TeamsGilby Engineering: 1954 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen
Though nicknamed the 'Wingless Wonder', the handicaps Sid Greene experienced in his life on fueled his desire to see his racing team, Gilby Engineering Co Ltd. to really take off.
As a young man, Sid Greene would be hit by a bus while riding his bike. And while he would live, he would lose the use of one of his arms. This would not slow him down by an stretch of the imagination, but it would make him into an angry and fierce competitor.
In spite of the handicap, Greene would race at Brooklands and Donington Park before the outbreak of World War II. He would also run a garage in Ongar, Essex. During the war, Greene would become an instructor in the Observer Corp and would even rise to the rank of Wing Commander. Once again, his competitive and fierce determination to outdo those with all of their extremities would be a good part of the reason for the success.
After the war, Sid would return to motor racing and the garage. And while he would continue to compete in motor races, he still would not achieve the results he so desperately wanted. Therefore, he would switch his focus slightly. While he would not walk away from motor racing, he would step away from the driving duties, and instead, would establish a large and rather well funded racing team that he would name Gilby Engineering Co Ltd.
The establishment of Gilby Engineering would happen in the early 1950s. Greene would continue to race up until about 1953. During those early years he would enter Maserati sportscars for a number of different drivers. However, one of the more common drivers for the team would be Roy Salvadori.
Then, between 1953 and 1954, Greene would determine to enter the Formula One World Championship. He was fully aware of the coming new Formula One regulations that would take effect for the 1954 season after two years of conforming to Formula 2 regulations. Fully aware of the switch back to Formula One regulations, Greene would set his mind on purchasing the car that would give his team the best chance of success. Therefore, Greene would purchase one of the new Maserati 250Fs. He would then turn to Roy Salvadori to drive the car. The team was now ready for the start of the 1954 season.
While in those days many of the teams, especially the customer teams, would not have to perform endless hours of testing and development of chassis designs, it would still take some time to get together all of the elements necessary. In addition, the costs associated with motor racing were such that only the best funded teams and individuals would be able to take part in each of the Championship, and non-championship, rounds. As a result, like many other teams, Gilby Engineering would not be present at what was the first round of the World Championship in 1954.
The first round of the Formula One World Championship would actually be the Argentine Grand Prix. It would be the second year for the race on the World Championship calendar, and it would take place around the middle of the summer, for the southern hemisphere. Therefore, the Argentine Grand Prix would take place very early, the 17th of January. Like many teams and privateers, Gilby Engineering would wait for a couple of more months before they would start their season.
As with many of the British teams, the first race of the season for Gilby Engineering would come on the 19th of April in the south of England. The first race of the season for the team would be the 6th Lavant Cup race held at the Goodwood Circuit near Chichester in West Sussex.
Nearly within sight of the southern coast, Goodwood Circuit would begin its life as an auxiliary airfield for nearby RAF Tangmere. Its name during World War II was RAF Westhampnett and it would actually come to host a squadron of Hurricane and Spitfire fighters during the early days of the war. Afterward, it would be determined the 2.39 mile perimeter road surrounding the turf runways would be perfectly suited as a motor racing circuit. Thus, Goodwood Circuit would be born. And quickly the venue would become a popular stop.
Each and every spring Goodwood would host Easter races. The Easter races consisted of a number of shorter events that would feature many different categories of racing. A couple of the events included the Chichester Cup and Glover Trophy races. The Lavant Cup race, which was named after a nearby village, would be a 7 lap, 17 mile, race. And while the entry list would be quite long for the event, the actual number that would make the trip and would take part in the race would be much less.
Thirteen would line up on the grid to take part in the short race. Among those on the grid, the greatest competition would come from Reg Parnell driving a Ferrari 625. The remainder of the grid would be Formula 2 spec cars that wouldn't quite have the power of Parnell's or Salvadori's cars.
This fact would become very evident during the running of the race. Parnell and Salvadori would be at the front of the field running less than a second apart. However, as the race wore on, the two would quickly open up a lead of more than ten seconds over the remainder of the field.
The greatest battle on the track would be between Parnell and Salvadori. Each and every lap the two would be nose-to-tail while the rest of the field became strung out. The pace of the two, which would see both of the drivers set the same fastest lap time of one minute and thirty-six seconds, would cause all but the top six to be a lap down by the end of the race.
Fighting it out at nearly 89 mph, the battle between Salvadori and Parnell would go down to the last moments. Rounding Woodcote for the final time, Parnell had a lead of just a couple of lengths on Salvadori. Powering their way through the quick left-hand flick and on toward the start/finish line, Parnell would manage to hold on to take the victory. The gap would be a mere six-tenths of a second over Salvadori. The gap would be nearly thirty seconds back to Kenneth McAlpine in his Connaught A-Type in 3rd place.
This was a good way in which Gilby Engineering would start its season. Although it would lose out on the opportunity for victory, Salvadori had taken the new Maserati and had run a solid race to finish a very strong 2nd. This was a good basis upon which the team could build for the remainder of the season.
The team's season would continue nearly a month later. On the 15th of May the Gilby Engineering Team would make its way, for the first time on the season, to Silverstone and its 2.88 mile road circuit. The team would head to Silverstone to take part in the challenging International Trophy race.
In 1954, it would be the 5th edition of the BRDC International Trophy race. The first would also be held at Silverstone in 1949, just a couple of years after being decommissioned from service with the Royal Air Force as RAF Silverstone. And although the British Grand Prix would be first held at the circuit one year prior, the 1949 International Trophy race would be the first time the familiar 2.88 mile road circuit would be used. Prior to that, the circuit consisted of portions of two of the airbase's three runways.
The International Trophy race, while one of the biggest races in all of the British Isles, would be conducted according to a different format. Instead of just a single race, the event would be made up of a couple of heat races that would be 15 laps each. The two heat races would then be followed by a 35 lap final.
The International Trophy race had a history of drawing some of the best teams from around England and Europe and the 1954 running of the race would be no different. The factory effort for Maserati would enter a couple of cars in the race as would Scuderia Ferrari and Equipe Gordini. In addition to these usual large efforts there would be a number of smaller single entries that formed some very formidable competition.
Salvadori would be listed in the second heat. Therefore, he would watch the first heat, which would consist of such drivers as Jose Froilan Gonzalez, Jean Behra, Stirling Moss and others battle it out.
In practice leading up to the first heat race, Gonzalez would be fastest in his Ferrari 553. In wet conditions he would post a time of one minute and forty-eight seconds and would take the pole by a margin of three seconds over Jean Behra in his Gordini T16. The rest of the front row included Moss in 3rd place in a factory Maserati 250F and Alan Brown putting in an impressive performance to start 4th in the brand new Vanwall.
The first heat race would see Gonzalez dominate from the very start of the race. Over the course of the race Behra would lose ground and would slip down the running order. Stirling Moss would remain right where he would start but would not be able to take advantage of Behra's fade. One driver that would take advantage of the situation would be Prince Bira.
