Aston Martin Hat-Trick in B.A.R.C. 9-Hour Sports-Car Race
David Brown’s Aston Martins finished first and third in the Nine-Hour Race at Goodwood on August 20th, with the lone Ecurie Ecosse D-type Jaguar as meat in the Feltham sandwich. The race, revived after a lapse last year, bringing Le Mans atmosphere to Sussex, has always been won by Aston Martin. This year the field of 35 promised a battle between three four-cylinder 3-litre Ferraris, three virtually-works D-type Jaguars, the Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar, the H.W .M.-Jaguars and the Aston Martin DB3S disc-braked team in the 1,501-2,000.c.c. class, with representatives of Lister, Cooper, Lotus, Tojeiro, and Frazer-Nash in the 1,500-c.c. class, and Connaught, Cooper-Climax, Porsche, Lotus and Singer twin-cam H.R.G. in the up-to-1.500.c.c. category. Public interest was centred on Moss in a Porsche Spyder and Hawthorn and Schell in Ferraris. Goodwood is a strenuous course for drivers and cars, and practice proved that the prevailing hot weather would play havoc with tyres.
As the cars drew up, in Le Mans formation, for the start the Ferraris looked very formidable; they had a side-jacking system for tyre-changing and proposed to refuel by reversing their tails to the pit counter. The team Aston Martins were identifiable by different colour bands along the front "wings." There seemed a casual attitude to covering over headlamps. Duncan Hamilton's Jaguar, the car Hawthorn drove at Aintree, using newspaper(!), Moore's Lister-Bristol cheese-cloth, but McAlpine', aerodynamic Connaught had proper plastic covers. Some of the Loti relied on their retractable headlamps, but those of Russell's Cooper-Climax, had stalk-like extensions, Coombs’ Lotus-Connaught exposed headlamps and a flamethrower, Page's totes twin low-set Marchels. Cooling slots had been cut in the scuttle of Chapman's Lotus–M.G., and, whereas the Panda Team's Cooper-Climax had a 4.1 axle ratio and a rev. limit of 6,500, the other Cooper-Climax cars used 4.5 axle ratios.
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At 3 p.m., in burning sunshine, the flag fell and all the field got away except for Moss, whose Porsche hung about for some time as if started in top instead of in bottom cog. Rogers' Tojeiro-Bristol was also reluctant to race.
From the start Hawthorn's Ferrari set a cracking pace, followed by the Aston Martins of Walker and Collins. After only two laps Aston Martin lost their third car, when Parnell retired with is broken lock-nut in a rear hub.
In a report of this length it would he impossible to describe every one or the numerous pit-stops and incidents, but an enormous delay was experienced by Flockhart's Cooper-Climax, when the entire near-side front suspension had to be replaced.
Hawthorn drove his Ferrari splendidly, its inside front wheel lifting at the chicane; on one lap he lost it here, shot through the wattle fencing, missed a "prohibited area" notice and entered the pit-road before regaining the course. He led for half an hour, then lost 12 minutes while a gearbox selector malady was cured, what time Collins led from Walker, with Sanderson in the Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar third and Schell's Ferrari fourth.
The race was obviously going to be a battle between Ferrari, Aston Martin and the Scottish Jaguar, but in the smaller classes Cliff Davis’ Lotus-Bristol and Leston’s Connaught (the non-aerodynamic one) led their respective categories. All eyes were on Moss, who was bringing his Porsche round with great skill, holding oversteer slides, flinging it about as he negotiated the "traffic," and continually waving an arm and blowing the horn at slower cars.
Just after an hour's running Titterington took over the Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar, all four wheels being changed and 15 gallons of fuel put in, in 105 sec. In resuming he clipped the chicane wall. Then Walker's change of all wheels took 120 sec., Poore taking the car on. Jaguar now lost a car, when Rolt retired with a sheared distributor-drive.
