BODIES AND RULES AND THINGS ON CLUBS AND
CREDIT for the good management of motoring sport rests with a number of leading organisations, and full and unstinted praise is due to them for the high status of the sport and the authenticity of its Internationally accepted records and race-results. First and foremost in bringing about this happy state of affairs is the A.I.A.C.R., which originated in 1904 as the Association Internationale Automobile, with the ‘ American, Austrian., Belgian, French, : Cerman, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swiss, Danish, Turin and British National clubs as members. The National clubs of other motor-minded countries affiliated before the War, and nowadays the A.I.A.C.R., as it now is, the central body governing International motoring , sport, does invaluable work in maintaining the status of motor-racing and in allowing participation therein to serve in the best possible way such countries as compete. Motor-racing is a rather curious combination of sporting contest, a valuable means of undertaking scientific research, and an extremely important advertising medium to the great motor industry. When you reflect how seriously we, in company with other countries where sporting instincts predominate, regard mere games of skill with bats and balls, arms and legs, insisting on central bodies of judgment and control that are beyond reproach, it is easy to see how vital the A.I.A.C.R. is to the welfare of the mechanised sport of motor-car racing and competition. This central controlling body is responsible for the International Competition Rules, the International flag-signals and carcolours, the acceptance of all records, world’s and International, and, since 1934, for an Internationally agreed formula governing the more classic Grand Prix races. The International Sporting Code is accepted by all countries affiliated to the A.I.A.C.R., and used by them in promoting their contests, and any disputes or appeals arising in connection therewith can be heard by the A.I.A.C.R. if the National club or the instigator of the appeal so desires. Perhaps the most valuable work done by this unbiased -central body is that of investigating and confirming (or rejecting, if need be) any records of International status set up under any of the affiliated National clubs, after the A.I.A.C.R. had, itself, brought about International acceptance of the cubic-capacity record classifications now universal. Yet, in spite of its lofty standing, it is an undisputable fact that an ordinary letter from an unknown writer will receive quite as much attention at the offices at No. 8, Place de la Concorde, Paris, which the A.I.A.C.R. shares with the famous Automobile Club de France, as anything coming from Whitehall or Berlin, from Milan or
Molsheim. Such courtesy is a rather natural association with efficiently conducted organisations of world importance. In this country the Royal Automobile Club has its special Competitions Department, under the able secretaryship of Capt. Phillips. Apart from supervising British record attempts and governing all British contests, from closed trials upwards, the R.A.C. promotes the annual 1,000 mile rally, though this year it savours more of an M.C.C. trial, and it has in the past been responsible for our most important sports-car race, the T.T., and for our leading light-car race, that run in the I.O.M. Only lack of suitable venues has led to the abandonment of one, and possible postponement of the other, of these valuable fixtures. Additionally, the welfare of British competitors in the International Monte Carlo Rally is expediently seen to by the R.A.C. It makes several yearly efforts to entertain motoring heroes returning to these shores from successful exploits over the seas, although it has shown a rather too obvious lack of hospitality to
disembarking Continental aces. Capt. George Eyston was the last driver to be so honoured, when he was temporarily confused with Segrave and when cheetahs, rather than thunderbolts, occupied the speaker. But, at least, our R.A.C. stages such welcomes as are expected of it.
Extremely valuable work is done in respect of ensuring the safety of spectators and participants at speed-meetings, both before and after the granting of the official permit. Occasionally this high emphasis on safety-first has cramped the style of organisers using private ground and excluding onlookers, whereas drivingtests, at which cars are equally likely to run dangerously amuck, have been allowed on public roads (as in a recent trial), market squares and seaside promenades, not always with a like regard for safety, first and foremost.
