RUMBLINGS, December 1950




Prior to the second World War what motor-raeing books there were, by driver-writers like Jarrot I Segrave, Davis, Birkin, Campbell and Eyston, dealt with the personal History aspect. rather than with motor-racing history

as Snell. These accounts of great drivers’ exploits ill classic contests at the wheels of famous racing oars constituted extremely good reading, and sometimes Ititherta unpublished facts came to light in perusing them. But with the lack of racing and free motoring that war neces

sitated, an avid desire for a memory of the active days grew apace, and former followers of motor-racing -sought a history of a sport they sincerely believed to be the greatest. there is. MOTOR SPORT (lid What it could to fill the gap and since the return of peace various publishers have vied one with another in publishing complete and aceurate histories of till aspeets of racing in book form. Gerald Rose’s great. work, ” A Record of Motor Raving,” has been republished and takes us front the earliest times to the year 1900. It is significant that this pioneer of motor-racing history

books is still one of the most painstakingly accurate. Laure-noe Pomeroy has given us his tremendous tome ” The Grand Prix Car,” which not only carries history on front 1900 to the period that ended, in Teutonic domination, at. the outbreak of a second World 1Var, but also over-rides history as such by including technieal desvriptions of outstanding raving ears, notably the fantastic Genuan Grand Prix ears.

The Editor of Almon Semer (W. Buddy) tuts tilled a gap with his incredibly detailed triple volumes on the history of Brooklands Track, and in another volume has dealt in separate detail with the 200-mile Race of the Janior Car Club. Sprint history had already been covered in a rather hastily

compiled story of the Shelsley Walsh hill-Climb by C. A. N. May. and a very comprehensive history of the great Le Mans 24-11our Race has been issued in France, while Floyd Clymer has got together contemporary accounts of every Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and emanates this good work with an annual supplement. Kent Karslake weighed in with a story of that. most classic of races, 1.1w French (;-rand Prix, front its inception in 1900 to the 1914 race immediately prit or to a break tin account. of hostilities. More reeently, George Monkhouse has given us what is really a USCII il summary of the Itose and Pomeroy viilumes, together with short biographies of the later leading drivers and a list of the winners of ;Limos!, every important race ever held. Monkhouse’s ” Motor Racing with Merceales-Renz,” republished since the war, gives a detailed record and teclinical insight. into one of the most. inspiring eh Ipters of true Grand Prix racing. The annual MoTou ” It acing Car Review ” keeps one au fait with year-by-year. technical developments and racing aeltieve

toents amotarst the noire important road-racing ears. Finally, the story of the Land Speed Ittieard, from the Jeantand’s 39.24 m.p.h. in 189S to John Cobb’s 400 m.p.h. runs since the war, is told in a new book by Vt.. Untidy. But. one gal • reotained, Iltat bridging all the classic a I at semi

classic raves devoted to the development of the small racing car before the intnaluction of the supercharger Made reference to the capacity of an engine’s cylinders virtually meaningless. That gap has now I well filled exceedingly ably by Kent. Karslake, who. in spite of the extreme climplexity of his subject, the intricate classifying of races and ears that properly comply with small-car, semi-small-car and eycleear definitions, has, in his ” Racing Viiituret les ” given us ni it. only a valuable history butt one of the most entertaining motor-racitig books yet written. Those of our readers who have followed Karslake’s ” Veteran Types ” series of articles in Almon. Semer will understand what is meant when we say that this readable book (it. runs to :170 pages and still strikes us as far too shirt) is written iii” Karslake style.” Ilk brief settings-down of the place in history occupied by obscure small cars front which racing versions were develotied for races like the early 200-Mile series is masterly, his knowledge of all racing ;3)i/tart/es front 1890• to 11124 is surprising, and the

Ilmarations he has selected both rare and eXPeel.iingly apt.

Drivers who Scarcely attained fame and were forgotten almost before their races were run art. foamt beside the ” big boys ” of voihnetie raeing like 7:ocean-Ili, Batilot and Boillot. however, this book contains an excellent aceount of those

Coupe de CAW° and Coupe firs l’olturettes races of 1905 to 1913 and the astonishing and ingenious racing roilurelte.s. Wilt tO eonipeti. in t I Win.

Christmas is a time harelaxation before a log-lire with good wine and a book at hand. Any of the above-mentioned books will delight. motor-raving types, Karslake’s more than most, and those we have named offer colleetively a comprehensive record of ecanpetition motoring not. hitherto available.

