That altogether excellent institution, the National Six-Hour Relay Race, for which the greatest praise is due to Holland Birkett and the 750 M.C., took place at Silverstone on August 15th, the only difference from the eight previous races being that it was run over the shorter club circuit. This found disfavour in some quarters but an entirely successful race resulted, of sustained interest to knowledgeable spectators. Twenty-two teams entered, from five smartly turned-out Ulster Austins to the scratch team of the Jaguar D.C. and including the short, squat T.V.R. coupes from Blackpool with blown Ford Ten engines, which overheated, and a B-series B.M.C. engine.
The first hour took considerable toll. A Lotus Eleven broke a drive-shaft, Lee’s Ulster Austin deflated a back tyre, Wagstaff’s Lotus Elite appeared to get the worst of a contretemps with Hill’s Peerless, and after some real motor racing Charles’ D-type Jaguar stopped at Becketts with the distributor drive sheared. Moreover, Wilks’ Le Mans Frazer Nash coupe, intended to go the entire six hours except for a lap by the team’s DB2 while it was refuelled, was out with rear hub failure, the Aston Martin continuing until repairs could be effected. A T.V.R. broke its gearbox, the Typhoons were in and out. North’s TR spun at Woodcote . . .
So, early on this sunny afternoon the traditional Relay Race activity went on feverishly behind the pits.
During the second hour the Fairthorpe Electrons had established a lead, Green driving extremely well, looking just like S. Moss. The hopes of the Octagon Stable-A began to wane, as Gotts’ Twin-Cam M.G. slid off at Woodcote when the near-side front shock-absorber came adrift and the wheel folded under. Later, Fletcher spun and rolled his Twin-Cam at Copse, escaping with bruises, and Dixon’s poked a rod through the side.
Gibson drove his XK140 coupe with verve, the Yimkin’s cornering was highly commendable, but Sargent’s C-type Jaguar stopped at Becketts. At half-time the Fairthorpes led from the Morgan Plus Four team, with the M.G. C.C. M.G.-A’s team third, aided by Clark’s potent TC.
Coakley’s Lotus had periodical plug trouble, Braby’s Halselex spun at Woodcote and was narrowly missed by Lowe’s M.G.-Lotus, and the B.M.C. A-team lost Lewis’ “hot” A40 when it broke two rockers of its special cast-alloy cross-flow head — it also had float chamberless Amal carburetters; Jack’s A35 van took over . . .
By 6 p.m., with an hour to go, the Morgans were leading from the TRs, which had been backed up by the Hill/Rodger Peerless. Hurrell had dismantled his fibreglass TR to install a new clutch and in the closing stages of the race he set out to close the 20-second lead of Lawrence’s Plus Four. He drove some extremely fast laps but was overtaken on one corner by Lee’s old Ulster Austin. In this last hour the Morgan team sealed its victory, Lee’s Dunlop brake-testing C-type Jaguar spun at Woodcote, and the TC M.G. all but lost its near-side front wheel. Currie’s fast Mayfield Special duelled with one of the Sprite team.
So this splendidly organised race ran to a not-unexciting finish — it must definitely be held again next year! — W.B.
1st: Morgan Plus Four Team (Belcher, Blair, Meredith, Goodall, Morgan, Lawrence) 287 laps
2nd: TR Team (Hill/Rodger — Peerless, Hurrell, North) 286 laps
3rd: Southern 1,172 Formula Team (Wickson — Buckler 90, Dove/Dixon — Lotus 7, Johnson — Lotus 7, Milne — Ford Special, Forsdyke — Lotus 7) 285 laps
The L.M.B. Shield — Best 750 Formula Team: Ulster Austins (Owen/ Roberts, Lee, Howe, Hinchliffe) 280 laps