Cases have been known where the R.A.C. has passed regulations not conforming to their own or to Sporting Code requirements, and in the matter of congestion amongst trials fixtures, it has been left to the Bochaton Committee to get things moving, though the R.A.C. is extending every assistance. In this connection it seems unlikely that this Committee will seek control of trials to the extent of issuing its own permits, but it might do valuable work, in an advisory capacity, towards eliminating clubs whose behaviour or methods of organisation are detrimental to trials as a whole. Incidentally, there is no real obligation to run under a permit, if any club feels that it can satisfy the police authorities and defy being “sent to Coventry” by the R.A.C. for not so applying. In the matter of open contests a bar is put very effectively to any such independence of outlook by the existence of the Competition Licence, which can be withdrawn not only for behaving dangerously on the road, or unsocially In public in a manner detrimental to motor-racing, but for competing in any event not sanctioned by the R.A.C. The Competition Licence is thus a most valuable institution, apart from the revenue of some £200 which the R.A.C. derives from it in respect of the annual Rally alone, by making it compulsory equipment in that event. Lea Bridge Speedway is one of the places at which participation as a driver automatically confiscates the Competition Li CC 1 I CC, and this Licence is required for Continental as well as for British Open events,
Another of the R.A.C.’s associations with the sport is that of officially observing, when requested, any stunt that a resourceful individual or publicity department thinks up and undertakes, with a view to displaying certain qualities to the world—this year the Hour Runs round Brooklands by Frazer-NashB.M.W. and Lagonda sports-cars were placed beyond dispute by such official control. Next on our list of controlling or otherwise important bodies is the British Racing Drivers’ Club, founded in 1926 following a suggestion made by Mr. Ebblewhite, and having as its president, Lord Howe. Membership is confined to persons who have at some time handled a racing motor-car, which makes the Club distinct from the majority, to which anyone may pay the subscription and fix the badge to his radiator. Actually, the requirements are quite lenient, and. you meet quite a lot of folk sporting the extremely attractive badge whom you do not immediately associate with a racing cockpit. But the fact remains that all members of the B.R.D.C. are persons who should, and who mostly do, know something about fast motors and the handling of such machinery under racing conditions—which is untrue of lots of members of other motor clubs. Then the B.R.D.C. promotes annually the excellent Empire Trophy handicap race, and the ” 500 ” (once miles, now kilos) race round Brooklands. The latter, an outer-circuit event pure and simple, may seem a curious race for a drivers’ club to puton, and more Percy Bradley’s property, because a driver, as distinct from a technician or car-owner, is supposed to crave corners. The fact remains that this is a race that competing members like, and extremely successful into the bargain. Some people would like to see the B.R.D.C. do more for drivers than it does, even to becoming a kind of racing
drivers’ trade union. Cases certainly do arise when an appeal is not justified, or is unsatisfactory, after a race, but when official representation to an organiser by an official drivers’ representative on the spot could work wonders. I commend the idea to D. J. Scannell, who took over the secretaryship when Harry Edwards left to foster his road-circuit. One also hears it suggested that the B.R.D.C. should welcome foreign aces when they visit this country. As a matter of fact that is really a task for the R.A.C., but the B.R.D.C. did hold a reception for the German drivers after the Donington G.P., and they Rited Eyston last month— and we may be pretty certain all the Committee knew who Rosemeyer was ! The British Racing Mechanics’ Club deserves mention because it has a really exclusive membership, though I was saddened to learn that it gave away foreign cigarette lighters for prizes at its recent dinner ! Next I would mention the B.A.R.C., because, though purely a money-making race-promoting club that anyone may join, it controls so very effectively everything that happens at Brooklands. And Brooklands is still an excellent race centre, and an invaluable testing-ground. despite its thirty summers. For your membership fee you have the use of real club premises and the freedom of a quite unique institution—the first, and still the only, motordrome in Britain. Criticise the track how you will, not one of us would see it abolished, and Percy Bradley is continually doing all in his power to improve its amenities. The raceentries and membership roll must encourage him no end, and nowadays he actually has to turn down applications for booking the track for race-meetings, nor does the B.A.R.C. have to run any
