The VSCC Hawthorn Trophy Silverstone Meeting

By the time this issue of Motor Sport is due on the bookstalls the VSCC will have wound up its 1979 racing season at Cadwell Park, so only a brief report of the Hawthorn Trophy Meeting is included here. Escaping the threatened rain, this had 148 entries (27 fewer than last year) and was well attended. First there was a five-lap scratch race, which Ulph’s single-seater Cambridge Austin 7 dominated, with Hulbert’s alloy-bodied 12/70 Alvis hanging onto second place throughout, perhaps by reason of a tuned twin-SU inlet and exhaust system poking out in the air, with Collis’ four-seater Alvis Speed-20 third. Tedham’s Austin 7 Chummy was going well, getting past Rogers’ Le Mans Aston Martin on the inside going into Woodcote.

Another of these short races followed, this time led all the way by Dolton’s MG-PB, with a big gap before Cook’s Riley Merlin Special took second place and a similar gap before Mrs. Fleming finished in her husband’s Riley Special. Two more 12/70 Alvis Specials ran, Chant’s with filters over its two exposed SUs. A sad sight at the end was Wicksteed in the stationary 1923 Alvis racer, trying for compression on the handle . . . The Bill Phillips Trophy went to Taylor’s Aston Martin. So to the 10-lap Boulogne Trophy Race. Peter Morley had spent a couple of days putting another Napier Lion engine into the Bentley, the one from the former Sunbeam-Napier. In this he was ably helped by Mike Nicholson of 215 Squadron, who was present to keep an eye on the installation. Peter spoke of more power than ever, to be put down through the well-used Firestone rear tyres. It paid off, for he was never headed, although Tim Llewellyn had a try, before the 8-litre Bentley got too warm after four laps, and so did Moffatt in Wall’s Bugatti, who cheekily came up to about two lengths away at the corners, after which 24-litres wafted Morley away. The average was 78.07 m.p.h., fastest lap at 80.18 m.p.h. compared to 78.46/81.3 m.p.h. when Morley won the race last year. Moffatt was second, Ward’s GP Type 35B Bugatti third. Harper’s splendid Aero Morgan and Smith’s Frazer Nash won the other classes. Julian Ghosh in the Vauxhall RRS was seen to be fearlessly conducting experiments into the effect that the placing of brakes on the front wheels might have on an automobile.

A fine mix-up of types came out for the five-lap handicap that included Edwardian and light cars, with Warrington’s 1932/34 MG Magna pulling it off from Mrs. Threlfall’s Ulster Austin and Seber’s Wolseley Hornet Special, with the Liddel 1918 Straker Squire netting the Edwardian Award, as is its habit, from the Arnold-Foster Bugatti and the Beaulieu Alfonso Hispano-Suiza, and Mrs. Cooper’s Austin 7 Chummy taking the Light Car prize before making for home on its trailer behind a smoky Morris Minor van.

The eight-lap Pre-War Allcomers scratch race was very pleasant to watch, because Bill Summers’ beautiful 4-litre Type 34 Maserati was running really well, so that it was never challenged, sinning easily, with a lap at 84.76 m.p.h., a fine reward for much hard toil. It averaged nearly 82 m.p.h. including a 10-second deduction for starting too soon. Bill Morris threw away his second place in the ERA “Hanuman” when he spun harmlessly at Woodcote on lap five, leaving Peter Mann’s EAR in that place, and the Hon. Patrick Lindsay’s ERA was third. Note for historians – the programme gives “Remus” as 1½-litres but after it had gone to press Patrick had had the engine size increased to 2-litres, so far to no avail. Brian Classic’s ERA finished fourth, ahead of Dan Margulies’ 4CL Maserati. The Bentley-Napier was a non-starter this time, due to obscure fuel system problems having developed. The “Fox & Nicholl” sports car 8-lapper went to Symons’ 4½-litre Invicta, with Hine’s LG45 Lagonda and Hall’s Bentley next up, and then came the 15-lap Hawthorn Trophy Race. In this Bruce Halford ran away from the rest in his Lotus 16 until after five laps it began to steer from the rear at Becketts, so he came in, a n/s rear wishbone mount having fractured. That gave Bobby Bell, in the Bell & Colvill 250F Maserati, chassis no. 2526, his opportunity and the won from Macpherson in the Cooper-Bristol. Pilkington had been third until two laps from the finish, when the Talbot-Lago’s engine went rough and he came in – this is the car used for the Talbot TV ads, filmed on the bumpy Simca banked test-track in France. With the Talbot out the other 250F Maserati driven by Duly, from Switzerland, was third, ahead of Classic’s shrill-sounding ERA, which took the Robert Ashley Memorial Trophy, Halford, who lapped at 91.59 m.p.h. (against 89.2 m.p.h. in 1978), retired last year while in the lead, with loss of gears on the last lap.

There were two more 5-lap handicaps, the first won by John Howell’s indomitable blown 3-litre Sunbeam, poshed-up for its continuing racing appearances, with Bibb’s Lagonda Rapier second. Dods’ AC Special third, while in the concluding race Frank Lockhart was back in winning form with the now 2.6-litre Rover Special, from Gauntlett’s vintage Bentley Special and Farquhar’s Riley 9. All that remained was for the Crompton Parkinson “Driver of the Day” prizes to be presented to Stuart Harper for his meritorious conducting of his fast Morgan, which cornered as if on three wheels, Stuart putting in the lower of its two speeds with a backwards flick of his right arm before the corners – W.B.