Before the race was two hours old two accidents happened. Rogers, who had had several "episodes," overturned the Tojeiro at Levant and crawled to the pits to retire, and Michael Keen rolled his Cooper-Bristol over at Fordwater, the car catching fire and the driver, his crash-hat split, suffering severe head injuries from which, sadly, he died in hospital. Gaze retired the Kangaroo Stable Aston Martin DB3S.
After two hours Brooks led in the Collins Aston Martin but Schell had his Ferrari in second place, the Titterington Jaguar third, the Poore Aston Martin fourth. Moss now led the 1 ½-litre class.
Pit-stops continued to be prolific, most cars requiring a change of two, or all four, wheels, times being in the region of 3-4 minutes. Portego, that handsome Spaniard, took over from Hawthorn, Hanstein from Moss, the Porsche stationary for 3 min. while rear wheels, held by nuts, were changed.
When Lucas replaced Schell the Ferrari lost 3 min. 54 sec., all wheels being changed — incidentally, Ferrari were on Dunlop, Aston Martin on Avon tyres. Worse, 5 min. were lost when Russell took the Cooper-Climax over from Bueb.
Pit-stops had altered the placings by 6 p.m. Titterington now led the Brooks Aston Martin by a lap, and another lap behind ran Macklin's challenging H.W.M. Jaguar and the other team Aston Martin. Just before 6 p.m. Collins resumed racing, the Aston Martin having all wheels changed and a 20-gallon refuel in 3 min. 46 sec. The same quantity of fuel went into Wharton's Ferrari, and Ken told co-driver Jonneret that there were scarcely any brakes and what there were pulled to the left. After 3 min. 51 sec. Jonneret got away, proving Warton's point by ramming the chicane, which damaged the near-side headlamp and took 2 min. 58 sec. to check and repair, the little Frenchman bravely going on at appreciable speed.
It seemed, however, that Ferrari had lost too much ground, and that Aston Martin and the blue-and-white D-type Jaguar were the likely winners. Walker took over from Poore, the 20-gallon refuel and change of four Avons taking 3 min. 44 sec., the gear-lever knob also being replaced. “Wilky" Wilkinson and the Ecurie Ecosse mechanics are to be congratulated on doing the same job, same quantity of fuel, on the Jaguar, when Sanderson took over, in 1 min. 35 sec. less time!
Boshier's slow-but-sure Aston Martin DB3 did a good stop of this nature in 2 min., but Crook's stop with the Cooper-Bristol he was sharing with Gibson lost 7 min. 25 sec. Hanstien was backing Moss up well, but the Seidel Porsche lost time when third gear refused to obey the driver. Poore hit something and had a front wheel examined in 30 sec. The Ecurie Eeosse Jaguar's excellent pit work continued, a rear wheel being changed in the same time.
At 7 p.m, the order was Aston Martin, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Ferrari with Davis still leading the 2-litre class in his crisp-sounding Lotus and Leston/Scott-Brown the 1 ½-litre class in the Peter Bell Connaught.
Hawthorn now took over from Portago after the Ferrari had been refreshed and its brakes adjusted, which took 5 min., Whitehead's Jaguar had come to rest on Levant Straight with serious engine trouble, his mechanic and a worried Duncan Hamilton, whose car it is, coming to meet Peter as he walked in. Moss replaced Hanstein after ten gallons of fuel had been put into the Porsche and all its wheels changed in 4 min., but it had vanished from the leader board end only the Leston/Scott-Brown Connaught challenged the big cars, being sixth behind the H.W.M.
Half-time saw the main positions unaltered except that Colin Chapman's Lotus-M.G. was sixth in place of the Connaught, which had paused for 5 ½ min. while refuelling and having three wheels changed, McAlpine's aerodynamic Connaught also passing Leston's.
