AMMIER extremely successful enthusiasts’ gathering happened, thanks to A. F. Rivers-Fletcher and his wife, at the Rembrandt Hotel on e
February 11th, some 150 persons attending the lunch and the “To Start You Talking “feature. E. C. Gordon England was in the chair, and he reminded us what good fun motor racing was, and suggested that, quite apart from national prestige, international display and improvement of the breed, surely the very fact that motor racing was excellent sport and a sound outlet for energetic young people, was all the excuse nrcded for furthering it. IL .1. Morgan, of the J.C.C., said his w club would like to run an International Trophy race as a peace-day celebration, and said how nice if Mr. Churchill had written him a letter permitting the closing of Hyde Park for the purpose. Certainly the J.C.C., which had led the way with so many new races in the past, would put over the High Speed Trial again, and it also had European rallies and Continental road races in mind. Dick Cmsar spoke next, Robin Jackson being away flying. He advocated post-war sports-car racing and wanted to see few departures allowed from catalogue specification, save for higher axleand compression ratios. Pump fuel should be used, although if it could be that which would be sold a year ahead, this would encourage fuel development. Standard supercharged engines should be allowed and handicapped on the basis of engine plus supercharger capacity, i.e., a 2-litre car blown at half an atmosphere would be classed as 3 litres. Another ingenious idea of Caesar’s was to insist on standard-size fuel tanks for the race, perhaps of X-gallons per 1,000 c.c., thirsty cars thus handicapping themselves by needing extra pit stops. He hoped non-standard bodies would be permitted, but wanted to see uniform?’ width, and the same body-regulations for all sports-car events. For the T.T. he particularly wanted separate class winners and no out-and-out winner to detract from this classification. Cheaper racing was
essential—not necessarily ” Bristolfashion,” but on similar lines. Motorcycle grass track meetings are happening now, and we must get the ball rolling; what of “basic ration” speed trials?
H. R. Godfrey spoke after Ctesar, and asked if extra performance isn’t unduly costly. He felt lb. wt. per c.c. of engine to be more important than maximum output, and strongly advocated an 11-cwt. car developing 50-60 b.h.p. and pulling a high top gear. But would anyone buy it? He thought capacity classes in competition wrong, because power/weight ratio in the middle of the r.p.na. range suffers. He quoted 500-c.c. and 1,000-c.c. motor-cycles, and felt that if you double everything up the same performance will result from a car. He referred to progress in air-cooling since G.N. days, and said that in that way you reduce weight by half but do not get so much power per c.c. Freeman, of Dunlops, next outlined the rubber situation, and said the outlook, from the viewpoint of racing•tyres, wasn’t rosy. Ninety per cent. of the world’s natural rubber supplies was in enemy hands. He believed that during the South African campaign 2,000 tyres were changed every day, and more than that
during the Normandy campaign. But he was able to say that his firm will make racing tyres again as soon as it is practical to do so. Capt. A. Frazer Nash was in great form and told us we must first decide what we want from motoring Sport and then go flat out to get it. In the old days a lap of any circuit at around 60 m.p.h. was news, and he remarked that those who lap at, say, 70, have good reason to hope to knock 5 secs. off their speed in time, whereas he who holds the lap record at 134 m.p.h. knows he is unlikely to knock off even one sec. It was so difficult to see the future clearly that any regulations made now in good faith might seriously hamper design. The fun of the game, as Gordon England had said, was what mattered. Brooklands OuterCircuit cars were the most romantic form of racing car, perhaps because they were the most dangerous, but the 1913 Cyclecar G.P. had been grand fun, at very much lower speed. A Jeep race over Snowdon with no set course could be fun! The great thing was to decide wIllkt we want and how to achieve it. Capt. Nash hoped to see J.C.C. type of events revived and plenty of young chaps taking part. In North Cornwall he had encountered considerable enthusiasm over the possibility of closing public roads for racing. John Bolster now arose (Rivers-Fletcher reminding us he is really a manufacturer !) and asked for dicing of two sorts—longdistance racing—but not too often—and short sprints and hill climbs. The first class of race,, limited to three a year, to be for quick people only, to current G.P. formula, with no entry fees. The other events to be for sportsmen only and the Trade not to be encouraged. Shelsley Walsh had become “all loused up with the B.B.C.” John said once you received sympathy and consideration from the officials if your pet car blew up, but of recent years it was rather a matter of “How dare you break your crankshaft in the middle of the broadcast!” He felt officials should be carefully chosen. The competitor should be treated like a gentleman and given the benefit of the doubt. Slow corners should be eliminated —British circuits suffer from them—and we don’t want too many spectators. Bolster emphasised that sports-car races, in his view, are more expensive to the competitor than racing-car events and cause more bickering. He considered ‘ them bad for design, and personally dislikes “Le Mans ” models and ” T.T. Replicas.” He doesn’t want to see boyracers’ clubs, and said the impecunious should graduate via the motor-cycle, as Nuvolari, Rosemeyer and Dixon had done. Raymond Mays then spoke, as one of the fast men. He thought” cadet” racing essential, and sports-car events should make for cheaper racing. But the ultimate must not be neglected and British prestige must be upheld. We must not make mistakes again, such as disarmament, and neglect of mechanisa
tion. Racing is at once a sport and a spectacle, providing data and prestige. The English inferiority complex, encouraged in the past by the Press, must be overcome. We make the best aircraft and tanks and we must show the world that we make the best cars and motorcycles. Mechanisation should replace polo and hunting as a Service recreation. Mays hoped for sports-car racing and more road racing in this country, all races to be on formula and not handicapped. He suggested a 750-c.c. formula for this country and a 11-litre formula for G.P. events, and he felt that all members of the R.A.C. Competitions Committee should have the interests of the Sport at heart.
