Letters from Readers, January 1935



Letters from Readers

Trials and Races “Down Under.” Sir,—I have just been reading your issue of October, which describes the Brooklands ” 500,” and this has prompted me to write you of what I think is a pretty good effort. In the recent Victorian Centenary Grand Prix, C. R. Warren driving a ” Q ” type M.G. Midget (actually the third of its type to be built) put in 4 gallons of petrol, checked the oil, refilled radiator, and tested the tightness of each wheel in 20 seconds exactly. (By the rules of the race two mechanics, in addition to the driver, are allowed to work on the car.—ED.) The winner was ” Gardner” in a Ford V8, who averaged 73 m.p.h. The race is a straightout handicap and contained some quite good cars. In addition to the ” Q ” there was a factory Riley M.P.H. (one which ran 12th at Le Mans this year,

I believe). Unfortunately it blew a gasket after 5 laps. The ” Q ” Midget lapped steadily at 82i m.p.h. and its highest speed on the back straight at a place called the “Needle’s Eye” seemed to be between 115 and 118 m.p.h.

Turning to another subject, it has often surprised me that so many people get through with clean sheets in your reliability, trials, and I often wonder what the speed schedule is. In one Midnight Trial in which I participated recently we were set an average of 48f m.p.h. for about 200 miles, with no deductions for the sub-events which on this section were a f.mile hill-climb and a flying half-mile. Of course the roads were quite good, but it kept the people with standard cars fairly busy. Speed schedules vary from about 33 to 45 m.p.h. as a rule. In the Club I am connected with they are set by sending two big and good cars round the route as hard as they can go, and then using their times as a basis. Of course the averages vary a bit between the various classes, but that is all. I suppose this may help to explain why fussy and low-geared under-powered cars are not much liked here, although of course M.G.s, Le Mans, Singers and the better types of Rileys do quite well. The next event on our programme here is called the Border Rally—actually a misnomer, for it consists of a point-topoint and return Sunday afternoon run of 400 miles. Although the rules are not officially out, the trial is normal in

that there are marks for being too early, and there is a flying 5 and it is hoped a flying 10 miles against the watch. Of course we try to forget that there is a 250 penalty for trials of speed on a road, but once we are clear of the towns the authorities don’t mind much.

American cars are just starting to enter for events here again, and so far there has not been much that can beat a Ford V8— even on formula—although sometimes a really good J .2 or J.3 Midget can manage it. The sort of record we recognise is one like this : 600 miles, Melbourne to Sydney. The open record for the distance is 9 hours 501 minutes, held by Beith in a Chrysler Special, and made since the road was improved, while the 2,000 c.c. record for the same distance is held by C. R. Warren in a Bugatti at about

10 hours.

Melbourne, “DOWN UNDER.” Australia.

A Grand Prix Suggestion.

Sir,—It is quite obvious that speeds will have to be reduced in some way or other in races run under the Formula for 1936. Of all the suggested methods the reduction of engine size is the one that appeals to me most. There is no need to come right down to 1,500 c.c. with one jump ; 2 litres is a good figure. There is no reason why a really modern 2-litre job should not do 140 m.p.h. on the road, quite fast enough for the most blood-thirsty spectators to get a ” kick” out of watching a race.

Weight limitations, if on the generous scale, do not bring out those subtleties of weight distribution which play such an enormous part in road-holding. Let designers make their cars as light as possible, and develop road-holding. The same thing applies to special fuels, and the banning of same. It is largely owing to special racing fuels that the modern car develops so much more power than its predecessors of a decade ago. The excessive fuel consumption of racing cars is admittedly bad, but limitation can easily result in people running out of petrol on the last lap. After all, a race should be a race—of speed.

London, W. 10. “Two-LITRE.”

Competition Tyres Again.

Surely it is time that the organisers of trials realised their duty, i.e. to run reliability trials, and not gymkhanas.

All this nonsense about “Stop and Go Tests,” ” Special Tests,” and “Driving Tests” is only worthy of schoolboys playing with bicycles. The primary purpose of a reliability trial—at least it always used to be—was to test the ability of cars and drivers to climb hills. “But we can’t find stiff enough hills,” bleats the average organiser. But some people manage to do it, the M.C.C. with Simms, the N.W.L. with Juniper and some of the other hills in the Gloucester.’

Admittedly they have a difficult task, but then it is entirely their own fault. They alloy./ people to use the most ridiculously ” knobbly ” tyres, which will get a grip on practically anything, and are not, incidentally, within the scope of all the competitors’ pockets. If everyone was forced to use standard tyres there would be a very different tale to tell on many hills which are now climbed by the whole entry.

But instead of taking the obvious course, i.e. banning any but perfectly normal tyres, the organiser devise their childish fun and games. Stop and Restart Tests have simply resulted in manufacturers using bottom gears so low that they are utterly useless on the level. Many of the tests demand a kind of trick-driving on the part of competitors not nearly so discriminating as piloting a car with normal tyres up a _slippery hill.

Cut out the gymkhana business and let us get back to real trials.

Birmingham. “OLD TIMER.”

The Next G.P. Formula.

Sir,—In the October issue of MOTOR SPORT there was a page headed “Is The Formula a Success.” At the bottom it invites readers to send their opinions, so I thought I would have a shot ; here it is.

I agree with the writer that Grand Prix racing is getting so fast that it is only the super drivers who can handle the cars used in these races.

I think the using of normal fuels, and the omitting of blowers would decrease the speed a lot. The using of standard made cars and omitting special made cars would also bring down the speeds, and racing would be of more useful interest to the public.

15, Halsmead Ave., G. GRIFFITHS. Whiston, Lancs.