Here is a young driver named Stirling Moss, still with a full head of hair, in his 500 c.c. Cooper-J.A.P. before the First Heat of the International 500 c.c. Race (run in two heats and a final) at Silverstone during the British Grand Prix meeting on May 13, 1950. Moss was entered by his father Alfred, who in this photo is probably having a look into the engine compartment. The Grand Prix was an important event with the Royal Family in attendance for the first and only time in their private viewing stand and with King George VI meeting the drivers.
Our young and enthusiastic driver is now all ready, still on the straight of the Club Circuit which ran between Becketts and Woodcote of the Grand Prix circuit and doubled as an overflow paddock for the entries in the support races.
There were 31 entries in the First Heat and 30 in the Second. Among the well-known drivers in one or the other heat were Peter Collins, Paul Emery, Michael Christie, Ken Wharton and Charles and John Cooper, of course driving their own Coopers.
Moss related that the starts of both his Heat and the Final were a real “scrum” as he put it with a mass of the little F3 cars tightly bunched with very similar levels of performance. Here we see the field just after the start of the First Heat with Moss closest to the photographer. To his left in n. 60 is F. Winterbottom in another Cooper, this one with a Vincent motor cycle engine and behind n. 60 is Peter Collins in n. 14. Close behind Moss is D. Brown in another Cooper-J.A.P. and behind him comes Wing Commander F. Aikens in his Iota which had a Triumph motor cycle engine.
The finish in the Final was as close as everyone might have expected with Aikens holding on to his first place just in front of Moss and with Collins in third but certainly right with them.
So what of the Grand Prix itself? It was an Alfa Romeo benefit with Giuseppe Farina taking the win. He would also capture the first World Championship at the end of the season, just three points ahead of his to be more famous teammate Juan Manual Fangio.
Photos by Alan R. Smith, Tom March and Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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