BROOKLANDS, OH BROOKLANDS!
ONCE again Brooklands Motor Course is in the
news, and for the same old cause. In the report of the Whitsun Meeting in this issue we describe the incident which led to the reprimanding of Freddie Dixon, as well as the minor but none the less significant occasions on which the drivers of fast cars had difficulty in passing slower rivals.
Without entering into pros and cons of the ” Gold Star” incident, we would like to draw attention to the underlying reasons for the present state 31: affairs. First and foremost is the fact that the Brooklands’ bankings cannot deal satisfactorily with a dozen or more 115 m.p.h. motor-cars. The back markers in such an event are bound to be baulked, because the 125 m.p.h. and 130 m.p.h. cars, in order to pass the 715 m.p.h. and 120 m.p.h. machines, are forced to occupy the outermost limits of the track—thus baulking the 135 m.p.h. and 14o m.p.h. cars. In turn, the reason for this is that approximately one half of the roo feet banking is never used by modern fast cars. Thus far, at any rate, it can be said that Brooklands was never intended for the speeds now attained there. .A practical argument in support of this debated opinion can be found by comparing the Weybridge track with its present-day counterpart at
Linas-Montlhery, where the banking rises steeply from the infield with a total absence of wasted space. The same thing applies to the Vickers Curve, which, apart from being fundamentally incompatible with one’s normal conception of a motortrack, forces all cars with a fastish maximum to bunch together on a narrow section of the roo feet track. The remedy ? Putting aside the ideal, but financially impossible, total reconsfruction of the track, the only suggestion we have to make for dealing with the problem is that the cars should be ” seeded ” more
thoroughly. A definite limit should be placed on the number of really fast cars in a race, while as for the “over 730 ” brigade, officials should work out carefully the prospect of their being baulked, not by a car occupying its strictly normal position on the banking, but by the same. car going just a little higher in order to pass, quite legitimately, a slightly slower car ahead. If this is found impossible in practice, then it must be admitted that the “over 130 ” brigade is too fast for the track and must either be turned away, or preferably subsidised so that its value as a gate-attraction is not jeopardised.
So much for the racing. Now let us turn our attention to the spectator’s lot at Brooklands. A contributor to one of our contemporaries has described in detail the manifold discomforts of the Brookland’s spectator. We will take but one point (although there are thousands on the railings we refer to). The spiked iron railings and barbed-wire at BrooklEnds are, in our Opinion, dangerous, unnecessary, and a reflection on the sportsmanship of the track’s habitues. The spikes have already killed a mechanic and seriously injured a spectator. They are unnecessary because they would not seriously deter an unruly spectator from climbing the railings. ‘
The French crowd is notoriously more excitable and prone to invading the course than an English one, and yet at Montlhery a simple concrete railing, a yard high, is found sufficient along the miles of road circuit. Among civilised people a fence is erected, not to prevent spectators from encroaching nearer, but to indicate the limit of safety and convenience. The Donington authorities have credited their spectators with the possession of normal common-sense, and their simple wooden fence serves its purpose just as efficiently as spikes and barbed-wire.