long-distance races of its own. And Brooklands is still the only place where you can attack records, prepare for record attacks elsewhere, test ordinary motor-cars, and enjoy safe speed on any non-race weekday. The Derby and District Club has loomed large in British motor-racing since the opening of Donington, under Mr. Shields and. Fred Craner. I do not know whether members gain free or reduced admission to the course, but certainly this live club gains enormous status by reason of its association with our leading road-circuit, where nearly all our classic races are held. Fred Craner is the moving spirit and he works with a noticeable freedom, even to scorning the Press itself, at times ! Whether you like or dislike his methods you must admire his influence in attracting the Merc6des-Benz and Auto-Tinion teams last year and his continued striving to enlarge and improve Donington. If he follows the advice of Neubauer about the course, puts up safer safety-fences and finds somewhere satisfactory for the pits, this country will have little need to look shamefaced when road-circuits are men
tioned. The Derby and District M.C. has materially assisted in the general betterment of British racing. The Road Racing Club, which exists to run the Crystal Palace circuit, put up a most commendable effort in its first year to interest the ordinary individual in motor-racing and achieved most praiseworthy results with short races and crack cars and drivers, right in London itself. Harry Edwards was disappointed, which only indicates his faith and optimism. He appreciates the value of Continental starters and shows a good understanding of showmanship, as witness his sanction of the NashClutton duel. The very size of the task before him probably led Edwards to incorporate certain things not wholly approved by enthusiasts, such as crude broadcasts, mixed meetings and unsatisfactory Press arrangements. He has had to rely largely on voluntary help from motor-cyclists as flag-marshals, etc., which does not ease the difficulties of organisation. But he attracted . 30,000 Londoners to a sport they had probably never previously patronised, and that is a very creditable achievement indeed. But I do feel that the R.R.C. might have granted free admission to meetings, in the approved manner, to those who supported it even before the circuit was completed by becoming members at 2s. a time. And such members
would have welcomed occasional use of the course, especially as at the opening ceremony anyone who wanted was allowed to blind round, fortunately without sad results, for the edification of the news hawks. Primarily, the R.R.C. exists to promote races at the Crystal Palace circuit, and during its first season it put on important meetings with no relief in the shape of races organised by other clubs, as there were at Brooklands and Donington. It is to be hoped that with the perfecting of such promoting will follow greater facilities for actual members. Of the clubs not owning race tracks, the Junior Car Club takes pride of place. It has grown from a pre-war gathering of cyclecar fans into a body to which the majority of sporting motorists—both participants and followers—belong, so that I believe it has a bigger membership than any similar club. ” Bunny” Dyer brought it to its present proud position and his successor, H. J. Morgan, seems equally ambitious and capable. The 200 Mile Race, International Trophy Race, Brooklands Rally, High Speed Trial, Continental tours, trials— the J.C.C. runs them all, as closed events, and runs them astonishingly well. It has done so since early post-war days, putting on classic events with a sort of cheery impertinence and succeeding so well that these events became motoring history and we all forgot the J.C.C. was really just an ordinary small-car club— so that it ceased to be a small club at all and became the premier competition promoting body, appealing alike to club-men and racing drivers. It publishes a good ma a,azine, has permanent London offices, an an office by the old MOTOR SPORT Ofii e in the Paddock at Brooklands. cry good luck to it I The hlotar Cycling Club now attracts more car thau owning members and, under the oft-praised guidance of ” Jackie ” Masters, it has grown, like the J.C.C., from very small beginnings. Starting in 1910 the ” Exeter” trial, each year it has given us the three classic holiday trials which attract, in spite of being closed events and frequently scoffed at by the hirsute because they are asked to compete against the Club and not one another, bigger entries than any other trials. The M.C.C. also runs a big rally, other firstclass trials, and the Br soklands HighSpeed Trials that pair up so well with the
J.C.C.’s sister series. Its distinctive badge, depicting a 1901 De Dion engine, is deservedly carried on the cars of the famous, as well as those of scores of the not-yet-famous. The Light Car Club rises out of the mass of smaller clubs because for years it has given amateur enthusiasts their big chance to race genuinely, in the Relay Race at
Brooklands. This year this race is no more, but if the plans of A. E. S. Curtis succeed the L.C.C. will continue over and above the rank and file of motor clubs. The Club gains further distinction by limiting membership to owners of cars not exceeding 1,500 c.c. Of the remainder of clubs, the majority exist primarily, and as often as not simply and solely, ‘to promote trials. Perhaps the most famous of the really
