The Archie Scott Brown race
for Historic Sports Racing Cars
HSCC Snetterton, 14th June, 2015
sponsored by Motorsport News
In late Spring 2014, Chris Sharples, then Chairman of the HSCC and I mulled over, on several occasions, the idea of running a race in memory of the legendary Archie Scott Brown who died at Spa in 1958. It seemed that Snetterton being the home circuit of both Archie and Lister cars, was the logical place to run it and that the Autosport 3 Hour meeting was the right one to run it at. A proposal was submitted to HSCC Race Director, Grahame White and received a positive response. Whilst the BRSCC have periodically run races in Archie’s memory, I believe this to be the first race which runs cars that were contemporary with his career. In addition, of course, we are remembering Brian Lister who sadly died last year.
1. To celebrate the racing career of Archie Scott Brown
2. To commemorate the Sports car Special Builders of the early post war era.
Definition – An Invitation race for pre 1960 Sports Racing cars split into classes with an emphasis on the Special builders of the period during which Archie raced.
A) Sidney Allard Class (Over 4000cc)
B) Brian Lister Class (3501 – 4000cc)
C) John Heath Class (3001-3500cc)
D) John Tojeiro Class (2001-3000)
E) John Cooper Class (1501 -2000cc)
F) Cyril Kieft class ( up to 1500cc)
Putting together this grid was particularly difficult despite the legendary status of both Archie Scott Brown and Brian Lister as the timing of this HSCC meeting very unfortunately coincided with a rather larger event in France at which many of our eligible cars, drivers and preppers were involved in the Saturday morning's Legends race. We were never going to be able to compete with that but nevertheless what we lost in quantity we made up to no uncertain extent in quality and variety. In addition a number of owner/drivers that had really hoped to make it were simply not ready in time. Tony Bianchi's fabulous Farrellac was still awaiting some bearings from the USA following it's diff failure at VSCC Spring Start, Gordon McCulloch's Maserati 200Si had not recovered from mechanical ailments incurred at the Goodwood Member's meeting and Chris Guest's RGS Atalanta was simply not made ready in time and had to withdraw his entry. Finally, what I was hoping to be a surprise entry, the Le Mans Nash Healey of José Maria Fernándes to be driven by Sam Stretton, despite José's best efforts could not be prepared in time. All 4 drivers were understandably disappointed, as naturally was your scribe! A welcome last minute entry was Steve Hart in his Maserati 300S.
Before moving onto the qualifying and the race itself, it should be noted that HSCC had organised a tribute to Archie and Brian Lister with a short demonstration of relevant cars during the lunch break and this included, as well as those Listers in the Scott Brown race, two new Lister Jaguars from the current George Lister Engineering Company who supported the event, Stephen Bond's superb Lister Bristol (Stephen was due to drive his Lister Jaguar in the race but the Lister Bristol ran later in our Inter-Marque race) and the charismatic Tojeiro JAP 'Asteroid', a car developed by Brian Lister for Archie to drive in his early days. Owned currently by David Lee, it had its first race for 60 odd years with FISCAR back in 2013 at Castle Combe.
Qualifying took place in the morning on a damp and greasy track and Steve Boultbee-Brooks used the smoother delivery of the 6 cylinder XK engine to take pole away from the V8 cars, in the unique Lister Jaguar Flatiron. This car was in effect the prototype for the subsequent 'Knobbly' Listers having started off with a Bristol engine before the Jaguar power plant was installed. In appearance, quite different in style, the lessons learnt from this car along with changes in the regulations led to the classic Knobbly shape of which there were three entered in the race, led by Roberto Giordanelli in the his ex Dean Van Lines Chevrolet powered car alongside Steve on the front row. .
Julian Majzub placed his spectacular Sadler Mk3 on the second row with Robi Bernberg using the surefootedness of his little Cooper T39 Bobtail to slot alongside. Late Entrant Steve Hart qualified 5th in the handsome Maserati 300S another car which benefitted from good handling in the conditions whilst sharing row 3 was the V8 power of Mark Lewis in his Lister Chevrolet. Chris Mann did well to qualify the lovely Alfa Romeo Disco Volante on row 4 with the Lotus Mk10 Bristol of Malcolm Paul alongside. The Lotus had been commissioned by Mike Anthony back in 1955 and Mike who was at Snetterton to see the car race told me that it took all his powers of persuasion to convince Colin Chapman to build it. Behind, Stephen Bond qualified his new build Lister Knobbly Jaguar on row 5 which he shared with the brutal looking Kurtis 500s of Adam Singer. On row 6 was the Porsche Speedster, entered and driven by Sean McClurg but owned by USA domiciled Ernest Nagamatsu who had agreed to leave the car in the UK for this race. Ernest regards Archie Scott Brown as his racing hero so was very keen to see the car participate. The Ex Kilpatrick Speedster itself has had a phenomenally long racing career in the States and surely the 55,000 racing miles under its belt is a record. Last but not least of this small but fascinating and eclectic grid was Charles Fripp's Gomm Jaguar - the Maurice Gomm built 1955 body fitted onto a 1955 Jaguar XK140 chassis and running gear, in place of the original Alta item long ago reclaimed for an Alta restoration.
