On December 17th at Virginia Water, the Hants and Berks M.C., which has expanded notably for one of the newer clubs, held its annual dinner/dance. The Editor was detained putting the January Motor Sport to bed, but Mrs. Boddy attended and reports as follows:—
“The Fourth Annual Dinner at the Wheatsheaf Hotel, on December 16th, was a very friendly, entertaining affair, with witty speeches (and one risque joke), the presentation of awards, a motoring brains trust and dancing.
“The dinner was ample, and ‘The King’ was proposed by the President of the Club, Neil W. Gardiner, the owner of Great Auclum, the venue for one of the club’s speed meetings. Mrs. Gardiner presented the awards.
“The general feeling after the brains trust was regret that more time had not been given to it, and that there was no opportunity for questions.
“Mr. A. Barclay Inglis made an excellent Question Master, and it was nice to have my sex represented by Mrs. Kay Petre as one of the members, Messrs. John Bolster, C. H. Bulmer, Cecil Clutton, Lawrence Pomeroy, R. L. de Burgh Walkerley and Cordon Wilkins completing the brains trust.
“There was plenty of humour and fun but guests had expected more technical replies from such authoritative motorists’ and journalists; however, on the subject of which is the best all-purpose car Pomeroy favoured his ‘Prince Henry’ Vauxhall, Wilkins said there is no all-purpose car, Bolster thought that Sir Henry Royce would turn in his grave if he saw the purposes to which old Rolls-Royce cars are put! To make road, safer Pomeroy said that if everyone drove at not less than 60 m.p.h. and not less than 40 m.p.h. in town, unsafe drivers and pedestrians would soon be eliminated and only the safe would remain. Concerning the ideal length for races, Walkerley thought 150 miles for a Grand Prix, 30 minutes for sports-cars, but Pomeroy preferred 150-200 miles for the former, 24 hours for the latter, and Clutton thought length must be determined by the locality.
“To interest the British public in motor sport Kay Petre thought there had to be a nasty accident. whereas on the Continent they substituted bands and carnivals, etc. Pomeroy felt that the Press could influence the public but the public also influence the Press. Chilton thought betting would help, but Bolster said motor racing is popular anyway. Wilkins wanted happier conditions for spectators. As to whether the vintage cult is out of date or not. Clutton observed that vintage cars score most of the points but cited the Citroën Six as an excellent modern car, which Wilkins endorsed [And so do we!—Ed.] Bolster, however, thought this car deplorable, but that the ‘bread-and-butter’ cars of both vintage and modern eras were wonderful. Walkerley said we should have had the National Competition Licence twenty years ago but had interpreted International rules incorrectly, but Bulmer pointedly enquired how many have been rescinded. On the subject of shock from static electricity, Kay Petre used to blame her nylons but discovered that her car’s tyres were responsible. For the next (1953) racing Formula Walkerley wanted the present Formula I, II and III retained, as did Pomeroy, although he wanted to see provision for gas-turbine engines. To the question, do to-day’s racing drivers compare with those of the past, Walkerley said a very few do, Kay Petre cited Reg Parnell and that given better cars and facilities our men would match the best drivers of the past. Wilkins pointed out that in the war butchers’ boys were trained as pilots, so it should possible to train ordinary drivers to race. Bolster said really great drivers are rare but after seeing Continental racing he retained his high opinion of Bob Gerard.”
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