JAGUAR: A RACING HISTORY IN NEW ZEALAND. PART 3 1956
1956 – XK120s, MKVIIs, C-Type, and Jaguar-powered cars aplenty
Ardmore 7 Jan 56 – At the NZIGP meeting held at Ardmore on 7 Jan 56, there were a number of cars with Jaguar engines: Englishman Leslie Marr entered a Connaught B-type (Chassis B3) fitted with a Jaguar D-Type 3442cc engine and a light alloy ‘streamliner’ body.
Also entered were Ron Roycroft in his Bugatti T35A Jaguar 3442cc, and Ray Archibald on his Jaguar XK120. Peter Whitehead from England brought his Cooper Mk2 T38 Jaguar to race in sports car races, as did Australian Tony Gaze his HWM Jaguar (chassis 53S) sports car.
Event 1 at Ardmore was a Saloon Car race over 10 laps, and in the ‘Over 3000cc’ class were #5 Tom Clark, #6 Frank Cantwell, and #7 C. Martin, all of whom drove Jaguar MkVII cars. Results in the up to 2000cc class were A.P. Stringer 1st in his Porsche Super 90 in a time of 21m 20s, from Jim Boyd’s Ford Consul Mk1 saloon, and V.L. Neate’s Borgward Isabella. In the over 2000cc class, results were Tom Clark’s Jaguar MkVII in 1st place with a time of 20m 44s, from Frank Cantwell’s Jaguar MKVII, and Ross Jensen was 3rd in an Austin A90 Atlantic; C. Martin in his MKVII was 5th .
Event 2 was the 15 lap ‘Ardmore Handicap’ for Sports Cars, and in the over 3000cc class entrants included #24 Peter Whitehead in his Cooper T38 Jaguar, and #25 F.A.O (Tony) Gaze in his HWM Jaguar. Results showed Stirling Moss, starting on a handicap of 4m 47s behind the first cars to start, won in Australian Norman Hamilton’s Porsche Spyder in a time of 29m 49.6s. Peter Whitehead, starting on a handicap of 5m 15s, was 2nd in his Cooper T38-Jaguar, some 10 seconds behind Moss. Tony Gaze, off a 4m 56s handicap, was 3rd in his HWM 53S-Jaguar, and Ross Jensen, off a 4m 19s handicap, was 4th in his Austin Healey 100S. Moss and Whitehead shared the fastest lap of 1m 37s. Results for Ray Archibald in his Jaguar XK120 are unknown.
Event 4 was the 1956 NZIGP, won by Stirling Moss in his Maserati 250F (chassis 2508), covering the 100 lap 200mile/321.89km race in 2hrs 32min 23sec. Gaze and Whitehead were 2nd and 3rd in their Ferrari 625s, and Marr finished 4th in his Connaught B3 Jaguar, having completed 95 of the scheduled 100 laps. Reg Parnell from England, having broken the engine in practice in his single-seater Aston Martin DB3R, drove Whitehead’s Cooper T38 Jaguar sports racing car in the GP and finished in a credible 5th place on 94 laps. Ron Roycroft took a fine 6th place (and first New Zealander home) on 91 laps in his aged 1925 Bugatti T35A Jaguar 3442cc. Although entered, Ray Archibald’s XK120 was not listed amongst the cars that started the GP.
For Event 5 for the ‘Ultimate Race Car Feature’ raced over 10 laps, Ron Roycroft entered in his Bugatti T35A Jaguar, but as he had already qualified for the GP, he did not drive in the Ultimate Feature race. The race was won by George Smith in his Gee Cee Ess 4071cc, from Roly Crowther in a Maserati 6CM 1500cc s/c, and W. Thompson in a Bugatti-Ford 4000cc.
Levin 14 Jan 56 – The inaugural meeting was held at the new Levin track on 14 Jan 56; Jaguar entries were from Ron Roycroft in his #28 Bugatti T35A Jaguar, and Bruce Cook in his #9 Jaguar XK120. The only recorded results for Jaguar on the day were for Bruce Cook who took 2nd place in his XK120 in Heat 2 of Race 4 for Sports Cars, behind Ross Jensen in his Austin Healey 100S. In the 15 lap Final for Formula Libre cars, Tom Clark won in his Maserati 8CM, from Doug Caldwell’s Alfa Romeo P3 and Syd Jensen’s Cooper MkIX, but Ron Roycroft’s Bugatti T35A Jaguar retired with a broken gearbox casing.
