THE WAY OF THINGS. ROAD RACING IN ENGLAND.
THE insistent demand for a road race in this country has given added interest to the recent announcements that have appeared to the effect that country estates have been acquired for conversion to road racing courses. One of these is the Drakelowe Estate near Burton-on-Trent, a delightful old country mansion situated in heavily wooded country on the low-lying bank of the Trent.
Another is Gopsall Park, between Leicester and Coventry, where, as with Drakelowe, it is proposed to use the house as a club, and the stables as garages, while the suggested circuit is to consist of an eight-mile course round the boundaries of this 1,000 acre estate, and is estimated to cost £100,000.
Such is the enthusiasm among motorists for roadracing, that we are all inclined to give an unqualified welcome to any possibility of its introduction, and it would be as well to consider in a detached and practical manner the requirements of a road-racing circuit on a private estate.
The most obvious condition is that it shall be able to pay its way, and this depends on low cost of construction, economical upkeep, and both accessibility and attraction to the largest possible public. We also consider that this necessitates confining its activities to road racing and its essential accessories. Plans for a gigantic country club at which every sport can be practiced are very pleasant in the abstract, but when the Automobile Racing Association, who are sponsoring the Drakelowe scheme, talk about having fishing and motor-boat racing on the same stretch of
river, it provides an example of enthusiasm obscuring practical considerations ! It must also be remembered that every sport except motor racing can equally well be practiced in hundreds of other places, and the upkeep of a large country estate is prohibitive. Due consideration gives the following main essentials of a practicable scheme. The site should be within an hour of London by car, on a main line, and between London and the Midlands. The surface must allow of cheap road construction without elaborate foundations (chalk being most suitable) and the circuit must include a climb
of 300 to 400 feet to provide a real test for cars and drivers, and the greatest interest to spectators. Trees, apart from being unpleasant to run into, ob scure the view, and if spec tators are to remain interested, they must have as nearly as possible a view of the whole course, with a minimum of “blind” points. In case we should be accused of demanding too
much, we can only state that a site with all the above qualifications exists, and a scheme for its development is in course of preparation.