old-established clubs in this category is the North West London M.C., ministered to by W. J. B. Richardson. Then there are quite a number of important clubs which organise speed events, some existing solely for this purpose, notably the Kent and Sussex L.C.C., and Leslie Wilson’s extremely well managed Midland A.C., with palatial club premises in Birmingham— where people must be only too glad to withdraw from the city’s drabness. The E.R.A. Club, under Sam. Green, is praiseworthy in a big way as a body which exists to encourage British participation in important races—a sort of Grand Prix Supporters’ Club on a dignified scale, with excellent social amenities. There are certain clubs restricted to special sorts of persons, amongst them quite a number of one-make clubs, including clubs for past and present scholars of our Universities, for the students of the University of London and the medical students, and for Civil Servants. The last-named body is mainly concerned with insurance and touring and general utility-facilities, but the trials secretary of the London branch is a born organiser— a pity he has only humble events to arrange. Of the one-make bodies the Riley M.C. is about the largest, although the M.G.C.C., run as a limited company, now has over 1,200 members. The Bugatti Owners’ Club, although only a small concern, with about 50 per cent. only of its members owning Bugatti cars, is run in a most thorough and dignified manner by the brothers Giles, so that it is regarded rather as the leading club for thoroughbred sports-car owners, and there is no telling how important it may become with the advent of Prescott. And ” Bugantics ” is easily the best of
all the club publications. The Vintage S.C.C., too, merits comment, as the body which nets together all those individuals who enthuse only over the older cars, which they usually insist are the only ” real motor cars.” Largely due to the efforts of Ned Lewis, Tim Carson and Cecil Clutton the membership is now nearly noo in spite of the membership restriction, the events organised are varied and important, and the Bulletin is a handbook of Vintage happenings rather than a mere club news-sheet. Then there is Donald Monro’s praiseworthy effort in getting fifty-seven members for his Invicta Club, the majority of them actually Invicta owners. The Veteran Car Club, about which Capt. J. Wylie is quietly enthusiastic, is a truly unique institution, wonderfully run, so that ordinary sporting motorists get as much pleasure from it as historians who would have all veteran cars put
safely under glass cases. Finally, the Motor Sports Club, with a clubroom for motorists in the very heart of London, must be a veritable God-send. to secretaries of clubs without premises of their own ; and that applies to the majority. Considerations of space have made it necessary to deal very briefly with each outstanding club, and have made finpossible separate comment of the Irish Motor Racing Club and the great Ulster A.C., which keep the Sport clean and very much alive in Ireland. For the same reason I find that, having dealt with those bodies which decide the fact and status of motoring sport by promoting or controlling events in this country, I have much too little space in which to deal with Rules and Things. I could write reams about handicap systems and the means whereby apparent ties are sorted out in trials, but will dismiss them by suggesting that if a competitor does not like the regulations he has no need to enter for the competition for which they apply. The number of entries for our innumerable competitions seems proof that there is nothing radically amiss in this department. What one does seek to obviate is rules which can result in wrangles between organiser and competitor, or which direct design into un fortunate channels. How serious this can be is illustrated by an event of some importance which appeared to have been won under the rules and results by a certain competitor but which was given by the judge to another driver. The dissatisfied competitor appealed to the R.A.C., who after the hearing asked the club concerned to alter its rules before future events, yet who allowed the result to stand because a clause in those rules implied that the “judge’s decision is final.” Clearly that was only meant to apply to an exceptional finish, as otherwise the results could be compiled before the contest, but the printed word is, unfortunately, interpreted literally in legal disputes. Incidentally on the subject of unsatisfactory results, I wonder why the S.M.M.T. doesn’t do something about small clubs which run events in carefree manner, and, because certain observers go off home to tea or because of timing inaccuracies, announce results of doubtful accuracy ? Their events may be relatively unimportant but the results, published In the motor Press, get world-wide
The 3.3-litre Type 57 Bugatti, one of the few remaining thoroughbred sports-cars, now has Lockheed hydraulic braking, as was forecast at the last Paris Show. The half-elliptic front suspension now embodies a torque-arm on the near side, and a floating spring-loaded shackle on the off side. New hydraulic, direct acting shock-absorbers are used, all round, of large dimensions to ensure the oil remaining at an efficient temperature. The brake drums are heavily ribbed, have light alloy back-plates, and twin separate master cylinders on the brake pedal. This fine car costs /675 in chassis form, at which price it is exceptional value for money. Saloon, coupe and drophead models are available from /,980 to
/1,200. C. E. Stapleton has acquired Col. Giles’s old Type 57, while R. B. Gardner is running Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Type 57S and R. C. Syrnondson has bought the ex-Embiricos Type 57S. J. Lemon Burton has sold the Grand Prix 3.8-litre to C. I. Craig.
MAIDSTONE MID-KENT MOTOR CLUB
The Safety First Run held last month WAS immense fun for everyone and really amounted to one half of the club
circulation and cannot be entirely devoid of publicity value. And every year the S.M.M.T. issues a list of events in which its members, who include almost the entire British Motor Industry, may compete, and forbids them to advertise successes in trials or rallies—which indicates that they are alive to the possibilities of results-errors.
