MATTERS OF MOMENT
Since the end of the second world war enthusiasm for motor sport in all its diverse and varied forms has soared to new heights. This enthusiasm is reflected in congestion in the national fixture list, in the large entry for all types of competitive events and no less in the splendid attendances seen alike at club and international fixtures. The question arises, will such enthusiasm, which places motor racing not far short of a national sport, continue at its present high level ? There have been a few faint clouds to
a to obscure the sunshine of the Sport’s new popularity of recent months, such as cancellation of certain events due to lack of support and poor entries for others. This is inevitable after the tremendous waves of enthusiasm for motor sport which we have witnessed during the past half-decade, entailing as this does an enormous expenditure of man-hours and money. But providing spectator amenities continue to be improved and admission charges do not rise, we see no reason why John Citizen and his better half should not go on craving the interest and thrills of a first-rate motor-car competition. Always provided, of course, that sufficient starting-money can be found to attract the sort of cars which, so far as racing is concerned, provide the ” interest and thrills.” The recent
encroachment of Mascrati on Ferrari preserves in Formula II racing, and the sight and sound of a full B.R.M. team in Formula I racing, is the kind of thing which holds public interest and rekindles diminishing enthusiasm. Next year we hope that the premier Grands Prix will be contested between Mercedes-Benz and Alfa-Romeo and possibly Lancia, Talbot and Stanguellini, as well as between Ferrari, Maserati, Gordini, Osea, II.W.M., Connaught. B.R.M. and Cooper teams. This should swell the enclosures in no mean manner and while the best races, over true road circuits, will no doubt still be the preserve of Continental countries, we shall continue to have stirring Grand Prix races at Silverstone circuit, thanks to the Daily Express and 11.R.D.C.
Sports-car racing has taken on a new lease of life recently and British racegoers have been quick to appreciate this class of racing, particularly following Jaguar’s 105-m.p.h victory at Le Mans. The Silverstone, I.O.M., Goodwood and T.T. races offer an excellent outlet for this enthusiasm. A proper road circuit would give a fillip to British racing and all eyes are on Oulton Park in the hope that here, ultimately, may be Doningtou’s successor. Rallies, which need careful control, trials
and sprints flourish, and auto-cross may this winter offer a new and enter tabling spectacle.
This widespread and genuine enthusiasm for competitive motoring has experienced a few worthwhile uplifts lately, such as the reduction in entertainment tax, the rescinding of the ban on retreaded tyres in club speed events, and the opening of the new Crystal Palace circuit on the Londoner’s doorstep, with hope of racing for Liverpudlians at Aintree next year.
Looking at this coming month of August, what a splendid variety of motor sport we shall see in this country alone. On August 1st there will be club race meetings at Silverstone.
Snetterton and possibly at Davidstow. On Bank Holiday Brands Hatch, so easy of access from London, sees a 500-c.e. international meeting, and there will be a national race meeting at Thruxton, a sprint at Tewin Water, a sprint in Cornwall . . . The following Saturday (8th) you can choose between a club race meeting of considerable variety at Silverstone, a speed hill-climb over the only banked sprint course in England, near Reading, a race meeting in Scotland or a speed hill-climb in Ireland. Later in the month you have a whole flood of club events, races, sprints, hill-climbs, driving tests, trials and rallies, with the International Charter. hail Race Meeting on the 15th, the Nine-Hour Sports-Car Race at Goodwood (3 p.m. to midnight) on the 22nd, and the 750 M.C. National Six-Hour Relay Race
at Silverstone, the International Shelsley Walsh Speed Hill-Climb and a gentle V.S.C.C. Edwardian-car meander round Cheltenham, all on the 29th, and a hill-climb at Prescott, specially for elderly cars, on the 30th.
If you have transport of some sort it is hard to see how you can resist attending as many of these fixtures as possible, especially if you are young and have a fair companion to take along with you. If, up to now, you have been content to read about motor sport, take the plunge this holiday month and commence the cult of spectating at motoring events. There is no sport more satisfying, more widely discussed, so steeped in history and tradition, combining human ability with mechanical perfection—so enjoy it while you may ; there will bc plenty of time later to peer at it on the little screen of one of those wonderful moving-picture boxes they tell us can now be installed in the drawing room. If any threat to the present high-level enthusiasm for motor sport can be read into any of the foregoing it is that the fixture list is hopelessly overcrowded. A real attempt should be made by the R.A.C. to rectify this, perhaps by demanding that applications for fixtures in the coming year he in their hands a full six months before January 1st so that proper sorting out can be done, and certainly by persuading clubs to combine similar fixtures for the common good, as the Eight Clubs meeting at Silverstone.j
We tender warm congratulations to Michael Hawthorn on his epic drive in this year’s French Grand Prix, described in sonic quarters as ” the race of the century.” By winning for Ferrari from ex-Champion Fangio’s Maserati after a stern race-long duel, during which he out-raced not only his rival Fangio but his team-mates, World-Champion Alberto Ascari, Luigi Villoresi and Dr. Giuseppe Farina, the British driver has proved himself amongst the greatest Grand Prix drivers of today. His name becomes linked with those of Segrave and Williams as the third British driver to win the great French Grand Prix. This is all the more meritorious because it is only two seasons ago that Hawthorn was racing a sports Riley at Goodwood’s lesser meetings—but with sufficient skill and fire to take the MOTOR SPORT Brooklands Memorial Trophy.
