Editorial Notes., August 1924

Our first word this month must be one of appreciation and thanks for the generous reception which was accorded the initial number of the BROOKLANDS GAZETTE. From all sections of the motoring community we have received spontaneous congratulations upon this journal.

That it has found a definite place in motoring interests is proved by the reception it has been accorded by all grades of car and motor cycle owners, and by competition enthusiasts in particular. Designed to supply those particular requirements of sporting motorists which had not hitherto been met, the BROOKLANDS GAZETTE appears to have completely filled its purpose. We do not mean by this that we consider No. 1 all that can be desired in the way of a sporting motoring journal.

We are not so egotistical or misguided as to think that. We are conscious, indeed, of several improvements that might be effected upon it. Some of these we have endeavoured to approach in the present number, others remain to be incorporated as soon as circumstances permit. But, taken as it was, our first number undoubtedly won approval.

The few appreciations published on our correspondence page are but typical of many others we have received. Hundreds of motoring enthusiasts, famous and obscure, have told us at Brooklands and elsewhere, that this journal is just what has been wanted.

It fulfils, they say, their desire for a well-produced publication reviewing the sporting side of motoring in an authoritative manner, it provides interesting reading about aspects of motoring not usually dealt with in the Press, and it illustrates sporting events and technical subjects in an original way. Our friends are very generous in their congratulations. If such approval inspires us to produce a still better journal in succeeding issues, we shall be fully rewarded, and to this purpose we are now devoting our energies.

We welcome criticism. Let any reader who thinks he knows how this journal could be made better write us his opinions. All such views shall receive careful consideration. In making this invitation there is, however, just one thing we should like to lay rather a strong emphasis upon. As a monthly journal, the BROOKLANDS GAZETTE is naturally a review rather than a newspaper, in the ordinary sense of the term.

This, we are quite sure, the majority of its readers want it to be. It intends to comment upon sporting events rather than to ” report ” them ; pointing out the lessons they convey for the improvement of motoring, and emphasising any practical accomplishments by man or machine which they may produce. Respecting its general review of motoring sport and sports motors, it aspires to view subjects from an original angle.

Technical and semi-technical articles are naturally prominent in such a programme, and it is our purpose to secure that these shall be thoroughly interesting to novice and expert alike, and of an informative, suggestive, and instructive nature. We hope, therefore, that we shall not receive unreasonable criticisms because, for instance, sporting events occurring at the extreme end of the month are not reported at great length.

The weekly motoring Press looks after the topical news service side of the movement, and looks after it, we would say, very well. The BROOKLANDS GAZETTE has something beyond this to do, and whilst we intend to spare no effort in making our news service as up-to-date as any monthly which has to print some time before publication can, we feel sure that all readers will appreciate in this journal interests which are not found in any other motoring publication.

The suggestions advanced by Professor Low for a super-reliability trial in the Isle of Man are amongst the most original proposals that have been made in connection with motoring sport for some time. It will at once be recognised that the Professor’s suggestions bear chiefly upon the improvement of the breed of motor cycles. As a sporting event there is not much to complain about in the present A.C.U. Six Days’ Trial, whether this is run as a standard stock machine event or not.

It is, however, only by the conversion of the Trial to a test of exclusively standard stock machines, which was effected this year, that it retains any substantial degree of importance as a classic test. Any decent motor cycle can be prepared to undergo successfully the trials imposed by recent Six Day events, certainly if one eliminates the freak hills and frame smashing roads formerly dear to the heart of the governing body. But when it is insisted that only standard stock machines—essentially “such as you can buy “—shall compete, it is soon revealed that some designers and manufacturers have still something to learn.

It is only, we think, as a standard stock machine test, that anything like what we have known for years as the A.C.U. Six Days’ Trial can nowadays have any educative value. This must be the first hypothesis in organising such events in the future. Professor Low would go much further. He suggests that a continuous trial confined to standard stock motor cycles and three wheel cyclecars should be run in the Isle of Man over a distance of 4,000 miles at an average speed of 30 miles an hour.

This, he suggests, would be a much more appropriate extreme test for present day touring machines than the customary A.C.U. Six Days’ Trial, in which the competing machines cover about 1,000 miles in daily instalments and do not exceed an average speed of 2o miles an hour. We agree with Dr. Low, and we think the A.C.U. Competitions Committee might well apply itself to an early consideration of this proposal, with a view to determining whether such a trial could be promoted next year.

