Mallory Park; 22nd August 2021

SILVERLINE FRONT ENGINED CHAMPIONSHIP  РROUND 3

John Taylor Memorial Trophy Race

ENTRY

A few potential runners were keeping their “powder dry” in anticipation of the Goodwood Revival in a few weeks time. Despite this, a very decent total of 18 cars entered of which only one didn’t appear. Most were our regular friends of particular interest was the reappearance of Xavier Kingsland’s early Hillwood a pretty car which, unusually for a British car, had a FIAT engine. The driver was Tom Waterfield, a newcomer to Formula Junior but a regular and well known driver in VSCC races.

A familiar car (and equally well known driver) was the Mitter DKW of our friend Rudolf Ernst a great effort to overcome the travel “poo traps” and the Mitter was looking resplendent.

A neat family team arrangement saw Keith Roach being engineered by son Stuart and Andrew Hibberd being looked after by father Michael (winner of the first John Taylor Memorial Trophy 20 years previously.)

QUALIFYING

Two important cars didn’t show for qualifying. The Mitter was excluded from qualifying having failed the noise test this surprised the crew who had carefully measured the noise level before the meeting and the car remained unaltered from previous pass results perhaps the conditions for measuring among pre-war aero engine monsters may not have been ideal. The other absentee was our leader Duncan who had a pressing family engagement but thankfully both were allowed to race, albeit starting at the back of the field.

The opening laps of qualifying seemed to indicate that Chris Drake was going to be the man to beat: he pulled steadily away from Andrew Hibberd until after 6 laps, he pulled in a serious Mal a tete (the Terrier not Chris) but it was the end of his day.

Thereafter, Andrew increased pace and took a comfortable pole.

The sensation of qualifying was Tom Waterfield who, caught in traffic, found his way past and qualified a remarkable 3rd fastest equalled by Nick Taylor who did an identical time  but 9 laps later.

Sadly James Owen lasted only 2 laps before his recently installed brand new differential expired and he was homeward bound.

THE RACE

Andrew Hibberd took an immediate lead, pressed initially by Nick Taylor who had increased pace since qualifying. As Hibberd drew clear, Iain Rowley (in Ian Robinson’s Lola Mk2) joined battle with Nick Taylor’s Elva 100. Iain eventually squeezed past on approach to the Esses and seemed to have 2nd place secure on the penultimate lap, he suspected a brake problem and Nick needed no second invitation to retrieve 2nd place, which he held to the flag. Tom Waterfield had a lonely but consistent race to a comfortable 4th place – a superb result in a car which he had never previously driven.

It was really gratifying to see the Mitter going so reliably and well – this car epitomises the very early months of Formula Junior in Europe and is a real credit to Rudolf who, it must be said, drove superbly, his fastest lap being only 4 seconds more than the winning Lola.

Bernard Brock’s Elva lasted less than a lap before expiring causing waved yellow flags (which I’m happy to report were scrupulously obeyed). At the other end of the race, poor Keith Roach had a rotor arm break causing a last lap retirement after a good competitive race.

Colin McKay had his Ford engine Gemini overheat and stop after only 1 lap.

THE PRIZEGIVING – THE JOHN TAYLOR MEMORIAL TROPHY

Before the usual prizegiving, Period Junior Driver Jeremy Bouckley gave a short history of John Taylor at Mallory Park. John drove for Bob Gerard mainly in Coopers he held the outright lap record at Mallory (in a Cooper FJ). He won numerous Formula Libre races (an important feature of racing in the 60s) and his Cooper was upgraded to F1 specification by fitting a 1500cc Ford engine. He competed regularly in the then popular non championship F1 races before driving a David Bridges Brabham BRM in the French Grand Prix where he scored a Championship point, followed by a 8th in the Dutch GP. Sadly at his next World Championship race at the fearsome Nurburgring, he was involved in a collision with another car and in the resulting accident, he sustained injuries from which he later died. A grim day, in grim conditions of fog and rain (I was there in the press stand).

As in previous years, his widow Irene joined us and presented the magnificent John Taylor Memorial Trophy to Andrew Hibberd.

by Bob Birrell