Driving an older Maserati A6GCM, Bira would brave the conditions and would make a great start to be challenging up at the front of the field. Bira had started in the 8th position on the grid but would be battling with Moss for 2nd place behind Gonzalez.
Anchored by a fastest lap of two minutes and three seconds, Gonzalez would control the field quite easily. Averaging nearly 83 mph, Gonzalez would come through to take the victory enjoying a fourteen second advantage over the 2nd place finisher.
Despite starting further down in the field, Bira would be on a charge in the conditions. He would fight hard with Moss each and every lap and would even manage to break away slightly toward the last portion of the heat. Bira would put together an impressive performance coming from 8th place to finish the heat in 2nd place, two seconds ahead of Moss in 3rd.
Having watched the first heat, it was time for Salvadori to prepare for his second heat start. In practice, it had been another Ferrari, that of Maurice Trintignant, that had set the fastest time and taken the pole. Unlike Gonzalez's heat, the times in practice would be much closer. Just tenths of a second would separate Trintignant and Parnell starting the race in 2nd place. Andre Simon, driving for Equipe Gordini, would start from the front row in the 3rd position while Bob Gerard would take his Formula 2 Cooper-Bristol T23 and perform well to claim the final front row starting position.
In contrast, Salvadori would struggle in practice. His best lap at the wheel of the Maserati would end up being a lap time of two minutes and fifteen seconds. This would put Roy on the fourth, and final, row of the grid in the 12th starting position.
In the first heat spectators had witnessed Prince Bira make a great start from 8th place to climb all the way to a 2nd place finish. Salvadori and his team would be hoping to make a similar move in the second heat. And he would.
At the start, Trintignant would lead the way with Parnell falling in line right behind. However, Robert Manzon, who started 8th, would also make a great start and would be up near the front from the very beginning. Also starting one row behind Manzon would be Salvadori. Roy would follow Manzon through and would find himself much further up toward the front of the field than where he had started the race.
Salvadori would battle with Simon and would force some daylight between himself and the Frenchman. Bob Gerard would really fall off the pace over the course of the race and would be fighting just to remain in the top ten by the conclusion of the heat.
The greatest battle wouldn't even really be a battle. Trintignant would be in the lead with Parnell giving chase but more than a few seconds behind. However, the pace of these two would leave the rest of the field fighting for ‘also-ran' honors.
Trintignant would be fast. His best lap, in drier conditions, would be one minute and fifty-seven seconds at an average speed of 90 mph. This would help him break free from Parnell and cruise to victory. It would take Trintignant just thirty minutes and nine seconds to complete the 15 laps and take the victory. His finishing time would be a minute and forty seconds faster than Gonzalez's time in the first heat. Parnell would put together an impressive performance as well. The former International Trophy race champion would come in 2nd place following Trintignant by six seconds. Robert Manzon would come from 8th place to finish in 3rd place. He would end up forty-one seconds behind Parnell. Salvadori would have, perhaps, the best race. He would come from his 12th place starting position to finish the heat in 4th place.
Each of the heat races had been completed. It was time to set the grid for the 35 lap final. Finishing times by each competitor in their respective heat race would be very important as those times would determine the final grid. Therefore, it would be Trintignant's Ferrari that would occupy the pole for the final. It would be Trintignant's car, and not him, that would occupy the pole. Although the Frenchman had put together a truly impressive performance in the second heat race it would not be him that would take to the wheel of the car he had driven. That honor would go to Jose Froilan Gonzalez. The reason for this became clear at the end of the first heat.
Immediately after his first heat victory, the engine in Gonzalez's Ferrari would seize and would not turn at all. Therefore, it would be decided by the management to give Gonzalez, Trintignant's car. Trintignant, despite his performance, would be forced to take Umberto Maglioli's Ferrari 625 for the final. Therefore, instead of starting on the pole, Trintignant would start the race from the 6th position on the grid, which was actually where Gonzalez should have started the race.
After the controversy of Gonzalez on pole, the rest of the front row would be relatively straight-forward. Reg Parnell would start in 2nd place. Robert Manzon would start in 3rd place. And Roy Salvadori would come from his 12th place starting position in the second heat to start the final in 4th.
The final would still take place in damp conditions. Knowing he had a very fast car, Gonzalez would break off the line and would take the lead right away. Almost immediately after Gonzalez took the lead, trouble began to visit the rest of the cars in the field. After the 2nd lap of the race, Robert Manzon would have his transmission fail. Just 3 laps later, Parnell would be out of the race when his propeller shaft broke on his Ferrari.
This seemed like a perfect opportunity for Salvadori having started in the 4th position. However, it would be Jean Behra that would keep the remarkable drives coming as he would go from starting the final in the 11th position to being up inside the top three and becoming to closest threat to Gonzalez in the lead. Andre Simon would also make a good start and would be in the top three by the later stages of the race. This all meant Salvadori had been pushed down the running order. And that would be an understatement.
Troubles would cause Salvadori to continually slip down the running order. Before even the halfway mark of the race he would find himself a lap down and unable to make any ground. As the race wore on, Roy would continually find himself being shuffled further back in the running order.
Gonzalez had taken full advantage of his better starting position to pull away at the front of the field. Averaging nearly 93 mph in the damp conditions, Gonzalez would absolutely cruise to victory by a margin of thirty-six seconds over Jean Behra in 2nd place. Behra would be the last on the lead lap as Simon would complete 34 laps before finishing in 3rd place.
Before the end of the race, Salvadori would be paid a couple of visits by Gonzalez. In the end, Roy would finish the race a very disappointed 10th place, two laps down. This was a truly bitter result after having started the race from the front row. It was also very clear the team still had some work to do if it desired to compete against the best teams.
The European portion of the World Championship was fast approaching. However, before taking part in any of the rounds, the Gilby Engineering Team would look to take part in another race in order to get its momentum rolling. Therefore, on the 5th of June, the team would travel to the Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit to take part in the 2nd Curtis Trophy race.
Another of the decommissioned airbases, RAF Snetterton-Heath had been in the thick of the bombing missions over Europe throughout the last couple of years of the war. Home to the 96th Heavy Bombardment Group, Snetterton-Heath would see many bombers and men depart for bombing missions over Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The base would even be the home of ferrying operations carried out to North Africa. However, in 1948 the base would be closed and would fall into disuse. But then, following the example of Silverstone and others, the 2.70 mile perimeter road around the base would be deemed to be perfect for a motor racing circuit. Therefore, in the early 1950s, Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit would be birthed.
As with Goodwood, Snetterton would come to host race weekend throughout the course of a year. And at each of these race weekends there would be a number of categories of races that would take place. The Curtis Trophy race would be just one of those that would come about.
Being just a couple of years in existence, Snetterton came into being during the years of Formula 2 as being part of the World Championship. This opened the door to many privateers and small teams. However, when the new Formula One regulations came back into effect at the start of the 1954 season there were many of these privateers and small teams unable to purchase the latest in single-seaters. And therefore, many would continue to make do with Formula 2 machines despite the presence of newer Formula One cars with more power. And the Curtis Trophy race would be no exception.