Wigram 21 Jan 56 – The Lady Wigram Trophy race meeting was held 21 Jan 56 at RNZAF Station Wigram. The first race for the day was a 12 lap ‘Open Car Race for Open Cars not in the Trophy Race’. Ten cars were entered including #10 I.E.O. McKellar in his Jaguar XK120 3442cc. The race was won by #2 Tony Shelly in a Morgan Plus 4, in a time of 23m 53s, from #9 Miss N. Blackburn in a Cooper J.A.P. 498cc, with #4 R.S. Rutherford Vauxhall s/c in 3rd place.
In the Redex Sports Car race over 24 laps, with a Le Mans start, there were five Jaguar, or Jaguar powered cars – #8 Ray Archibald in his Jaguar XK120, #9 Arthur Moffat in his XK120, #10 I.E.O. McKellar in his XK120, Peter Whitehead in his Cooper T38 Jaguar 3442cc, and #3 Tony Gaze in his HWM Jaguar 3442cc. Gaze won in a time of 39min 8.7sec, from Archibald’s XK120 in 2nd place on 40min 5sec, with Australian David McKay 3rd in his Aston Martin DB3S. Gaze was 1st in the over 3000cc class, from Archibald’s XK120, with Moffat’s XK120 in 3rd place.
The 1956 Lady Wigram Trophy Race saw Peter Whitehead’s #2 Ferrari 625 on pole, from #4 Leslie Marr in the Connaught B3 Jaguar, with #3 Tony Gaze next fastest in his Ferrari 625, and Reg Parnell 4th in the #1 Aston Martin DB3R. On Row 2 were Syd Jensen’s #16 Cooper MkIX-Norton 500cc, Ron Roycroft’s #23 Bugatti T35A Jaguar, and Ron Frost’s #15 Cooper MkIX-Norton 500cc. Ray Archibald in his #8 Jaguar XK120 was in Row 3, while Arthur Moffat was in Row 5 in the ex-Jack Tutton/Lupp/Horton #9 XK120.
Peter Whitehead won the 71 lap Trophy race in a time of 1hr 48min from Tony Gaze, and Leslie Marr was 3rd in his Connaught B3 Jaguar. Ron Roycroft was 7th in the Bugatti T35A Jaguar, with Arthur Moffat 10th and Ray Archibald 11th, both on 68 laps in their XK120s. Whitehead recorded the fastest lap in 1m 29.5s – and average speed of 85.11mph/136.97kph
Front Row from right – 2 Whitehead Ferrari 625, 4 Marr Connaught B3 Jaguar, 3 Gaze Ferrari 625, 1 Parnell Aston Martin DB3R
Row 2- Syd Jensen Cooper MkIX being pushed, 23 Roycroft Bugatti T35A Jaguar, 15 Frost Cooper MkIX
Row 3 – 8 Archibald Jaguar XK120, 5 McKay Aston Martin DB3S, 12 Hoare Maserati 4CLT/48
In behind – 9 Moffat Jaguar XK120 – photo from book ‘Up to Speed’, page 254
A 12 lap Saloon Car race with a handicap start followed the Lady Wigram Trophy race and Frank Cantwell entered his #4 Jaguar MkVII 3442cc, as did late entrant W. McDonald his Jaguar MkV. Also entered were #1 V.L. Neate’s Borgward Isabella 1493cc, #2 G.A. Archibald’s Citroen Light 15 1911cc, #3 B. Langley in his Austin A50 1489cc, #5 Harold Heasley Ford Consul Mk1 1508cc, #6 A.P Stinger’s Porsche 356 Super 1188cc, #7 Miss S. Blackburn Ford Anglia 1100cc. As expected, Stringer won in his Porsche, from Neate’s Borgward, with Archibald’s Citroen in 3rd place – Cantwell was 7th in his Jaguar MKVII.
Dunedin 28 Jan 56 – It was not a successful day for Jaguar at the 1956 Dunedin Festival Road Race as neither Leslie Marr (Connaught B3-Jaguar), Arthur Moffat (ex-Tutton/Lupp/Horton XK120), or Ron Roycroft (Bugatti T35A Jaguar) were placed in the 44 lap race, won by Tony Gaze in his Ferrari 625, from Reg Parnell’s Aston Martin DB3R. Marr ‘grounded’ the Connaught B3-Jaguar on an overbridge on lap 1, and retired with damage to the underside of the car. Arthur Moffat’s cream-coloured XK120 did not finish in the top-ten. Roycroft retired the Bugatti T35A Jaguar on lap 20 of 44 with steering box problems.
