Consisting as it does of six hours’ racing round the Silverstone Club circuit between teams of six cars, with a continuous, well-informed commentary and, in this year’s event, no fewer than 204 pit-stops, the Relay Race is unique, but apparently unattractive to the public, for the crowds were far smaller than at the V.S.C.C. meetings.
Any lack of pit-stops in modern G.P. races is made up for in this event, although repairs and refuelling take place in the Paddock. The far end of the pits, protected by a straw-bale wall, were used but Shepherd’s Triumph TR3A spun off at Woodcote and hit the unused area of the pits backwards, its driver being flung half out of his seat, to hang head downwards close to the road as the car bounced off. Fortunately he was uninjured but had the TR3A been hit by another car, it could have been carried amongst the parked cars—once again the dangerous siting of the Silverstone pits was emphasised.
It seemed odd to find 3.7-litre Jaguars in a race promoted by a Club formed originally to cater for trials Austin 7s, but times change…
In the first half-hour there was excitement, the mass start with dead engines resulting in a minor shunt in which Dempsey’s A.C. had to come in for a track-rod ball joint to be replaced. And on the very first lap Fletcher went into the Woodcote ditch in his Lister-Jaguar and also had to make for his pit.
Torrential rain then made things difficult for half-an-hour, and Brown’s XK120 burst a rear tyre and spun at Woodcote. The D.K.W. Team set much store by Else’s very “hot” Junior, which was slowed at the corners by severe understeer but, even so, out-accelerated Wick’s Mini-Cooper-S. In the wet the Cooper cornered faster but these “S” versions were afflicted by overheating. A shunt caused Bunce’s Tornado to come in trailing its n/s headlamp but after two hours’ racing the Tornado Talismans’ managed by W. Woodhouse, were a lap behind Team Anglia (managed by D. Thomas).
Half-an-hour later these two teams were on the same lap and by 4 p.m. (half-distance) they held this close position, the D.K.W.s third. The remainder of the race was a dual between the five Anglias, including Mike Costin’s Lotus-engined car, and the four Tornados and a Talisman.
At 5 p.m. third place was a tie between the two Mini teams, the Hagley Broadspeed Minis, with two of the too-hot “S” models, just leading the Mini Se7en Team. The latter were faster on the road but had had two more pit stops than their rivals—and under the new safety arrangements these stops were costing some 40 sec., or about twice as long as last year’s.
The Daimler SP250s had started well bill lost oil from sumps and axles and fell right back.
The last two hours were intense, for the Anglias were in and out of the pits, taking rather a lot of time as the drivers fastened their belts. By the final hour Dell’s neat 1,498-c.c. Talisman had a lap lead from the Wingfield/Abbott 1 1/2-litre Anglia and then the Fords hopes were dashed as this Anglia was black-flagged for a trailing exhaust-pipe. Mansfields 1 1/2-litre Anglia took over, but soon the other Anglia was put back in the race, Costin’s faster car having used all its available laps. It was gaining some 3 sec. a lap on the Talisman when the exhaust system departed again, so now there was no hope of catching the Talisman and the Tornado Team sent out Sherwood in a smart blue radio-equipped 1,460-c.c. Tornado coupe to run home to a popular and well-deserved victory. Right at the end Sash’s Morgan Plus 4 stopped out on the circuit, when a strut axle apparently snapped.
The exciting racing was a great credit to handicapper Denis Loveridge, who is an able successor to Charles-Bulmer. The whole race was very enjoyable.—W. B.
1st: Tornado Talismans – 293 laps
2nd: Team Anglia – 290 laps
3rd Jaguar Drivers “A” – 288 laps.
L.M.B. Shield: Midland Centre 750s – 279 laps (11th).