Out of the entire entry list, only the Gilby Engineering team would have a Formula One car at their disposal. This would make Salvadori the clear favorite heading into the race. In all reality, the only thing that should have kept him from victory would be a failure on his or the car's part.
Only eight cars would take part in the 10 lap, 27 mile, race. Salvadori would be on pole for the race. And while many of the Formula 2 cars still had a chance, the Snetterton circuit, with its fast sweeping corners and long, fast straights, still favored the power of the 250F.
The race would only confirm what everyone believed. Salvadori would hold onto the lead of the race right from the start and would steadily pull away from the rest of the field with each and every lap.
Averaging nearly 88 mph each and every lap, Salvadori was certainly putting the pressure on the rest of the field. He would only make it worse when he would pick up the pace and turn a lap with an average close to 90 mph. The fastest lap of one minute and forty-nine seconds would make certain that he would be all by himself throughout the course of the 10 lap race. This would leave the race to become anything but a battle for the lead.
It would take just eighteen minutes and twenty-six seconds for Salvadori to complete the 10 laps and 27 minutes. No trouble would befall the 250F, and therefore, meant Roy would pretty much waltz his way across the line to take the victory. Fifty-four seconds would be the gap back to the 2nd place finisher, which would be Bill Whitehouse in a Connaught A-Type. Another seven seconds would be the gap back to Jimmy Somervail in 3rd place in an older Cooper-Bristol T20.
While by no means what many would consider to be a stressful race for Salvadori, the victory would certainly help to build up the team's momentum before the World Championship really kicked off in Europe. Anyway, it would be a great opportunity for the team to turn more laps and prepare its chariot for the battles yet to come.
The next opportunity the team would have to turn a wheel and gain some more experience and track time would come just two days later back at Goodwood. The team would pack everything up and would head the three hours south to arrive at Goodwood in time to take part in the 1st BARC Formula One race on the 7th of June.
The 1st BARC Formula One race would be yet another of those short races that would be familiar at Goodwood and other circuits throughout England. However, unlike the Curtis Trophy race at Snetterton, Salvadori wouldn't be alone on the grid as the only Formula One machine.
Though the two drivers had only faced each other two other times throughout the season, to that point, it was clear a real battle between Reg Parnell and Roy Savladori was destined to rage all season. And as the team unloaded at Goodwood, they would come to realize that Parnell was there as well.
However, after practice, Salvadori and Parnell would not have to watch out for each other. Gerry Dunham would take his DHS-Rover and would surprise just about everyone taking the pole for the 5 lap, 12 mile, race. The surprises would keep coming as John Webb would end up being second-fastest in practice. The spectators wondered if the surprises would keep coming? The rest of the four-wide front row would see the natural order of things restored when Salvadori would start 3rd while Parnell would start 4th.
Although practice had proven to be full of surprises, the race would be anything but. Salvadori and Parnell would get away from the line well and would be at the head of the field right from the start. Gerry Dunham would be forced out and would begin his steady descent down the running order. John Webb would fare even worse and would be nearly thrown to the back of the field before even a couple of laps had finished.
Salvadori was intent on taking the fight to Parnell and earning the victory. He would push hard in the Maserati and would go on to set the fastest lap of the race with a time of one minute and thirty-five seconds with an average speed of nearly 91 mph.
In spite of Salvadori's fastest lap and constant pressure, Parnell would be in the lead and fighting very hard to keep Salvadori at bay. Lap after lap, Parnell would remain in front. His consistently fast laps would counter every attack Salvadori could muster.
Averaging a little more than 87 mph, it would take Parnell just eight minutes and twelve seconds to complete the race distance. Rounding Woodcote for the final time, Parnell would enjoy a slightly larger lead than what he had during the Lavant Cup race. Parnell would cross the line to take the victory and would have a second and a half in hand over Salvadori who would take 2nd yet again. Twenty seconds would be the difference between Salvadori in 2nd place and Jimmy Somervail finishing in 3rd place.
Once again, Salvadori had found it impossible to overcome Parnell in his Ferrari. This would certainly be frustrating considering just how close the team had been in each of the cases. Nonetheless, the competition would help build the team's confidence moving forward.
It had been a busy couple of days for the Gilby Engineering Team. However, the team had plans to enter the 2nd Crystal Palace Trophy race a little less than two weeks later at Crystal Palace Park in southern London.
It was now the middle-to-late part of June and the fourth round of the World Championship was just a couple of weeks away across the English Channel in France. It was the team's intention to take part in the race. As a result, the team would be busy making preparations and adjustments for the race. This would cause the team some problems. Looking ahead to the future meant the team would struggle to get their car ready in time to take part in the Crystal Palace Trophy race on the 19th. Therefore, even though the team had an entry in the race, they would not make the trip, and instead, would choose to focus entirely on its next race.
Roy Salvadori would be in Reims, France for the 1953 French Grand Prix. While the race would be widely considered one of the greatest races in grand prix history, Salvadori would be nothing more than a bystander after going out of the race just 2 laps in because of ignition troubles. Therefore, instead of being part of one of the most wild and amazing races, he would be like one of the many thousands that would watch the spectacle from the sidelines. Unfortunately, the 1954 running of the race wouldn't be much different.
In early July, the Kilby Engineering Team would make its way, for the first time, across the English Channel to France. Once on the European mainland, the team would carry on to Reims, France for the fourth round of the Formula One World Championship. The French Grand Prix, held on the 5th of July, would be the first round of the World Championship in which the team had taken part. However, the race would see another team making its first appearance in more than a decade.
Reims had played a major role in a number of important historical events. The Cathedral of Reims had been the traditional site for the coronation of French kings as it housed the Ampulla, an anointing thought to be brought by a white dove at the baptism of Clovis in 496. Before this, Reims would serve as the capital for the tribe of Remi. In 1909, the city would host the first ever international aviation meet. And it would be in Reims that General Eisenhower would receive the unconditional surrender of Germany from General Alfred Jodl.
And although the German Wehrmacht had been driven back behind the German borders, 1954 would see a German invasion of another kind. Not since before the start of World War II had the Silver Arrows of Mercedes-Benz been seen in a grand prix. However, at Reims, Mercedes-Benz would pull in and unload a couple of its potent new W196 streamlined racers. The team would also come with a potent driver line up as well. Karl Kling would be one of the team's drivers. The other driver, however, would be the Argentinean Juan Manuel Fangio.
Fangio already had two victories on the season driving for the factory Maserati team. However, after the Belgian Grand Prix, Fangio would head further east into Germany to make final preparations for his grand prix debut with the German grand prix team.
Salvadori and the Kilby Engineering Team were certainly looking forward to the race themselves. They had a strong car in the Maserati 250F and had earned a number of very good results leading up to this race. But it certainly was not going to be easy with the Mercedes-Benz, Maserati and Ferrari teams present.
