AT the present time, when we are faced with very grave peril and when extensive bombing attacks and possible invasion of these shores seem inevitable, the expert motorist again seeks a way of effectively serving his country. There has, in the interim, been a little more employment of the motoring expert. Some have joined R.A.O.C. Training Schools, such as that operating at the Frazer-Nash works and elsewhere, as civilian instructors, others are answering the call of the mechanised Army for experienced storekeepers and driving instructors. A.R.P. is asking for car-owning volunteers for communications duties, and in certain cases the L.D.V. is making use of cars.
There can be no doubt that it is German efficiency which has enabled German mechanised forces, aided by dive-bombers, to sweep through Holland and Belgium and far and furiously enough into France to cause the French Government to surrender. We, in motor racing, saw the seeds of this all-conquering efficiency as long ago as 1935, when Mercedes-Benz and Auto-Union commenced to dominate international racing with State-aided teams; saw, too, the shadows of Germany’s military forces whenever we visited one of her motor races.
Now every Briton must set to, to hold, turn back, and smash this mechanised efficiency. Our aircraft, no less our Army units, are first class; our Navy rules the sea. When it comes to personnel, let us make no mistakes about appointing the best, and giving the expert his chance. Authority is apt to regard every car owner as an obviously skilled driver. We maintain that drivers able to handle difficult vehicles and fast cars efficiently are not any too numerous. In peace, we heard much of the weekly toll-of-the-road, proof that hundreds of drivers of utility vehicles were incompetent. If you believe this an exaggeration, knowing lots of ordinary motorists who have never come to any harm, we can only suggest that in very many cases only his low speed and good brakes save the casual motorist’s skin. Consider what happens when some small, static obstruction appears on a narrow, busy road. Watch the great proportion of drivers who slow or stop yards from it, or crawl round it, or swerve untidily round it in a wide sweep, and generally find elementary judgment of speed and distance, allied to operation of an essentially controllable vehicle, acutely embarrassing. Unless similar problems confront such drivers at higher speeds, with less space and time to spare, they never suffer an accident, and, as they motor every day, they are regarded, by themselves and the community at large, as expert motorists. If such persons display equal lack of proficiency in handling the tennis-racquet, the golf-club, or the cricket bat, they are continually reminded of their incapabilities in competitions, until they either take steps to do better, or openly accept the fact that they are only moderate players. But at the wheel, what matter if unproficiency wastes a few moments? They may unnecessarily hold up an urgent service, but no one notices.
In this grave hour, it may at any time be necessary to mobilise large numbers of cars, in spite of the pains now being taken to immobilise them. Let the really expert driver serve with them. Let us hope, too, that when peace breaks out, a grateful Government will particularly remember that motor racing, if it seems to do nothing more, does at least encourage that skilled labour which every minute of the day and night now is contributing to our growing store of aircraft, munitions and equipment! Go To It!