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THERE is a lot of difference in making a book at Brooklands and making a book at an ordinary race meeting, in as much as at the latter place one finds nearly everyone present has a fancy and some knowledge of what, in his or her opinion, is likely to win. At Brooklands no one outside a few of the sharps who have had their stop-watches at work during a few days before the meeting knows who has an outstanding chance, and these particular gentlemen make very few mistakes.
Many of your readers will recollect the difficulty I had in persuading the Brooklands authorities that it was to their advantage to alter their regulations so as to permit of my making a book in the Paddock. The change has had the effect of enabling one to back a driver to win a hundred pounds or so, whereas in the old days a note was a lot.
The volume of business in comparison with the horserace meetings is very small indeed, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that any of the leading bookmakers in the Silver Ring at Kempton or Hurst Park would take more over one race than all the bookmakers at Brooklands would take over one event there.
It must not be forgotten that there is no outside or S.P. money for motor racing, and the size of the bet, as a general rule, is very small indeed. The biggest ones I have laid at Brooklands that I recollect have been £150 to i50 against Chessagne when he was favourite for the 200 Miles Race, an even Itoo against the Salmsons, and Mr. Coatalen has usually backed a Sunbeam team to win him £100 in the 200 Miles Race.
While many people thought the Alvis win in the 200 Miles Race last year was a “turn up,” they will be interested to know that the Alvis enthusiasts had 16 to i and 4 to I to quite a nice amount of money a few days before the race.
As a matter of fact, I have never yet succeeded in winning money over the 200 Miles Race, and probably I shall not do so while this particular contest retains certain characteristics for which it has been specially noticeable during the last year or so. It is, of course, usual in articles of this description to describe some of the humorous things that have happened, but as far as my recollection goes there is
nothing much in this direction to mention except the preference of the ladies for even *money when you are offering 6 to 4 against.
Personally I am afraid the authorities at Brooklands leave the general body of the public very little to bet with in these hard times, and I think the prices of admission should at least be halved ; then I believe we should see three or four times as many people attending the meetings.
As far as the cycle meetings are concerned, I have given them up as hopeless, and anyone who continues to attempt to make a book under the conditions I have experienced is entitled to the Championship for Optimism. I have recollections of paying out over two winners on one occasion when the wrong number was hoisted, and paying out over two winners on another occasion when the officials refused to put up the number at all of the man first past the post, over whom we had paid, because he had won by about half a mile, and I don’t know how much money we have given back over non-runners whose numbers were removed after the actual starters were on the line.
I believe that the competition which many people predict as likely to be injurious to Brooklands will prove another instance of the truth of the saying that “Competition is good for trade,” and it should bring many more competitors into the field if the authorities will but encourage them and appreciate them thoroughly. I would like to see a race for absolute standard cars of one make or other at every meeting, and to see
selling races tried again at Brooklands. That anything was “tried once before” at Brooklands and failed cuts no ice, as the number of cars to-day as compared with that of the pre-war period puts the matter on an entirely different footing. Probably 50 per cent. of the motorists of to-day would find the expense of an afternoon at Brooklands too much for them to try more than about once in a season. I am still of opinion that Brooklands provides the finest rendezvous in the country for motorists if the opportunity for sports and recreation in the way of tennis, golf, croquet and other games were taken advantage of, and I shall always be ready to join any a a
of enthusiasts with a view to pushing this proforward and on to the authorities.
I am very strongly in favour of the inauguration of system whereby all cars and drivers should have distinctive colour, as this would help considerably in the results of the races, and greatly add to the character of the meetings.