Practice would reveal just how difficult of a race it was going to be. Juan Manuel Fangio would be the fastest with the W196. His best lap around the 5.15 mile circuit would be 2:29.4. This time would end up being exactly a second faster than Fangio's teammate Kling. Kling's time would be just one-tenth of a second faster than Alberto Ascari now driving for Maserati since the Lancia project was still delayed.
During the International Trophy race Maurice Trintignant would be incredibly fast during his heat race. However, in practice for the French Grand Prix, Salvadori would manage to keep pace with Trintignant. Trintignant would turn a fastest lap of 2:36.1 to earn the 9th starting position on the fourth row of the grid. But, Salvadori would hang right in there and would turn in a fastest lap just two-tenths of a second slower to garner the 10th starting position also on the fourth row of the grid.
In all, twenty-one cars would prepare to take the start of the 61 lap race. Ahead of the competitors was 314 miles of hard and fast racing. Nonetheless, the cars would pull away from the grid powering their way toward the Courbe de Gueux. Kling would actually gain the upper hand and would lead the field through the first couple of laps. Alberto Ascari would be left behind right at the finish with transmission failure. Salvadori would have to thread his way around Ascari's stricken car.
After a couple of laps in the lead, Kling would be overtaken by Fangio. Fangio would lead throughout the next 25 laps and then would begin a back and forth fight with Kling for the lead as they would leave everyone else behind.
A number of those that would be involved in the incredible 1953 running of the French Grand Prix would be out of the race before even 10 laps had been completed. Of course, Alberto Ascari would be out before completing a lap. Giuseppe Farina wouldn't even take part in the race because of an injury. Mike Hawthorn, the defending winner, would not make it 10 laps before his engine would expire.
Four laps later, Jose Froilan Gonzalez would be out of the race with engine failure as well. This would leave Fangio and Luigi Villoresi as the only two left in the race that had finished 6th or better the year before.
All of troubles suffered by many of the major players would have seemed like a perfect opportunity for Salvadori, and it was. Roy would be running in a strong position, but with the favorites running into trouble, it was clear that none was immune and this would become clear after just 15 laps.
Salvadori had been running strong early, but, like many other major contenders, he would run into trouble rather early on as well. His race would come to an abrupt end after just 15 laps when the halfshaft in his Maserati would fail.
A mixture of fierce pace by the two Mercedes-Benz W196s and attrition would leave Kling and Fangio all by themselves. With just about ten laps remaining in the race there would be just six cars still running and way out ahead in the lead would be Fangio and Kling.
The only two cars on the lead lap, Kling and Fangio would run side-by-side and nose-to-tail each and every lap. They would trade the lead back and forth but Fangio would certainly lead the most laps. This, however, would make for an interesting finish. Kling would enjoy his last lap in the lead approaching the final lap of the race. Then it would be Fangio in the lead all the way around to the line. In a display of dominance reminiscent of the golden era of the Silver Arrows, Fangio would come across the line with Kling lined up right beside himself just half a car length back. While Fangio would take the victory, it would be an incredible team victory as everyone else still left running in the race was at least a lap behind. Robert Manzon would have the honor of coming across the line in a very lonely 3rd place. However, it was still a bright spot for the French faithful having a Frenchman on the podium.
There would be no such joy for the Gilby Engineering Team as they would have already been packed and ready to depart by the time Fangio and Kling made their demonstrative line abreast pass across the line after two hours and nearly forty-three minutes of racing.
Although the team had more than enough time to pack everything up and head out of Reims before the end of the French Grand Prix, the team would not be heading very far, and therefore, would not be in much of a hurry. When the team did leave Reims they would travel just three hours to the west. Their destination would be the 3.17 mile Rouen-les-Essarts Circuit for on the 11th of July, just six days after the French Grand Prix, the circuit would play host to the 4th Grand Prix de Rouen-les-Essarts.
The Rouen-les-Essarts Circuit first had the opportunity to host the French Grand Prix as part of the World Championship in 1952 during the Formula 2 era. Located in the Foret du Rouvray just to the southwest of Rouen, the circuit would quickly become a favorite with teams and drivers. Besides the picturesque setting, the dive down through the valley to the Nouveau Monde hairpin and climb back up through Sanson toward the long straight before the final turn toward the start/finish line would make the circuit wildly popular with drivers and spectators alike.
The year before, the Grand Prix de Rouen-les-Essarts had been one of a couple of races that would see the new Formula One cars and the current Formula 2 cars battle it out. One year later, and with a number of privateers and small teams unable to afford the new Formula One cars, the race would appear to be much the same.
While the field would consist of a number of Ferrari 553s and 625s, along with the new Maserati 250F, it would also feature Formula 2 cars like the old HWM-Alta and a couple of Maserati A6GCMs. The field would have also included another Maserati A6GCM entered by Roberto Mieres but his car would be destroyed when the transporter would be involved in a crash while en route. In all, fourteen cars would prepare to qualify and take to the circuit for the 95 lap race.
Maurice Trintignant would show his superior pace once again winning the pole in his Ferrari. His time of 2:09.4 would be eight-tenths of a second faster than Jean Behra, thereby earning Trintignant the pole. The final position on the three-wide front row would go to Mike Hawthorn. His best lap time would be 2:10.9 and would be a half a second off of Trintignant's pace.
Salvadori would have liked to have only been a second and a half off the pace in practice. Instead, Roy would find himself well down in the field. His best lap in practice would be a rather sedate 2:17.1. This would end up being slower than Prince Bira's time set in an aged A6GCM. As a result, Salvadori would start the race from the fourth row of the grid in the 9th starting position overall.
One thing about the Rouen-les-Essarts Circuit was the very simple fact that it was a circuit that was very easy to get wrong, and the battle right off the grid at the start would be one of those moments where things could go very bad very quickly. This would be the case at the start of the race in 1954. As the field filed its way down through the turns toward the Nouveau Monde hairpin, Behra and Hawthorn would be fighting hard for position behind Trintignant. The two would end up spinning off the circuit. Unfortunately for both of them, they would both receive outside assistance getting them going again. Because of the push starts, both would be disqualified.
This melee would cause Trintignant to pull out a large lead on the rest of the field as everyone else had to worry about avoiding the two spinning cars. This would shake up the running order a great deal. And although he started all the way back in 9th, Salvadori would quickly move his way up the running order. Of course, he would be helped out when Jose Froilan Gonzalez retired after 16 laps with a blown engine.
Salvadori continued his movement up the order. He would get by Robert Manzon and Louis Rosier, who were both fading badly. Then, he would be ahead of a number of less experienced drivers doing his best to give chase.
There was only going to be one thing capable of catching Trintignant and that was attrition. Maurice's pace was phenomenal. Averaging 82 mph and setting a fastest lap time just half a second off of his pole effort meant Trintignant would not only leave everyone behind. Being a true gentleman, Trintignant would manage to stop by more than once to a number of drivers over the course of the race. Salvadori, unfortunately, would be one of those that would be visited by Maurice more than once before the end. In fact, everyone would be visited at least once before the end.
