For the last few years the big B.R.S.C.C. sports-car meeting on the Monday of the August Bank Holiday weekend has provided the best racing in the country at the time. This season’s event was well up to standard, fine weather and an excellent entry for all five races on the programme resulting in an even larger turnout of spectators than usual—over 30,000 being estimated by some people.
The main event, over 50 laps of the long Brands Hatch circuit for the Guards International Trophy, was for big sports, prototype and GT cars; but undoubtedly the best racing of the day came in the 20-lap British Eagle International Trophy race for Formula Two cars. The line of descent (or perhaps we should say ascent) of this formula from the now defunct Formula Junior can very easily be seen in the closeness of the racing and the very similar performances of the cars engaged, though the fact that graded drivers can and do drive in F.2 races rouses a good deal more interest among the spectators than was the case with the older formula. It also resembles F.J. in that one marque at a time seems to have a very slight edge in performance over its rivals, and in the case of F.2 this year the car which has had this edge is the Brabham. This was very clearly demonstrated at Brands, where four out of the five fastest cars in practice were Brabhams, the sole exception being a Lotus driven by Jim Clark, and where five of the first six finishers were Brabhams, the sole exception again—and winner!—being that same car.
Graham Hill in the John Coombs Brahham was in pole position at the start, but all his good work in practice went for naught when he made a very bad getaway, passing the pits at the end of the first lap in 10th place, the leaders being Clark, Brabham, Hulme and Gardner. His chances as a result, in a field of cars with very similar performances, would seem to have been minimal, but he was obviously not of this opinion and responded to the challenge in the most formidable way. On the second lap he was eighth, on the fourth he was fifth, and by just over half distance he had worked up to second place, having passed Hulme at Clearways on the sixth and Brabham on the outside of Paddock at the start of the 11th lap. He continued to press on, and within three more laps he was little more than a second behind Clark’s Ron Harris Lotus. Alter a short while, however, he began to fall back with fuel surge problems, and finally found himself pushed back into third place by Brabham (whose car was missing on one cylinder itself) on the last lap, after a very fine drive indeed. So, the end result was a win for Lotus—but without Clark it wouldn’t have been. The final order was Clark (Lotus), Brabham (Brabham), Hill (Brabham), Hulme (Brabham), Gardner (Brabham) and Rindt (Brabham), with Dick Attwood in seventh place being the first Lola driver home.
The Guards International Trophy race, which followed, had a genuinely International entry, but this was mainly due to the appearance of the cars and drivers of the Texan Mecom Racing Team, a very powerful force in U.S. sports-car events; most of the other drivers were British or British-based during the season, though their equipment was rather more international. As drivers John Mecom brought A. J. Foyt, who apart from winning the Indianapolis 500 this year has also been proving that he is a very good sports-car driver, Augie Pabst and Walt Hansgen, both also with high reputations in the States. Hansgen in particular is a very experienced as well as a skilful driver, standing in about the same relative position in American sports-car racing as Roy Salvadori does here. The team’s cars were a Scarab Chevrolet for Foyt (5.4-litres of engine), a Lola-Chevrolet for Pabst (4.6-litres), and a Lotus 19-Oldsmobile (4.2-litres) for Hansgen. It will be noted that all three of these cars used General Motors engines—well, G.M. officially and sternly refuse to engage in or support racing themselves at the moment, but Mecom has undoubtedly had a certain amount of under-the-counter support from the factory in the recent past. The rest of the field consisted of Jim Clark in a brand-new works Lotus 30, Graham Hill (Maranello Concessionaires 330P open Ferrari), Innes Ireland (Maranello 1964 GTO), Bruce McLaren (Cooper Oldsmobile), Roy Pierpoint (Attila-Ford), Roy Salvadori (Atkins’ Cooper-Maserati), David Piper (275LM Ferrari), Mike Salmon (Aston Martin DB4GT), Chris Kerrison (Ferrari GTO), John Coundley (Lotus 19), four BT8 Brabharns of varying capacities for Hulme, Dibley, Brabham and Nathan; five Elva-B.M.W.s for Lanfranchi, the American Charlie Hayes, Trevor Taylor, Gardner and Prophet, four E-type Jaguars for Stewart, Protheroe, Sutcliffe and Mac, and four Cobras for Amon (an Atkins Car), Sears, Olthoff and Hitchcock—a very impressive-looking entry altogether.