Although conditions were still tricky, V8 power told off the startline and Roberto Giordanelli smoked into the lead, whilst Julian Majzub also got by the Steve Boultbee Brooks Flatiron in his Sadler. Sadly, Stephen Bond in his Lister got no further than the startline following a drive train failure. At the end of the first lap Giordanelli, had a very useful lead over the Sadler with the Lister Flatiron 3rd. Steve Hart made a splendid start to complete lap 1 in 4th place with the diminutive Cooper Bobtail of Robi Berberg giving chase with the Mark Lewis Lister Chevrolet making up ground in 7th having spun early on in the lap, and taking 6th from Malcolm Paul on the Senna Straight as they started lap 2.
By this time the already damp greasy conditions were made worse by a short rain shower which briefly gave the nimbler cars an advantage. Hart had the Maserati up to 3rd place by the end of lap 2 but had to give best to the even more nimble Bernberg Cooper Bobtail on lap 3. All the while back at the front Giordanelli appeared to have the measure of Majzub and despite both struggling with V8 power in the wet, they were still easing further away from the field. Sean McClurg had completed the first lap dead last in the Speedster but by the end of lap 2 had passed both Charles Fripp in the Gomm Jaguar and Adam Singer in the Kurtis, Sean exploiting both his racing experience and the handling of the Porsche in adverse circumstances.
Mark Lewis (Lister Chevrolet) after recovering from a spin takes 6th from Malcolm Paul (Lotus 10 Bristol) just as they start lap 2.
Track conditions started to improve slightly during lap 4 and whilst they were spread out the lap times of the first 6 cars were all in the 2.56 - 2.59 range. It was at the end of this lap that the Giordanelli's lead back to the Sadler was at its greatest at 5.6 seconds but by the end of lap 5, it was less than half that amount as Julian took 12 seconds off his own previous lap time. In fact, the top 6 had all found very substantial improvements during the course of that lap as the track, whilst still slippery, had improved dramatically as a dry line started to appear. By this time Mark Lewis had annexed 5th and was lapping quicker than the Hart Maserati ahead of him but they were both being caught by Steve Boultbee-Brooks in the Lister Flatiron who sliced 15 seconds off his previous best, recording the best lap time of anybody up to that point with a 2.42.8.
At the end of lap 6, Julian Majzub was on the tail of the Lister Chevrolet and he took the lead heading into Riches on lap 7, the Sadler then drawing away from the heavier Lister. By this time the other Lister Chevrolet, that of Mark Lewis was up to 3rd but was still not quite on the pace of the leading cars and a over half a minute behind them. A terrific battle further back was keeping the spectators happy as Sean McClurg had gradually closed in on Chris Mann's Alfa Disco Volante, the Speedster harrying the Alfa and then actually getting by until the track conditions began to favour the more powerful car and Chris restored the status quo.
On lap 8, Mark Lewis got into his stride in the drying conditions and banged in a lap 5 seconds faster than anyone else at that stage, and the chase was on, but could he make up such a time deficit? Behind, the battle between the Maserati and the Bobtail continued to rage although this was resolved on lap 9 when the Bobtail came round 12 seconds behind, the gear linkage having broken so Robi Bernberg had to complete the final laps stuck in fourth.
Whilst the two leaders raised their game, Mark Lewis continued to take massive chunks of time out of them in the the closing laps. Majzub had a comfortable lead of 8 seconds over Giordanelli and the latter also looked out of reach as they entered the final lap. Lewis, however, had other ideas and was mighty on that last lap, posting by far the fastest lap of the race at 2.13.199 and took back 8.5 seconds, so that the two Lister Chevrolets crossed the line just 2 tenths apart. It had been an incredibly close run thing and Mark must have greatly rued his first lap spin.
So Julian Majzub took victory in the first Archie Scott Brown race for historic sports racing cars. There is no irony in the Canadian built car winning this race, since it actually pulls several links together. This race not only celebrated Archie and the late Brian Lister (whose daughter, Nicky was there to watch the race) but also all the special builders from that exciting period of development for sports racing cars. As Julian mentioned in the post race interview with Marcus Pye, 'Bill Sadler worked for John Tojeiro throughout 1957 and at weekends took his Sadler (the earlier mk2) racing. He knew Brian Lister and met him again at a Goodwood Revival a few years ago and somewhere we have a picture of them in the assembly area before the Sussex Trophy. Bill said Archie Scott-Brown also expressed interest in driving the Mk2, and I've even found this mentioned in some period magazines!' Both Archie and Brian were well represented in this field with the Lister Chevrolets of Roberti Giordanelli and Mark Lewis, 2nd and 3rd, Steve Boultbee-Brooks in the Lister Jaguar Flatiron, a car that Archie had driven, was 4th, the first 6 cylinder car home and winner of the Brian Lister class. The complete list of results follows after a few more photos:-
I wish to thank Grahame White and the HSCC for agreeing to run this event, Alan Jones, Carrie and Donna at HSCC for all their support, my son, Kevin for his encouragement and bringing sponsorship from Motorsport News, Gary Pearson for providing a Lister Jaguar for Andrew Jordan to track test prior to the event for an article publicising the race in Motorsport News, Robert Edwards, author of Archie and the Listers (our bible!), George Lister Engineering Company for their participation and demonstration run, Paul Lawrence for all his programme notes, Andrew Kitson, Snetterton guru for his enthusiastic input, Richard Styles for his excellent photos, David Lee for bringing 'Asteroid' along, but above all the competitors who entered and supported this race. I hope that their efforts will encourage others to ensure that we are able to run it again next year with a much larger grid.