The R.A.C.'S Meeting with the Clubs



On December 9th, the R.A.C. held its annual meeting with club delegates. Some sensational revelations were made during this meeting, notably that Silverstone will be available to clubs who wish to hold meetings thereat on Saturdays, and to individuals for daily testing from Mondays to Thursdays inclusive, at fees not yet settled, and that General Competition Rule 20 will be revised as from January 1st, so that each club will be allowed to apply for only one permit for a Closed Invitation Trial or Rally, invited clubs to include seven and not five as formerly. This ruling also applies to Closed Invitation speed trials or hill-climbs (i.e., one per club, seven invited clubs). Closed events and race meetings are not affected. Other noteworthy R.A.C. decisions revealed at the meeting were: That combined A.C.U./R.A.C. permits will be discontinued; that Silverstone will be closed on Sundays; that permit fees have been revised, the scale to all clubs for closed permits being 5s. up to 25 entries, 10s. for 25 to 50 entries and £1 1s. over 50 entries, the maximum permissible entry to be declared in Supplementary Regulations; that every competitor in any R.A.C. permit event must hold a 5s. National Competition Licence, and that the International Licence fee is now £1 per annum. It was also announced that a Sub-Committee was sitting for the purpose of drawing up rules governing the type of competition car that will in future be permitted in public-road events. Earl Howe took the Chair and the full Competitions Committee was present — it was very bad form, however, for certain members of the Committee to leave before the meeting was declared closed. During the afternoon the British Hill-Climbing Championship Trophy was presented to Raymond Mays and the British Trials Drivers’ Championship Trophy (curiously this is our old friend the B.A.R.C. Mountain Championship Trophy and as such, quite unsuited to its present role) to Ken. Wharton. The following is a necessarily brief résumé, with Editorial comments within brackets, of the more outstanding matters that came up for discussion: —

Morrish (Bristol M.O. tit L.C.C.) commented on the cost of chestnut paling at club sp ed events, recalled the use of ropes for spectator-control at Silverstone, and asked if, In future, the R.A.C. would sanction similar leniency for clubs. Earl Howe said the R.A.C. was far from satisfied with the Silverstone safety arrangements, but they were the only ones possible and they did have 600 volunteer marshals to help them. Safety measures must be retained and he expected an improvement at Silverstone on May 14th. Heal (V.S.C.C.) asked would club meetings be permitted at Silverstone ? Earl Howe said yes, at fees not yet settled, and so would car-testers, at all events as a short-term policy ; the circuit was at Present only leased on a short-term basis. Clubs would have to provide all equipment, but would get the services, if was hoped, of a track manager. [Alas, clubs will be required to provide their own fencing, which minds costly and complicated. As clubs wish to declare 1949 fixtures, fees should be pub i d as soon as possible. Earl Howe fully agreed.] li:red Cranes (Derby & D.M.C.) caused a stir by saying the Silverstone G.P. had been widely Publicised as the first Grand Prix to be held in this country for 25 years, completely overlooking the Donington Grand Prix. This misnomer still persists in R.A.C. correspondence. Why has it not been corrected ? He likened the C.C. to blue jays scratching in a sand-pit, saying 76 clubs and centres have agreed 1949 dates without a clue as to whether they can use Silverstone. Gordon Bennett (Jersey) complained of the unfortunate proximity of Silver stone and Jersey 1949 fixtures. Scannell (B.R.D.C.) complained of unelastle drafting of race regulations pointing out that the Silverstone regulations saki drivers must complete laps under observation, whereas the Italians did not do so. The word “may” would obviate future lapses. far, Howe said delay In the Silverstone release to clubs, etc., was occasioned by having to negotiate with the Ministries involved and with Rootes Securities, Ltd. He agreed about the word may rather than must in race rules. International dates are fixed in Paris the previous October and constitute a jig-saw. This year’s first Silverstone race was to have been on V+ let Monday, but that clashed with Monaco, so they agreed to May 14th. He felt that the Silverstone O.P. was still the first British G.P. for 25 yca rs. [But we understand how Cranes feels, and vere careful not to quote the R.A.C.’s terms of reference in MoToa Sroar.] Cmner then asked if bank holidays were impossible for Silverstone. Earl Howe explained that the police say they cannot cope with Towcester horse-racing and Silverstone traffic on the same day, but in future he felt there must be give and take, as Towcester happens every bank holiday. H. It. Godfrey (J.C.C.) said Bond arrived lath at Silverstone and wasn’t allowed to practice, but the Italians were. Earl Howe said Col. Barnes knew the facts about this. [No answer was forthcoming.]

