Rumblings BOANERGES, August 1932
Aft Tian !VERGES
Those “Dark Horses.”
WHENEVER a few motoring enthusiasts foregather nowadays there is bound to be a discussion on the spacial announcement in the B.A.R.C. entry forms for the August Bank Holiday Meeting. Roughly, this announcement warns intending competitors that . should any car develop an abnormal increase in speed in any one race, a satisfactory explanation must be given by the driver concerned, otherwise there will be trouble.
Now this is only right and proper. The handicap system is only a compromise at the best of times, but for various reasons it is essential at Brooklands. The system depends entirely for its smooth working on the integrity of competitors in not hiding anything up their sleeves, and it is up to them to lay their cards on the table. As a minor point, which does not really affect the main issue, it is definitely annoying to those of us who like a “flutter,” whether with a book-maker or by means of that intriguing machine the “tote.” to find that a car which has been obviously slow in the first two or three races, suddenly wakes up and pulls off a later race a good 10 m.p.h. faster than its earlier speed.
At the same time, the point of view of those competitors who are avowedly “out to beat the handicappers •” is worth consideration. ” Racing is an expensive business,” they ‘say ; “the entrance fees are not low ; a good deal of time and money has to be given to the preparation of the car ; and special fuel and plugs have to be used. Can you blame us for trying to recover some of this expenditure by taking steps (i.e., not putting the maximum amount of lead in our boots in the first few races) to see that we secure long odds against our winning. After all, we still might not win ! “
.Be that as it may, there is no doubt as to the necessity for strong official action. Alternatively, cheaper racing would take away any future offender’s only possible excuse.
Discretion is the better part . . . .
He was a plucky gendarme, but a very unhappy one. I came across him during a hike round the French Grand Prix course—at Gueux. One after another the cars came slithering into the bend, as their drivers fought to avoid a dive down the escape road. He stood, in what
appeared to be rather a precarious position, on one side of this road, almost hugging a concrete lamp standard. As each car thundered down upon him, an obvious struggle for self-control waxed and waned on his expressive features. Should he disgrace his uniform and dart behind the bales of straw which lined the street behind him, or should he stand his ground in the hope that a broadside skid would not sweep him and the lamp standard into oblivion ?
As the inventor of a new kind of road race thrill, the gendarme was fascinating and I watched him for some time—from the comparative safety of the straw bales. Why traffic ,control duty was thought to be necessary at such a spot during the, height of the Grand Prix was beyond me—but I have learnt not to question the wisdom of the police. Then a new thought struck me. How would a London policeman behave under similar circumstances? Would even his impassive dignity be disturbed by the approach of a horde of racing cars decelerating from the region of 130 m.p.h. to hurl themselves—under his very nose—round an awkward bend at forty ? Again, how would I behave myself ? I decided to put it to the test. Quietly I slipped out and stood beside the gendarme. He at once began to wave me back to the straw bales and I was about to argue the point when once more we heard the familiar whine and roar of an approaching car.
I took a grip on myself and stared hard up the street. Flashing straight at us was a wicked-looking Alfa-Romeo. As it swept up, it seemed as if nothing could prevent the monster from devouring, with a flick of its tail, the gendarme, myself and the lamp standard. There was a terrific screech of tyres, a nightmare glimpse of the car skidding like a whirlwind right on top of us—and I leapt shamelessly for the straw bales. As I fell behind them something heavy crashed down on to me. I thought all was over. Then I heard a voluble French oath, and the weight was lifted. It was the gendarme. My honour was saved and we dusted each other down with mutual apologies and expressions of goodwill. Then we looked for the wreckage of the Alfa-Romeo. The car was not in pieces—and the lamp standard still stood.
The driver of that car must have been Nuvolari.
The Relay Grand Prix.
F. 4 VERYONE thoroughly enjoyed the Relay Prix. To my mind, it is just the sort of that has been wanted for some time. As training for bigger races it would be hard to beat, should help people to become used to the of a crowded track during an important race. The race was full of humorous incidents. from people running round the track (and how the expanse of concrete seems to a short-winded I can personally testify), there were some ” crashes ” at the Fork. As one to whom the
brand of humour has an irresistible appeal, I the sight of certain drivers, sash in hand.
violently into irate officials, press photographers bystanders in the process of handing over at the as much as any Laurel and Hardy film. What made funnier still was the intense seriousness of the concerned in the said collisions.
