Letters from Readers, June 1949

As a keen member of the sports-car fraternity of the British Automobile Racing Club, I would like to hasten to the support of the Easter Monday programme at Goodwood.

I was responsible for getting a number of my messmates to take tickets and attend the first Goodwood meeting last year. Few were such keen motorists as me, and I gathered their opinion, in general, was the sports-car races were rather “slow,” especially the “tail enders,” in each race, and this caused a loss of interest which revived considerably with the racing-car classes.

As a typical cross-section of the motor-racing watching public a dozen N.O.s with wives and girl friends seem to me a fair example, and if their opinion is typical of the “man who pays,” and I suspect it is, a racing-cars-only meeting will be much more of a draw, and the B.A.R.C. coffers will benefit accordingly.

However, if it is possible to include a few suitable sports-car classes at a later major meeting I would suggest a series of small sports-car-only meetings first, with open heats, the winners to run heats, so finally qualifying for the race at a major meeting.

This should provide the keen-but-not-quite-so-swift types with their fun and should produce a few thrilling races amongst the more fleet-footed of the sports-car “dicers” of the day. This would give the public the requisite thrill, without giving them time to get bored whilst the aforesaid not-so-swift jobs finish their “dice.”

No doubt a number of the keener members of the motoring public would like to spend an afternoon watching this type of heat being run off, especially if they have a chance to mix with the drivers “off duty” and find out that they are human beings and not dashing gods with illimitable purses and stables of a dozen cars each — or are they?

Too many people think of the sports-car type of event as quite beyond the capabilities of the more able motorist with a reasonable car, carefully prepared.

I am sending a similar letter to the Secretary of the B.A.R.C.

I am, Yours, etc.,
D. C. Godfrey,
Lieutenant, R.N.
Gosport, Hants.

I would like to reply to Mr. Joseph Bayley on the subject of International motor-cycle racing.

Although I agree that 1939 was an unfortunate year for Britain in regard to actual wins in the main events, the overall record could certainly not be described as “almost complete obliteration,” while his description of the Norton design as “obsolete and completely outpaced” is quite ridiculous. Perhaps Mr. Bayley forgets that this obsolete design still holds the T.T. lap-record.

Incidentally, the machines which are being raced to-day are not “Pool-developed monstrosities,” as nearly all present-day racing motor-cycles were developed on petrol-benzole which is very different from “Pool.”

Even our complete domination of the 350-c.c. class does not please Mr. Bayley because, in his opinion, there was no opposition. Has he forgotten the N.S.U. and the D.K.W. machines in this class, all ridden by first-class riders? I can assure Mr. Bayley that the latter were very fast machines and in every way were worthy opponents.

Regarding his description of post-war racing as a farce, I do not think that there has ever been a period when our racing successes were so vital to Britain, and the proof of British supremacy can be seen from our motor-cycle export figures.

I am, Yours, etc.,
Edgar Maddox.
West Bromwich.

With reference to your excellent report of the Goodwood Easter Meeting, I desire to point out that the reason for my Riley’s retirement after three laps in the first Easter Handicap was due to a minor collision.

Bingley, No. 4 (Aston-Martin), endeavouring to pass just at the end of Madgvvick Corner, got his rear wheels on the grass and got into an uncontrollable skid. His car heading towards my Riley at an angle of about 45 degrees, struck my near side front wheel with such force as to turn me off through the barrier into the “turnips,” collecting an iron post and half-a-dozen yellow flags with my right arm en route.

Due to the low build and stability of my Riley, I was able to keep on an even keel — though not, I fear, on four wheels — and regained the track again without much loss of speed, trailing my yellow flags behind me.

The front axle and exhaust manifold were badly bent, but I managed to drive in to the Paddock, and thus completed my three laps.

Bingley apologised very courteously for an accident which might have proved much more serious, but it’s all in the luck of the game.”

I am, Yours, etc.,
H. J. Ripley.
London, W.1.

As entrant of the Cripps Special in the Bristol M.C. and L.C.C. Lulsgate Race Meeting, I should like to point out that you are in error in stating that J. M. James (4,800-c.c. Bugatti s/c) finished third in the sports cars over 2,000-c.c., and super-sports cars over 1,500-c.c. race.

Mr. James’ time in Heat 2 was 9 min. 1 sec. My brother’s time in Heat 1 was 8 min. 57 sec. The result of this race should therefore read: – 1st: L. Onslow-Bartlett (8 min. 47.2 sec.); 2nd: J. G. Fry (8 min. 53.4 sec.); 3rd: W. Cripps (8 min. 57 sec.).

I am, Yours, etc.,
John A. F. Cripps.
Netley Abbey, Hampshire.

Crystal Palace Road Circuit
Further to my letter published in your April issue, and referring to R. Bousher’s letter in May, I am sorry to learn about the decision reached over car racing at the Crystal Palace by the directors and the Croydon Council. It is difficult to appreciate it if there were no complaints regarding noise when this circuit was used pre-war by cars.

Also, amongst the proposals for the re-opening of the Crystal Palace, I believe there was one for a speedway. If this is so, I do not see why my original suggestion could not go forward, i.e., make this circuit “a happy hunting ground” for the “500” brigade, as they should make no more noise than dirt track machines, as they use similar engines.

I am, Yours, etc.,
K. J. Blythe.
Hemel Hempstead, Herts.