It is presumed that the trial would have to be in the Isle of Man, mainly because it would be illegal to promote a trial at over 20 miles an hour in Great Britain. It would obviously be necessary to change drivers in such an event, but we do not see any serious objection to this.

On the whole, it seems indicated that the sporting aspect of this trial would be considerably more accentuated than that of the present A.C.U. Six Days’.

We quite anticipate that when the A.C.U. gets down to a serious consideration of this proposal, as we hope it will, some hesitation may be shown by the trade societies in offering their co-operation. We do not think they need fear such a trial.

The machines which came out of it victoriously would certainly have far more to be said for them than has the average winner of a gold medal in the present Six Days’ Trial. There is little doubt that most of the well known touring machines of to-day would not be greatly distressed by such a trial ; and if these events are really to be seriously regarded as attempts to further improve the breed, it is high time that something of this kind is evolved.

Many people think that the A.C.U. was over cautious in hesitating so long before it adopted the standard stock rule for the Six Days’. Be that as it may, we would certainly commend Dr. Low’s ideal to the powers that be as a very practical attempt to make the classic annual reliability trial more of what its title implies.

We imagine that such an event would be tremendously welcomed by the Isle of Man. It must be admitted that an ideal course exists there, although it would seem necessary to run this trial after the T.T.—assuming that these races will again be held in the Island in 1925.

We quite sympathise with the trade regarding the inconvenience and expense of competing in such a trial in Mona’s Isle. This, we think, is the only substantial objection to Dr. Low’s scheme, and, even it should spur on our various” governing bodies “to spur the Government to make possible such an event in England.

We commend readers’ attention to the careful review of the motor cycle Tourist Trophy Races appearing in this issue. Although we do not necessarily associate ourselves with all our contributor’s contentions, we feel sure that his arguments will be widely considered as worthy of thoughtful examination.

If there is one thing which strikes us as demanding a revision of the T.T. regulations for next year, it is the fact that many of the ” lightweight ” machines were by no means what should be implied by this designation. One of the chief values of the T.T. as it now stands, is surely to develop the efficiency of motor cycles as an all-round basis—power for weight, controlability, and economy of running.

We would like to see these factors very carefully insisted upon in the 1925 regulations. Everyone knows that very high speed can be attained with a specially constructed modern engine of, say, 250 c.c. What the buying public wants to be sure about is that motor cycles are getting lighter, stronger, and generally more attractive apart from mere engine efficiency and durability.

That the T.T. has done much good in recent years is proved by the wonderful performance of certain ultra-lightweight machines in the 1924 races.

But there is room for all-round advance to be proved. To take one point, noise means a waste of power, and T.T. machines are excessively noisy. The T.T. races cannot be made standard stock machine events, because one of their main purposes is to provide scope for experiment. Taken in the aggregate the Isle of Man races have benefitted ordinary touring motor cyclists enormously.

What is wanted to-day is sound foresight on the part of the A.C.U. in so arranging future T.T. meetings, that they are really productive of the greatest good to the greatest number of motor cyclists. We quite appreciate that design has now reached such a stage of evolution that it is by no means easy to arrange a thoroughly satisfactory series of T.T. races. The A.C.U.’s attempts to do this for next year will be observed with great interest.

Just now, inventors of devices to improve the efficiency or comfort of cars appear to be particularly prolific. Super-chargers, balloon tyres, new springing systems, wonderful streamlining designs and other scopes for genius are being extensively explored. We are at present giving attention to some very interesting new productions in these and other categories, and we hope to review them in forthcoming numbers after practical tests. First impressions are often unreliable in trying out new inventions in the motoring world, and we have no intention whatever of expressing a favourable opinion of any production after but a brief investigation.

The proof of the pudding is sometimes more in the digestion than in the eating, and therefore readers may appreciate our not serving up to them the first tastes of things we are asked to sample. Acting strictly on the basis of exhaustive investigation before criticism—which, incidentally, we are sure the vast majority of the motor industry will welcome—we are inclined to give the worn but useful assurance that “If you see it in the BROOKLANDS GAZATTE ”