Unhappy contrast

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WHEN MOTOR SPORT suggested, at the beginning of the war, that a trial or other contest might be organised and entries taken from amongst Service and Home Defence personnel, we hardly expected such a state of affairs to come about. Yet such is now the case. We read that “Centre officials are quite pleased with the second Services trial. . . ” “The Army were missed, but the Home Guard and A.R.P. Services were very much in evidence.” “The club has planned two trials for its spring programme. These will be specially designed to appeal to serving riders, whether they be in the Forces, Home Guard, A.R.P. or Civil Defence organizations.”  Alas, all these references, taken from our bright contemporary, “Motor Cycling,” refer to motor-cycle events. In two days’ time we shall attend a motor-cycle scramble, held on W.O. ground with full War Office sanction. Another such event is scheduled for April 27th at Bagshot. A chance for riders to get more than a breath of the good old times—go along and see for yourself. There have been quite a number of these motor-cycling events since war commenced. They have proved excellent fun, have been of training value, have provided valuable relaxation for riders and spectators alike, and have been of inestimable benefit in keeping the sport well to the forefront in the scheme of unwarlike happenings—and the war must end sometime. More than this, motor-cycle club-nights go on very merrily. From a fixture-list picked at random we have counted 18 scheduled for a Thursday, 17 for the Friday, 5, including a film-show and supper, for the Saturday, 38 including the scramble aforementioned, for the Sunday, 4 for the Monday, 17 for the Tuesday, and 22 for the Wednesday of that particular week.

We know that car owners do not necessarily crave a beer and darts gathering in the local public-house every week, but no one will deny that they could do with more club activity than is happening in our world. The 750 Club can never be praised enough for carrying on its meetings (and its “Bulletin”), and as the secretary has a fulltime war job and managed to get married recently into the bargain, to run a club like this is obviously not rendered impossible under conditions of national emergency. The dear old gentlemen of the R.A.C. withhold trials permits because our cars use more “Pool” than motor-cycles—which we thought was why we are allowed a bigger basic ration while all is well with the country’s fuel reserves. The old folk may be right, but we can still hold contests of a lesser nature, or just gather to talk and inspect cars. Yet so very little is open to us. Since the war those go-ahead clubs, the Vintage S.C.C. and Bugatti Owners’, have, as it were, hidden their light behind a masked headlamp, and the J.I.C. dines and wines its council, but not its members. If it were not for his everlasting personality, we should almost have forgotten “Jackie ” Masters. There are a few schemes afoot to remedy this unhappy contrast with motor-cycle management. Rivers-Fletcher, of the E.R.A. Club, wants to compile a register of those who would support car-club gatherings. We venture to suggest to him that the answer can be found now and much paper, postage and time saved—surely it is: “all who can get there,” or, added up, quite a respectable number! A reader is trying to form a local war-time club and appeals to others to do so in their localities. But we feel that things may be slow in moving; let some carefree person suggest that at 12 noon one Sunday he and his lady will picnic in a certain spot near London in their sports motor-car and that there will be space enough around them for other ladies and gentlemen to stop their vehicles if these be of sufficient interest. As a measure of enthusiasm we do not think there would be cause for disappointment in undertaking such a seemingly casual experiment, and much good might result. Who will be the first sportsman to try something on these lines for the good of his fellows, while club secretaries dust their record?

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