Although he had practiced in the car, Tony Gaze withdrew the HWM Jaguar before the start of the Sports Car Handicap race. With a significant handicap at the start behind the first cars to start, neither Arthur Moffat, nor Ray Archibald, in their XK120s had any chance to get to the front in a race, won by Jim Boyd in his Buckler MkVI-Ford, from Ross Jensen in the Austin Healey 100S, and Dave Edmiston in a #4 Singer roadster.
Mairehau 4 Feb 56 – The first race at the Mairehau Circuit on Saturday 4th February 1956 was a 10-lap ‘All Comers’ Handicap over 25 miles/40km; Arthur Moffat entered his cream coloured #20 Jaguar XK120 and started from a handicap of 1min 30 sec in the 19-car grid, and Ron Roycroft entered his #88 Bugatti Jaguar. The race was won by Ron Frost driving his yellow Cooper Mk IX Norton, from Tom Clark in his Maserati 8CM, with Mrs June Monk 3rd in her Triumph TR2. The race handicap from starting on ‘scratch’, 6min 20 sec behind the first car to start, was obviously too much for Roycroft.
The second event was a Sports Car Handicap over 8-laps/20mile/32km; there was five Jaguars entered – #28 Ian McKellar in his silver-grey XK120 starting off 1min 30sec, D.G. Owen in his #37 XK120 off 1min, Arthur Moffat in his #20 Cream XK120 off 25 sec, Jack Tutton in his XK120 C-Type off 10 secs, and Ray Archibald in his #22 green XK120 off scratch. Ross Jensen won driving his Austin Healey 100S, from Jack Tutton’s C-Type, and Ray Archibald was third in his XK120.
The fourth event on the programme was the 1956 South Island Championship Road race, a Handicap event over 30 miles/75 miles/120Km. There were three Jaguars entered – Arthur Moffat’s #20 XK120 starting off 5mins, Jack Tutton’s #5 C-Type on 4min, and Ray Archibald’s #22 XK120 on 3min 30sec. Ron Roycroft did not start in the Bugatti Jaguar. The 30-lap Handicap section of the race for the C.W.F. Hamilton Trophy was won by Levin’s Ron Frost in his Cooper Mk IX-Norton 500cc, from John Horton’s HMW-Alta, Jim Boyd’s Buckler MkVI-Ford, and Jack Tutton’s Jaguar C-Type was 4th. Tom Clark in his Maserati 8CM set the fastest lap. Archibald did not finish, and Moffat did not feature in the results.
Ryal Bush 11 Feb 56 – The 1956 Southland Centennial Road race was held for the first time at Ryal Bush, near Invercargill, on 11 Feb 56. The race was held over 41 laps of the 3.65 mile/5.87km track for a total of 150 miles/240.6km. The two Ferrari 625s of Peter Whitehead and Tony Gaze took the first two places, with the race time for the winner being 1h 35m 40s. Two laps behind was Reg Parnell’s Aston Martin DB3R in 3rd place, and Roycroft’s Bugatti T35A Jaguar was 4th. Leslie Marr in his Connaught B3 Jaguar ‘retired’ on the first corner of the first lap of the main race – it was hard to race with his car in a drain!
Front row – #3 Peter Whitehead Ferrari 625 (on ‘pole’), #2 Leslie Marr Connaught-Jaguar
Row 2 – #4 Tony Gaze Ferrari 625, #22 Tom Clark Maserati 8CM,
Row 3 – #6 Frank Shuter Edelbrock-Cadillac, #1 Reg Parnell Aston Martin DB3R
Row 4 – #18 Ross Jensen Austin-Healy 100S, #88 Ron Roycroft Bugatti T35A-Jaguar
At rear on the right of the photo – #26 Irving (Pop) Hayes Jaguar XK120
Photo via Graham Woods in Jim Barclay Collection
In the Sports Car race over 12 laps of the 3.65 mile/5.87km circuit, there were 23 entries. Tony Gaze was the favourite to win in his #44 HWM 53S Jaguar, but he retired with rear axle problems. There were four Jaguar XK120’s entered for the race – #20 Arthur Moffat of Ashburton, #26 Irving Hayes of Invercargill, #34 Ray Archibald of Christchurch, and, #47 I.E.O. McKellar of Ashburton.
After the event at Ryal Bush, the Leslie Marr Connaught B3-Jaguar was returned to England. It reappeared in New Zealand in 1958 under the ownership of Bernie Ecclestone, having been refitted with a streamliner ‘Toothpaste Tube’ body and an Alta 2.5 litre engine. It was driven at Ardmore and Wigram in 1958 by Englishman, Stewart Lewis-Evans; the car reappeared in New Zealand in ‘Historic’ races in the 1980s driven by Paul Leuch.
