The question as to whether the Tourist Trophy Races should be run in England or remain in the Isle of Man is not, in my opinion, a matter for abstruse argument. Still less is it a question which should be referred to the appeal of sentimentality. Its solution depends upon a clear cut issue—that of the greatest good of the greatest number as regards the motor cycle industry and motor cycling sport.
Could the T.T. be run in England ? This is the question that has exercised the minds of some people, and it is one which obviously must be adequately answered in the affirmative before the question of advisability can be entertained. I submit that the promotion and successful running in England of such a series of road races as are now annually held in the Isle of Man is quite practicable.
In the course of a short article on general principles, I cannot discuss the many details that would unquestionably be involved. I may, however, attempt to touch upon some of the essential points.
On the vital matter of a course, I suggest that suitable courses are available in several localities. There is, for instance, much to be said in favour of a circuit radiating from Scarborough and including much of this year’s Six Days’ route. Other possible courses I have in mind are in the West Country, in Yorkshire, in South Wales, and in the Salisbury Plain district.
I am not speaking at random, for others besides myself have surveyed these circuits and pronounced them to be eminently suitable for the T.T. races, as they are now constituted. That the Manx course is an excellent one, no one who has ever been round it would attempt to deny. But to suggest that the length and breadth of England does not contain a similar one is, I think, far wide of the mark.
Addressing oneself to the general proposition, one may claim that as England is the centre of motor cycling sport, the classic event of the year should be held in England. One has only to think of the vast increase in public interest that these races would gain by transference to the mainland, to offer very practical reasons in favour of this.
What proportion of keen motor cyclists has so far seen the T.T. ? Large as the audiences are on the Manx course they constitute but a very small proportion of those riders who would greatly like to see the races. The crossing of the water to the Island and the cost, time and inconvenience involved in getting there have, it may be said, so far prevented the average motor cyclist from supporting the chief event on the motor cycling calendar.
And if the bulk of motor cyclists could see the T.T.what then ? It is fairly clear that this would rapidly lead to a great increase and extension of motor cycling enthusiasm. The motor cyclist, as such, would soon become much more a power in the land than he is at present, and by his very status would enable the A.C. U. to become more influential in protecting and extending his interests.
To the trade, the transference of the races to England would be a veritable boon. When one reckons up how much of the cost of participating in the T.T. is attributable to the mere fact of having to take staff, machines and equipment to the Isle of Man, one sees that this is a very formidable proposition to the trade entrants.
Remove it, and there would be an inducement for many more entries. The larger firms would be able to spend more money on experiment and development of their machines, and many smaller firms who may now have excellent productions, but are unable to risk the cost of a T.T. under present conditions, could probably be encouraged to compete.
Thus, the “improvement of the breed “—one of the principal reasons for the existence of the T.T.—would be much enhanced, and the benefit to the ordinary touring rider, as well as to the sporting enthusiast, would be rapid and substantial.
Motor cycling as a sport has never yet been accorded its right recognition in England, the country of its origin. The holding of the T.T. races here would do more than anything else could to show the man in the street how great our sport really is, how much he as a unit requiring constant transport has benefitted by it, what it offers him in the way of healthy excitement either as a rider or a spectator.
In my opinion the only bar against holding the T.T. races in England is the very practical one of legal objection. That motor racing of all kinds will eventually be legalised in England I firmly believe. Whether the Bill at present before Parliament to permit the T.T. races to be held here will pass into law, is another matter.
Political considerations will doubtless affect its fortunes one way or the other, and if I started to argue why, even from political and national aspects it should be granted a safe passage to the Statute Book, the Editor’s blue pencil would doubtless drop heavily upon my well meant effusion. But the A.C.U. are to be heartily congratulated for promoting the present Bill, and I am sure thousands of motor cyclists would like to see it accorded the Royal Assent.
So, with all respect to my many good friends who want the T.T. to remain in Mona’s Isle, I answer the Editor’s question : ” Should the T.T. be run in England” with a very decided : ” YES ! ”