Racing Drivers on Strike
The strike of professional racing drivers over starting-money terms is distinctly unpalatable. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the matter, which is discussed in this issue on pages 385/6 under the heading “Continental Notes,” it seems a great pity for motor racing to be curtailed when, for once, panic safety measures, petrol rationing and politics have not prevented it from taking place.
As we write there is still doubt as to whether the European drivers will start against the Americans in the Monza 500, although it is almost certain that the Italian teams will be at Aintree on July 20th for the European G.P. for which 7,000 guineas prize money is offered, as well as the required starting-money.
If the professionals are acting like professionals it is gratifying to see a high degree of enthusiasm amongst amateur racing drivers. At Silverstone, Goodwood and other circuits club meetings are extremely well attended and vast entries contest fiercely-fought races in which the standard of driving skill has improved enormously in the last half-decade. Vintage and veteran motoring is in full swing and altogether the barometer of amateur motor sport is “set fair.”
Professional racing, on the other hand, suffers not only the set-back of a drivers’ union but the sad demise of our Connaught G.P. team. It is a thousand pities that financial strain has rent asunder and destroyed this British team. It is to be hoped that Vanwall and B.R.M., if the latter’s road holding deficiencies can he overcome, will remain, to “wear the green” in G.P. races. As it is, it would be invidious for the Connaught Supporters’ Club to try to support non-tearn Connaughts and this ill-fated organisation, which got out badges, stamps, a magazine and so forth, but to date has handed none of its members’ contributions to Connaught, should be wound up. After these funds have paid for Connaughts’ appearance at Monaco, as promised, those who contributed have every reason to request the return of the balance of their money.
The demise of Connaught is a heavy blow to British motor-racing prospects. To somewhat alleviate this set-back we have had those resounding victories in sports-car races at Spa and Nurburgring by the Aston Martin DBR1, which has placed this make third at the time of writing in the World’s Sports-Car Championship. Let us hope that by the time this is in print they will have put Le Mans in the David Brown bag.
That leading British driver, Brooks, drove the winning car at Spa and was partnered by Cunningham-Reid at Nurburgring. Another British driver, S. Lewis-Evans, has graduated from the Connaught to the Ferrari team.
So things are not too bleak in British racing, especially as the B.R.D.C./Daily Express Race Meeting at Silverstone is announced for September 14th and the big Oulton Park Race Meeting for October 5th.
So far as ordinary motoring is concerned a few notable new models, like the Wolseley 1,500 and disc-brake Jaguar XK150, point the way to really new British cars at Earls Court in 1958, if not this year. When the little Berkeley was introduced Motor Sport remarked that sales-success would follow competition successes. It has so far appeared mostly at Goodwood, where it has retired rather frequently, but successful participation in competition events is the surest way to publicise a car and we hope that the Wolseley, Jaguar and other new models will be seen in future rallies and races. Meanwhile, as the page overleaf shows, there is an excellent selection of fixtures awaiting your presence as competitor, spectator or official during the pleasant month of July. Amateur motor sport certainly flourishes.
Brooklands’ Golden Jubilee
If Brooklands has been built on and desecrated it hasn’t been forgotten. In its Golden Jubilee year we have had a B.B.C. Television programme devoted to it, publication of Boddy’s comprehensive history on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the famous Motor Course, and on July 6th Vickers-Armstrongs are to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first race meeting at Brooklands by asking the Rt. Hon. Lord Brabazon of Tara, G.B.E., MC., P.C., to unveil a memorial (suggested originally by Whitney Straight) and afterwards lead a parade of many ex-Brooklands cars round the hallowed ground in a 1908 G.P. Austin. This parade, and later individual runs, promise to be memorable. Most or the great Edwardian cars will he present, including the 21-litre Benz, Dr. Pinkerton’s 10-litre Fiat, the 1908 Hutton, Clutton’s 1908 Itala, the 1912 15-litre Lorraine-Dietrich “Vieux Charles Trois,” Pomeroy’s 1914 “Prince Henry” Vauxhall, and the 1913 chain-drive Bugatti “Black Bess.” In addition many other famous Brooklands cars, such as the lap-record Napier-Railton, the 19-litre, Chitty-Bang-Bang II, Don’s Sunbeams, etc., etc., will perform before a distinguished assembly of several thousand guests, including many famous Brooklands drivers. To date more than 40 cars are expected, apart from ex-Brooklands motor-cycles and early aeroplanes. Unfortunately the public cannot be admitted, as Charles Gardner explains in a letter on page 388, but those who happen to be in the Brooklands Road on that day may see some exciting cars arriving and departing.