To the Editor, ” Motor Sport.” DEAR SIR, I am not pretending to write a comprehensive article on motoring throughout the whole of the U.S.A. To do
so would occupy much more space than one small letter like this should take up, but think you might be interested in a few words on the Condition of the sport in that country. As a true sport, Motoring is practically moribund. The American public, at least in the South, has no use
for a car except as a means to an end, or for sitting out in at dances, but for sport, never ! There are quite a number of Race Meetings held, but very few that are really any good, although at first sight one would imagine that one had arrived in a speedman’s paradise.
I will explain this rather obscure statement. As I have said, there are quite a number of race meetings, and occasionally some quite speedy cars turn out ; the trouble does not lie in lack of support, but in the promoters ; the meetings are not really run as sporting tests of speed, but merely to attract a large
gate, and to provide the crowd, which is primarily there for thrills, with just what they have come to see, namely, hair-raising skids, lots of noise, lots of dust (more of this than anything else), and usually at least one or two crashes. There are a few fast cars, mostly Fronty Fords, but the faster cars do not have to be extended, as most of
them, even if they are not owned by one man and driven by paid drivers, are in a kind of Syndicate, on a ” You win to-day, I win to-morrow” basis. If anybody is rash enough to produce anything faster than, or as fast as the local fraternity, he soon finds out that unless he can make a terrific get-away, he is doomed to be crushed out in the first turn ; if he is wise he will slow up and content himself with following up in the
rear of the leaders, getting through if he is lucky, though more often than not he isn’t. There have been two or three deaths in the neighbourhood of this place quite lately, and I am informed by fairly reliable sources that most of these were due either to carelessness or intentional bad driving on the part of some rival who might have been beaten. It’s all very well for us to grouse at the bumps and objections to Brooklands ; one trip round the track in this town would send you back to Brooklands feeling that you had indeed arrived in heaven, the bumps here are ghastly, they run in gutters (unintentional) from
the outside edge to the railings on the inside ; not, I might say, on the straights, where one can cope with them to some extent, but on the curves, where one is almost certain to be struggling with a car that is trying to embrace the judge’s box or the grandstand or something in the neighbourhood of the track.
Motor cycling is greatly neglected over here, and the sporting side is practically non-existent, except for a few race meetings on dirt tracks, etc., which are more spectacular than anything else.
Commercially motor-cycles are extensively used, the police force being fitted out with Indians, and the Post Office Service with Harleys. The only other, people who use them down here are sailors on leave and a few, very few, enthusiasts who ride for the thrill. Curiously enough, one of the few exceptions to this statement is a lonely British machine, a Ner-a-Car. This is owned by a gentleman who uses it to go to his office in the morning. It speaks well for his faith in British productions that he intends selling it and getting another British machine, probably a Scott, the writer being rather a Scott enthusiast is doing the advising.
Yours sincerely, A. M. LEITCH.
Club News, September 1990
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