There were few surprising times in practice, the Mecom team having a good deal of trouble in sorting their cars out for the Brands circuit, and the fastest time was eventually put up by Bruce McLaren with the very successful Cooper-Oldsmobile (with which he won the Players 200 race in Canada recently), in 1 min. 41.2 sec. The fastest “visitor” was Hansgen with the Lotus 19-Oldsmobile, who did 1 min. 43.6 sec., other good times being put up by Hill (330P Ferrari) 1 min. 43.0 sec., Hulme (2-litre Brabham) 1 min. 43.0 sec., Salvadori (Cooper-Maserati) 1 min. 43.4 sec., Dibley (2.5-litre Brabham) 1 min. 44.6 sec., Gardner (Elva-B.M.W.) 1 min. 45.4 sec., Lanfranchi (Elva-B.M.W.) 1 min. 45.4 sec., Pierpoint (Attila) 1 min. 46.0 sec., and Sears (Cobra) 1 min. 46.2 sec. Jackie Stewart did 1 min. 47.6 sec., Foyt 1 min. 47.8 sec., Pabst 1 min. 49.2 sec., and Olthoff (Cobra) and Brabham, who had a brand-new 2.7-litre BT8, started at the back of the grid without having practised.
The start, which must have been one of the noisiest ever heard at Brands, was not the cleanest ever, though the front few rows got away fairly well and McLaren jumped into a lead he was to hold for the full 50 laps of the race. Trevor Taylor’s bright yellow Elva staggered off as if it were in top gear, and Clark’s new Lotus 30 was wheeled silently into the pits for the Team Lotus mechanics to work on. Neither was to complete many laps, Taylor’s car going out with clutch trouble and Clark’s suffering from various maladies, including a broken water hose, before it was finally retired. As the leaders went past at the end of the first lap, McLaren leading Hansgen, Salvadori, Hill, Pierpoint, Hulme, Dibley, Lanfranchi, Sears, Nathan, Amon. Stewart and Foyt, the pits began to receive a steady stream of other visitors, and by the time three laps had passed, Hayes (clutch), Foyt (suspension) and Pierpoint (overheating) had fallen out for good. After ten laps, McLaren had a clear lead from Hansgen and Salvadori, who were very close together, while Hulme was beginning to close up again on them. Graham Hill, whose big Ferrari was obviously not at home on the twisty little British circuit, was next, followed by Dibley and Lanfranchi. Brabham was working his way steadily up the field, Amon and Sears were absorbed in a private race which was to last right up to the very end, and Piper was beginning to catch Jackie Stewart’s John Coombs E-type, which was by far the quickest of the Jaguars.
By half-distance Salvadori had passed Hansgen and Piper Stewart, and the positions of the first eleven cars (all the others having been lapped at least once) were : 1st, McLaren (Cooper); 2nd, Salvadori (Cooper); 3rd, Hansgen (Lotus); 4th, Hulme (Brabham); 5th, Hill (Ferrari); 6th, Dibley (Brabham); 7th, Brabham (Brabham); 8th, Lanfranchi (Elva); 9th, Sears (Cobra); 10th, Amon (Cobra); 11th, Nathan (Brabham). Gardner had retired after spinning his Elva-B.M.W. at Clearways, Clark was still doing an occasional lap every now and then, Prophet was out with no exhaust system and the Ferraris of Kerrison and Ireland had retired with brake trouble.
Within a few laps, however, the order of the leading cars became very different. The New Zealander Hulme with his 2-litre Brabham moved past the Mecom Lotus-Chevrolet into third place, and on lap 34 both Salvadori and Hansgen fell out, the American spinning at Clearways and Salvadori coming into the pits with a broken rear suspension upright. Not long afterwards Brabham’s red BT8 overtook Graham Hill and the red Ferrari, and thus the order of the first four became McLaren, Hulme, Brabham and Hill, staying like this till the very end. Further down in the field Sears and Amon provided most of the excitement left by continuing their stirring battle with the Willment and Tommy Atkins Cobras, but hard though Amon tried he could not force his way past the splendidly determined Sears, and the red Cobra led the green one past the flag to first and second places in the GT category. Salmon, a good way behind this, took over third place in the class when.a burst tyre caused Jackie Stewart to retire, but he spun the Aston at Clearways, was black-flagged to remove part of the undertray, and so yielded up this place to Protheroe’s E-type.
Before the main race there was a 10-lap F.3 race won by Warwick Banks in a Ken Tyrrell Cooper after Brian Hart’s very fast new Cosworth-Ford-engined (95 b.h.p.!) Lotus had retired after leading from the start. Jackie Stewart, the uncrowned king of Formula Three racing this season, spun early on and spent his time working back to sixth place. However, he retrieved his honour immediately in the next race, the 20-lap Redex Trophy for up-to-2,500-c.c. GT cars, by leading from start to finish in a Chequered Flag-entered Elan. Mike Spence in the other Chequered Flag Elan came second, after fighting off an early challenge from Oliver’s Elan.
After the Guards Trophy came the fifth and last race of the day, another 20-lap event (the Slip Molyslip Trophy race for saloon cars) but this was very dull. Jack Sears led it throughout in the Willment-owned Uren-entered Galaxie, with Clark and Olthoff in Lotus-Cortinas second and third. Just about the only excitement came in a fairly short but pretty hairy struggle between the Superspeed Anglia 1200s of Mike Young and Chris Craft and John Rhodes’ Downton-entered Mini-Cooper S, the Anglias eventually winning the class easily.
