A Section Devoted to Old-Car Matters
V.S.C.C. SILVERSTONE RACE MEETING (July 22nd)
This, the second of these enjoyable fixtures this year, took place in overcast but dry weather and attracted the usual delightfully varied entry, although few “new” old cars appeared. The programme commenced with an Inter-Team Relay Race which was contested between 14 one-make teams and a team of Edwardians. The race was difficult to follow but in the end jubilation in the Amilcar Six pit indicated that the Tozer, Harding, Lyne team of these fine little supercharged cars had won from the two Frazer Nash teams. In spite of modern Weber carburetters, Riseley’s 1931 Aston Martin retired. The Austin Seven team comprised Nippy, Ulster and Chummy, and there had even been a complete team of three Gwynne Eights and I noticed that between them they numbered a Wolseley gearbox, a stubby righthand gear-lever and a long central lever, sure sign that standardisation is a word unknown in vintage circles!
The first 5-lap Handicap was led on the last lap by Brogden’s 2-seater 3-litre Bentley, Williamson’s 2-seater 3-litre of this make also passing Rowe’s Ulster Austin that had been out in front for three laps, and was close up on the second Bentley at the finish.
Another 5-lap Handicap followed, which incorporated the Light Car Handicap. The small fry were overtaken by Beavis’ rather nondescript 1928 Riley Nine after three laps, and Blyth’s Austin, with Boyd Carpenter long-tail body, came in second, followed by Smith’s Gwynne Eight, leader of the light cars. Abrahams’ racing Singer Junior went well into fourth place. Elsworthy ran a 1930 M-type M.G. Midget in original body trim.
We now drove to Becketts Corner, where Ronald Barker had arrived in Sedgwick’s open Speed Six Bentley, Sedgwick having driven up in the first of the Continental Bentleys dating from 1951, while a Voisin was circulating as temporary Course Car – variety which makes these V.S.C.C. days so enjoyable.
Faster stuff came out for yet another 5-lap Handicap, Bergel’s 2.3 Bugatti going very nicely to a popular victory from Michelsen’s i.f.s. Frazer Nash “Patience,” Edwards’ big Lagonda third. In spite of a tendency to mis-fire, Gahagan’s scratch 2-litre E.R.A. lapped at 72.75 m.p.h.
A mixed bag from 1908 to 1936 contested the fourth 5-lap Handicap and it was splendid to see Clutton’s grot 12-litre Itala quite undismayed by front-braked “moderns,” so that it came home a thunderous second behind Cook’s little Ulster Austin, making fastest lap, into the bargain, at 61.2 m.p.h. Third place was secured by Marsh’s Austin. Poor Liston-Young could get nowhere from scratch in his Fiat Balilla and space helmet, and Zeuner’ holding his Brescia Bugatti’s gear-lever in gear, was lapped by Cook. Kain drove a neat Type 40 Bugatti.
So to the race which is the purpose of this meeting, the 50-km. Boulogne Trophy Scratch Race. This was a splendid event. Margulies built up a growing lead in his 3-litre Maserati, Hull’s 2-litre E.R.A. second, ahead of the Hon. Peter Lindsay and Murray in their 1.5-litre E.R.A.s.
As the race settled down Murray’s green E.R.A. fell back and Margulies, Hull and Lindsay were out ahead of the E.R.A.s of Waller and Brown. Then on lap nine the big Maserati retired, as did Waller, so the order was Hull, Lindsay, Brown, Gahagan and Murray, all in E.R.A.s, followed by Mudd’s Maserati which, although mis-firing, was keeping ahead of Husband’s blown Talbot, about which Goodhew’s E.R.A.-Delage could do nothing at all. Cottam’s E.R.A. was pursuing this group, followed by McDonald’s 4.5-litre Bentley that eventually took the Vintage Award.
Lindsay was driving “Remus” with real fire and a lap later passed Hull. Gahagan, too, was coming round fast in his 2-litre E.R.A., with occasional glances at his off-side rear wheel, and on lap 13 he was third, having passed Brown. Finally, as a fast, eventful race ran its course Mudd got ahead of Murray, the s/c. Talbot continuing to hold off the E.R.A.-Delage – how unpredictable vintage racing is! Margulies lapped fastest, at 80.62 m.p.h., before retiring.
Unfortunately Philip Mann’s 1922 Strasbourg Sunbeam had suffered a serious fracture of the top of the cylinder block in practice and spent the race on its trailer behind a Land Rover.
The races now reverted to 5-lappers, Begley’s Frazer Nash shaking off Holford’s Singer Nine and Harris’ Austin to win the fifth, in which Michael, sawing at the wheel of his lowered, ex-Goodhew 4.5-litre Lagonda, made fastest lap, at 68.1 m.p.h.
Hull, as he often does in short races, won the Scratch event, from Day, whose E.R.A. sounded off form, Waller third, Gahagan fourth, after Lindsay started badly and fell back after a spin. Hull lapped at 78.23 m.p.h.
Bradley’s well-known 4.5-litre Bentley won another of the Handicaps from Morton’s very fierce 3-carburetter 4.5-litre Bentley and Morley’s drastically-lowered 4.5-litre Bentley with straight-tooth back axle and castors instead of front wheels, the classes going to Heap’s Riley, Ashley’s very rapid Frazer Nash and Footitt’s so very worthwhile AC.-G.N. The winning Bentley lapped at 69.92 m.p.h.
Scott’s 1928 Riley Nine with polished aluminium body had no trouble in winning the sixth Handicap from Bourne’s always smart low-chassis 4.5-litre Invicta, St. John’s Frazer Nash being third and establishing fastest lap, at 68.1 m.p.h. The E.R.A.s came out again for the last race but by some very fast driving Spence chalked up another victory for his 3.5-litre Alvis-engined Frazer Nash, some distance ahead of Morley’s Bentley, and Waller’s E.R.A. Day, from scratch, lapped at 77.62 m.p.h., before his E.R.A. snuffed out.
It was a typical V.S.C.C. day – Frazer Nashes shed chains, a 35/120 Daimler dominated the Paddock Car Park, the voices of Heal and Tubbs came over the P.A. … 30/98 Vauxhalls were entered by Rowley, Wilson, Quartermaine and Geikie-Cobb, the latter’s a particularly fine yellow Wensum. Noble’s 1934 848-c.c. M.G. had small front wheels and looked odd, and Richards’ 1933 Persil-white M.G. was a J4 reserve works car with authentic blower layout. Murray’s 4.5-litre Bentley had a vast 2-seater body inscribed “Moby Dick–Liverpool” on the end of its tail – the name is bad enough, but to add the place, too depressing!
Forthcoming vintage-car fixtures include the Morecambe open veteran and vintage rally and concours on September 3rd (details: K. Seed, “Esthwaite,” Peddars Lane, Ashton, Preston, Lancs (Preston 89625), V.S.C.C. Madresfield Tests and Concours on September 10th, Ringwood Carnival Concours and Parade on September 16th (details: Mrs. Lacey, Flat 1, Linford House, Linford, Hants), and R.M.A. Sandhurst Horse Show Concours and Parade (no entry fee) (details from Hon. Sec., R.M.A. Sandhurst, Surrey.
Chiron’s absence. T. W. Carson asks us to explain that Louis Chiron did apologise for his non-appearance at Oulton Park, which was due to loss of a near relative killed in Algeria, but his cable arrived after the V.S.C.C. Secretary had left for Chester, so that no announcement could be made.