Sanity returned to Silverstone after the British Grand Prix, with the Vintage SCC Race Meeting the following week-end, when a full programme of ten races, four of them of eight laps or over, was run off, in a heat wave that was in the legendary tradition of Brooklands, on which, of course, the sun always shone.
Before a well-filled Pits’ grandstand, the programme opened with a 5-lap scratch race, in which Stephenson’s well-known Meadows-engined Frazer Nash challenged Ellison’s 1½-litre Riley Special which came inside to the finishing line through the “traffic” but not in time to prevent a victory for the Chain-Gang. Stephenson also lapped fastest, at 69.75 m.p.h. Elwell-Smith’s Aston Martin was third. Gunn’s Q-type replica MG snuffed out at Woodcote and had to be pushed backwards out of the path of those still racing.
The next five-lapper was handicapped, Tieche’s blown 750 c.c. MG for the Triple-M Team coming through fast to pass Pollack’s low-chassis 4½-litre Invicta on the last lap, Rhodes’ 4.3 Alvis taking third place and setting fastest lap, at 72.54 m.p.h. Leonhard from Germany kept his I.h.d. ex-Carmichael 328 BMW ahead of Roberts’ sister car.
The 10-lap Boulogne Trophy Race was won by President Kain, although his Type 35B Bugatti did not sound exactly in the pink of condition. The hero of the race, however, was Keith Schellenberg, who led for four exciting laps in the 8-litre Barnato-Hassan-Special, after getting past the Bugatti by the second lap. He drove the difficult car fast, holding a slide at Woodcote, when the big car went first one way, then the other, with commendable skill. Alas, the machinery had had enough after half-distance, probably piston failure. The race thereafter became rather dull, Footitt in the Cognac Special chasing the Bugatti to no avail, followed by McWhir’s Frazer Nash, both cars AC Six-powered, for Moffatt, when in third place in Wall’s ‘Bugatti, had retired with the air pump inoperative. Before he retired, Schellenberg had made fastest lap, at 79.08 m.p.h. The 1,100-c.c. class went to Smith’s Brooklands Riley.
Another 5-lap handicap came as a breather, a nice gentle affair in which, by reason of a very generous start, Maxwell’s Salmson ran away with it. Wicksteed, looking lost in the cockpit of No. 1 racing 12/50 Alvis, was second and Gardner brought his blown PB MG through into third place from scratch. It was nice to see White out in his touring GN, with push-rod o.h.v. cylinder heads, a cyclecar once in the ownership of a plasticine-king, who probably found his product useful for roadside repairs! Mather was running his M-type MG Midget, which I am told has a replica wooden, not an original fabric, body. The Pre-War All-Corners’ 8-lap Scratch Race was full of drama, although it was disappointing that Venables-Llewelyn who was expected to improve his position in the MOTOR SPORT Brooklands Memorial Trophy Contest, was a non-runner, his ERA having shifted a cylinder liner in practice. Neil Corner led lap one in his Type 59 3.3 GP Bugatti but with Barber’s ex-Newsome blown SS Jaguar right up his tail. Thereafter Corner pulled away and he had a reasonable lead by lap 4. But on the next lap he snaked into Copse, went onto the grass, and the Bugatti slid backwards into the wall, just beyond the new catch-fencing. Corner was flung onto the road and suffered facial injuries. On lap 6 the Soda Squirt, now well in the lead, going very fast, ceased to squirt and came to rest on the outside of the course just before Woodcote, the timing chain having broken, to Barber’s obvious annoyance. So another race lost its sparkle, although Bill Morris ran on to a well-deserved victory in the ERA “Hanuman”, from St. John’s Type 51 twin-cam Bugatti and Pat March’s ERA. Corner had the slight consolation of having made fastest lap, at 81.76 m.p.h. As at Brooklands, some of the more interesting cars, such as Summer’s Type 34 six-cylinder 2.7-litre Maserati, were non-starters, but Cameron Miller had his 8CTF Maserati out, and got it into third place on lap 6, whereupon its 2.9-litre engine lost 1,000 revs. for no apparent reason. The ERA “Remus” had retired early, with suspected back-axle trouble, Moffat’s ERA with piston maladies.
In the third 5-lap handicap Conway Junr, driving his type 37A GT Bugatti in full touring trim, won from Tietch’s very fast J4 MG, with Macpherson’s Frazer Nash third. The MG lapped at 72.18 m.p.h. The 15-lap Hawthorn Memorial Trophy Scratch Race for historic racing cars was a long drawn-out procession, tail-ended by Clinkard’s 4.3-litre Alvis Special. We had hoped that Corner, as “walking wounded”, might have appeared in his 250F Maserati, but the doctors had advised him not to race, or to fly his aeroplane home. So it was the Hon. Patrick Lindsay’s 250F Maserati that led throughout, pulling steadily away from Simon Phillips, who was trying as hard as he always does in his Cooper-Bristol. Further back, Cottam’s Connaught held third place, safely out of reach of Millar’s blue 250F Maserati which, however, got third place as Cottam had jumped the start. Lindsay averaged 83.17 m.p.h. and indulged in a fastest circuit of the day of 85.13 m.p.h. Walton spun his Connaught, denting the tail of Pilkington’s Talbot-Lago.
