CAREERS FOR OUR BOYS
(NUMBER 3) OR HOW TO BECOME A RACING DRIVER
By NEVIL LLOYD (Illustrations by George Lane)
To think it is only fifty years since I first started writing about motor-racing. Why, it seems like half-a-century. Little did I think then, and still less do I think now that my knowledge would assist a new generation of potential racing drivers to realise their ambition. However.
It is, I think, common knowledge, though not as common as white helmets on reliability trials, that motor racing in this Country is not as popular as it might be. Such fine old English sports such as hunting with the hounds and running with the hare, casting pearls before swine, and leading horses to the water have appropriated much of the thunder due to motor racing. This is unfortunate, but is perhaps due to the fact that in England, racing is only possible under the handicap system. And what, the earnest student will ask in a high-pitched treble, is this handicap system exactly ? This is a question that has been asked many times, and there is still no answer. In fact one man whom
I know personally, a Mr. Smith, who stood for all that was best in racing circles, asked himself this question so many times that he went raving mad and disappeared. He was eventually found wandering about on the Himalayas, labouring under the impression that he was a chequered flag and going about waving himself frantically at a number of imaginary Nuvolaris. So much for handicap racing. The actual definition of a handicap may be obtained from any racing driver in one of the following ways, either by asking him, or dropping a large piece of concrete upon his toe as he is about to take wine with a fellow ” ace.” The resultant answer will be the same in both cases. The Greeks also had a word for it. One of the more encouraging things about motor racing as a profession is that it isn’t a profession at all. To become a doctor, one must hold various degrees. A solicitor also must hold a degree. But to become a racing motorist, one need not hold so much as a bunch of daisies. It is, of course, an expensive game, this
motor racing. About the only cheap thing about it is the estimate for the repair of the car. That is free. An original remark which I made up after only hearing it twice. Expenses, however, can be cOnsiderably reduced if you happen to be in the motor trade. This can be done by charging all your tuning, maintenance and repair work to your own garage at very favourable terms, and then forget to pay yourself. I suggest, though, that first you take yourself out to lunch to get your
self in a good frame of mind. After all, you can’t go about sending accounts to yourself with rude remarks on them about it having overlooked your own attention, and a remittance from yourself within the next ten days would oblige you very much. And if the worst comes to the worst, as it so often does, I can’t quite see how you can take steps against yourself. This, of course, is very high finance, so high that it smells terrible to me. The next point which rears its ugly head before the student who aspires to dice with death is the problem of equipment. Apart from a crash helmet, goggles and overalls, the three essentials are :— 1. An incredible blonde (for use when not racing)
2. A car (for use whilst racing) and, . 3. A number of plausible excuses (for use after racing). I will take it for granted that you have the car and, unless you happen to be a very plain student, the blonde also. The excuses, however, for explaining why the motor failed to proceed at any speed worthy of being named racing, must be learned by heart. They are in order of merit :—
1. Carburetter trouble.
2. Carburetter trouble.
3. Carburetter trouble.
Actually your engine may have seized solid owing to the omission of such a trifling formality as filling up with oil, your crankshaft may have taken a turn for the worse, in fact any thing may have happened, and probably has, but the student racer should always say that it was carburetter trouble, old boy, have another one, will you? There is a fourth excuse, the type known as Truthful, for which you will obviously have no use, so the matter may be left at that. One last point. That is the question of learning the vernacular of the racing track and their several meanings. This is most important, as is shown by the fact that one driver whom I knew who was rapidly becoming a pillar of the profession until, in an unguarded moment, he admitted that he thought a ratio was the christian name of a man called 13ottomley. His racing career was wrecked, and he ended by being drummed out of his regiment, a noisy and expensive procedure. His mother Was a TrampleasUre, Of course, Though it is
doubtful if this had much bearing on the case.
In conclusion, I can only hope that this article will give the young student enough food for thought to give him violent indigestion. That is what it gives me.