WALKER’S 11.7-LITRE AMILCAR WINS DOGFIGHT WITH MAEERS
Characterised by the thudding soundtrack of a World War 1 dogfight and the Lincolnshire Wolds backdrop on a glorious Sunday afternoon, the battle between ground level ‘air aces’ Tom Walker (Amilcar-hispano) and Justin Maeers (GN Parker) for John Holland Trophy honours was among many highlights as the Vintage Sports-car Club celebrated 40 years of racing at Cadwell Park.
If Walker was concerned that he had overheated the 11.7-litre Wright Martin US licence-built V8 engine under his magnificent beast’s svelte bonnet in practice, it didn’t show. Blasting from row four of the grid to second on lap one, he quickly engaged Maeers in combat. “It’s like a rocketship off the line,” said Tom. “I saw a gap between Tony [Lees, AC/GN Cognac Special] and Dougal [Cawley, Gn/ford Piglet] then set about catching Justin.”
Thereafter they swapped the lead repeatedly, Maeers’ extraordinary cornering bravado regularly taking his relatively puny 6.1-litre four-cylinder Cirrus-engined hybrid ahead, only to be trumped by Tom’s pure grunt on the long straights. “I had to over-rev the poor old Amilcar to beat him, but it was a great race,” he grinned having retained the trophy he won last summer. “Justin had the Parker really tuned-up today.”
Maeers faded a little in the later stages, but Lees wasn’t far behind at the chequer in the car which the great Freddie Giles – who died earlier this month – made famous. Sue Darbyshire, who started her three-wheeled Morgan alongside polesitter Maeers, finished fourth after a tussle with Duncan Pittaway who was overjoyed to win the Bugatti OC’S concurrent Williams Trophy, a rare accolade for an unsupercharged T35 against strong blown T35B opposition.
The annual Frazer Nash/gn feature – for which pole was left vacant in tribute to club hero Giles – attracted a stunning entry, from rorty pure race cars to a wonderful Anzani-engined 1926 FN Boulogne. Despite the disparity in performance, it harboured the host club card’s closest finish, Julian Grimwade in the gruff 3.5-litre Alvis-powered FN Norris Special beating top qualifier Eddie Gibbs’s supercharged 1500cc FN single-seater by 0.71s after a terrific catchweight contest.
Maeers, Charles Gillett (FN Super Sports) and Lees led the chase through the big field in which young Tom Waterfield tamed Tom Walker’s Ford- motivated GN Special impressively, beating Mark Walker’s mighty 4.2-litre vee-twin GN Thunderbug en route to sixth. James Baxter was in unfamiliar territory at the blunt end of the pack, but delighted in Ian Balmforth’s Boulogne. The race was stopped when Ian Bingham’s FN Geoghegan Special rolled approaching the Mountain, but happily the joint FN Club competition secretary emerged shaken but not stirred from the incident.
‘Works driver’ Eddie Williams impressed with his pluck in Charlie Gillett’s FN Super Sports, leading William Mahany’s 1938 HRG for the first three laps of the Geoghegan Trophy race, then enjoying a fine duel. Mahany took the flag, but Williams scooped the coveted trophy as the first vintage finisher. Bahamian-based Mahany subsequently won the Spero Trophy for the 11th time in 12 years, narrowly defeating 2014 winner Christian Pedersen’s supercharged Austin 7 Monoposto ‘Miss Green’. Tom Waterfield landed the Voiturette Trophy, wringing great speed from a normally-aspirated A7 Special.
There was disappointment for ERA fans, not least last year’s Shuttleworth Trophy winner Mark Gillies, when the Dick Skipworth-owned R3A smoked a piston in practice, sidelining the combo for the day. Nonetheless, Nick Topliss gave a super demonstration of R4A’S agility in winning the John Holland Trophy opener from the well-matched Nashes of Grimwade and Gibbs. Julian Wilton drove R7B – the only returnee of four ERAS present at the VSCC’S 1976 venue debut, with Dudley Gahagan up – to fourth.
Topliss’ dreadful start in the Shuttleworth and Nuffield Trophies race let Fred Harper in with the splendid and boldly driven Kurtis-Offenhauser Indycar. “I really thought I’d put the lights out,” said Topliss, who threw his hands in the air expecting to be hit, but amazingly the blue ERA stuttered away to salvage silver ahead of Gibbs. Dice of the race was a thriller between Morgan Super Aero invitees Bill Tuer and Hamish Bibby who raced and finished feet apart.
The Classic Formula Ford and 500cc F3 guest races were crowdpleasers. Brazilian Adriano Medeiros won the former from Switzerland’s Ghislain Genecand after Mike Gardner had a grassy moment at Mansfield. Mike Fowler (Cooper Mk5) beat Xavier Kingsland (Staride) by a whisker in the latter contest.
Dougal Cawley bested Ewen Getley’s rapid Bentley in the Melville Trophy staple. Swiss visitor Roland Woodtli (Riley) and David Lewis (Alvis Firebird) won the multi-start Handicap races. Having set fastest lap in the second of these, David Seber went straight back out and won the finale as an invitee, beating MG Triple M Register duo Mike and Harry Painter with Gregan Thruston best of the Austin 7 side in the match race, pursued by Simon Blakeney-edwards.
Medeiros and Gardner duelled
Grimwade won FN/GN race