TAKING TRIALS TOO EASILY:
A Lesson of the London-Exeter.
There is no doubt that many of the competitors in such events as the London-Exeter and similar trials take part merely for the fun of the thing ; but, on the other hand, there are numerous serious minded participants who regard reliability trials in the proper light, namely, as providing opportunities for finding out just what their machines will do when called upon to exert a little more than the average amount of hard work.
To maintain the technical value of such trials, the organisers have done wisely in imposing certain tests ; none of which, however, are in any way too severe for modern touring cars. Reliability trials should not be allowed to degenerate into mere ” joy-rides ” and any test within reason will be welcomed by keen drivers as adding to the value of the competitions.
In looking through the list of awards for the great winter classic, one cannot help asking how it is that such a small proportion of the cars—and motor-cycles, for that matter—gained premier honours. Was the trial too stiff for standard productions ? No one will accuse the organisers of making so serious an error as that. Is the standard of driving still on the wane ? This can only be answered in the negative. How then is one to account for the large proportion of failures ? Looking at the matter from all points of view, it seems that many competitors—whose experience should have told them otherwise—take these trials too easily. To be successful in any competitive event, there should
be no such thing as half measures with regard to preparation. One can leave out the element of bad luck or the foolishness of being caught in “secret checks” for the moment whilst other aspects are discussed.
Careful tuning of any car, new or old, is essential to success, and one must make quite certain that the gear ratios are suitable to give the required speed over certain timed sections. The time to discover the latter requirement is before and not during the trial ; unless, of course, one is content to amble through the test without any of that enthusiasm actuating the sporting driver.
Little by little Englishmen are being ousted from games and sports they have created by more thoroughly enthusiastic foreign sportsmen, and apart from their trade value, reliability trials are sporting events in the best sense of the term.
We ask ourselves” What are the lessons of the LondonExeter trial ? ” Simply this : That we must not neglect the obvious means in preparing competing machines and take every precaution to ensure a reasonable degree of success. In other words, we must pull up our socks and not be caught napping again over what ought to be a ridiculously easy timed hill climb for any car of repute.
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