Matters of moment, April 1953
A Budget gesture?
Motorists, perhaps more than other mortals, await the Budget with both fear and anticipation. It is not our intention to dwell on the political and financial moves which the Chancellor may or may not make. But in this Coronation Year will he announce just two concessions to one of the most heavily-taxed sections of the community? A reduction in the savage tax of 2s. 6d. on a gallon of petrol and the £10 10s. annual taxation rate to apply to cars of up to 8 h.p., R.A.C. rating, instead of those of 7 h.p. as at present. A lower petrol tax has long been overdue. On the other issue we can only repeat that it seems absurd to have three rates of annual tax applicable to three classes of petrol-propelled four-wheeled road vehicles. The lowest rate applies to cars not exceeding 6 h.p., R.A.C. rating, and so few are involved as to make this division a Government subsidy of those who have built their own single-cylinder cars or who support the Veteran C.C. by running small veteran motor cars. The 7-h.p. too, both in respect of makes and total numbers of cars in use, is extremely restricted; offhand we can think only of the Baby Fiat, the older Jowetts, certain D.K.W.s and the Peugeot Quadrilette of the nineteen-twenties as able to benefit. But, extend the 10-guinea taxation rate to cars of 8-h.p. rating (must we then continue to stipulate pre-1947 — another complication?), and hundreds of thousands of owners of Austin Seven, Singer Junior, Ford Eight, Morris Minor, Triumph Super Seven and other true pre-war economy cars will have reason to bless the 1953 Chancellor of the Exchequer — and a Conservative Government.
After a particularly long, hard winter, and one noted for a high proportion of illness and disaster, the fog disperses, the sun shines, and we are in the thick of motor racing once again.
The B.A.R.C. commences the 1953 season with its Easter Monday racing at Goodwood, with eight short races to be contested, one can safely say keenly, over the Sussex circuit. It is expected that three again-vamped B.R.M.s sponsored by Alfred Owen will meet the 4-1/2-litre Thinwall Ferrari and that the latest Formula ll Maserati and the new Formula II Connaughts and H.W.M.s will compete, as well as Whitehead’s exciting Cooper-Alta, Stirling Moss’ new car and other exciting machinery.
Goodwood, near Chichester, can be reached by coach or by rail and ‘bus if you are so unfortunate as to be car-less at Easter, and full details of stand bookings, admission charges, car-park facilities and so on are obtainable from the B.A.R.C., 55. Park Lane, W.1 (Tel. Grosvenor 4471-2). It can be whispered that the public is usually admitted free to the enclosures while the drivers practise for a big meeting, which, this month, should mean active days on April 2nd and on Easter Saturday. Racing on Easter Monday starts at 1.30 p.m.
If Goodwood is the first important meeting, some excellent racing is sure to be seen at Castle Combe circuit, near Chippenham, Wiltshire, on Easter Saturday, when the Bristol M.C. & L.C.C. will put on 10-lap races for sports cars and Formula III machines. The first race is due to start at 1 p.m. Other April races are a Half-Litre C.C. meeting on Easter Monday at Brands Hatch, the Nottingham S.C.C. meeting locally on the same day, a Charterhall meeting in Scotland on April 12th, the Ibsley races on April 19th, starting at 12.30 p.m., and racing at Snetterton on the same day. Cast off – we’re away!
Changes in the calendar
Many readers rely on fixtures published in Motor Sport to plan their summer holidays, as recent correspondence and telephone calls confirm.
Take note, then, of some changes in the International Fixture List. Cancelled: Erlen, May 9th-10th; G.P. of Luxembourg, May 14th; Monaco G.P., May 25th; and Lausanne G.P., Sept. 6th. The 24-Hour Race at Spa happens on July 25th-26th. Curragh’s Wakefield Trophy Race is put off until September 12th, which means that you can see the T.T. and this race over the Dundrod circuit on consecutive weekends. And in the English International list place 500-c.c. racing at Crystal Palace on September19th, but cancel the Whit-Monday Goodwood racing. That corrects lists given on page 133 last month.
Entebbe to Jokkmokk
While the vast Austin assembly plant at Longbridge was virtually idle last month due to a strike, Austin’s P.R.O. was getting ready, in company with Ken Wharton and Ron Jeavons to motor from Entebbe on the Equator to Jokkmokk on the Arctic Circle via Khartoum, Cairo, Tripoli, Tunis, Marseilles, Strasbourg, Hamburg, Copenhagen and Stockholm, in an Austin A40 Somerset. The aim was to do the journey in less than a fortnight, and as they started on March 17th you should know by now whether this was achieved.