Rumblings, July 1947

Dropped Socks?
Nineteen forty-six was in the nature of a breather after the long years of war — we were jolly glad to get some sort of motoring sport again and didn’t care very much where, how or why it happened. Gransden, run by the Cambridge University A.C., was like chocolate after a dose of quinine! But 1947 is here, and if motor racing, sprints, trials and what have you are to succeed in the broad sense, some of us have got to pull up our socks. Consider some of the Not Good Things which have been happening and you must agree with this view. There were the divers muddles at our first post-war road race in Jersey. There was the case of a classic trial in which one hill was finally cut out because the officials felt fed-up, after lots of drivers, equally wet and tired, had queued up to ascend it and others were on their way to do so, without a clue as to whether or not they were wasting their time. There was a recent competition which was run on a basis different from that stated in the rules.

There are clubs that do not seem to get very good service from their secretaries. One full-time secretary needed well over a week before he could give us the results of one of his club’s events (in spite of having a palatial office and stenographer). People with no passes (or the wrong passes) still get on the (to them) right side of the fence at speed events — which is dangerous. Certain public address and B.B.C. commentaries have been feeble in the extreme — and, worse than that, inaccurate. We cannot expect, perhaps, a Stewart MacPherson standard, but we do expect the man at the microphone to be able to distinguish one car from another and have some idea who is driving it. Club journals, advertised as published regularly, seem to come out whenever their sponsors feel inclined to issue them. Results of Edwardian speed events are issued to the Press based on time, when the rules clearly indicate that a formula will be used — and the only people to see the real results are club members — in their journal, usually months later.

Now all this may be excusable, or at all events seemingly convincing excuses may be to hand for use by the guilty parties. But it isn’t good enough. If you went to Lord’s and couldn’t find anyone who could tell you which team was winning or whether so-and-so had made 98 or a century, you wouldn’t forget it in a hurry, even if you are a cricket fan. If you visited the Chelsea flower show and discovered the exhibits incorrectly labelled your eyebrows would take some time to resume their standard location. If no one knew who had really won the Derby until hours afterwards . . . You agree? Then what in the world is the good of tolerating slack organisation in motoring competitions and then bewailing the fact that non-motoring types seem dissatisfied and never come back for more? Let’s try to pull up our socks, shall we? This is far too urgent a need to constitute a resolution not to be thought about until the New Year.

Since writing the above there has been the muddle at Indianapolis, the fatal accidents at Berne, folk grumbling that entries sent in to club secretaries in ample time are lost until after entries have closed . . . Oh, dear, oh, dear!

Odd Spots
The reason why Davenport’s famous “Spider” did not appear this season until the Shelsley Walsh meeting is because its new V-twin engine, of 2-litres capacity, was being prepared.

We are sorry to hear that Peter Monkhouse has met with a road accident while driving his Type 51 Bugatti. The car was very badly damaged and Monkhouse suffered severe injuries. We wish him a speedy recovery.

An interesting feature of the Stery-Allard is a second brake pedal, which enables Sydney to steady the car while using the accelerator.

Entries for the Ulster Trophy Races close at single fees on July 14th.