Bentley Drivers' Club Silverstone Meeting (July 30th)

Author

I. G.

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A pleasant meeting of the Bentley Drivers’ Club took place at Silverstone on Saturday, July 30th, for sprints and races. The standing-start ¼-mile sprints were held before lunch and a series of races for Bentley, Lagonda and other genuine sports cars followed in the afternoon.

For the sprints the competitors were divided into classes and ran in pairs, McKenzie’s 3-litre Bentley making best time for his class with 19.67 sec. to his credit on his first run, followed by Williamson in his near-immortal 4½-litre Bentley, who made fastest time with 16.21 sec. on his second run; G. H. G. Burton, also in a 4½-litre, was on form. Of the larger Bentleys, A. N. Hewett was fast with 19.17 sec. in an 8-litre with G. C. H. Kramer in a Speed Six close behind. The Aston Martin class of less than 2-litres capacity went to P. M. Sims’ 1934 Ulster, and the over-2-litres to D. L. Sidney (1952 DB2). Fastest Legends was the 4½-litre of C. E. H. J. Mulholland (18.05 sec.). Other vintage sports cars running were the Brescia Bugatti of R. R. Keller, the 1,750-c.c. Alfa-Romeo of A. Hopton, the Frazer-Nash Falcon of A. M. O’Connor, and the supercharged Austin Ulster of A. M. H. Bennett, which was quite fast.

Two scratch races, one for the 3-litre and one for the 4½-litre Bentleys, preceded the handicap races. The first went to Williamson (61.87 m.p.h.), with McKenzie second, in 3-litre cars, with Burton and Walker leading the 10-lap Gordon Alexander Memorial Trophy Race for 4½-litre cars, Walker driving the ex-Alexander car “Bluebell.” Becker and Holden had fun chasing each other but Foreman and McDonald had to retire.

The 5-lap handicap race for Lagondas began with A. K. Audsley in his 1921 11.9 model motoring round the course quite happily at about 40 m.p.h. for nearly two laps before any of the others started. Last to commence were the two 4½-litre 1936 team cars, which were fast and soon made up lost time; they were driven by L. Michael and C. E. H. J. Mulholland, who came in first and second, respectively.

The 5-lap Bentley handicap was run at a lower speed and Mrs. Mountford in a 4½ was the first to cross the winning line, M. D. Hollis was second in a 3-litre, and J. Foreman exercised some fine four-wheel drifts.

The next victor was A. Hopton (1,750-c.c. Alfa-Romeo) in the 5-lap vintage-car handicap event. M. Leo in the rebuilt supercharged 2-litre Lagonda performed well, with Keller in the Bugatti and Bennett in the supercharged Austin having a great battle, the Bugatti finally drawing ahead. Hopton’s speed was 59.85 m.p.h.

The 10-lap Bentley handicap race was a most exciting event for those onlookers who were near the finish, for G. C. H. Kramer in the 6½-litre and H. P. Holden in the 4½  finished very closely, Kramer being the winner; Walker and Mason in 4½s also crossed the finishing line close together. R. Shaw in the 3½-litre saloon was motoring along very well indeed until he found that things were not going as well as they should and he retired with suspected broken shock-absorbers. A depressing sight at the end of this race was Williamson’s 3-litre Bentley and E. F. Le Power’s 4½ both being towed in behind the same lorry, the former suffering from water in the sump and the latter seized up.

The Aston Martin 5-lap handicap event was run off without incident except that Mrs. Bloxam, the winner, in a DB2 had a difference of opinion with P. Sims in the ex-Leslie Marr 1934 Ulster at Becketts, resulting in a slightly bent wheel on the DB2 and a dislocated rear axle on the Ulster.

The concluding event was an “all-corners” race in which W. B. Fowler in a 1½-litre Aston Martin drove well to begin with until his place was taken over by Kramer in the 6½ Bentley, who held it until he had to retire with Autovac trouble. First place was finally taken by Mrs. Bloxam, who kept it, followed closely by the team Lagondas of Michael and Mulholland. — I. G.

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