Along with raised prices for petrol, oil and tyres, etc., another “Suez crisis” is an increase in the fees payable to the R.A.C. in respect of Competition Licences. The Restricted Competition Licence has gone up 5s., now costing 15s., Club Registration has been raised by £3 3s., to £7 7s., and there will be changes in individual Competition Permit Fees. The R.A.C. explains that it is “subject to the same economic pressures as the rest of the community” and has decided to raise these fees, “partly as an outcome of the Suez crisis.” Like the oil companies, the R.A.C. Competitions Committee apparently does not intend to be out of pocket over the misfortunes of others.
For many years the financial status of this branch of the great Royal Automobile Club has been a close-kept secret. The revenue from the big race meetings at Silverstone has never been disclosed, nor has the profit or loss from permit fees and competition licences been related to the cost of world tours, travel and office expenses, etc.
We believe that the F.I.A. does not stipulate what fee should be charged for Competition Licences, merely requiring that these be issued and a sum charged so that the National Club is not out of pocket over printing and distribution.
Sport and commercialism are bad companions. The Southsea M.C., for one, has been quick to point out that competitors who wish to go in for the odd rally each year now have to find 15s. in addition to the entry fee, which more or less doubles the initial expense and will undoubtedly result in fewer entries in Restricted Competitions. They add, in their January Bulletin,”Perhaps this will suit the governing authorities — fewer rallies, less organisation!” Certainly the increased fees will be even harder to bear now that only very abbreviated contests can be held. No doubt some pertinent questions about the profit-and-loss account of the R.A.C. Competitions Department will be asked—by the customers who pay the fees—at the Annual Conference of the R.A.C. and the Clubs it recognises, at Pall Mall on February 22nd.