Returning to rules that can lead to wrangles, one of the most tricky is that which seeks to confine sports-car events to sports-cars. Stipulate that a certain number of cars of the type entered must have been built and you eliminate newcomers, at the very stage when racing is likely to be most beneficial to such cars, both as a testing ground and a publicity medium. Nor do you obviate very complicated scrutineering or the chance that a dishonest somebody has written and had printed a fake catalogue for your benefit. Specify all sorts of permissible and not permissible limitations to the specification and everything depends on the inevitably very complicated scrutineering, apart from frightening away lots of entrants. Tell me, what is against specifying straight commercial fuel only, each car to carry a sufficient supply for the race in a tank filled and sealed by officials ? This would surely go a considerable way towards eliminating essentially non-standard cars that creep in under existing rulings. Another bother concerns bodywork in these races. I can never understand why all sorts of minimum and maximum measurements are deemed necessary, which, in the past, have led to standard bodies failing to comply. You surely need only specify sports equipment, leaving out mudguards for safety’s sake, and then stipulate a minimum width and a minimum head area. If certain people go to the expense of fitting light meffibers trying to catch out the other half. The thirty-two people who entered were required to observe all the requirements of the Highway Code and some forty marshals were spaced out along a set route of about thirty-five miles to do the watching. In addition there was another acting as a ” Mobile ” and he caught practically everyone on some pretext or other, which just goes to show how difficult it all is to be a perfect driver
even when one is really trying. The Chief Constable set down a dozen or so questions and these had to be answered in anything from 2 to 10 seconds. The outcome of all this was that the winner proved to be none other than a woman driver.
1. Miss Easty (Morris Eight saloon), who also won the Ladies’ award. 2. Mrs. Abery (Austin Ten saloon). In the opposite class the winners were :
1. G. liattersly (T. type M.G.).
2. J. N. Goodwin (T type M.G.).
Press Secretary : 203, London Road, Maidstone, Kent.
ROLLS-ROYCE APPRENTICES’ CAR CLUB
The Club is open to all motorists and motor-cyclists in the country, the subscriptions being :— racing-type bodies I doubt wry much whether they will gain sufficient advanage over the average circuit to scare away those who can only use standard bodies. Freak lamp sizes and funny screens might render things too favourable for the specialist, but in that case scrap equipment for everyone—the spectators don’t want to be reminded that it’s a sports-car race. If the argument is that big standard sports jobs usually have four-seater bodies, which the wealthy will now replace with streamline-tail twoseaters, well, just specify a given length of body over which the minimum width must be maintained, when special coachwork will not give as many extra knots
as will matter. But do let us forget measurements governing seats and floorlevels and doors and screens and hoods and steering columns, of the sort that insisted that Sir Henry Birkin should chop his standard-bodied Bentley about before the 1928 T.T. They only result in loss of entries, non-starters and untold opportunity for bitterness and wrangling.
Just as I have got off nicely to write on Rules and Things I have remembered two more clubs that should be brought in, so with them I will terminate, before space, or the sands of time, run completely out.
The first is the W.A.S.A., which runs trials and speed trials for the ladies. God bless them, often embracing courses and competition that defeat mere man. They have extremely fine club premises in London and do great work in furthering motoring sport amongst lady drivers. The second body is the National Car Speedway Association, which exists to control car cinder-track racing in this country. It seems to be ministered to mainly by a builder of midget cars and the promoter of speedway meetings.
7/6 per annum for a motor-cycle 10/per annum for a motor car ; and 15,1per annum for both.
The Club’s headquarters are at the Turk’s Head, Castle Donington, nr. Derby, from which centre it is intended to run trials and rallies. It is hoped that sprints and other events will be run at Donington Park.
A Club Badge has been designed and Is at present in the hands of the manufacturers.
The Hon. Secretary is R. Pocock, 208, Osmaston Road, Derby.
THE T.T.—SEPTEMBER 3rd
It is now announced that the R.A.C. Tourist Trophy sports-car race for 1938 will be held, and that the venue will be Donington Park. Mr. Shields and Mr. Craner deserve to have our most important fixture and we congratulate the R.A.C. on Its decision, after debating many difficulties, to hold this year’s T.T. at Donington. The date is Saturday, September 3rd. The rules are undergoing considerable
revision. If they are not delayed, we may hope for an excellent entry, for the British sports-car is still a marketable proposition, and, abroad, the T.T. affords invaluable publicity, especially as the new rules will probably aim at excluding eonsiderably modified standard productions.