TRIALS OUT OF JOINT
FOR a number of years the list of trials held every week-end has been steadily increasing. More and more clubs are formed, some entirely new, some as off-shoots of sonic other body. When
approached on the subject, the R.A.C.
has :always made it clear that its policy’ iF to foster the sport, not to restrict it.
1-1:ven the greatest enthusiasts feel, however, that the time has come when a little pruning would be for the good of the sport. As noted in the last issue of MOTOR SPORT, a meeting was held recently in London of representatives of clubs run ning events in the Home Counties-that is to say, the Chilterns, Kent, and the
Surrey hills. At this meeting, Capt. Phillips, representing the R.A.C., said that the governing body would welcome
any suggestions from the clubs themselves, but that it was loath to take a tyrannical attitude unless deliberately invited to do so. The way is thus cleared for clubs to attempt to remedy matters. One of the suggestions before the meeting was that a London Motor League should be formed, but from a great deal Of talk the fact
emerged that those present, representing Some twenty-three clubs, were not anxious that any further body should be interposed between the clubs and the R.A.C. Eventually a small committee was formed to prepare suggestions, to be referred to the clubs and eventually to the R.A.C. This committee will have its work cut out, not so much in preparing
suggestions, but in ,getting the many diverse interests of the various clubs to agree upon them. The basic problem is to reduce the number of events where similar courses are used week-end after week-end, to the possible, if not probable, annoyance of local residents. An immediate sug
gestion is to combine events together. Instead of several small events on different days—’on a recent week-end there were no fewer than three car trials in
the Chilterns on a single Saturday and Sunday—one would have one big event. Objections immediately arise. Is such an event to be on Saturday or Sunday, and is it to be a whole-day event or a half
day ? Saturday advocates say that nothing annoys local people so much as noisy cars rushing about the lanes on a Sunday, interfering not only with church but with post-prandial strolls. Sunday advocates say that even for a half-day trial on Saturday in the winter
months the start has to he so late that the event finishes in the dark, while a whole-day event on Saturday is not possible for a great *many would-be competitors owing to business claims. In other words, Sunday is the only day. The former group appears to be the more altruistic, as there is no doubt that a great many people do object to Sunday trials. A possible solution would he to lay down that Sunday trials should only be held on private land, but unfortunately there is not much suitable laud available. At all events, organisers of Sunday trials should avoid the vicinity of all churches,
and choose their routes accordingly, to minimise -.annoyance. Then if one of the clubs in the combined event is bigger than the others, and has had an event on that day for some years, it may feel that precedence demands that its competitors should run first. The other clubs may want to start in the
morning. Drawing lots is nevertheless the only solution, failing an agreement. The combined event is likely in time to militate against the smaller clubs. If a lesser known event is held on the same day as one of some established prestige, there will be a tendency for competitors to neglect the small event. The objection
to the whole scheme is that the charm of small events„ which, even if they are haphazard, need not be badly run, would
be lost. Possibly this is a necessity. Time marches on !
There is some divergence of opinion about another suggestion, which is to stop all ” closed invitation ” events. It is argued that if a club cannot run events by the support of its own members, it has no right to exist as a separate body. The small clubs see the red light at once. The active members of some clubs are so few that, if they are public-spirited, they all have to act as marshals. Alternatively, there are no marshals, and all competitors !
Many are in favour of a recommendation that the sport be organised by the R.A.C. in centres, perhaps something on the lines of the A.C.U. The main difference is that all motor-cycle clubs are affiliated to the A.C.U., whereas the R.A.C. does not insist upon affiliation. The A.C.U. control is de-centralised, except for a small number of ” open ” trials— there are now no “open ” car trials— and the centres, with their own centre
secretaries, deal with ” restricted to centre” events, group events (by a group of clubs in the centre), and closed events. If a trial is run in some other centre’s area, the consent of the Other centre secretary has to he obtained.
Thus there is a firm cohesion about the whole business, and since the A.C.t.. system started in 1924, when clubs and events were much fewer, it has been possible to keep pace with the increase in the sport. Since about 1930, car events have grown enormously, and with no check imposed by a central authority, there is little doubt that many are superfluous.
One step which should certainly be recommended is that the R.A.C. and A..C.U, lists of fixtures should be considered together. It is a strange thing that at present the right hand of motor sport does not know what the left hand is doing. In other words, it is quite possible for a car and a motor-cycle club to arrange a fixture on the same day over the same course but that the respective organisers should know nothing about one another’s events till their entrants meet on a hill ! This has actually happened on occasions, and has caused great confusion.
Much might be done, also, by the appointment of stewards by the R.A.C., or by centres, if such were formed. Such independent observers could report on the local reception of the course, and the general conduct of the event, in a way that one of the club’s own officers could not be expected to do.
Whether the more informal clubs would welcome such stern criticisms is another matter. But there has been a call for action, and whatever action is taken, it is certain not to please everybody.
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