Bank holiday Brands Hatch

Another Cooper F1 Victory

August Bank Holiday witnessed a great exodus from the Metropolis to Brands Hatch for the first car race meeting on the extended 2.05-mile circuit. A crowd of 60,000 is said to have attended, proof of Brands Hatch’s popularity but underlining the inadequacy of its exits.

The day’s racing opened with the 10-lap Wrotham Trophy Race for GT cars, which Sears couldn’t help winning at a noisy canter in the Equipe Endeavour Aston Martin DB4GT. He averaged 77.56 mph, made fastest lap at. 78.97 mph, and was followed home by Parkes’ Elite and Gibson’s 3.8 XK120. Class winners were Sears, McCowen (AC-Bristol), Parkes, and Bill Moss, whose Marcos (see page 634 last month) led home the Sprite opposition, of which the Healey entry easily beat the Speedwell. Webb’s Jensen only survived a lap, likewise Warner’s Elite and Foster’s twin-cam MG didn’t go the distance, while Venner-Pack had an accident in the Speedwell Sprite.

Heavy rain arrived for the Raffles Club Trophy 20-lap Race for unlimited sports cars, and only Salvadori, who led all the way in Coombs’ 21/2-litre Cooper Monaco, and Ashdown’s incredible 1,100-cc Lola, which tried to hang on, went racing. Blumer’s 2-litre Cooper was third. Salvadori averaged 78.23 mph, lapping at 80.03 mph. Class winners were Salvadori, Belford (Aston Martin DBR2), Blurrier, and Ashdown.

The course was still wet for the 20-lap John Davy Trophy Race for FJ cars, in which the field had not been hired from the trophy donor, as one sweet young thing believed ! Jimmy Clark showed his prowess by leading throughout in the Team Lotus-Ford, pursued by Dietrich’s Elva two-stroke, until the German-powered car had its accident at Clearways, leaving Ashdown’s Lola-Ford firmly entrenched in second place, pressed rather hard but unavailingly by Arundell’s Team Lotus. Surtees “lost” his Cooper-BMC at Paddock Bend on lap one but, restarting last, he worked splendidly and courageously past all but the three leaders, to come in fourth. Altogether ten cars retired and this would have been better as a 10-Iap race. Nice, incidentally, that the Ford Motor Co advertises FJ successes achieved with its 105E engine. Clark averaged 80.64 mph and he and Ashdown jointly set a new FJ lap record of 82.81 mph under poor conditions.

So many damaged FJ cars had to be retrieved that the big race, the 50-Iap Silver City Trophy Race for F1 cars, started 35 minutes late. The course was now practically dry and a full field of 23 crowded the grid.

Brabharn’s works Cooper made an impeccable start and came round in the lead, its ss lap done in 1 min 50.8 sec, Clark’s Team Lotus was second, followed by G Hill’s lone B0M. Salvadori in Atkins’ Cooper, McLaren’s works Cooper and Piper’s, Lotus, etc. On the second lap Brabharn drew away slightly but Hill was close to Clark. Thereafter Clark left the BRM to nuzzle Brabham, and on lap four, when the leading Cooper had averaged 93.34 mph, the Lotus was a mere few lengths behind. The BRM, looking sedate rather than fast, was third and behind a separate trio were having another race altogether, led by Salvadori, ahead of McLaren and Phil Hill’s Ferrari. A long way back Gurney’s Yeoman Credit Cooper led Piper’s Lotus.

