21st November 2010

B.A.R.C AINTREE '200'
SENSATIONAL BONNIER

ENTRY & PRACTICE

A small but representative entry is assembled for this race around the Grand National horse race course near Liverpool. For the first time this season Ferrari are attending with two of their brand new cars to be driven by two new drivers to the team, Tony Brooks and Jean Behra. The Cooper team is out in force with three cars for Brabham, McLaren and Gregory, while Trintignant will drive Rob Walker's car on this occasion. This is because Stirling Moss is giving a first outing to the British Racing Partnership's brand new B.R.M. This car will be Moss' alternative ride this season.

Schell and Bonnier will pilot the two factory B.R.Ms while Graham Hill (works) and David Piper (own car) are here with Lotus 16s. The remaining three cars are Maserati powered; da Silva Ramos and the little known Dale Duncan who is an American airline pilot and brother-in-law of Masten Gregory, will drive genuine 250F Maseratis, both entered by Scuderia Centro-Sud, while Tommy Atkins has installed a Maserati engine in the back of a Cooper chassis and Roy Salvadori will give it it's debut.

The B.A.R.C has made this race a two-class affair with the addition of eleven Formula 2 cars. Ten of these are Coopers with just Dennis Taylor's tatty Lotus 12 bringing any variation. There are a few new cars as well as several regulars from 1958. The British Racing Partnership have brought along two Coopers that are shown on the programme as Cooper Climaxes but are actually powered by German Borgward engines. With their red noses the pale green cars look splendid. Their drivers will be Ivor Bueb and George Wicken. Jack Fairman has Tommy Atkins car, resplendent in a new livery while Jim Russell has also brightened up his car with a wide aluminium-coloured panel running from front to back. Jack Lewis, Tony Marsh and Brian Naylor have their cars unchanged from last season while Henry Taylor has switched camps and will drive for Reg Parnell's outfit. Two complete newcomers are Keith Greene in the Gilby Engineering-entered car and Yorkshireman Trevor Taylor will have his first race in a car entered by a Rotherham garage.

Practice was dominated by Jack Brabham, who was quickest in both sessions. In the first he was followed by both works B.R.Ms and his team-mate McLaren, with Moss a little way down the list and the two Ferraris even further down. However, in session two Tony Brooks really got the Ferrari wound up and put it on the front row alongside Bonnier's B.R.M which was only fifth of a second slower than Brabham. Moss got moving too, but despite getting up to fifth, alongside McLaren, he felt the car was down on power and an engine change has been slated in pre-race. Gregory, Schell and Graham Hill make up row three with Behra a disappointing and disappointed ninth, next to David Piper's swift little Lotus. Trintignant and Salvadori share row five with the better of the Maseratis, Ramos' car while the quickest F.2 cars, Tony Marsh and Henry Taylor are ahead of Duncan's Maserati. The remaining F.2 cars follow on with good efforts from Trevor Taylor and George Wicken, both of whom are ahead of more established regulars.

THE RACE

As the headline, in Swedish blue and yellow suggests, Jo Bonnier had a wonderful day at Aintree. And it was one of the most exciting races I have had in my slot racing career for many years. Despite the early retirements of Brooks' Ferrari and Schell's B.R.M the battle for first place went on all race with Bonnier, Brabham and Moss swapping places throughout the 67 laps. All three led at some point but there was never more than a few seconds separating the trio at any time. In fact, as the 60 lap point approached, Brabham had the lead and was looking more comfortable than at any other point in the race and with Moss in second place it appeared that Bonnier was destined for third but two things went JoBo's way; Moss had been struggling with apparently worn-out tyres and the B.R.M handling was becoming more lurid by the lap, while Brabham's Cooper seemed just to lose its edge for reasons that may have been engine related or maybe electrics-based. At the same time Bonnier was finding speed that he hadn't shown before. As Bonnier closed on Moss, so Moss got closer and closer to Brabham; passing the pits with but one lap to go Jack was still ahead but by fractions while Bonnier was right behind Moss. Stirling passed the Cooper before Anchor Crossing with Bonnier following him through almost immediately. The pale green B.R.M slithered through Beechers, clearly struggling for grip and Bonnier's traction out of the corner gave him greater speed on the long straight and by Melling Crossing he was ahead. Stirling had no answer and the works car from Bourne crossed the line one second ahead of the British Racing Partnership's new car with a deflated Brabham a second and a half further back.