It wasn’t over yet, however, on this very warm afternoon. The Bugattis had their nostalgic parade and then it was time for the 8-lap “Fox and Nicholl” Trophy Race. This was for vintage and p.v.t. sports cars, of carefully selected engine size. Anthony Blight must have been present in spirit if not in fact but it was Chris Mann’s ex-Scuderia Ferrari Monza Alfa Romeo which set about scrubbing out its scratch handicap, having given Pollack’s quick Invicta 70 seconds start, to win from Collis, in Rhodes’ 4.3 Alvis Special, and the Invicta. Mann was declared Driver of the Meeting for this performance. For a time Middleton’s nice original 4½-litre Bentley, the most touring of the runners, had led on paper, by reason of a credit lap, but he was swamped in the closing stages of the race.
The day concluded with a couple more five-lappers. In the first of these, a handicap, it was nice to see Pilkington’s 1950 4½-litre Talbot-Lago, which had been going well in a previous race, win in an exciting finish, in which, after Cooper’s Cooper-Bristol had taken second place, a wild bunch streaked over the line to a photo-finish for third place, from which it emerged that Cottam in the scratch A-type Connaught had just gained a fraction over Walton’s Connaught and Phillips Cooper-Bristol, the last-named lapping fastest, at 82.7 m.p.h. There was another bit of finish-line excitement in the last race, won by Guyatt’s 1931 3-litre Talbot 105 Special, for the 4½-litre Lagondas of Barker and Brown were so close as to be awarded joint second place—and what will that do to our MOTOR SPORT Trophy points? Another of these cars finished next, behind the duellists, and it is amusing that Barker’s Lagonda, which lapped fastest, at 71.47 m.p.h., is a replica of a Team-replica, whereas yet another 4½-litre Lagonda that was competing is just a replica of a Team car!
So ended a good meeting, marred by the accident to Neil Corner, whose ex-Earl Howe Type 59 Bugatti had a damaged back-axle, cockpit and tail. There is no point in giving the Brooklands Trophy markings, because these will have been finalised at Llandow on August 30th.—W.B.
Boulogne Trophy Race :
1st : B. B. D. Kain (Bugatti), 76.82 m.p.h.
2nd: G. R. Pootitt (Cognac Special)
3rd : D. H. McWhir (Frazer Nash-AC)
Pre-War Allcomers’ Scratch Race :
1st : W. R. G. Morris (ERA). 76.85 m.p.h.
2nd: G. S. St. John (Bugatti)
3rd : C. P. Marsh (ERA)
Hawthorn Memorial Trophy Race :
1st : The Hon. P. Lindsay (Maserati), 83.17 m.p.h.
2nd: S. P. Phillips (Cooper-Bristol)
3rd : A. C. M. Millar (Maserati)
“Fox and Nicholl” Trophy Race :
1st : C. A. Mann (Alfa Romeo). 74.26 m.p.h.
2nd: H. R. Collis (Alvis Special)
3rd : R. L. Pollack (Invicta)
First 5-lap Scratch Race :
W. R. Stephenson (Frazer Nash), 66.51 m.p.h.
Second 5-lap Scratch Race :
J. R. Guyat (Talbot Special), 69.54 m.p.h.
First 5-lap Handicap :
I. S. Maxwell (Salmson), 55.22 m.p.h.
Second 5-lap Handicap :
H. R. G. Conway (Bugatti), 64.23 m.p.h.
Third 5-lap Handicap :
R. A. Pilkington (Talbot-Lago), 77.85 m.p.h.
Fastest Lap of the Day : The Hon. P. Lindsay (Maserati), 85.13 m.p.h.
It had been hoped that a separate Edwardian race might have been possible. However, only four Edwardians were entered, of which two were absent, Liddell’s Straker-Squire, with a back axle damaged at Shelsley-Walsh, and Mitchell’s 1913 GN. The Edwardian Trophy was contested between Kenneth Neve’s 1914 TT Humber, brought to the meeting as always on its trailer behind his Rolls-Royce, and the National Motor Museum’s 1912 Coupe de l’Auto Sunbeam, driven by the Museum’s Curator, Michael Ware. Ware it was who won.
• • •
Simon Phillips’ ex-Gerard Cooper-Bristol was consuming methanol, in deference to a c.r. of 14 to 1. His mother was due to present one of his Father’s Brooklands’ trophies at Llandow, very appropriately, as (according to the Silverstone programme) Simon is thought to be the youngest person ever to have driven round the Track, when he was two weeks overdue and his Father, to hasten matters, took his mother out in his Frazer Nash!
Interesting runners including Peacock’s Amilcar Six, Fielding’s A6GCM Maserati, the 1925 200-Mile Race twin-cam Aston Martin, Margulies’ 4CL Maserati (which retired) and that Atalanta with the blown BMW engine.
When will the much-raced Chawner-GN see the chequered flag being waved at it? And whose Bugatti cockpit was deemed too dirty, for which passenger, in that Parade which attracted an entry of 31 Molsheim cars? And shouldn’t we give warm thanks to all the very warm marshals who made the meeting possible? And what was it Douglas Hull had to say about the Silverstone landing-feas, having flown in in the Hulls’ immaculate DH Moth?