After three hours, forty minutes and thirty-four seconds, Trintignant would finally put an end to the misery of many taking the victory and enjoying more than a lap advantage over Prince Bira in 2nd place. Salvadori and the team would have something of mixed emotions as their race would come to an end. They would be bitterly disappointed by the fact they would be some five laps behind Trintignant, but they would also be rather delighted with the 3rd place result, especially since Salvadori hadn't been on the pace at all during practice.
So while the race could have gone much better, it was still another podium finish for the team. What was more, the team had managed to last all the way to the end. This was very important considering the race distance. It would also be very important as the team packed up and headed back home.
After earning their 3rd place at Rouen, the team would pack everything up and would quickly head to the coast in order to travel back across the English Channel to England. Once back on English soil the team would continue to move quickly as their next race would take place on the 17th of July, just days after Rouen. They would make their way from the coast and up past London. They would finally reach Silverstone. They would be back at the 2.88 mile circuit to take part in the fifth round of the Formula One World Championship, the British Grand Prix.
Salvadori had first taken part in the World Championship back in 1952. Not coincidentally, that first experience in the World Championship would come at the British Grand Prix held at Silverstone. In that race he would achieve a very good 8th place finish. Unfortunately, it would be his only finish in a World Championship race despite taking part in five more rounds in 1953. And of course, his first round of the 1954 season had also ended in an early retirement. So while the 1954 edition of the British Grand Prix was another opportunity to finish a World Championship race, it would be the first British Grand Prix for the Gilby Engineering Team, and a great opportunity to get its grand prix program heading in the right direction.
The team and driver would have their work cut out for them as the Mercedes-Benz would again be present along with Maserati, Ferrari and Equipe Gordini. But while the W196s seemed unstoppable at Reims, their own design would prove to be its greatest hindrance at the former airbase-turned motor racing circuit.
All throughout practice Fangio would complain about visibility. The beautifully-shaped fenders were constantly causing the Argentinean to lose sight of the apexes of corners. This was causing him to lose time in his mind, but it sure wouldn't seem that way when everyone set about fighting for their starting grid positions.
Losing sight of the corners wouldn't seem to bother Fangio all that much during the qualifying session of practice. He would stand on the W196 and proceeded to put together some very impressive lap times that seemed to just get better and better until he clicked off an incredible lap of one minute and forty-five seconds. It was a new lap record and the first time a car managed to average greater than 100 mph around the circuit.
Behind Fangio, an incredible close battle would ensue. It would start with Gonzalez setting his best lap exactly a second slower than Fangio. His average speed would be just over 99 mph and exactly the same as Mike Hawthorn. Gonzalez would, however, just edge out Hawthorn for 2nd place on the grid. The final position on the front row would go to another Brit, Stirling Moss driving a Maserati 250F.
Behind Moss and the front row, there would be five competitors that would set fastest lap times in the one minute and forty-eight second range. Salvadori would be one of them. Given Salvadori's time, he would end up lining up on the second row of the grid right beside the 2nd place car from the French Grand Prix, Karl Kling. Salvadori would start 7th overall.
This was certainly the best opportunity Gilby Engineering had in a World Championship race. It would need to take full advantage of the situation. However, the situation would get shaken up the day of the race. The day of the race would be marked by the usual English weather. It would be cold and it would be overcast at the start of the race. However, there was the promise of rain as the race wore on. This would certainly cause the outcome of the race to be greatly affected.
At the start, Gonzalez, who had won in the race at Silverstone in the International Trophy race, would shoot into the lead of the race with Moss also getting a good jump off the line. Hawthorn and Fangio would be left to fight it out amongst themselves after making poor starts. Moss' poor start would hold up Salvadori, who would have to swing to his right in an effort to get through. Jean Behra would make a good start and would try and squeeze between Kling and Fangio. But the wide W196s would effectively box Behra out heading into the Copse.
Gonzalez was in the lead of the race and quickly pulling away from the rest of the field. The conditions were still dry and it would inspire a number of drivers to give it everything they had before the rain began falling on the circuit. Therefore, very quickly on in the race, Gonzalez would turn it on and would be turning some very fast laps. It wouldn't be too long before he would achieve a lap of 1:50. But he wouldn't be alone. There would be at least six others that would have their foot squarely on the floor pushing as hard as possible. Soon, Hawthorn, Onofre Marimon, Fangio, Moss, Behra and Ascari would all match Gonzalez' lap of 1:50. However, it would do little to pull Gonzalez in.
The early couple of laps would see a few drivers exit the race with problems. Louis Rosier, Eric Brandon and Peter Whitehead would all be out of the race before 5 laps would be completed. During that time, Hawthorn would stalk Moss for 2nd place. Fangio would still be trying to recover from his poor start, but would be getting up to pace.
Although the race was 90 laps in length, everyone was pushing like it would end in just 20. Fangio would finally get up to form and would be lapping quite quickly. Hawthorn would manage to get by Moss. Soon, Fangio would take over the position as well. Then, Hawthorn would be outdueled by Fangio for 2nd place.
It would be at this time that Fangio would run into his troubles he complained about in practice. There were numerous oil drums placed to the inside of the corners to help with visibility. Interestingly, these would become nothing but a hindrance to the double World Champion. He would strike these barrels, one after another. This would cause a terrible amount of damage to either of the fenders and would cause Fangio to slip back into the clutches of Hawthorn.
The rain had begun to fall. By this time, a number of cars and drivers were out of the race. Included in the list of those out of the race were Robert Manzon, Peter Collins, Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi. Salvadori, however, continued to run strong. Salvadori would have a very good race well past the halfway mark of the race. But then, on the 53rd lap of the race, Salvadori would slow and would be out of the race with transmission ailments. This left just about seventeen cars still running out on the circuit at the time.
No one was running as well as Gonzalez. He continued in the lead and was enjoying an ever-increasing lead over his Ferrari teammate Hawthorn. By the last third of the race, Fangio had faded with heavy damage and gearbox problems. He was still in the fight for the top three but was losing the fight to Marimon.
At Reims, it had been Mercedes-Benz that had 1st and 2nd place and everyone else was at least a lap behind. At Silverstone, it would be Ferrari's turn. Karl Kling was still running in 7th place but three laps down. And coming to the final couple of laps, Fangio would be in 4th place also down a lap.
Gonzalez would control the race from the very beginning. He would lead every single lap. And after two hours and fifty-six minutes, he would come across the line to take his second British Grand Prix victory. Ironically, the other British Grand Prix victory had been with Ferrari back in 1951. It would be the manufacturer's first World Championship grand prix victory.
Hawthorn would come home a rather quiet 2nd place a minute and ten seconds behind Gonzalez. The 3rd place finish would go to the young Onofre Marimon. It would be his first podium finish in the World Championship. Tragically, it would also be his last.