Masten Gregory drove a solid race to take fourth place but he was over a lap behind the first three, while Bruce McLaren made it a works Cooper 3-4-5 with an excellent drive to fifth. Bruce was as low as ninth early on and although he gained places with the Ferraris retirements he did pass both the Lotus 16s on his way up the order. Graham Hill held fifth place for a good bit of the race but was demoted to sixth by McLaren while Roy Salvadori finally got going in the Atkins Cooper Maserati, steaming through to seventh having been way down early on, amongst the better of the F.2 cars.

The Formula 2 section of the race was won comfortably by Ivor Bueb in the B.R.P Cooper Borgward from Tony Marsh and the other B.R.P car of George Wicken. A very honourable mention must go to Trevor Taylor who, in his first F.2 race, drove splendidly to finish fourth in the F.2 section.

The same three drivers have filled the top three positions in both F.1 races so far held this season and the closeness of the racing really does bode well for a great Chempionship when it begins at Monaco shortly. BUT, where are Ferrari? The cars were fair at Aintree but not great and there is much work required down Maranello way if they are to be competitive with the British cars throughout 1959.

HERE IS THE FULL RESULT OF THE 67 lap RACE:

   1.   15 J. BONNIER B.R.M Type 25     2. 17. 00'09
   2.     7 S. MOSS B.R.M Type 25     2. 17. 01'24
   3.   10 J. BRABHAM COOPER CLIMAX T.51     2. 17. 02'96
   4.   11 M. GREGORY COOPER CLIMAX T.51         66 laps
   5.   12 B. MCLAREN COOPER CLIMAX T.51         66 laps
   6.   16 G. HILL LOTUS CLIMAX 16         66 laps
   7.     9 R. SALVADORI COOPER MASERATI T.45         65 laps
   8.     5 N. da SILVA RAMOS MASERATI 250.F         65 laps
   9.   23 I. BUEB COOPER BORGWARD T.45         65 laps
 10.   27 A. MARSH COOPER CLIMAX T.45         65 laps
 11.     4 D. DUNCAN MASERATI 250.F         64 laps
 12.   22 G. WICKEN COOPER BORGWARD T.45         64 laps
 13.   32 T. TAYLOR COOPER CLIMAX T.45         64 laps
 14.   29 J. FAIRMAN COOPER CLIMAX T.45         63 laps
 15.   35 H. TAYLOR COOPER CLIMAX T.45         63 laps
 16.   28 K. GREENE COOPER CLIMAX T.45       61 laps NRF
Fastest lap:   J. BRABHAM, COOPER CLIMAX T.51,   on lap 52,   1.58'46
Retired:
  30 J. LEWIS COOPER CLIMAX T.45     58 laps
  20 D. PIPER LOTUS CLIMAX 16     58 laps
    2 J. BEHRA FERRARI Dino 246     41 laps
  33 D. TAYLOR LOTUS CLIMAX 12     38 laps
  31 B. NAYLOR COOPER CLIMAX T.45     31 laps
  26 J. RUSSELL COOPER CLIMAX T.45     12 laps
    1 T. BROOKS FERRARI Dino 246     12 laps
  14 H. SCHELL B.R.M Type 25       5 laps
    8 M. TRINTIGNANT COOPER CLIMAX T.51       1 lap
Note: F.2 entries listed in black.

AINTREE ASIDES:

  • What a tremendous race. Would that they were all as good - but sadly, they aren't!
  • B.R.P have apologired to Moss about the tyres which simply weren't up to the job.
  • Moss was, however, very impressed with the B.R.M and much thought will go into his choice of cars for Silverstone.
  • Brabham was at a loss to explain his failure to retain his 10 second lead with 10 laps left. Maybe car related but not definitely.
  • Penthouse to outhouse for the Rob Walker team. Their Cooper expired on lap 2 having won (with Moss) at Goodwood.
  • Ferrari went away with prancing horses tail between prancing horses legs - assessment, NOT GOOD ENOUGH!
  • Roy Salvadori says the Cooper Maserati shows great promise and he can't wait for Silverstone.
  • The new Aston Martin F.1 cars should be ready for Silverstone (if I can find the right colour paint!)
  • B.R.P may have lost the F.1 battle but were victorious in F.2 with both cars running very strongly.
  • There is talk of George Wicken being replaced with rising star Chris Bristow very soon.
  • The F.2 cars will be out again next in the Lavant Cup race at Goodwood. A fine entry is assured.

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