In the early 1950s, after much discussion, it was concluded that Britain needed a sports car endurance race on the international level. The British Automobile Racing Club, a descendant of the prewar Junior Car Club which had organized races at Brooklands and Donington, decided to take the lead and organize such a race at Goodwood which was another of the postwar British race circuits to be sited on wartime RAF airfields. The Nine Hours would be started at 3 PM in the afternoon and would finish at midnight. The first running of the Nine Hours took place in August 1952 and the annual event continued through 1955 after which it was discontinued due to a lack of sufficient local spectator support for what was an expensive undertaking.
The above image, taken from the edge of the track at Fordwater, a sweeping right hand flat out curve on the back of the circuit, shows Alfonso de Portago with his personally-owned but factory-supported Ferrari 750 Monza which he shared with Mike Hawthorn, closely followed by the Ferrari 750 Sport of Jean Lucas who had Harry Schell as his co-driver. Hawthorn, who started and set fastest lap, and de Portago had a real duel with the Aston Martin and Jaguar teams and were well-placed when their Monza’s transmission seized after six and one-half hours. Goodwood was the second dnf for de Portago’s new 750 Monza after transmission problems with the car at Sebring where de Portago had had Umberto Maglioli as his co-driver. It had then sat unused for several months while its owner was recovering from a broken leg due to a practice crash in his 625F1 single-seater at Silvesrstone in May.
The Lucas/Schell car was an earlier version of a three-liter four cylinder Ferrari, being based on the Mondial chassis instead of the later and more sophisticated Monza. It had had an extensive Scuderia Ferrari race history in 1954 and was then sold to an Italian holding company identified with Jean Lucas. He was another def. The eventual Nine Hours winners were Peter Walker and Dennis Poore with a works Aston Martin DB3S, a lap ahead of an Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-Type.
Among the smaller capacity cars at Goodwood were a Porsche 550 Spyder driven by Stirling Moss and (here) Huschke von Hanstein and the Cooper T39 of Tommy Sopwith and Peter Blond. Neither of these would finish with the best under two-liter car being the Connaught AL/SR of Les Leston and Archie Scott-Brown in sixth place overall.
Photos by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collectio0n – http://www.klemcoll.com
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