For Gilby Engineering, the British Grand Prix had been something of a mixed bag once again. The team had started out well and was looking strong throughout the first half of the race. In many ways, the team was focusing on finishing, and finishing well. However, the retirement after 53 laps of hard running would be disappointing. It would certainly cause the team to step back and think about future rounds of the World Championship.
The retirement at the British Grand Prix had been bitterly disappointing for the team. However, after a little more than a couple of weeks, the team would have its Maserati repaired and would be heading off to another race. Unfortunately, the team would not be heading back across the English Channel to take part in the German Grand Prix, the sixth round of the World Championship. No, the team would pack everything up on the transporter and would head to the south of London. Back in June the team intended to take part in the Crystal Palace Trophy race but would not arrive at the race. However, on the 2nd of August, the team would be present and busy preparing to take part in the 1st August Cup race.
Crystal Palace Park had once been a haunt for the most questionable of England and London's society. Its history, however, is rich and storied as it was widely held Sir Francis Drake's ship, the Golden Hind had been built from the tress that once occupied the park. By the 20th century, Crystal Palace Park would be a popular place of recreation and considered a perfect setting for a motor racing circuit given its proximity to and view of downtown London. Therefore, by the early 1950s, the park's access roads would come to form a temporary 1.39 mile circuit that was anything but flat.
Resting on the top of a hill overlooking London, the Crystal Palace Park featured some rather varied terrain. The circuit would start out with a rather considerable climb to the back stretch that then featured a rather breath-taking and brave quick descent around some fast corners back to the start/finish line. The circuit would be fast, and it required boldness to be fast. It would be a circuit that suited the power of the 250F Salvadori had at his disposal just fine.
The August Cup would be conducted similar to the International Trophy race held at Silverstone. The race would consist of two heat races and a final. However, unlike at Silverstone, each of the heat races and the final would be the same distance, just 10 laps or 14 miles each.
Heat one would feature a couple of the heavyweights. Reg Parnell and Roy Salvadori would be able to renew their battles from the earlier part of the season as the two would be listed in the first heat together.
As with the majority of the meetings earlier on in the season, it would be Parnell that would have the upper hand at the end of practice. Parnell would set the fastest time and would grab the pole. Salvadori would start from 2nd place on the front row. The final couple of spots on the front row would go to Horace Gould in a Cooper-Bristol T23 and Keith Hall in another Cooper-Bristol, but this a T20.
The first heat race would seem more like an exhibition than an actual race. Parnell would make a great start and would hold onto the lead ahead of Salvadori. Roy would seem content just to tuck in behind Parnell and give chase, but never really challenge. Gould and Hall would seem to follow their lead as those two would also get in line just as they qualified.
The top four positions would remain unchanged throughout the 10 lap race. In fact, the only change that would happen to the running order is that Paul Emery, who had started in 6th place, would manage to fight his way past Gerry Dunham to take 5th place. That would be it. The rest of the first heat was just Parnell pulling away from Salvadori and Roy doing likewise to the rest of the field.
Parnell would win, almost without contest. Reg would need just eleven minutes and eighteen seconds to claim the heat win. Eight seconds would be the difference between Parnell and Salvadori in 2nd place. Horace Gould would finish right where he started, in 3rd. He would be some twenty seconds behind Salvadori.
The second heat would have such drivers as Tony Rolt, Tony Crook and Jack Fairman as part of the field. One year ago, Rolt had dominated at Crystal Palace with Rob Walker Racing. One year later, the prospects of such dominance seemed quite remote with the presence of the Formula One machines of Salvadori and Parnell. However, Rolt would give it everything he had. He would set the fastest time in practice and would take the pole ahead of Crook, Ted Whiteaway and Jack Fairman.
At the start of the second heat, Rolt would take command followed by Crook. It appeared it would be a repeat of the first heat with everyone holding station just to get to the final. Thankfully for all of those present, this wouldn't be entirely the case.
Fairman would start the race from the 4th place on the grid. However, he would make a good start and would be fighting with Whiteaway for his position. Ron Searles would go the other way. He would start the race in the 5th position. During the race, however, he would be shoved backward by Geoff Richardson and Oliver Simpson and would find himself running dead-last.
Rolt would be in a class unto himself. It would be very similar to his numerous victories at Crystal Palace the season before. He would cruise to the victory in eleven minutes and forty-seven seconds. The gap would be over seventeen seconds back to Crook in 2nd place. It would be another nearly nine seconds back to Fairman finishing in 3rd place.
As with the International Trophy race, finishing times in each heat would determine the starting grid for the final. This meant Parnell would again be on pole with Salvadori starting alongside in 2nd place. The rest of the four-wide front row would consist of Horace Gould in 3rd and Tony Rolt in 4th.
The field would roar away and around the right hand bend leading up the hill toward the Terrace Straight. Parnell would have the advantage over Salvadori. Rolt and Gould be locked in a spirited battle but it was clear that Rolt looked the stronger of the two. Coming down the hill and around the right hand flick leading to the start/finish line, it would be Parnell, Salvadori and Rolt leading the field.
The superiority of the power in Parnell's Ferrari and Salvadori's Maserati was quickly coming into play against Rolt's Formula 2 Connaught. Parnell would slowly pull away from Salvadori. However, the two of them would begin to gap Rolt at a much faster rate. It effectively became a two car race.
Parnell wasn't about to give Salvadori any chance to take the victory. He would push hard and would set the fastest lap of the race with a lap time of one minute and six seconds. This would help Parnell to pull out even more of a lead over Salvadori.
Parnell would suffer no troubles and would cruise to the victory. Three seconds would be the difference between himself and Salvadori in 2nd place. The gap would be some twenty-six seconds back to Rolt, who would hold on, in 3rd place.
Another podium finish for Gilby Engineering. However, it would be Parnell that would again occupy that top step, not Salvadori. The team continued to look strong but still was mired down in Parnell's wake. One week later, the team would have another chance to become caught up in an epic duel with Parnell.
Just five days would separate races for the Gilby Engineering Team. After leaving Crystal Palace Park, the team would immediately head northwest toward Wales. For on the 7th of August, Oulton Park would be the setting for the 1st International Gold Cup race.
About 200 miles separated Crystal Palace Park from Oulton Park. However, like most of England, Oulton Park and Crystal Palace Park would be indelibly intertwined. Just as London would be the sight of what was to be the beginning of Germany's invasion of England by the destroying of England's air force, Oulton Park would be one of the instrumental locations purposed for the staging of the European invasion by the Allies.
Then after the war, the area of Oulton Hall would be developed into a racing circuit able to accommodate a number of different types of motor races with its triple layout. Developed by the Mid-Cheshire Car Club, the Oulton Park Circuit would become a popular venue with its naturally flowing terrain and mixture of high-speed corners and blind crests.
