Brabham wins Guards Trophy

The B.R.S.C.C. August Bank Holiday International Meeting at Brands Hatch can be counted as highly successful, even if the big race of the day, the 200-mile Guards Trophy, sponsored by Guards cigarettes, showed how tired Inter-Continental racing has become, only seven cars finishing out of 17 starters, of whom only Jack Brabham’s Cooper-Climax completed the full distance.

But in its desire to give its public full value Brands Hatch deserves warm praise – there are plenty of good vantage points where you can spectate from your car, a new rostrum so that you can see the winning drivers receiving their awards, a jaguar E-type in which these successful drivers were paraded (Brabham escorted by three white A40 Guards vans!), a continuous commentary, and although probably the biggest crowd to attend an English race meeting this season – estimated at 70,000 – got in before the gates had to be closed, the cars dispersed much more quickly afterwards than seemed possible.

The meeting opened with the John Davy Trophy Race for F.J. cars over 20 laps. The opening lap decimated the field of two cars, Whitehouse crashing the Henrotte Lotus-Ford and Trevor Taylor crawling to his pit with gearbox trouble in his Team Lotus entry.

Maggs led away and his Cooper stayed in front for seven laps, after which it was Peter Arundell’s Team Lotus that took the lead, at Hawthorn Hill. Parkes was coming up fast in the Gemini and on lap 11 he took Maggs on the inside at Paddock Bend. He then went after Arundell, gradually reducing the Lotus’ lead, so that a really exciting race developed. Parkes just failed to take Arundell, but only by a matter of 0.4 sec. Maggs held his third place.

The next race, again over 20 laps, was the Peco Trophy for Group 3 G.T. cars, in four classes; we didn’t notice how many were wearing Peco exhaust boosters…. Moss got away to a fine start in the formidable Ferrari Berlinetta and drew out a lead that was unassailable from lap two onwards. He won, indeed, by 33 sec. from McLaren in the Peter Berry Jaguar E-type, but Parkes was right out of luck, a rear tyre puncturing on his red Ferrari Berlinetta on the first lap. Later in the race Graham Hill’s Jaguar E-type from the same stable also suffered a rear wheel puncture, when in second place. Salvadori held third place thereafter in Coombs’ E-type. Interest was lent by the usual Leston/Warner Elite dual. Warner led Leston comfortably to start with but on lap 13 Les went by and Warner fell back. Leston put the G.T. class lap record to 82.38 m.p.h. Mabry had a lucky escape when he lost the yellow Speedwell G.T. Sprite beyond Paddock Bend, the car rolling over and flattening its roof. The Sprinzel Sebring Sprites had their noses put out of joint by Uren’s remarkable Ford-engined G.S.M. Delta, which led Ian Walker’s home by 20.4 sec. and set a new 1,000-c.c. G.T. lap record of 77.81 m.p.h., which beforehand Walker had thought might be his. The Morgans of Shepherd-Barron and Lawrence dominated the 1,601-2,500-c.c. class in that order, the winner setting a class G.T. lap record of 78.45 m.p.h.

So to the big race, possibly the last of the Inter-Continental contests. A further item to Brands Hatch’s credit is that the drivers were paraded beforehand in a cavalcade of smart Sunbeam Alpines. Most of the drivers had returned from Nurburg after a rather prolonged session in a Webb Dakota and Moss got a thoroughly deserved ovation on account of his great victory in the German G.P. He was driving Rob Walker’s Cooper in this Guards Trophy.

There was but one non-starter, the Tec-Mec Maserati, so the field comprised sixteen 2 1/2-litres and one 3-litre – the last named being Davison’s Aston Martin DBR4/300 disc-braked singleseater – a fine, fierce car.

As the flag fell Surtees got his Yeoman Credit Cooper off splendidly, followed by Moss and Hill’s B.R.M. Soon the four leaders were Surtees, Moss, Hill and Maston Gregory’s U.D.T. Lotus. Then Gregory lost it coming out of Druids, jumping from the damaged car unhurt, and McLaren, who was immediately behind, came to his pit to have a dented nose on the works Cooper opened up.

