21st August 2012

B.R.D.C. INTERNATIONAL GOLD CUP, Silverstone

ONE FOR BRUCE

ENTRY

A very Bitish but quite representative entry assembled at the Cheshire circuit for the Gold Cup race. Heading this was Graham Hill with the only works Lotus 16 to appear this time. One other 16 was the bright green car of David Piper.

A brand new T.51 Cooper was entered by the British Racing Partnership This car is a fore-runner of the team's full blown entry into Grand Prix racing in 1960 and it was entrusted to their F.2 driver Chris Bristow. The Cooper works team brought two cars for their regular drivers Brabham and McLaren while Rob Walker's Cooper would be handled by Stirling Moss.Roy Salvadori arrived with Tommy Atkins' Cooper Maserati with two other Maserati-powered cars being driven by Brian Naylor (J.B.W) and Bruce Halford in his venerable 250.F. One B.R.M arrived with Jo Bonnier at the wheel, while the remainder of the entry was Coopers with various engines, both 2.5 and 1.5 litre engines; these being handled by Henry Taylor, Tony Marsh, Stan Hart, Arthur Owen and Ian Raby. The most interesting of the Coopers being Paul Emery's T.45 with an engine that was described as an Alta or a Connaught, depending who you spoke to.

PRACTICE

Practice did not go entirely to expectations. Few people would have guessed that Bristow would take pole position but that is precisely what happened.

The young Londoner lapped one fifth of a second quicker than Jack Brabham who was less than a tenth ahead of his team-mate. Oulton Park has a 4-3-4 grid but the final man on the front row was not S. Moss. Stirling was finding the Cooper very difficult to get set up to handle so the dark blue Cooper was only fifth and it was Graham Hill who completed the front row, half a second slower than McLaren. Moss had been close the the front after the first session but in the second the handling seem to deteriorate and he went slower than in the morning, as did both Bonnier and McLaren.

Bonnier and Piper joined Moss on row 2 but JoBo was having a tough time, having two 'offs' at Knicker Brook, one in each session. Salvadori was the last of the regular F.1 runners, once again the Atkins car simply not handling at all well, as has been the norm on every one of its appearances this season. One wonders why Tommy Atkins perseveres with the Maserati engine when it is obvious to everyone that a Climax is a better bet. Henry Taylor's F.2 car, fresh from his victory at Montlhery, was quicker than Naylor's F.1 car with all the other Climax-powered Coopers behind him and Emery bringing up the rear with the Cooper Connaught which was not overly impressive.

FINAL PRACTICE TIMES

   1.
2
C. BRISTOW COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1.43'71
   2.
3
J. BRABHAM COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1.43'91
   3.
6
B. MCLAREN COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1.43'99
   4.
1
G. HILL LOTUS CLIMAX 16
1.44'51
   5.
7
S. MOSS COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1.45'44
   6.
10
J. BONNIER B.R.M Type 25
1.45'72
   7.
8
D. PIPER LOTUS CLIMAX 16
1.45'92
   8.
9
B. HALFORD MASERATI 250.F
1.46'95
   9.
4
R. SALVADORI COOPER MASERATI T.45
1.48'08
 10.
15
H. TAYLOR COOPER CLIMAX T.45
1.48'82
 11.
14
B. NAYLOR J.B.W MASERATI
1.48'86
 12.
18
T. MARSH COOPER CLIMAX T.45
1.49'18
 13.
17
S. HART COOPER CLIMAX T.45
1.50'23
 14.
11
A. OWEN COOPER CLIMAX T.45
1.50'56
 15.
19
I. RABY COOPER CLIMAX T.45
1.50'99
 16.
16
P. EMERY COOPER CONNAUGHT T.45
1.51'26

THE RACE

There was a point, around lap 45 out of 55 when Bruce McLaren allowed the battling pair of Hill and Bristow to go past him after he had led comfortably from the start. But it was really just playing to the crowd because Bruce shot past the pair and pulled away to win by 7 seconds. Hill and Bristow had never been more than 1.5 seconds apart for the entire distance or rather, until lap 53 when Bristow crashed at Knicker Brook while trying to stay ahead of Hill and at the same time stay with McLaren. So Graham Hill came home a very worthy second over half a minute ahead of a dispirited Stirling Moss who thought he had a winning car after pre-race modifications had the Cooper flying. Sadly for SCM once the race started, all the optimism melted away and he was unable to stay with the three front runners.