Anthony Heal, in place of Eric Giles, wanted ten things after the war, embracing wider recognition by the public of the value of racing, active and energetic leadership by the R.A.C., very many more active participants in the game (spectators lass) ; all the old circuits restored and new sprint courses found; longer courses for sprint events as cars become faster • more small club events, like Dancer’s End and Backwell, over circuits like the Donington Inner, if possible ; separate events for vintage, veteran and Edwardian cars, so far only seen by organisers as comic relief at ordinary meetings; a Vintage G.P. for pre-1930 cars (” a longish race for the pursang, as Bugatti would have it, to show up some of the later cars “) ; and, finally, an early revival of Internar, tional racing (with Napier, Sunbeam, Bentley, M.G. and E.R.A. running) if only as an excuse, as England had said, to go abroad again.
Finally, G. Dix, of the M.M.E.C., said the cost of racing was likely to be worse after the war, and the amateur must be looked after. Club cars, standard-car racing, 500-c.c. and 750-c.c. events, and the German system of loaning drivers to car makers, must all be considered. Larger ” gates ” must be sought, to make possible more events and new circuits. Less prize and greater starting money would be worth while and classes might be kept for “specials.” Dix reminded us that motor-cycle grass-track racing is held now, and at one town of 50,000 inhabitaats a ” gate ” of 8,000 was achieved. The meeting was now thrown open to general discussion. There is no space in which to even summarise all the views re which were forthcoming, but mostly the rs speake seemed to wish for the R.A.C. Competitions Committee to control the Sport, but for action to be commenced now to ensure better things after the war. Donald Parker provided comic relief by suggesting that the members of the Competitions Committee all be active racing drivers, of whom 51 per cent. must have a raced since have driven formula G.P. cars since 1934, and of these 25 per cent. must still be capable of driving in formula races, and 10 per cent. must do so regularly, remainder ainder of this” active “committee taking regular driving tests! He also thought the R.A.C. should grab some racing tyres from the 10 per cent. combined ” an ounce remaining natural rubber supplies. To this Morgan said he hoped a too old at 40″ movement wasn’t afoot and said older members of enthusiasm with a ton of experience”—England, Continued on page 50 Nash and Godfrey, for example. Peter Monkhouse emphasised the excellent return possible from Irish races and was told that all officials worked for nothing and never sent expenses claims to the
organisers, which assisted to this end. Someone asked whether B.M.W. had not raced on synthetic rubber tyres for several years before the war, and Freeman was able to tell us that in this country they always used Dunlop tyres, and he (I( al I )ted the synthetic story—certainly Mereecks and Auto-Union ran on natural rubber, as he had been able to purloin a German tyre and had had it analysed. Laurence Pomeroy closed the meeting by backing up Mays’s desire to see British prestige increased by racing—a million pounds would be a very cheap expenditure on the part of the Foreign Office to pro
vide us with a team of world-beaters. Amongst those who supported the meeting were : Cooper, Battersby, Parnell, Thomas, Ayris, Wagner, Banality, Close, Greig, ‘Hull, Keisells, Worton,
Gibbons, Marcus Chambers, Abbot i . Crowther, Franklin, Elsie, Best, Elwes, Wilcox, Tooley, Humphreys, AleNab,
Everer, Austin, Tubbs, Lowrey, Mrs. Bolster, Berton, Heath, Burtens, Leonard Potter, Miss Miller, Mrs. Hitclicns, Perkins, McKenzie, Mrs. Petre, Meisl. Jenkinson, Pollard, Miss Cooper, Smith, Wood, Sliel)herd, Mrs. ,1li’al, Penny .Fle tette; Edmonson, Sci-itt-Monerief, Clutton, Shoat, Rodney Clarke, Hume, Birkett, Phillip Turner, Lewis, Edisbury, Clarkson, Ashworth, BIJNi-01), Valifly, Metcalfe, Lund, Francis, Gliandi. -I followay, Dear, Seth-Smith, Cooke, huuuiuig, McDonald, Lister, Martin, Russell, Mrs. Cowell,
liumfit, Hawley, Cubson, Antib, Coles, tottper, 130ddy and Mrs. Boddy, et(.