Advice to Racing Aspirants.
I am constantly inundated with enquiries from thusiastic young people as to the best means of initiated into the art of motor-racing. My advice to and sundry is to roll along and see John Yule, the Secretary of the Light Car Club, and he will fix you up with entry forms for next year’s Relay Grand Prix !
The Winning E.W. Hornets.
I had a chat with F. S. Hutchens, a member of victorious team of E.W. Hornet Specials, after he had completed his 30 laps. He was delighted with the performance of his mount, and me that the car felt good for an unlimited number of laps. The engine was held at a steady 5,200 r.p.m., and he actually did several laps at 86 m.p.h. The car used only 21 gallons of petrol.
In the unlikely event of the failure of horse-racing to continue to attract the wealth, beauty and fashion of this .country to Ascot and Goodwood, perhaps the lure of the four-wheeled thoroughbred will prove irresistible. I am moved to this noble reflection by the unusual spectacle at the Guy’s Gala meeting of a royal enclosure at Brooklands. Never before at a motor race meeting have I seen such an array of fashion, and there was the authentic Ascot touch of slightly formal gaiety. The humorous idea occurred to me that grey top hats, morning coats and gardenias may soon be the wear for motor race meetings. Not too soon, I hope. Like many of us who enjoy delving among the more oily recesses of refractory motors, I am unregenerate in the matter of clothes.
Besides, I do not possess a grey top hat.
Those Country Clubs.
Brooklands as a resort of fashion reminds me of the talk one hears from time to time of super country clubs, with motor racing tracks thrown in as a sideline. Judging from a photograph shown to me by a young enthusiast the other day of a proposed estate for such a club, I must admit that it provided a perfect setting for the .display of the latest fashions from Paris and London.
There was a considerable background of trees, for instance, and I heard with regret that many these would have to be cut down in order to make path for the race track. I listened to an exposition the beauties of the place and was suitably impressed when told that, in addition to ” all the thrills ” of motor racing, there would be facilities for lawn tennis, badminton, boating and even fishing. It would be unkind, at this point, to mention the name and locality of the proposed club—in fact wild horses would not drag them from me. But wild horses would drag me with ease to witness the extraordinary spectacle of some of our leading drivers flitting madly in and out among those mighty tree trunks in order to provide” all the thrills “of motor racing for the invisible crowd parked somewhere among the greenery. If there is one thing a racing driver loves more than another it is the presence of trees, large, immovable and close up to the road ! Over the strange association of motor racing with tennis, badminton, boating and fishing, I will draw a veil. It all sounds far too much like a celestial Blackpool. I have before me the booklet of Supplementary Regulations for the 500 Miles Race, to be held on Saturday, September 24th. The various handicap speeds are as follows :
the Secretary of the B.R.D.C., has got together a really impressive list of awards. To the entrant of the winning car will be presented the ” Wakefield “Trophy, a magnificent piece of work, valued 2100, and 2200 in cash, donated by that great sportsman, Lord Wakefield ; the entrant of the second car will be awarded the ” Barnato ” Trophy and 2100, presented by Capt. Woolf Barnato, himself a great driver ; while the entrant of the third car home will receive the ” Follett ” Trophy and 250, presented by that sporting concern, Charles Follett, Ltd. Other substantial prizes are the “Field Gold Team Trophy,” a prize of 2100, presented by Messrs. Lucas, Ltd., for the first British car to finish, and others kindly donated by Rudge-Whitworth, Ltd., the Vacuum Oil Company, K.L.G. Sparking Plugs, Vanden Plas, Ltd., Jack Barclay, Esq., N. H. Freeman, Esq., and the B.R.D.C. There have been lots of rumours with regard to some of the Continental ” aces ” coming over for the race, and I am in a position to state that a definite entry has been received from Count Czaikowski, who as everyone knows, has competed regularly for the last two or three years in many of the big races abroad at the wheel of
Bugattis. There is also a strong possibility of Louis Chiron and M. Zehender coming over., the former on a Bugatti, probably a 4.9 litre car, and the latter at the wheel of a 2.3 Alfa-Romeo.