After eight laps Brabham had left the Lotus and this went on until the luckless Clark retired on the bottom straight with gearbox trouble on lap 21, by which time Brabham had averaged 93.2 mph. The race had now settled down processionally. Scarlatti’s Cooper-Ferrari spun off in the first lap. Bianchi’s Cooper-Climax threw a rod on lap two, and Ireland’s Lotus and Wieken’s Cooper had been in and out of the pits, respectively with incurable oil pressure and clutch problems. Tony Brooks then gave up on lap 17 as his Yeoman Credit Cooper was too hot. Surtees again did well, for after a pit-stop on lap one he was coming strongly through the field. The only interest left was to know why Waltham was letting the gap between Cooper and BRM grow less and less each lap. From 24 sec on lap 34, to 21 sec on lap 37, then to 15.8 sec on lap 40 (when he had averaged 92.96 mph), to 12.5 sec on lap 41, 10.5 sec an laps 42 and 43, causing John Cooper to give frantic signals which Brahham ignored. Could the World Champion be in trouble ? Hill’s BRM didn’t seem to be going much faster, so Brabham was slowing. In the end Brabham won by 4.4 sec, explaining over the PA that he had oil surge on Brands’ many bends and so drove with restraint. Poor Salvadori, after being delayed behind Ginther’s Ferrari—both Ferraris were front-ertgined cars—came round Druids to find Piper spinning in his path. The two cars collided and, locked together, blocked the road for a while, but both drivers were unhurt. Masten Gregory’s Centro-Sud Cooper-Maserati lost its gears after 34 and so the race ended, thus :— 1st, J Brabham (Cooper-Climax) … 1 hr. 25 min 36.6 sec 92.86 mph. 2nd, G Hill (BRM)… 1 hr 25 min 41 sec. 3rd, B McLaren (Cooper) 1 hr 26 min 26.0 sec. 4th, P Hill (Ferrari). 50 laps: H Taylor (Cooper), 49 laps: 6th, Surtees (Lotus), 49 laps: 7th, Gurney (Cooper), 49 laps; 8th, Halford (Cooper), 48 laps. Fastest lap : Brabham (Cooper) and Clark (Lotus), 1 min. 40.6 sec 94.82 mph.

The meeting concluded with a stirring 10-lap Saloon Car Race, in which Salvadori in Coombs’ 3.8 Jaguar disposed of Sears’ sister car and in which Graham Hill was able to have another accident, his Speedwell Jaguar going onto the grass out of Druids and, when it should have run easily back onto the road, hitting a bank and wrecking its front-end. Perhaps Graham was demonstrating his safety belt, which saved him from injury. Sir G Baillie thus recovered third place. What the crowd loved more than anything was seeing Blumer in the Downton Austin Seven duel with Uren’s Ford Zephyr and lead it over the line—you don’t need 21/2-litres even for racing these days when 850 cc and Issigonis suspension will do better ! Clare’s Mini-Minor also challenged the Ford but did not pass it. Salvadori averaged 75.98 mph, and Hill made fastest lap before his spill, at 77.18 mph. Class winners were : Salvadori, Uren, Leston’s Volvo which beat an Alfa-Romeo TI and a Riley 1.5, and Shepherd, back in his A40, and lapping fractionally faster than the Volvo. The unreliable saloons were a Ford Zephyr, the Speedwell Austin Seven, the “Scuderia Light Blue” A40 and a Mini-Minor.—WB.

Brands by-lines

Of course, S Moss was present; he drove round the course in a Humber saloon.

There was confusion over who drove which Ferrari. The BBC spoke of Ginther when they meant P Hill, The Motor actually gave Ginther fourth place in the.Silver City Race, and in the official handout Ginther had been crossed out and P Hill substituted ! The programme also gave Brabham’s nationality as New Zealand, McLaren as Australia. 

The commentary was good and free from stupid humour for once. 

You mustn’t call it Brands Hatch Stadium any more; this is now a very passable road circuit. 

The Brands Hatch authorities and the BRSCC must have been highly delighted with the huge “gate”—far more delighted than those who were stationary for over an hour after the racing in the inadequate exit lanes.

The remarkable Downton Austin Seven which heat Uren’s Ford Zephyr and brought the spectators to their feet in spite of the a “counter attraction” of Hill’s accident in the Jaguar, was driven home after the meeting by Mrs Richmond and used by her for shopping the following day. It is the car Daniel Richmond uses for sprint events; he won his class at Wiscombe Park hill-climb in it. He claims this Seven will go from to 100 mph in 27 secs.