As the heat faded to the cool of evening and the sun-tops disappeared, the pits continued to see much activity but few retirements. The Aston Martin stops varied from 1 min. 55 Sec. to refuel and re-tyre the Collins/Brooks car to 2 min. 9 sec. to do likewise on the Walker/Poore car, Brooks having an earnest conversation with John Wyer after climbing out. Behind the pits the bars did a roaring trade, summer frocks mingled with jeans and brief shorts, and "Dunlop Mac" toiled on as only he can.
Five hours elapsed and the race seemed to have settled down, Jaguar on the same lap as leading Aston Martin, Schell two laps behind the Aston Martin which was running third. Chapman led his class from McAlpine's Connaught and the Moss Porsche, Davis his class from the Lister-Bristols of bearded Alan Moore and Hampshire/Scott-Russell, the last named trailing its undershield. Leston's Connaught lost 9 ½-min. having its rocker changed.
The Singer-powered H.R.G. was suffering from continual boiling and must have envied the Porsches their air-cooled cylinders — it took 18 ½ min, before the radiator could be filled up. The pace was beginning to tell and as dusk merged into night, Goodwood presenting a fairyland scene for the occasion, the Schell Ferrari retired with gearbox failure, Schell cheerfully going off with John Morgan of the B.A.R.C., for a drink, while Chapman's gallant run came to an end when the well-used M.G. engine shed its flywheel, the McAlpine Connaught leading the class from Moss. Hawthorn was making a grand effort for Ferrari, his throaty four-cylinder setting a new sports-car lap record of 91.14 m.p.h. on its 176th circuit.
The order at 9 p.m. saw both team Aston Martins ahead, but two laps separating the Collins' car from Walker's, the Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar third, Hawthorn fourth, the H.W.M.Jaguar fifth and the Berry/Dewis works Jaguar sixth. Moss led the Connaught and the Russell/Bueb Cooper-Climax in the 1 ½-litre class; and Davis went on resolutely ahead of the two Listers. Still the H.R.G. boiled and boiled —Godfrey, in the pit, must have recalled the air-cooled G.N. days with nostalgia!
McAlpine suffered a broken rear brake pipeline and dynamo trouble had to be rectified on the class-leading Lotus-Bristol, and a rear wheel changed, which took 25 seconds.
Hawthorn, pressing on hard, fell nevertheless to sixth place, Portago took over after the usual replenishment process (3 min. 12 sec.) and then — sensation — the car came in and retired with back axle failure.
Two hours left and pit-stops had put the Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar in the lead, its average speed 81.98 m.p.h., the Aston Martins second and third, respectively a lap and three laps behind, the Macklin/Smith H.W.M. fourth, the Berry/Dewis Jaguar fifth — none too convincing for a works car — and Moss sixth, the Porsche going like a vivacious beetle. The Lister-Bristols now had the 2-litre class buttoned up, and the Russell/Bueb Cooper-Climax was seven laps in arrears on Moss in the small class.
The Walker Aston Martin repassed the Jaguar to build up, a lead of a lap, and the other Aston Martin was third but delayed by an obscure electrical fault which the Lucas experts rectified after 2 min. 7 sec. The Wharton/Jonneret Ferrari retired while far behind, leaking oil. Coombs received an ovation for changing a half-shaft on his Lotus-Connaught out on the circuit in the dark, and then drama — the 1 ½-litre class position was changed when Moss hit Crook's car at Woodcote, both cars out and Crook slightly hurt. What Moss said we probably couldn't print, and now the Leston Connaught again led this class. Watling-Greenwood was enjoying himself hugely although the Panda Team's Cooper- Climax had its dynamo changed before Barthel took over. The fan-belt needed replacing on the Davis Lotus-Bristol. Stoop's not-very-impressive Frazer-Nash had ignition trouble, and the H.R.G.'s cooling system was rebuilt in 22 minutes.
At 10.13 Titterington took over the Jaguar for a grim battle to catch the leading Aston Martin, this pit-stop taking 1 min. 45 sec., all wheels changed — good show again!
