“MOTOR RACING AND RECORD BREAKING”
This new book written by George Eyston and Barre Lyndon might well be called “Motor Sport in a Nutshell.” Every side of the motor-racing game is examined and explained and anyone who is at all hazy about what is involved in a roadrace, a record-attempt or in that less spectacular activity the pit-stop, will find enlightenment on these matters.
Starting with the ancestor of all motorraces, the Paris-Bordeaux-Paris of 1895, the authors deal briefly with the “townto-town ” races so disastrously brought to an end by the Paris-Madrid of 1903. The dangers of racing on open road were overcome by holding the events on closed circuits were there was security for both drivers and spectators. The most famous of these of course was the French Grand Prix. Unlike its predecessor the Gordon Bennett Race it was not confined to one team from each country, but to teams of three cars entered by the various factories ; this is one of the few points on which the book is inaccurate. Moving on to modern times, the chapter en road-racing deals with a number of circuits such as Rheims, the scene of the Marne Grand Prix, Montlhery, Comtninges and other venues. In these events the driver must be absolutely on top of
his form. A loss of 1-5 seconds per lap in a race like the 1934 Marne race which was won at some 90 m.p.h., means that the loser drops back ten yards if Ile makes the slightest mistake on a corner. Apart from that he must be prepared for sudden emergencies, as in the case of Nuvolari, whose rear tyre suddenly burst when he was doing 120 m.p.h. Temperament of course counts for a great deal, and such drivers as the late Guy Moll, who are peculiarly suited to this form of racing, have shot into prominence in a single season. Incidentally, talking of seasons, it is not surprising that some of the leading drivers show signs of staleness after racing every week-end for six or seven months. Track racing is another subject dealt with at length. Like record-breaking, to which another chapter is devoted, it is the supreme laboratory of the motor engineer, and demands from the driver not so much dash as a mechanical sense which prevents him ” bursting ” the car when running without the restraints that the road-circuit provides. Captain Eyston himself is of course one of the most distinguished drivers in both spheres, and it is unfortunate that lack of space or the recentness of the event did not allow him
to say something about his record-breaking run on ” Speed of the Wind.”
Endurance races, hill-climbs, American racing, and the work of the pit personnel are other matters dealt with, and a chapter on Racing Personalities gives an insight into the character of the various drivers who have gained fame on road and track.
Apart from the text, the only and unusual fault of which is that it might with advantage have been longer, the great feature of the book is the magnificent collection of photographs, numbering in all 131. Auto-Union and Mercedes, Alfa and Bugatti and our own E.R.A. and M.G. cars all find a place, with some of the famous record-breaking cars of recent years. ,Racing in America is well served, and some of the phenomenal accidents which are illustrated make one thankful for the family barouche and the straight ‘and comparatively empty bypasses on which most of us travel.
“Motor Racing and Record Breaking” ispublished by Messrs. B. T. Batsford, Limited, 15, North Audley Street, London, W.1, and at seven and sixpence forms a splendid picture gallery and reference book to cheer one through the winter season.