when a piston broke. By lap 21 Oliver’s exhaust pipe became loose, to fall off, the exhaust flames then playing about the Connaught’s pannier fuel tank.
Richardson drove bravely in his R.R.A., having a rough ride, holding off Rosier’s blue Maserati until lap 11, when the old French ace decided to show his superiority and go by.
Saloon Car Handicap. 10 Laps.
Steed’s steady Porsche 356S coupé with Continental-style number-discs, ran away with the concluding race, in spite of the presence of Collins, going very fast indeed in Mays’ very special Ford Zephyr. The three Fiat 1,000s were impressive, Bowman, especially, flinging his about. In contrast, Davies hung about in a D.K.W. Sonderklasse, being beaten by Gray’s Ford Prefect, which almost adopted stock-car tactics through the Esses. Threlfall’s Standard Ten proved able to pass Les Leston’s Fiat 1,100 out of the Esses. Taylor drove his Jaguar XK120 coupé untidily, ending by losing his brakes and breaking his lamps on a marker tub, while Clarkson’s Morgan Plus Four coupé also ran short of brakes and later stopped. The little Porsche easily disposed of Rogers’ 2 ½-litre Riley.
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So ended an excellent meeting, run by W. Essex C.C. officials without fuss or flap. For us this pilgrimage to Norfolk was a little dampened, by the unexpected rain, the traffic jams up A 11 at Newmarket, Thetford and outside the circuit, and the demise of our wiper-motor before the long journey home in torrential rain. But the racing itself made up for this. — W. B.