The last Formula I race of 1950, which we reported last. month, was of’ considerable interest as a pointer to what may happen in Formula I contests next season.

Barcelona The mdilown Ferraris (it ean now be revealed that. those of Aseari and Serafini were 4,500 e.c., whereas Tarulli’s was a 4,060-e.e. car), proved completely reliable and able to average well over 90 m.p.h. for 195 miles without wanting more fuel or new tyres. But the Ferrari team made no pretence of a close race, Aseari finishing 1 min. 42 see. ahead of Seralini and two laps separating Seratini front Tartan. Again the Talbot s ran well, and would have been fourth and fifth had not Calsodotts’ gearbox seized three laps from the end. As it was, de Graffenried must have driven well 10 finish fifth behind Etaneelin’s Talbot in his 4CL’Is Maserati, for he had stopped for a change of plugs. With the exception of this Maserati the blown cars were right out of the picture, tuffilown ears occupying the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4111., 001, 7th. and 6th positions. Next eau-Le Murray, playing Ashmore’s former role itt a Parnell-stable Maserati which was continually in and out of the pits for fresh plugs. Jover’s lone Milan just managed to finish, after the MaseratiMilan of Gotha had fizzled out., but all praise is due to the Wadeblown Simea-Gordinis, Simon being so enterprising in practice that. an onlooker remarked that. ” he Was taking his corners before he gia to them,” and Manzon proving a match for all butt the tuffitown Ferraris until the transmission failed after 172 miles. These little ears now lutve remarkable performance. especially as their design is malting like so advanced as that of the two-stage. twin Maserat is. but they need greater reliability. The sad story of 11.R.M. is now history butt if an olliei;e1 statement is issued we shall publish it elsewhere. Pitmen’:4 car, after a bad start, displayed VIII ‘mums performance ill passing SOIIIP l:PO ears in one IN), but 11114. wonders, did Reg. ask too much of a cold engine ‘1 Walker’s gearbox broke up, due to a broken oil pipe, probahiy accentuated by a dinieult gear-ehange. Keeping the V16 engine at between 8,000 and 10,000 r.p.m. all round the circuit is no sinecure, even for experienced drivers. Rosier’s Talbot kit a wall in a melee caused by thugs ott the course, (ha’s’ Talbot overheated and threw a rod. The aecident that killed two spectators was very unfortunate, but with some 200,000 people packed at the very .edge of’ the road all round the cirmit, could be eallell inevitable. The race was well organised, and, unlike a contommrary, we

hat! flu i diniculty about g’ ii where we wanted to go. The race tillitie displayed a vast plan of the circuit, a tittse of trophies and delightful posters, ;old the pltatographer’s silk arm-band was both a I Kiss anti a worthwhile soutvenir.

Barcelona struck one as a delightful city, its boulevards making Piccadilly, for instance, seem rather attenuated ! Everyone seemed well-dressed and contented, and the only drunk ” we saw was an Englishman. But Sunday morning produced a power cut., removing light, heat and hot water from the hotels. The feature of the Circuit° Pedralbes is its very long, wide straight. Along this the 13.11…M.s were said to reach 200 m.p.h., but the Ferraris definitely were timed at just over

178 significant speed, sans compressor I The start was some way before the pits and finish, which has caused some confusion over laps run by retired cars. The circuit was lapped clockwise ! Everyone in Barcelona went off to the race on the Sunday morning, more. police than I have seen in any other city waving on the five-abreast press of hooting, honking cars, motor-cycle$, motor-scooters and ancient. taxis that flowed up the Avenida del GeneraliJointo Franc° to the circuit. The police wear white pith

helmets, blow whistles to restart halted traffic, and some are mounted. It was the same iinmediately afterwards, our attention, as the Press ‘bus thrust through the mob, being divided between the sight of Murray’s Maserati being driven back the same way and a remarkably pretty girl in a Triumph Roadster hearing English registration plates I The press of modern ears and ancient taxis was impressive ; accidents were averted by a hairsbreadth, but fortunately Barcelona’s main avenues are wide. The Bull Fight is more popular even than motor-racing. The British drivers were given tickets for the one that took place following the Sunday afternoon siesta and Parnell was seemingly still rather fed-up with his 13.11.M., for, if a certain London daily paper reported him correctly, Reg. remarked : ” I see it’s a Soond-Division show. I suppose they thought it good enough for us ! ” A whole town infused with motor-racing enthusiasm is impressive-the sort of thing you will see if we have a Festival of Britain Grand Prix in Hyde Park or Richmond Park ! We write if!