Rumblings, July 1954

At Aintree
The opening race meeting at Aintree saw Stirling Moss back in winning form and Duncan-Hamilton going at his very quick best very in his sports Jaguar. As the main event was for Formale Libre cars it was particularly interesting to speculate on whether the B.R.M.s would seize this opportunity to score a convincing victory. Two of the latest short-chassis, stub-exhaust, Mk. II cars were entered, but proved unable to beat unsupercharged cars which were giving away two to two and a half litres under the formula for what the fabulous supercharged V16s were built. Both Wharton and Flockhart extract all the performance possible from these difficult machines, but at Aintree, although Flockhart won Heat 2, his speed was fractionally slower than that of Reg Parnell’s. 1953/4 2 1/2-litre Ferrari which won Heat 14 and Salvadori lapped faster than Flockhart in the Gilby Eng. Co.’s 2 1/2-litre Maserati. In Heat 1 Wharton had to give best to Parnell, Collins in the Thinwall Ferrari, and Moss.

In the final both B.R.M.s suffered, it seemed, from overheating of the Girling disc brakes; Wharton’s certainly did, with the result that car No. 9 retired, and Flockhart, in car No, 10, its tail displaying signs of fuel leakage, came in a poor third to the 2 1/2-litre Maserati and Ferrari opposition, its performance scarcely better than that of Gerard’s little 2-litre Cooper-Bristol.

Since Alfred Owen took over these over-rated racing cars he has had more “starts” than the British Racing Motor folk ever achieved and a very fair measure of success as well. Victories have been gained at Goodwood, Snetterton and Ibsley and proudly advertised by the Owen Racing Motor Association, although only at Goodwood was there any real opposition, in the shape of Salvadori and the new Maserati, and the longest of these races did not exceed 50 1/2 miles.

This is far less serious today now that the B.R.M.s are owned by Mr. Owen instead of being supported by members of the British motor industry and therefore wrongly and harmfully mistaken for national entries.

We hope that before the season is over success in a reasonably long Formule Libre race will have come to the Alfred Owen stable,

His efforts to race the new B.R.M.s are highly praiseworthy, if belated, and there is no question but that the sight and sound of these exceptionally noisy and accelerative dark green cars are attractive to the spectators. We look forward to seeing the Mk. II cars run better in the remaining races that are open to them — these words are being written immediately after Aintree, so that you can ask us to swallow them if June brought a run of convincing successes!

Eyebrows have been elevated in certain quarters because Alfred Owen is subsidised by public subscription through O.R.M.A. and we wonder whether the amount reeceived is really necessary to the millionaire-owner. Certainly one of Owen’s keenest rivals, Tony Vandervell, has no publicly subscribed funds to draw on for maintaining his Thinwall Ferrari Special and the promising new 2-litre Vanwall.

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Your Rates
Motor Sport is not a political paper but we just had to, publish the letter from Mr. L. A. Postle, Jowett enthusiast of Attleborough, in our May issue. Old Mr. Postle, with the wisdom of the elderly, points out that local authorities still extract rates from property owners which contain charges for road and highway construction and repairs, in spite of the fact that it has been stated publicly, and so far as we know never refuted, that motorists already pay annually in taxation three times the amount spent on the roads.

This seems so grave an injustice to all members of the community, motorists arid non-motorists alike, that they should take steps for its early rectification.

Thinking that perhaps there was a simple explanation, your Editor wrote about the matter in a private capacity to the local Rating Officer when paying his rates. Is it not significant that this gentleman, whose job it is to extract payment, replied that as a ratepayer and motorist himself, “I could not agree with you more as to the imposition of paying two or three times over for road works. We must hope that the efforts of the motoring associations to persuade Parliament to do something about it will soon meet with success.”? In congratulating this particular Rating Officer on bravely agreeing that the rates he has to impose in his professional capacity are in many cases an “imposition, we do most certainly echo his hope that the A.A. and R.A.C. will be successful in their efforts. Don’t you think you should take immediate steps to back them up and persuade all the ratepayers you know to do something on their own behalf?

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“Why 3 Wheels,” by Kenneth Long. (The Star Publishing Co., Ltd., 104, Beverly Road, Whitley Bay, 32 pages, 8 in. by 10 in.; 3s. 6d.)

This little publication, which omits the “?” from its title, is a thinly-disguised advertisement for present-day tricars in general and the A.C. Petite, Bond Mark C and Reliant Regal in particular. The Workers’ Playtime, the Pashley, the Gordon and some German makes receive passing mention, the Allard and other rumoured newcomers none. There is occasional criticism of a model tested by the author but mostly this is advertising matter, not always convincingly presented. The material provided could with advantage be expanded, and this book just asks for a chapter on three-wheeler of the past. Collectors, and particularly avid tricycle-fans, will find a certain fascination about it. The next edition, if any, could be vastly better. — W. B.

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Writing from Stockholm, Tom Brahmer, secretary of the Stockholm M.G. Club, reports that the annual Spring Trial was held May in glorious weather, ending with a speed test on a small circuit. “The top awards,” he continues, “were gained by TC M.G.s, which soundly trounced all TD and the dismal TF opposition.”