The Way of Things
THE A.C.U. Tourist Trophy races, run last month over the famous I.O.M. circuit, may be ranked among the finest events in the whole range of motor sport. A large number of motorists whose interest is normally confined to car events, watch the results and progress of these races with the greatest keenness. In addition to their merits as a sporting event there are many lessons which could be learnt from them and applied to car racing in this country, but which seem to be lost sight of. The fact that the British motorcycle is supreme throughout the world is very largely the result of these races, and the fierce competition between rival makes which in
spire. Continental motorists regard them much as keen followers of the sport in this country regard the Targa Florio—that is as the supreme test of both machine and driver. This is because there is no other race of like severity or importance anywhere in Europe. All this goes to show the vital importance in the development of a racing machine, be it car or motorcycle, of having a race over a real driver’s course, where consummate skill in handling has to be backed up by a perfection of steering, braking, balance, and finally, performance, which can never be approached, or
even required, in an easier, though possibly faster, type of course.
The great freedom from irksome regulations which our motorcycle designers enjoy, far from creating freak types of no use for ordinary work, has steadily made more similar the sporting machine sold to the public and its racing prototype. The parallel state of affairs in the car world gives a like result, except that in this case we are not the country which produces the winning machines. They are produced by those countries which have races on the most difficult circuits, where driving skill is of para
mount importance, a n d where no driver, however skilful, can hope to succeed on a car of which the control, balance, and performance, are in any way faulty. The recent successes of Earl Howe and Birkin have shown that we have good drivers, while in the recent French Grand Prix for racing cars, Brian Lewis and W. B. Scott also showed themselves equal to their continental rivals in driving prowess. Until we have in these islands more races over a driver’s circuit, these and other British drivers are unlikely to be tempted to give up their continental mounts for those which we
could, and would, develop.