The popularity of the circuit for spectators, as well as drivers, would be evident with the International Gold Cup race on the 7th of August. Tens of thousands would flock to the circuit to watch some of the best drivers and cars in the world compete in a 36 duel around the 2.76 mile circuit.
The reason for the excitement surrounding the race was well founded. Being able to watch the likes of Stirling Moss, Reg Parnell, Jean Behra and Roy Salvadori master the circuit's rapid elevation changes was thrilling to be sure.
The thrills would continue in practice as Bob Gerard would surprise many taking his Formula 2 Cooper-Bristol T23 and setting the fastest lap with a time of 1:59.4. Although Jean Behra would match the time in the 2.5-liter Equipe Gordini T16, Gerard would be awarded the pole for the race. Completing the front row on the other side of Behra would be Parnell in his Ferrari 625.
This meant Salvadori was already at a disadvantage starting behind Parnell. Unfortunately, Roy wouldn't start right behind Parnell either. Salvadori's best lap in practice would be 2:03.0. This would be nearly four seconds off of Gerard's pace and would cause Roy to have to start the race from the 6th position on the grid. This meant Salvadori would be relegated to the third row of the grid. He would certainly have his work cut out for himself. However, he wouldn't have his work cut out for himself like Stirling Moss, who would start the race from dead-last in 21st position.
Nineteen cars would take the start of the race. Almost immediately, the complexion of the race would change. Jean Behra's race wouldn't last more than 2 laps before magneto failure ended his run. Bob Gerard would be forced out his position at the point almost from the very drop of the flag. However, he would not give up and would pose a great threat to the others at the front, like Reg Parnell.
Salvadori would make a solid start. He knew he just needed to stay calm and he would have the opportunity to move forward as the majority of those around him were Formula 2 cars. And while they were capable of some descent lap times for a single lap, maintaining such a pace over the course of an entire race was nearly impossible, especially when hounded by a more powerful 2.5-liter machine like that Salvadori was at the wheel of.
Moss would do anything but lay back. He would be attacking right from the very start of the race and would quickly make his way up through the running order. Leaning on the power of his 250F, Moss would carve his way through the numerous Formula 2 cars and would find himself up near the front of the field in no time.
Salvadori was also making his way up through the field. However, after 14 laps, Roy would leave the circuit when the throttle on his Maserati stuck wide open. He would crash headlong into a tree destroying the Maserati while he would be uninjured. The damage to the car was terrible. Once again the team would face an early retirement just when it was in a key position for a good result.
If there was anyone that would take the fight to Parnell at the front of the field, it would come from the man that started at the very back of it. Stirling Moss had been on an incredible charge from the very start and he now found himself running right with Parnell. Anchored by a fastest lap time of 1:56.8, which was nearly three seconds faster than Gerard's pole time, it was clear there was very little Parnell could do to hold Moss back. On this day, Moss was in a class unto himself and would not be denied.
Moss would take the lead and would never slow while at the point. He would continue to push hard and would soon open up a rather substantial gap over Parnell in 2nd place. Gerard would continue to hold tough in the 3rd position only a few seconds behind Parnell. This was an impressive performance by Gerard in a Formula 2 car against the extra power Parnell had at his disposal in his Ferrari.
It seemed no power in the world would be able to deny Moss on this day. He would cover the 99 miles at an average speed of 83 mph and would come across the line to take the victory after one hour, eleven minutes and twenty-seven seconds. It had been an incredible performance by Moss. He had come from worst to be first. What was more, he would enjoy a minute and twenty second advantage over Parnell at the finish. Moss had absolutely blown away the entire field. It was as though he was the only Formula One car out on the circuit. This thought would not be so easily thrown aside when Bob Gerard would manage to follow Parnell home in 3rd place just three and a half seconds behind.
For the Gilby Engineering Team it was the worse case scenario. Not only had Salvadori not managed to finish another race, but the accident he would suffer would totally destroy the car. It would take a long time for the team to rebuild the car and make it ready to race. This, then, would greatly impact the team's remainder of the season.
Salvadori's crash at Oulton Park in the International Gold Cup would greatly affect the team's short term prospects. The team had, before the crash, put in an entry in the RedeX Trophy race at Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit on the 14th of August. This would have been a great opportunity for the team. It had been at Snetterton the team had achieved victory earlier on in the season. And though Reg Parnell would be present at the race, it was very likely the team could have earned a top result, even a victory. Instead, the team was busy, not preparing the car for that particular race, but just so it would be able to take part in other races on the season.
Although the team would not be ready in time to take part in the RedeX Trophy race at Snetterton on the 14th of August, the team would work hard to get its car ready to take back across the English Channel and on to Berne, Switzerland. On the 22nd of August the Bremgarten Circuit was to host the Swiss Grand Prix, the seventh round of the World Championship.
The team would work terribly hard and would get the car ready enough to put it on the transporter to begin the journey to Switzerland. Many would think that this would be the hardest part of the journey and the only thing that could keep a team from entering a race. Gilby Engineering would prove that thought incorrect.
The team would be in transit to the race when troubles would arise. Problems would continually delay the team and would put them on the back foot even if they were to arrive. The delays would end up being too costly to get the car prepared in time for the race. Therefore, the delays would cause the team to abandon its entry in the race. This would be the second race in a row in which the team would not take part after having an entry. The season was beginning to run out. Any more delays or problems and the team would have run out of races.
Gilby Engineering Team would have another entry. This time it would be the 3rd Joe Fry Memorial Trophy race held at Castle Combe on the 28th of August, just six days after the Swiss Grand Prix.
Delays in transportation had kept the team from taking part in the Swiss Grand Prix. However, more problems and issues would cause the team to abandon any hopes for the Joe Fry Memorial Trophy race as well. Instead, the team would head back to its base of operations in Ongar, Essex.
The year had turned to early fall. Still Gilby Engineering would not be present at any grand prix races. Of course, the team, including Roy Salvadori, had been busy competing in sportscar races throughout the year. But, their single-seater would not be seen, not since its terrible crash into trees at Oulton Park back in early August. But then, at the end of September, Gilby Engineering would show up at Goodwood to take part in the 7th Goodwood Trophy race on the 25th of September.
Just one of a number of races to take place over the course of the weekend, the Goodwood Trophy race would be 21 laps, or 50 miles, of the 2.39 mile circuit. It would be one of the longer races held throughout the weekend and, as usual, would attract a large number of mostly British entries.
All of Salvadori's usual competitors would be present at the race. Reg Parnell would be there with his Ferrari and Stirling Moss would also be present in a Maserati. Then there would be Peter Collins in a much improved Vanwall.
Over the last month or so, Moss had been unstoppable and he would continue to look in formidable form in practice setting the fastest time around the circuit with an incredible time of 1:32.1. Peter Collins would end up starting in 2nd place but would be four seconds slower. The rest of the front row would consist of Bob Gerard in 3rd place and Reg Parnell starting 4th.