Scannell wanted the same entry fees and starting money for all entrants, but Bari Howe said the travel expenses of the Italians had to be defrayed. Sedgwick (B.D.C.) asked what Silverstone cost and how nmch the ” gate ” raised. The Chairman of the R.A.C. said until they know what repairs to the runways will cost no figures could be given, nor had they got the ” gate ” tied-up. [But when the figures are available they must be Made public.] Craner queried why the R.A.C. has stated that no permits will be entertained for racing at airfields other than Silverstone. He called for withdrawal of the embargo, so that clubs could negotiate for other airfields. The R.A.C. Chairman said no monopoly or embargo was envisaged. The R.AA. had provided Silverstone solely for the good of the sport. it was the Air Ministry which had banned airfield racing. Goodwood, as a private circuit, was in order. [And a vote of thanks might well have been accorded the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, who was present, for so generously allowing testing on his circuit, free of fees or red-tape.] Carson (V.S.C.C.) proposed a vote of thanks in respect of Silverstone. The topics of racing on public roads in England and how to define a sports car then took up much time without getting any nearer solution than they had at last year’s meeting. A Jersey representative next spoke entertainingly on the desirability of Daily Press support and Earl HOWu said one of the big newspapers might well experiment to discover if increased sales would result from publishing good motor-racing news. [We have preached this since before the war. And, which no one mentioned, the Daily Graphic did back Goodwood.] The R.A.C. is still trying to recover Donington. E tri Howe said the matter of the abolition of purchase tax on racing cars is receiving attention, but no one has yet been able to define a racing car to the satisfaction of the Customs and Excise authorities. Suggestions are welcome. The trials-discussion was hampered because the club delegates had no idea that changes were being made in the permit system until they were at the meeting. [Clearly, they should be notified well in advance, so that they could discuss tactics before this meeting. A unanimous vote agreed to holding the meeting a month earlier this year. Why not In October, so that delegates coining long distances will at least be able to see the Motor Show while in London ?) Birkett (Hants (it Berko M.C.) felt that the final of the Trials Championship wasn’t truly representative, because entries were limited on account of the late appearance of the regulations. [But Wharton has since won the Gloucester and there is no disputing his right to his title.) Onslow Bartlett wanted a ban on dope fuel, Z.F. and Timpken locked diffs, and oddly-bodied specials. Toulmin (C.C.) said a Sub-Committee on ” ‘Specials ” was to take action, and methanol might go on the ration, if used too obviously. Mather (Sheffield & Hallamshire C.C.) asked the R.A.C. to ban methanol in trials. The 20 m.p.h. average in the Championship Trial came in for much discussion, many delegates considering it resulted in dangerouslooking speeds on semi-inflated tyres, but it was explained that, with no thne-limit, undue congestion from parked ears, even “decoking of engines,” could occur during a trial. [Surely good marshaling is the answer ; a maximum time schedule in Mud trials does mean runpliatd delay cards and a tendency to hurry that may be misconstrued as racing.]

Wharton neatly terminated the retreaded-tyres argument, saying it is a fallacy that these are better for trials than new tyres, but that “vacuumpressures “can ruin a tyre first time out and you can get two or three retreads for the price of one goad new tyre. As 18 in. and 19 n. sizes are not easily obtainable, he felt reasonable remoulds should continue to be permitted. Birkett then explained. for the benefit of the casual, the Hants ez Berko M.C. public-liaison arrangements. [Their distribution of cards to householders likely to be affected by a trial may be too elaborate for some organisers, but at least the local police should be told of forthcoming trials in their area, and the route.] Toulmin thought average-speed in trials must be left to organisers. He deprecated hand-cutting of tyre grooves. Jane (Lancia M.C.) queried whether inter-club team trials and rallies were exempt from the new one-closedinvitation-event-only rule. Col. Barnes (C.C.) said rallies sans driving contests were not restricted and one C.C. team trial per club, six to a team, would be allowed as an extra event. Mather commented that his club offered to organise the Championship Trial, but the R.A.C. subsidy went to S.U.N.B.A.C. Best, (Bristol M.C. ez L.C.C.) inquired when the General Competition Rules would be re-issued ; he had no idea protests had to be made within one hour of a Steward’s decision and that neither Ban Howe nor Col. Barnes troubled to enlighten him, on a, relevant occasion during the Championship Trial. [Delay at the F.I.A. Hi revising the Rules is apparently to blame, but as this matter cropped up in 1947, surely a reprint of the existing G.C.R. would have been worth while ?j The Scottish delegate announced a proposed speed hill-climb up a mile long course on the old Rest and Be Thankful Road, for July 2nd, which looked like taking place. This was a bright feature of an otherwise rather epicylic (wheels within wheels) meeting.

It was revealed that during 1948 the C.C. met 12 times, and in less than five months, after ” basic ” was “standardised,” issued 134 permits.