Ohakea 3 Mar 56 – The 1956 Ohakea Trophy Race meeting was held on runways at the RNZAF Station Ohakea on 3 Mar 56. In Event 2, a Sports Car Scratch race over 8 laps, Bruce Cook took 1st place in his Jaguar XK120, ahead of J.C. Seabrook of Auckland in an Austin Healey, and S.B. Robinson of Auckland in a Triumph TR2.
Event 4 was a 7 lap Saloon Car Scratch race, and Auckland’s Tom Clark won in his #36 Jaguar MVII, from #28 M.G. Jensen in his Riley 2.5, and #24 Noel Dickson of Woodville in his Zephyr. Although entered, Bill Culver from Thames in his #31 Jaguar MkV did not start.
Event 6, the Sports and Racing Cars Scratch race over 8 laps, saw a Jaguar-powered car in the field. Although entered to drive his fast, but somewhat troublesome Ferrari 375, Ron Roycroft instead drove his Bugatti T35A-Jaguar in place of listed driver, Johnny Mansel. Dpug Caldwell from Tuakau won the race in his Alfa Romeo Tipo B ‘P3’, Ron Roycroft was 2nd, with Ron Frost 3rd in his Cooper MkIX-Norton.
Front Row – 1 Frost Cooper MkIX, 22 Sulman DB3S, 2 Stafford Cooper MkIX, 3 Hugill Cooper MkVIII, 4 Gilbert Cooper Mk VI, 28 Roycroft Bugatti Jaguar, 10 Drew Cooper, 11 Clark Maserati 8CM, 14 Caldwell Alfa Romeo P3, McMillan Alfa Romeo P3
Row 2 – 23 Lawrence Citroen, 25 Culver De Soto Special, 31 McDonagh Thomas-Mercury, unknown in Austin-Healey, 8 Buckthought Liteweight Spl, 32 Freeman Lago-Talbot, 41 Fox MG TF
Row 3 – 12 Hobbs TR2, 18 Richardson Austin Healey, 19 Les McLaren Austin Healey, 20 Ross Jensen Austin Healy 100S
Row 4 – 44 Wigmore MG TF, 45 C.W Harris Buckler MkVI, 46 Phil Kerr Buckler MkVI, 46
– photo by Bruce Watt via Len Gilbert in Jim Barclay Collection
Event 8, a Saloon Car Handicap over 6 laps, saw Tom Clark in his big MKVII Jaguar take 4th place behind G.D. Morris in a Riley 1.5, E.S. Withers in a Standard Vanguard, and Johnny Windleburn in a Morris Minor. It is not known if Bill Culver in his Jaguar MkV started the race.
And so to the main race, Event 10 on the programme, the Ohakea Trophy Race. Ron Roycroft drove the Bugatti T35A Jaguar again (instead of Mansel) and took 2nd place in the 15-lap Selwyn Molesworth Trophy, behind Tom Clark in his Maserati 8CM. Next was Arnold Stafford in his Cooper Mk IX-Norton, with George Palmer 4th in his Cooper T20-Bristol Mk1.
Levin 22 Oct 56 – On Labour Day 1956, the second meeting was held at Levin. Jaguar entries were from Tom Dodunski in his Jaguar XK120 (chassis 660799), R.E. Ellis in his Ford Jaguar Special of 3660cc, and Ron Roycroft who drove his Bugatti T35A Jaguar in place of his somewhat troublesome Ferrari 375.
Tom Dodunski in his XK120 scored a win in the Handicap section of Race 9 for Formula Libre cars over 10 laps, ahead of Jim Boyd’s Buckler MkVI sports car, and J.B. Taylor’s J.B.S. 500cc. The ‘Scratch’ class of Race 9 was won by Syd Jensen in his Cooper Mk IX-Norton 500cc, from Ron Hugill’s Cooper MkVIII-Norton 500cc.
Dodunski in his XK120 was 3rd in Race 12 ‘Sports Cars Final’, behind Ross Jensen’s Austin-Healey 100S and Jim Boyd’s Buckler MKVI; and Dodunski’s XK120 was 1st in Race 15 Sports Cars Consolation, ahead of J. Hobson’s Lotus and Dr. Bruce Cowie’s Austin-Healey 100.
Ron Roycroft was 3rd in Race 19 Sports & Racing Invitation over 10 laps, behind Syd Jensen’s little Cooper 500cc and Tom Clark’s HWM-Alta.