ON THE FINDINGS OF THE R.A.C.

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36

ON THE FINDINGS OF THE R.A.C.

AT last the Competitions Department of the R.A.C. has issued its suggestions for the future rnanangemerit of trials, in an attempt to appease the M.O.T. The suggested control for next year’s trials on public roads was issued by the Standing Joint Sub-Committee of the R.A.C. and A.C.U. during the middle of last month and read as follows :

as :Calendar

Each year a comprehensive and complete calendar of all car and motor-cycle competitions to be held on the public highway shall be compiled by the R.A.C. and A.C.U. respectively. Clubs desiring to hold such competitions must submit their fixture lists to the R.A.C. and A.C.U., respectively, by the second week of November in each year. The locallity in which the competition is to be held shall be indicated. Immediately the two calendars have been completed, the R.A.C. and the A.C.U. will meet to “marry” ” the two fixture lists to ensure that no particular area is overworked, and that the number of competitions on the public highway generally is not excessive.

When the two fixture lists have been agreed they will be regarded as final, and no applications for additional competitions in the year in question will be entertained. In the case of new clubs, however, formed or affiliated after the calendar has been completed, the governing body concerned will consider applications to hold events not on the calendar, but is not bound to permit them if circumstances render such permission inexpedient or undesirable.

or Sunday Trials

Sunday Trials

In any locality where there exists objection to Sunday competitions on the highway, not more than one such competition shall be held on a Sunday in any three weeks.

No start, finish, check or control for a competition held on a Sunday shall be in the vicinity of any place of worship.

No competitions whatsoever shall be held on Armistice Sunday.

Notice to Local Authorities

to Local Authorities

The complete calendars for car and motor-cycle competitions on the highway shall, as soon as it is convenient, be circulated by the R.A.C. and A.C.U., respectively, to all highway and police authorities concerned, with the information that these comprise the whole of the competitions that will be held on the public highway under the permits of the R.A.C. and the A.C.U., respectively, during the coming year.

It shall be a condition of the issue of the permit for any competition on the highway that the county and/or borough highway and police authorities concerned shall be advised by the body promoting the competition of the route to be followed, in order to ascertain if there is any objection to the inclusion of any particular section. Intimation must reach the authority issuing the permit that this action has been taken at least three weeks before the date of the competition, and should this intimation not comply with this condition, the permit and cover note will not be granted.

In order to facilitate the early issue of regulations, a provisional permit will be granted to promoters as soon as the regulations are approved.

as soon as the regulations are approved. Competition Tyres

Competition Tyres

Competition tyres, tyres of abnormal size, chains or similar non-skid devices will not be permitted in any competition held on the public highway.

Competition Numbers

Competition Numbers

It is considered that the display of competition numbers is undesirable, and that wherever possible they should be dispensed with or made inconspicuous. Such number plates must always be removed at the termination of a competition on the highway. With the recommendations relating to fixing the season’s trials programme in advance, there can be no grumble, for obviously the R.A.C. cannot very well control trials if it does not know well in advance when and where given car and bicycle events are scheduled to take place. If certain clever folk amongst club secretaries book several dates and only use a few of them, it should not be difficult for the R.A.C. to take action to stop this kind of abuse of the system, either by refusing to grant more dates to the clubs involved in 1940 than they used in 1939, or by cancelling all dates

booked after the first six months of any club which cannot explain satisfactorily why it did not hold a trial on every date granted to it for the first six months of the season.