We are proud of Hawthorn. From now on he should be universally acclaimed as Britain’s No. 1 driver. Daily Press, please copy !
We leave it to our readers to decide whether the 132,000,000 spent on building two Brabazon airliners (only one of which flew, and that experimentally, after a village had been demolished to provide a runway the whole project now being scrapped) would have been better spent on building a team of British racing cars to vanquish the all-conquering foreign nations.
In the Editorial in our June issue we drew attention to the fact that, although Mr. Boyd-Carpenter, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, had promised in the House that steps were to be taken by the Treasury which would mitigate hardships for the small horse-power car owner, ” by which is generally meant the pre-I947 Austin-Seven type,” no such steps have been taken so far as pre1947 Austin Sevens and other ears rated at eight R.A.C. horsepower are concerned. These cars still pay the same tax as a 45-h.p. limousine.
We advised our readers to refer this imposition to their M.P.s. pointing out that this unfulfilled promise represents a miscarriage. of correct Parliamentary procedure, inasmuch as an assurance given by a Minister of the Crown has not been honoured.
Many of our readers have sent us the reply which Mr. BoydCarpenter is sending to their M.P.s after this unfortunate matter had been raised. One M.P. refers to ” the hard position which hangs over the head of the small-car owner today, since it has been found necessary to alter the method of taxation.” It seems the motorist is, as ever, imposed upon, especially remembering that only in Italy does it now cost more to run the average little 10-h.p. car than it does in Britain, the breeding-ground of small economy cars!
Mr. Boyd-Carpenter states that the flat-rate has been increased by 25 per cent., from £10 to £12 10s., and that, consequently, cars rated at 8 h.p. are subjected to the standard increase. Six-lip. cars are now taxed at £8 15s. instead of £7 10s. and 7-h.p. cars at £10 10s. instead of £9 to conform to the general rise in taxation. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter, while admitting that he referred specifically to the Austin Seven in his speech, now states that “this was purely incidental to the argument “—a statement which has occasioned a great deal of comment on the part of those readers who have referred his reply to us.
CRYSTAL PALACE (July 11th)
The afternoon’s racing opened with a series of four heats for the
Elizabethan Trophy for S00-c.c. cars. In the first heat Rues (Artiott) took the lead in the second lap and, though closely pursued by Biss (Cooper), maintained his position with Biss second and C. M. Lund (Cooper) third.
In the second heat G. Wicken (Cooper) got in front from the start, but S. Lewis-Evans fought his way through till the fifth lap when he took the lead and held it to the finish, with Wicken second and G. Rolls (Kieft) third. Lewis-Evans’ Cooper averaged 66.90 m.p.h.
The third heat saw Bicknell (Staride) early in the lead, followed by Les Leston (Leston) and they finished in that order through the 10 laps with Burgess (Markson) third. The Glade provided some excitement in this heat. Allison (Cooper) took it too fast, mounted the straw bales with both near-side wheels, went some 10 yards at 45 degrees to the road, dropped on to track and drove on. T. J. H. Bennett (Cooper) spun viciously, nearly ramming a photographer, but with no serious consequences.
Heat four, likewise. was a procession from the start, C. Headland (Martin), J. Brown (Martin) and D. Gray (Kieft) maintained that order throughout the race.
In the first lap of the Final Bicknell ran off just past the ramp, injuring two marshals. All three were taken to hospital. S. LewisEvans got into the lead early, followed by Leston, and they held those positions till the finish. A scrap for third place developed, and on the last lap, Brown got in front of D. Taylor.
The Crystal Palace Trophy (Formula II) was won in typical style by Tony Bolt (Connaught) who was never seriously challenged from the start. Leston in his 1,100-c.c. Cooper/J.A.P. brought the crowd to their feet, for he held third position for four laps, with Macklin (II.W.M.) between him and Bolt. On the fifth lap Salvador’ (Connaught), making up a lot of ground due to a bad start, came through to take second place, with Macklin third and Leston trying hard to get in front of him. Salvadori established a new lap record of 73.59 m.p.h. Results Elizabethan Trophy, 500 c-c., 1st, S. Lewis-Evans (Cooper) ; 2nd, L. Leston
(Leston) ; 3rd, J. Brown (Aston Martin) ; 4th. D. Taylor (Aston Martin).
Winner’s time and speed : 18 min. 30.2 see. 67.61 m.p.h.
Fastest tap : C. Headland, 70.08 m.p.h. Crystal Palace Trophy, Formula 11 1st, T. Holt (Connaughtr; 2nd, R. Salvadori
(Connaught) ; 3rd, L. Macklin (H.W.M.) ; 4th, L. Leston (Cooper 1,100).
Winners time and speed, 17 mix:. 23.4 see. 71.94 m.p.h.
Fastest lop : R. Salvadori, 1 min. 8 see. 73,59 m.p.h.
Le Petit Prix, $00 c.c. e 1st, H. 1.. Daniell (Emeryson), 63.68 m.p.h.
Half-Litre Invitation Rate 1st, L. Leston (Leston), 67.08 m.p.h.