It was rather an odd coincidence that the car which won the Guards Trophy last year, Roger Penske’s Cooper-Zorex-Climax Special, was acquired by McLaren early this season and has quite obviously exercised a good deal of influence on the design of the Cooper-Oldsmobile which won this year’s event.-J. H.
THE EXPRESS AND STAR TROPHY – F.3 cars – 10 laps
1st : W. Banks (Cooper-B.M.C.) 17 min. 59.2 sec. 88.40 m.p.h.
2nd : C. Irwin (Merlyn-Ford) 18 min. 03.2 sec.
3rd : J. Fenning (Lotus-B.M.C.) 18 min. 19.6 sec.
Fastest lap: B. Hart (Lotus-Ford) 1 min. 45.6 sec. (90.34 m.p.h.)
THE REDEX TROPHY- GT cars up to 2,500 c.c. – 20 laps :
Overall Winner : J. Stewart (Elan) .. 38 min. 24.2 sec.- 82.81 m.p.h.
1,600 c.c. to 2,300 c.c. : 1st : T. Entwistle (T.V.R. Grantura) 59 min. 42.2 sec. (76.09 m.p.h.). 19 laps; 2nd : J. Sprinzel (Triumph SLR), 18 laps; 3rd : B. Sidery-Smith (M.G.-B) 18 laps.
1,151 c.c. to 1,600 c.c. : 1st : J. Stewart (Elan), 38 min. 24.2 sec. (82.81 m.p.h.); 2nd : M. H. Spence (Elan); 3rd : J. Oliver (Elan).
Up to 1,150 c.c. : 1st : A. P. Hedges (M.G. Midget), 19 laps 39 min. 23.0 sec. (76.71 m.p.h.); 2nd : A. T. Foster (M.G. Midget), 19 laps; 3rd : G. L. Capel (Lotus XI Le Mans), 19 laps.
THE BRITISH EAGLE INTERNATIONAL TROPHY – F.2 cars – 20 laps:
1st : J. Clark (Lotus-Cosworth) 34 min. 58.2 sec.- 90.93 m.p.h.
2nd : J. Brabham (Repco Brabham-Cosworth), 35 min. 10.4 sec.
3rd : G. Hill (Repco Brabham-Cosworth), 35 min. 11.8 sec.
4th : D. Hulme (Repco Brabham-Cosworth)
5th : F. Gardner (Repco Brabham-Cosworth)
6th : J. Rindt (Repco Brabham-Cosworth)
Fastest lap : (G. Hill (Repco Brabham), 1 min. 43.4 sec. (92.26 m.p.h.).
THE GUARDS INTERNATIONAL TROPHY – 50 laps:
Overall Winner : B. McLaren (Cooper-Oldsmobile) 1 hr. 28 min. 40.4 sec.- 89.65 m.p.h.
Sports Cars and Prototypes – over 2,000 c.c.: 1st : B. McLaren (Cooper-Oldsmobile), 1 hr. 28 min. 40.4 see. (89.63 m.p.h.); 2nd : J. Brabham (Repro Brabham BT8); 3rd : G. Hill (Ferrari 330P).
Fastest lap : B. McLaren (Cooper-Oldsmobile), 1 min. 44.0 sec. (91.73 m.p.h.).
Sports Cars and Prototype – 1,601: c.c. to 2,000 c.c.: 1st : D. Hulme (Repco Brabham BT8), 1 hr. 29 min. 22.8 sec. (88.95 m.p.h.); 2nd : A. Lanfranchi (Elva 7-B.M.W.), 49 laps; 3rd : D. Prophet (Elva 7-B.M.W.), 46 laps.
Grand Touring Cars-over 2,500 c.c.: 1st : J. G. Sears (Shelby American Cobra), 49 laps, 1 hr. 28 min. 44.2 sec, (87.80 m.p.h.); 2nd : C. Amon (Shelby American Cobra), 49 laps; 3rd : E. R. Protheroe (Jaguar E-type), 46 laps.
THE SLIP MOLYSLIP TROPHY – Touring cars – 20 laps :
Overall Winner : J. G. Sears (Ford Galaxie) 39 min. 09.4 sec.- 81.21 m.p.h.
Over 2,000 c.c. : 1st : J. G. Sears (Ford Galaxie), 39 min. 09.4 sec. (81.21 m.p.h.); 2nd : Sir Gawaine Baillie (Ford Galaxie); 3rd : C. McLaren (Jaguar 3.8), 19 laps.
1,301 c.c. to 2,000 c.c. : 1st : J. Clark (Lotus Cortina), 39 min. 32.2 sec. (80.43 m.p.h.); 2nd : J. R. Olthoff (Lotus Cortina); 3rd : R. P. Swanton (Lotus Cortina).
Up to 1,300 c.c.: 1st : M. Young (Anglia 1200 Super), 40 min. 04.0 sec. (79.37 m.p.h.); 2nd : C. Craft (Anglia 1200 Super); 3rd : J. Rhodes (Mini-Cooper S).