So far as Sunday trials are involved, the R.A.C. has, we feel, taken very sane action in suggesting not more than one trial in any three weeks in any locality where trials on the Sabbath are found to be objectionable—it will not be so very easy to know which localities really object and which do not, until the new scheme is tried, but at least we know already of several areas where the three weeks’ ruling certainly should be imposed. The three-week limit should permit a sufficiency of Sunday trials for those unfortunate competitors who are energetic, or foolish enough to hold positions which preclude pleasure motoring on Saturdays, and one can only hope that the limit will be regarded leniently by those persons who object to too-frequent slime storming on Sundays. That places of worship be isolated so far as Sunday events are concerned is obviously the only sane and decent attitude to adopt and should not prove impossible to practise, provided the R.A.C. and the organisers work hand in hand over suitably large-scale modern maps, for it will probably come as a surprise to find how frequently churches and chapels, temples and tabernacles can occur along a good trials highway. The suggestion that R.A.C. and A.C.U. Permits only be issued after the route to be used has been submitted to the county and/or borough highway and police authorities is a very good move indeed on the part of the Standing SubCommittee. Without handing out anything in the nature of complete control to the authorities concerned, it does give them an opportunity of controlling events within limits, and, together with the recommendations in respect of submitting an official R.A.C. and A.C.U. approved Calendar to these same authorities, does give them, should they so desire, very good grounds for acting against persons holding events without R.A.C. or A.C.U. Permits. Thus the governing body of motoring sport strengthens its own position, for it would not be difficult for a suggestion to go out to the effect that all non-Permit events be rendered unlawful. Whereas, with things as they are at present, one cannot expect the M.O.T., the police, and the highway authorities to differentiate between R.A.C. approved and non-Permit events, which has led to the present trouble and could result in the widespread breaking away from the R.A.C. of clubs which exist to run trials, should the R.A.C. make any suggestion not favoured by such clubs—whereas, with the R.A.C. working in its newly suggested close co-operation with the authorities who have to do with public highway events, any clubs with nonPermit leanings would be faced with the possibility of graver inconvenience to their supporters than mere loss of Competition Licences. The biggest difficulty to be overcome in bringing into operation this new arrangement is, in our opinion, that of ensuring decent assistance from the police and highway authorities. By this, we do not wish to imply that the authorities concerned will prove unwilling to co-operate. Usually the police are very helpful in respect of advising club secretaries over matters relating to trials routes and, even if they do not offer concrete assistance, they will nearly always point out which are and which are not public rights of way, stating that over such public roads they have no powers to stop a trial from passing, provided dangerous driving, or obstruction, or damage to property, does not arise. Incidentally, we have always felt very strongly that if more organisers had made a point of submitting routes to local authorities and of seeking their advice in the past, possibly the M.O.T. interference would never have occurred. As we see it, the difficulty is going to arise in obtaining co-operation in correspondence form. Police chiefs have a considerable aversion to making authoritative statements in writing—at least, such has been our experience in the course of limited trials organisation work. Now the R.A.C. proposes to ask for intimation that the highway and police authorities concerned have been advised by the organisers of the route to be used, the final Permit only to be granted provided intimation arrives, three weeks before the date of the event, that this action has been taken. Obviously, from a strictly business viewpoint, such intimation should take the form of letters of acknowledgment from the authorities concerned to the organisers. And if no replies from the authorities are forth coming, what then ? Even a bare acknowledgment of the route will be of little use and will defeat the object of the recommendation, because objection could then be raised about the route at any time. On the other hand, if the R.A.C., to overcome this difficulty, accepts an organiser’s statement that the required details have been posted to the authorities, all sorts of unpleasant, even legal, difficulties can arise, for proof of the posting is not proof of delivery. Even delays on the part of the highway and police authorities in replying will jeopardise the success of the scheme—and it should be a very successful scheme, given full all round co-operation. For instance, suppose an organiser sends the required information off well in advance of the three weeks’ limit imposed by the R.A.C. and then receives a reply only a few days from the expiry of the limit that several of his proposed hills and/or approaches are objectionable. He may agree to omit such sections, when we assume that the R.A.C. would issue the Permit, subject to mention of the excluded sections on the cover-note. But if objections come late to hand concerning all the worth-while hills the trial would be ruined and there would be no time available for obtaining sanction to use an alternative route in another district. We know that as a rule Chief Constables are very helpful, but it must be borne in mind that in the past they have only been approached by the more sage amongst trials organisers, whereas next year they would, under the proposed