MATTERS OF MOMENT, June 1937

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MATTERS OF MOMENT

In many ways the Competitions Department of the Royal Automobile Club does very excellent work. It organises our most important racing-car race in the Isle of Man, our most important sports-car race in the form of the T.T., and our most important rally. It sends stewards to advise smaller clubs as to the safety of courses over which they propose to hold sprint events and it attends to competitors’ protests with impartial fairness.

Consequently, it is all the more regrettable that it fails sadly in other spheres. We have already dealt editorially with the fixing of the fixtures and have touched on the, doubtful judging of certain contests the published results of which can have a far-reaching effect on the industry.

Now comes the matter of the upset over the braketest at Taymouth, in. the Scottish Rally. The idea was, in fact, excellent, because if cars are merely allowed to coast downhill before braking they will attain varying speeds in keeping with their varying weights and their rolling friction, while a brake test timed from start to stop enables vivid acceleration to mask inferior braking qualities.

So the R.S.A.C.’s method of requiring cars to average at least 30 m.p.h. over a timed section before braking was truly excellent. They unfortunately made the grave error of having a timed section of only 45 feet, which is covered at 1.002 seconds at 30 m.p.h. They claim that their timing apparatus, comprising twin tapes led over razor-edges, is accurate to a hundredth of a second and by its recordings have eliminated all but sixtyone drivers as not having averaged the required speed. All, or most, of these eliminated competitors insist that according to carefully checked speedometers they did not drive below 30 m.p.h. over the timed area. The matter is

rendered more serious because this one test materially affected the final results. Surely the R.A.C. should have spotted this possibility of dispute on examining the regulations ? Or had an intelligent R.A.C. official been present he would possibly have seen how things were shaping during the first few runs. All that was required was a much longer timed section, with some leniency for timing error, when cars with really good brakes would secure the additional, and deserved, advantage of not needing to run so close as others to the minimum speed limit. The R.A.C. took ;683 in Competition Licence fees from competitors in this Rally, so it cannot plead complete disinterest iv. how competitors regard the organisation of the event.

EXCITEMENT OVER STEAMERS

Just as dogs have to be muzzled at periods, so steamcar enthusiasts let off steam every so often in fairly regularly defined cycles.

On May 21st “The Autocar ” published an interesting article on “The Modern Steam Car” by M. Harman Lewis, B.Sc., Editor of “Engineering and Boiler House Review.”

It is all very interesting, but “The Aeroplane” recently observed that burning oil in a cylinder where it is all ready [email protected] do its work seems so much more sensible than burning it underneath a kettle and then piping the steam off to push pistons up and down when the oil can do the same job directly. That is how we feel about steam cars. But if a steamer enthusiast cares to give us a run on a modern steam car we will accept with delight. What we especially wish to know is how acceleration and speed figures would compare with those of, say, the 41-litre Bentley or Phantorn III Rolls-Royce, cars which are steam-like, and possessed of high performance.