Salvadori would take his repaired Maserati and would show little signs of being at all hindered mentally. He would push the car hard and would set a time near to Parnell. As a result, Salvadori would start from 5th place, the first position on the three-wide second row. This would seem like a good position being right off of Moss' left shoulder at the start.
Moss and Collins would make good starts and would have something of an advantage through the first few corners. Salvadori would be able to follow them through and would be also right up near the front right from the start.
While Moss had been something of a force over the last month or so, Parnell had been suffering from a lack of reliability. The problems would continue at Goodwood. After just 3 laps, Parnell's engine would let go. He would be out of the race. Salvadori would take advantage.
Roy would get by Gerard and would be lying in 3rd place after being away from single-seater grand prix racing for well more than a month. Salvadori wouldn't be able to rest, however. Gerard, despite driving a Formula 2 car, would still be right there. If Salvadori suffered from even a moment of a lapse of concentration Gerard would be in a good position to take advantage.
Out front, Moss would lead the way. Averaging a little more than 91 mph, he would pull out more and more of a lead over Collins. This would leave Collins running all by himself doing his best to keep his focus and pursuit of Moss.
Aided by a fastest lap time of 1:33.0 at an average speed of nearly 93 mph, Moss would pull away from Collins at what would be an average of a second a lap. Absolutely no problems would befall the man and he would easily cruise to victory. Completing the race distance in thirty-three minutes and three seconds, Moss would have an advantage of a little more than twenty seconds over Collins at the finish. The real battle would be for 3rd place.
The last time Salvadori had been in the Maserati its throttle had stuck wide open propelling Salvadori into the trees. And although he would walk away without a scratch, it certainly would have to be in the back of his mind. Yet, heading around on the final lap of the Goodwood Trophy race, Salvadori would keep his head down and would remain focused on the task at hand, seemingly unaffected by what had happened in the car well more than a month ago.
With Bob Gerard bearing down on him about four seconds back, Salvadori would keep his foot on it. He would round Woodcote and would power through the left-hander toward the line. It was a strong return for the team. A solid 3rd place result was the best way for the team to return. And although he trailed Moss by more than a minute and fifteen seconds, the team needed just to get back into a race and have a solid performance. They had that. Now they could move forward.
It would be too bad the season was practically over. Although there was still one more round of the Formula One World Championship still to be run, which would be the Spanish Grand Prix on the 24th of October, Gilby Engineering would not venture across the English Channel again throughout the course of the remainder of 1954. Staying on home soil meant the team was relegated to really just one more major non-championship race. That race would be on the 2nd of October and it was the 1st Daily Telegraph Trophy race held at Aintree just outside of Liverpool.
Although his British Racing Motors project had become something of an embarrassment, Raymond Mays would at least be part of a good idea. It would be proposed that a motor racing circuit could be built within the Aintree Racecourse. The home of the Grand National, the motor racing circuit would be able to use the same grandstands as it wound around and within the 4.5 mile horse racing course.
The grandstands and the areas around the circuit would be filled with thousands of spectators. They would be there to witness a 17 lap, 51 mile race. They would have the opportunity to see some of the best teams and drivers in all the world. Assembled at the 3.0 mile circuit would be teams like Officine Alfieri Maserati and Equipe Gordini. Some of the drivers included in the field would be Stirling Moss, Mike Hawthorn, Jean Behra, Reg Parnell and others.
Moss had been on a roll, and in practice, it would keep going. He would go out in his Maserati 250F and would set the fastest lap time around the circuit with a time of 2:03.6. Jean Behra would be the second-fastest around the circuit. His best time in his Gordini T16 would be nearly one and a half seconds off of Moss' best effort. The rest of the front row would consist of Mike Hawthorn at the wheel of a Vanwall in 3rd position and Harry Schell in 4th place in another 250F.
Comparatively, Salvadori would have a terrible time of things. Problems would cause him to be relegated to the tail-end of the starting grid. Although he would not start dead-last, he would come very close starting in the 18th position, the last position on the fifth row. Leslie Thorne would start 19th and would be on the sixth row of the grid all by himself.
As the field roared away at the start of the 17 lap race, Salvadori would have his work cut out for himself starting 18th on the grid. Stirling Moss would have about the easiest time of things at the start leading the way from his pole position.
Moss wouldn't be without his challenges. His greatest challenge would come from behind. Hawthorn would be right there fighting with him in the Vanwall. However, Hawthorn would have a fight of his own on his hands. Harry Schell would be all over him right from the beginning. Meanwhile, Salvadori would be steadily making his way up through the field. He would be helped out by the retirement of four entries by the time the race reached the 10 lap mark.
Moss would set the fastest lap of the race with a time of 2:04.8. Hawthorn would do his best to keep up with Moss by matching the fastest lap time. However, his battle with Schell, who was behind him, would allow Moss to pull away in the lead.
Salvadori would find himself running inside the top ten. His movement up the order would be aided by the troubles of others. Besides the four that would fall out early on in the race, Jean Behra and Reg Parnell would also run afoul of problems that would take them out of the race as well.
Starting from the tail-end of the grid meant Salvadori could be held up trying to make his way up the order. This would cause him to be under threat from Moss and the other front runners. Sure enough, coming to the final couple of laps of the race, Salvadori would be the last on the lead lap and would be close to going a lap down himself. He would manage to get by Bob Gerard for 7th place but would find himself stuck trying to track down Louis Rosier at the wheel of another 250F.
Moss would be anything but stuck. Being out front, Moss would continue to push hard and control the pace. He would continually pull away from Hawthorn. The only hope Hawthorn would have heading into the final laps would be for attrition to come calling on Moss.
Averaging a little more than 85 mph, Moss would manage to outrun attrition. He would cruise to the victory taking thirty-five minutes and forty-nine seconds to complete the 17 laps. His margin of victory over Hawthorn would be nearly fourteen and a half seconds. Harry Schell would still be right there on Hawthorn's tail. He would cross the line in 3rd place just one second behind.
Although Salvadori would become bogged down behind Rosier in another Maserati 250F, he would still put together a rather impressive performance coming all the way from 18th on the grid to finish in 7th place. After a troublesome starting position, Salvadori, and the team, would recover nicely to end with a solid performance.
Salvadori and the team would not earn one of its podium finishes. However, it would be a good result upon which to end the season.
The season had been filled with solid results, as well as, tough non-finishes. It had been a good thing the team at a Maserati 250F at its disposal. The power of the 2.5-liter Maserati would enable the team to earn those strong podium finishes. However, there was still a lot of work to go if Gilby Engineering had any aspirations of becoming one of the better teams.
The work the team needed to do to get its Maserati back up to top form had taken a lot of effort and there was still more to go. Therefore, the team would focus on preparing for the next season. Greene believed he had all of the necessary keys to be successful, it would just take some time and some more hard work to get all of those keys coming together as he believed they could. He still had a very simple goal: though the team may be handicapped by not being a major factory effort, it had the potential of beating them all. And this was where Greene expected to take his team. Gilby Engineering