MATTERS OF MOMENT, August 1950

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B.R.M. DEBUT

Our Grand Prix challenger, the B.R.M., is due to make its debut on August 26th at the Daily Express/B.R.D.C. International Trophy Race at Silverstone—two cars have definitely been entered.

Perhaps by the time these words appear in print one will know whether Raymond Mays, Peter Walker, Raymond Sommer or Reg. Parnell is No. 1 B.R.M. driver.

These things are wrapped in the mystery of rumour and counter-rumour at the time of writing.

But the point is that this much-discussed car is to be seen in action at last. There are those who say that if it fails to win this Silverstone race its chances are gone for ever and the Trust that is building it may as well stop appealing for money to further the production programme. There are others, more lenient, who say we should give the car a chance and that it cannot be expected to win on its first appearance in a race. Certainly, against the Alfa-Romeos and Ferraris we should expect success to be assured only if a properly co-ordinated team of B.R.M.s could run, handled by drivers adequately trained on them beforehand.

However, so much has been heard of this beautiful V16 Formula I projectile from Bourne, and its belated entry into racing been excused so frequently with the explanation that the car will not appear until its sponsors are confident of success, that the B.R.M. must at least finish the course, or break the lap record, on August 26th, or perish. It must be capable of breaking this record, for no less an authority than Laurence Pomeroy, M.S.A.E., has consulted his slide-rule and pronounced it to be so. If the B.R.M. does both these things Raymond Mays and all the many firms and individuals associated with the car will be deserving of the warmest praise. And if it receives the chequered flag, then we wouldn’t miss the occasion for all the new cars in all the dispatch bays in the country, for the effect such a victory will have on the two-hundred-thousand or so spectators who are likely to be present, will be exceedingly heartening, to put it mildly.

Naturally, one hopes a B.R.M. victory will be witnessed and that a British driver, Mays, Walker or Parnell, will beat, emphatically as well as historically, aces like Farina, Fagioli, Ascari and Chiron, on the best cars the Continent can field. However, clearly the Trust hasn’t been happy about drivers. Perhaps it thinks Mays too old, Walker too inexperienced, Parnell too unlucky. Whether the B.R.M. regards as a compliment the fact that Sommer was asked to come over and sample it, or whether Sommer feels that a compliment was paid him when he was called upon to tame the B.R.M., is not for us to say? Did he, we wonder, realise that only one of two cars exist. so that he couldn’t lw offered a prototype that he could chance “blowing-up” if he felt this to be part of the training? That is the crux of the whole matter. How on earth can you tell who really has the flair for driving this new car, Mays, Walker, Parnell, Gerard, “Bira,” Sommer, Uncle Tom Cobley and the rest, unless you can clear the course, bring out ambulance and fire-tender, and let the recruits really go motoring, as the Germans did all those years ago when they were looking for talent at Nurburg?— any more than you can compete in away-from-home Grand Prix with one or two untried cars against three-car ContinentaI teams.

However, it pays to be optimistic and certainly the B.R.M.’s debut on August 26th will be intensely interesting. For what it is worth, Raymond Mays is assured of tens of thousands of crossed-fingers at Silverstone on that day. And, superstition apart, the good wishes behind such a metaphorical gesture must be worth a lot to those who are about to fulfill a promise so long in coming to fruition.

THE “MOTOR SPORT” BROOKLANDS MEMORIAL TROPHY

The third B.A.R.C. Members’ Meeting of this season will be held at Goodwood on August 12th. After the last race has been run we shall know who has won the MOTOR SPORT Brooklands Memorial Challenge Trophy for this season, and the £50 prize that goes with it.

We offer no excuse for giving prominence to this contest, for it came about as a result of the generosity of some of our readers. At present a new driver, J. C. C. Mayers, the best sort of amateur, racing for the fun of doing so, leads on points, with his non-supercharged, 1,474-c.c. Lester-M.G. In second place are R.F. Peacock, with his fleet 328 B.M.W., and Guy Gale with the 4-litre Darracq made famous in Brooklands days by Ian Connell and later by Leslie Johnson. Given two outright wins on August 12th, however, any one’ of 29 drivers could wrest his lead for the Trophy from Mayers. So interest will be lent to a meeting that will be essentially enjoyable in any case. Whoever takes the Trophy and prize, it is pleasing to reflect that all those in the running are drivers very much in the Brooklands tradition, driving just the kind of cars that used to compete in short races of this sort over the scarred concrete of the old Weybridge Track, the Brooklands whose memory this Memorial Trophy seeks to keep alive.