As the "Nine Hours" entered its last hour Titterington had a lap to make up on Walker but the commentators made a nonsense of it and claimed both cars to be on the same lap, giving the closing gap between them, only to apologise later and add a lap in addition!
It was an impossible task for Titterington — at 8.29 p.m. the car lost 5 min. 6 sec. at its pit when a wing needed straightening and the lamp repairing, and now this lost time couldn't be regained. The order to the end remained Aston Martin, Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar, Aston Martin, a magnificent race, with Collins/ Brooks setting a pace taken up later by Walker/Poore when misfiring held it back when it might have regained its lead after a refuelling stop. Poore called for three cheers for David Brown, and rightly so, for Aston Martin had done the hat-trick, having won (Collins/Griffith, 75.42 m.p.h.) in 1952 and (Parnell/Thompson, 78.94 m.p.h.) In 1953. The new H.W.M.-Jaguar was a handsome fourth, the Berry/Dewis Jaguar fifth and the Leston/Scott-Brown 1 ½-litre Connaught a splendid sixth. McAlpine bravely pushed his Connaught over the line from Levant Straight, aided by Eric Thompson, when it ceased to motor right at the end, but race rules which call for T.V. suppressors call also for an engine to propel a sports car, so Ken was disqualified for his effort.
It was a satisfactory race, with British cars winning nearly all the plums in a gruelling contest. — W.B.
1st: P. Walker and R. D. Poore (Aston Martin DB3S) 309 laps – 82.24 m.p.h.
2nd: D. Titterington and N. Sanderson (Jaguar D-type) … 308 laps
3rd: P. Collins and C. A. S. Brooks (Aston Martin DB3S) … 305 laps
4th: L. Macklin and W. T. Smith (H.W.M.) … 301 laps
5th: R. E. Berry and N. Dewis (Jaguar D-type) … 301 laps
6th: L. Leston and W. A. Scott-Brown (Connaught) … 288 laps
Up to 1,500 c.c.:
1st: L. Leston and W. A. Scott-Brown (Connaught) … 288 laps – 76.56 m.p.h.
2nd: J. Russell and I. Bueb (Cooper-Climax) … 285 laps
3rd: W. Seidel and R. D. Steed (Porsche) … 275 laps
Over 1,500 c.c. and up to 2,000 c.c.:
1st: D. A. Hampshire and P. Scott-Russell (Lister-Bristol) 275 laps – 72.20 m.p.h.
2nd: F. C. Davis and R. G. Bicknell (Lotus-Bristol) … 267 laps
3rd: A. Moore and E. W. Holt (Lister-Bristol) … 266 laps
Over 2,000 c.c.:
1st: P. Walker and R. D. Poore (Aston Martin DB3S) 309 laps – 72.24 m.p.h.
2nd: D. Titterington and N. Sanderson (Jaguar D-type) … 308 laps
3rd: P. Collins and C. A. S. Brooks (Aston Martin DB3S) … 305 laps
Fastest lap (sports-car lap record) Hawthorn (Ferrari), 91.14 m.p.h.
Parnell (Aston Martin), 2 laps, rear hub failure; Rolt (Jaguar), 13 laps, sheared distributor drive; Flockhart (Lotus), 15 laps, gearbox oil-seal failure; Rogers (Tojeiro), 48 laps, crashed; Gaze (Aston Martin), 51 laps, sheared distributor drive; Keen (Cooper), 55 laps, crashed; Sopwith (Cooper), 116 laps, hub cap adrift; Whitehead (Jaguar), 130 laps, engine trouble; Chapman (Lotus), 172 laps broken flywheel; Schell (Ferrari), 184 laps, gearbox failure; Portago (Ferrari), 219 laps, rear axle failure; Wharton (Ferrari), 229 laps, oil leaks; Moss (Porsche), 237 laps, crash; Crook (Cooper), crashed.