In this 76-lap race it was to be expected that many of these 2 1/2-litre racing cars would retire, and, sure enough, one could tick off one retirement after another, as one did in the old 500-Mile Races at Brooklands. After nine laps Marsh’s Fred Tuck Cooper-Maserati was out with a broken brake pipe. By this stage Surtees still led Moss, Hill was third, but Brabham had come through to fourth place in the second works Cooper. These four were comfortably ahead of the field, Ireland (Team Lotus), Brooks (B.R.M.), Salvadori (Yeoman Credit Cooper) and Clark (Team Lotus) following.

Brabham, his small son watching from the Press Box and jumping several inches in the air every time Davison’s noisy Aston Martin blasted past, began to pile on the pressure, taking Moss on the bottom straight on lap 15 and taking the lead on the next lap, as Clark spun at Druids, but continued, on oil dropped by Bandini’s Centro-Sud Maserati, to which a new oil-pipe was fitted. The two Centro-Sud Maseratis were continually in trouble but pressed doggedly in and out of the pits, accelerating away side-by-side on one occasion and generally providing light relief.

On lap 17 Moss took Surtees going up the hill after Paddock Bend and Stirling led Brabham thereafter, until the Cooper’s gearbox gave trouble and he retired on lap 24.

Shortly afterwards Naylor’s J.B.W.-Maserati retired with low oil pressure. As the field thinned out Brabham was nicely in the lead, Graham Hill falling back, but Ireland was coming up, McLaren was working his way back through the field and Brooks had the second B.R.M. in third place.

Then Ireland’s gearbox gave trouble and he was out on lap 34, Gurney going out on the same lap with similar trouble, and a lap earlier Halford’s Lotus had lost a crown-wheel tooth, so it, too, was pushed away.

Lap 34 really did shorten the field, because Munaron’s Maserati finally succumbed to clutch slip.

The Guards Trophy seemed to have settled into a procession, Brabham reeling off faultless laps with regular monotony, Hill way back but still second and, for the luckless Brooks had retired with a broken throttle linkage, Clark’s Lotus third. On lap 65 however, Hill spun his B.R.M. and was soon at his pit for more fuel, the theory over the P.A. being that fuel starvation had caused snatchy traction and caught Graham out. While at its pit Clark’s Lotus went by, but Hill resumed in second place but now he was on the same lap as Clark, only Brabham being a lap ahead. Moreover, McLaren, passing Salvadori, was really having a go, and was closing so fast on Hill that the crowd had plenty of unexpected excitement to enliven what had been a long, tedious race after Moss’ retirement.

As they started the last lap, McLaren was a mere 1.2 sec. behind Hill but, amid applause, Graham held him off, going over the line just that margin ahead. But McLaren had set a new Inter-Continental lap record of 1 min. 40.2 sec. (95.2 m.p.h.) during the chase.

The racing concluded with the Redex Trophy Group 2 Touring Car Race, over 20 laps, which Parkes (3.8 Jaguar) won from Salvadori (3.8 Jaguar), Sears (3.8 Jaguar) being ousted to third place. The B.M.C. Minis had a class to themselves, as the two D.K.W. Juniors non-started. Whitmore’s Moore Mini lost its gears, la Trobe’s its oil pressure, Aley’s overheated, so Hamlin’s Morris won, at 69.9 m.p.h., from Clare and Aston. The 2-3-litre class saw Kerrison’s 2.4 Jaguar vanquish Haynes’ Ford Zephyr and Hutcheson’s Riley 1.5 won its class from Lewis’ sister car, both beating Blydenstein’s aged Borgward, although another Riley stopped with plug trouble. Lewis equalled the class lap record and Salvadori and Kerrison set new saloon-car class lap records, respectively at 78.97 and 72.6 m.p.h. –W. B.