Of course, Jack Brabham would have expected to be in there too but the Aussie disappeared from the lap charts with engine problems at half distance, although he, like Moss, was unable to stay with the pace of the front three. So following his retirement and the late exit of Bristow it was David Piper who came home in 4th place ahead of a, once again, disappointed oy Salvadori who simply cannot get the handling of the Atkins Cooper Maserati anything like as good as the Climax-powered cars. The only other F.1 car to finish was Halford in the Maserati following a steady unspectacular run. The other two F.1 cars both failed to complete the race. Naylor had spun off on lap 37 while Bonnier had his third accident at Knicker Brook, putting the B.R.M out of the race the lap after Brabham retired.

Only two of the F.2 cars survived to the end. Henry Taylor looked as though he would take the prize (there wasn't one on this occasion) as best F.2 finisher but he was pipped right at the end by Tony Marsh who had spent 50 of the 53 laps they completed, behind Taylor but the final three ahead of Henry. Arthur Owen's engine lasted but a few laps and mechanical woes accounted for Stan Hart and the Connaught-powered Cooper with which Emery had run last from the start. Ian Raby lasted until lap 49 but went off the track with just a handful of laps to go.

HERE IS THE FULL RESULT OF THE 55 LAP RACE:

   1.
6
B. MCLAREN COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1. 36. 36'93
   2.
1
G. HILL LOTUS CLIMAX 16
1. 36. 49'60
   3.
7
S. MOSS COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1. 37. 21'07
   4.
8
D. PIPER LOTUS CLIMAX 16
54 laps
   5.
4
R. SALVADORI COOPER MASERATI T.45
54 laps
   6.
9
B. HALFORD MASERATI 250.F
54 laps
   7.
18
T. MARSH COOPER CLIMAX T.45
53 laps
   8.
15
H. TAYLOR COOPER CLIMAX T.45
53 laps
Fastest lap:   B. MCLAREN, COOPER CLIMAX T.51,   on lap 8,   1.42'18
Retired:
2
C. BRISTOW COOPER CLIMAX T.51
52 laps
19
I. RABY COOPER CLIMAX T.45
48 laps
16
P. EMERY COOPER CONNAUGHT T.45
38 laps
14
B. NAYLOR J.B.W. MASERATI
36 laps
10
J. BONNIER B.R.M Type 25
27 laps
3
J. BRABHAM COOPER CLIMAX T.51
26 laps
17
S. HART COOPER CLIMAX T.45
18 laps
11
A. OWEN COOPER CLIMAX T.45
4 laps

OULTON OFFERINGS:

  • A dominant display by McLaren, who never looked likely to be beaten.
  • Allowing Hill and Bristow through was a safety precaution. Bruce never doubted that he could retake the lead.
  • B.R.P were both pleased and miffed with Bristow. He had been told to bring it home, which he failed to do, but he did almost win the race.
  • Brabham has had a bad run of results but still looks like the 1959 Champion in waiting.
  • There was much head-scratching Chez Walker because the performance just wasn't there, again.
  • It may be that Moss wishes he still had the light green B.R.M.
  • Bonnier managed THREE accidents ay Knicker Brook. I doubt he will come to Oulton Park again.
  • The Lotus was very impressive, as indeed was the brand new B.R.P Cooper.
  • A mixed F.1 and F.2 race at Snetterton will complete the non-Championship 1959 season.

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