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Morris ERA, Harper Kurtis 1
Tuesday 01 October 2013

The Seaman Memorial Trophies Race Meeting Report

The Seaman Memorial Trophies Race Meeting, the VSCC’s final Circuit Racing event of the 2013 Public calendar had attracted a strong entry for the 12 race programme, building on last year’s inaugural visit to the Norfolk venue which had been so successful.
The racing programme got underway much later in the afternoon following a serious on-track accident in the morning and as a result, all races were shortened in duration.
The first event saw the Standard and Modified Pre-war Sports-Cars racers competing for the final points towards the 2013 ‘Owner-Driver-Mechanic’ awards that are associated with this category. Charles Gillett put to bed several omens of on-track rivalries from earlier in the year – Fred Wakeman (Frazer Nash Super Sports) got the better of the Yorkshire native at Silverstone by only 0.28 seconds whilst Andrew Mitchell (HRG) pipped the Frazer Nash Super Sports man to the line by just 0.16 seconds at Pembrey in August – but Charles stamped his authority by qualifying on pole and crossed the line several seconds ahead of the duo this time around.
There was a tense atmosphere as the flagged dropped for the Historic Seaman and Flockhart Trophies Race as Philip Walker (Lotus 16) was determined to seal a tenth ‘Flockhart Trophy’ victory and David Morris aimed for a significant 20th win of the ‘Historic Seaman’ for his iconic ERA, R11B, and his ninth.  Walker started from pole and asserted his dominance across the field over the 11 lap duration, carving out over a 17 second lead at the flag. GT Racer extraordinaire, Calum Lockie, was enjoying a guest drive in Sean Danaher’s Maserati 6CM and excelled from fifth on the grid to second place, but the power of Fred Harper’s 4 litre Kurtis Indy Car reeled him in on the penultimate lap.  Harper had a great run on second placed David Morris as they exited Murray’s and out-dragged him to the line. It was impossible to call who had their nose ahead at the line, but the transponder telemetry confirmed that Harper had the advantage by 5 hundredths of a second!  The better halves of Sholto Gilbertson and John Polson of Bonhams were on-hand to present the garlands to the victorious drivers in the race carrying the Club’s Principal Associates name.
Andrew Mitchell made amends for his narrow defeat earlier in the afternoon, enjoying success in the first Short Handicap Race of the day, carving his way through from the ninth row of the grid to win in his nimble HRG 1 ½ litre.
Having put on such a great display at last year’s meeting, the drivers of the 500 Owners Association proved another popular draw with their Race for F3 (500) Racing Cars, the formula clearly as admired today as it was in its heyday of the 1950s.  As ever, there were continuous changes throughout the grid as the diminutive machines battled around the fast-flowing SN200 circuit before a thrilling climax as the top three took the chequered flag separated by only 0.2 seconds. It was the 1955 Martin of Simon Frost  who took home the spoils, ahead of Roy Hunt in his earlier 1953 equivalent and young George Shackleton, who took third in his Cooper Mk 11.
Calum Lockie was back in Sean Danaher’s Maserati 6CM for the Standard and Modified Pre-war Racing Cars event, and was untroubled out in front without the Post-war raiders.  It was no walk in the park though as he had to assert his dominance over Nick Topliss’s ERA R4A, although it faded in the latter part of the race with a misfire.  American, Charles McCabe had a satisfactory finale to his two week racing tour of Europe (he has recently competed at Goodwood Revival and Spa Six Hours Meeting ) with a third place in ‘Remus’, otherwise known as ERA R5B.  The main race sponsor, Sean Danaher finished fourth. 
William Mahany said that this challenge for the ‘Spero Trophy’ was ‘going to be the worst’, as if he didn’t seal nine consecutive wins, the fabled ten will never been possible.  Thankfully he didn’t have to worry as he never faltered delivering another brilliant win in his HRG Le Mans ahead of Paul Lawrence’s Austin 7 who retained his ‘Voiturette’ mantle for the third occasion.  This annual one-off trophy race for smaller capacity racing cars is one of the Club’s oldest competitions and we hope will continue to grow into the future.
The Vintage Seaman Trophies was set to be a GN versus Frazer Nash battle between Justin Maeers (GN Parker) and Charles Gillett (Frazer Nash Super Sports) but the ‘Nash was sick with a cracked oil pipe and Maeers had the GN on-song and drove as assertive path to win just over seven seconds ahead of Stephen Gentry in Bo Williams’s 1926/27 Bugatti Type 35B which was in action at Angloueme last weekend.  Duncan Wood oversaw a trio of ‘Nashes to complete the podium with a third place in his Morgan Super Aero.
Andrew Kellock won a Short Scratch Race in his Fiat AC to much delight of our event commentator, Marcus Pye who is a great fan of the Italian monoposto. 
The 1950s Sports Racing Cars had as ever, an eclectic entry and Tony Bianchi’s Farrellac Allard ate up the tarmac to take the win starting from third on the grid. There was a superb representation of Maseratis in the race, and marquee expert, Steven Hart drove a determined race to finish second ahead of local man James Patersons’s Lotus XI to the great delight of the Norfolk crowds.
Due to the shortened programme the Special Pre-war Sports-Cars Race was amalgamated with the final Short Scratch Race of the day.  Ewen Getley was the fastest of this group with the faster Pre-war single-seaters unsurprisingly ahead.  David Pryke had got ahead of the Bentley 3/4½ of Getley off the line but was immediately under pressure; by mid-race, the lead trio of Donington Mug challengers got out of shape at Murray’s, firstly Getley put a wheel on the grass, then the Rileys of Tim Kneller and David Pryke spun, David threw away his lead and Getley rose to the fore and took the trophy accolade two seconds ahead of Pryke who had recovered to solidify his second place.  Robert Cobden took the overall race win in his Riley Falcon Special having been pressed hard by Eddie Gibbs in his Frazer Nash SS Racer.
The final Short Handicap Race of the afternoon drew a compelling conclusion as father and son George and William Elbourn brought their Riley 12/4 and Bentley Le Mans home in first and second, son George taking the upper hand by nine seconds.
The meeting was sadly marred by the news that competitor Stephen Jewell had succumbed to the injuries sustained in his earlier practice accident.  To see the official statement regarding this incident, click here. The VSCC would like to thank all of the marshals, officials, competitors and spectators for their outstanding conduct under difficult circumstances at the meeting and offers its sincere condolences to all of Stephen’s family and friends following this tragic incident.


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