THE PROGRESS OF “DIRT.”
A GENERAL REVIEW OF THE NEW SPORT.
BY THE EDITOR.
IT is now about two months since the “great Australian invasion” began and we have all had a chance to study every aspect of the business after personal experience.
In the first place, there is no doubt that, for the present, cinder racing is enjoying a tremendous and admittedly well-deserved “boom.”
The first two or three meetings were perhaps a trifle tame, but once the invaders settled down to the somewhat “ready made” tracks even the most blase speed merchant will admit that he is thrilled by the sensational neck and neck broadsiding spectacles which are provided.
Taking the tracks in order of magnitude, the most impressive shows are those organised by International Speedways, Ltd., who use tracks at Wimbledon, the White City and Harringay. Of these, general opinion seems to favour the Vt,hite City, as being in the best actual condition, besides being a full quarter mile as opposed to the somewhat shorter circuits at the other two places.
The organisation at these tracks is remarkably efficient, being almost theatrical in its precision. All the officials wear white coats—the machines are wheeled out, pushed off, and picked up in the event of a crash, by a team of smart little men in (extravagent choice!) white flannels.
The announcer and the programmes keep everyone informed of every incident, while the slightest hitch in the proceedings is masked by an ever ready band which seems to burst into music, and still better, to lapse into silence exactly when required. The riders themselves are mostly Australian, and all seem to be able to win at some time or other. Three riders, however, up to the present, stand out, each in his particular way. Frank Arthur, by cool, steady riding, with scarcely ever a fall, has scored a large number of wins for such trophies as the Golden Helmet, Silver Wheels, etc. Although he does not look sensational, his times show that he is probably the fastest of the bunch, and one hears that he is also an all-round rider of great merit besides a “cinder shifter.” Vic. Huxley is another great winner, notable for a more spectacular style than Arthur, though not quite so certain to finish. Generally, be rides rather wider than the former, and, therefore, has to use more speed. Lastly, there is the inimitable Billy Lamont, whose one idea is speed with brute strength. He hurls his machine round at such velocity that he seems to use the outside fence as much as the actual track. When about to crash into the wire, he drops his A.J.S. on its side, and enters the straight, apparently on his left thigh, then with a kick he returns it to the vertical. All this
is done at what looks like 50 m.p.h., and he is thus able to beat men who are doing 40 m.p.h. on the inside line. Sometimes these tactics come off, but more usually it is Billy! However, his riding rouses the large crowds to the wildest enthusiasm whenever he appears.
Of the English riders, Jim Kempster, by regular, serious endeavour, looks like becoming a champion, and Eric Spencer (of E. W. Douglas fame) is also rapidly improving with the aid of a very well tuned machine. Jack Parker, who won this year’s Colmore Cup, has only appeared once or twice, but his riding is most sensational, and he looks as though he may one day be a second Lamont.
The first track to be used in this country was that at The King’s Oak, High Beech, and this now seems to be regarded as a training ground for budding English amateurs, who like to teach themselves, without being overshadowed by Australian or American champions.
Stamford Bridge is in an excellent position for drawing large crowds and certainly provides tremendous thrills. However, the track is very narrow compared with the ” I.S.L.” Speedways, and the added risk of a nasty collision when a rider falls rather detracts from one’s en’oyment. Here we are st own how to do it by “Sprouts” Elder, Spencer, Stratton and Art. Pechar, on Douglas, Harley and Indian machines, respectively. while the best British riders seem to be riogley, W. H.
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