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A stranger arriving at Snetterton for our fourth meeting of the year could have been forgiven for thinking that he/she had arrived at an agricultural establishment rather than a motor sport venue. The infield had been sown with wheat, acres to the left of the Revett Straight had been given over to onions whilst the south of the circuit abounded in very pongy cabbages. The onions, alas, were too small to sample and since an unfortunate housewife last week, whilst chopping up a cauli from Spain also sliced in half a Catalonian water viper nestling therein, brassicas were definitely persona non grata.
The programme advised spectators that for their delectation eight races were to be provided
and under a leaden sky, which hinted at the possibility of better things in prospect, practice
commenced in a northerly wind. This was fortunate, as if the prevailing conditions had been
contrarywise, the braking area for Russell would have been very wet, courtesy of the
agricultural irrigation system in operation at the time. Everything was bowling along quite
merrily until after the fourth practice session whereupon a slight hiatus occurred. Matters
became a little worse as the first lap of the following practice session was red flagged in
order to retrieve Mr Beales' stranded automobile from the clutches of the Russell gravel.
After seven or so minutes of resumption of the session matters became very serious, with
red flags calling another halt to the proceedings, this time for Steve Mannings.
Steve Manning's horrific accident|
After a leisurely interval for midday refreshment the sun appeared which brightened and warmed things up considerably. Mind you things were pretty warm already on the first lap of event one, Drayton Manor Metro Cup, as Noble nipped into second behind pole sitter Highes with Slack in third. Unfortunately the trio became a duo as Hughes coasted to a halt just past the pit road entrance whereupon Noble started to eke out a two hundred yard advantage on Slack. However a Torrey Canyon sized slick had been laid around the circuit which on the last lap was found by Noble at Coram and he duly exited stage left grasswise. Slack, sheepwise, did the same but not to such an extent, which led to a most exciting scramble to the finish which James shaded by less than a couple of tenths over George. Trevor Grooms, fastest in practice, did not exercise his option of taking part due to engine problems, despite numerous helpers (your reporter counted nine as he passed by at the interval; socket size selection seemed to be a problem), which was a pity. Wayne Sterling Parker led the class A cars home.
A slight delay ensued before the Moss Europe BCV 8 (classes C & D) and Halfords Modified Midgets took to the black stuff, in order that the marshals could lay copious quantities of cement dust to counter the effects of the oil laid in the last race. Sadly, Williams was a non starter, which left McCarthy to record a lights to flag victory despite the ministrations of Schuster in second. Stewart had a torrid time at Coram with a couple of spins and did well to finish fourth splitting Leverett and Hiley. Of the Midgets, Montague had a comfortable victory over Booker-Carey and Reeve but it was Wildman's efforts in a class B car to put one over May in a class A machine that enthralled the punters. Two hundredths was the margin.
Race three and the Anglia Phoenix Challenge cars were stopped almost as soon as they started on account of a bit of nonsense at Riches on the first lap which brought out the red flag. On the restart Ivey took the lead pursued by Stopes and Hurst but J-P's lead was short lived as he packed it in at Sears on lap three. Stopes assumed a lead he was not to relinquish despite a heartstopper as Brooke spun in front of him at Russell on lap nine, with a spirited drive from Southern (sixth on lap one) following him home. Jones, who had been thereabouts, was third and Hurst a disappointed fourth, whilst midfield runners Coles and Spencer were in the lower echelons.
After the waifs and strays had been collected from the previous race, the Goldsmith and Young Championship cars hit the tarmac.
According to the commentator, Brierley made a 'stonking' start. One presumes this to be a term of approbation and not an act of indecency for which one can be incarcerated. As Foster led Brierley at the completion of lap one it was obviously not stonking enough. By lap three things had quietened down a bit with Ward (Griffth) leading Foster (DB4) and Brierley, having been destonked, in third. Thus the top three finished. Of the home crowd, Jones was first past the strip in ninth followed by Cawthorn and Lambert covered by the proverbial coat of paint as they had been for most of the race.
The following event, Moss Europe BCV8 (Classes A & B), was in the initial stages a closely contested affair between Lambert, Banks and Parrington which one felt the latter would triumph. However, a rather indiscretionary attempt at retaking the lead from Lambert in mid race left him in third as Banks assumed the runner up spot. Galbraith finished a creditable seventh having started from the pit lane with yet again the midfield providing the excitement. This time it was the trio of Barbara Lambert, Holmes and Beresford.
Next race, the Halfords Midget Roadgoing, and an epyllion. Hall led from Farman for most of the time with very little in it; well all right nothing in it. Both had excursions across the Russell hinterland but kept the wellie well buried to emerge as a going concern. In the final lap the lead changed on a couple of occasions out at the back of the circuit. Down to Russell for the last time, Hall on the inside and Farman a bonnet in front to his left with Lancashire on the outside ready to pick up the pieces. Hall tried the inside move but lost momentum as Farman wasn't having any of it, the beneficiary of this gung-ho manoeuvre being Lancashire who followed Farman home with Hall just staving off the advances of Coleman.
After the excitement of the previous race anything had, unfortunately, to be anti climactic. A grid of T-Types, well five anyway, plus an assortment of pre-'62 sports cars and a saloon assembled for race seven. At the green light Woodley (Lotus XVII) led New (Rejo Mk IV, one of despite the wheelbase of the Allard almost requiring Kerry to make a three point turn to negotiate Russell!
Finally, as is the custom, a pit stop race to conclude the day's activities. Schuster won by a fair distance from Brierley with the Cox/Beer combo almost as far adrift. In the first part McCarthy, Homes and Bardon were exchanging coats of paint and trying hard not to knock bits off each other and to add spice to the scenario they all pitted together. The result of the stop putting a full stop to a marvellous scrap. Oh well, never mind. To ensure that there were no last minute demon manoeuvres at Russell the last two laps were run under yellows as Arveschoug's TVR was firmly stuck in the aggregate. The removal of said car was the final act of the day's racing.
Unusually for the end of a Snetterton meeting the sun was still high and hence a homeways journey in daylight guaranteed. Hopefully the weather will be just as clement in two months time when the club hosts another meeting at this venue.
See also Snetterton Report by Cambridge MGOC