AT the annual general meeting of the Auto-Cycle Union a new feature of the sport was inaugurated when Gold Stars were presented to P. H. Alves and H. Tozer for putting up the best performances in a number of selected trials during 1950. Alves, riding a trials Triumph Twin, won the A.C.U. Star for the solo championship, and Tozer and his B.S.A. won the sidecar award. I was particularly pleased to see the sidecar award winner, but I did feel that some recognition should have been paid to Jack Wilkes, the passenger. If the A.C.U. intend to extend this idea of national championships to road racing, and I sincerely hope they do, then I would like to see the passenger get some sort of souvenir. There is now ample road racing taking place in this country to draw up a number of events to count for the national Championships and it is to be hoped that the A.C.U. will soon get in line with all the other racing countries who have national champions in every class, in some cases sub-dividing into racing and sports categories. * *
It was with great regret that I heard of the death of Monsieur Marcel Haecker, the President of the F.I.M. He had held that office with distinction since 1947, while previously, since 1933, he had been a Vice-President of the F.LM. My most personal recollection of him was in 1949 at the Paris Congress of the Federation, when he presented World Championship certificates to the collection of winners in that first year of the Championship series. * * * The first round of the 1951 World Championships is due to take place in Spain on April 8th and everywhere work is in progress for this meeting. Although, by English standards, the Spanish Grand Prix is rather early in the season, it seems pretty certain that most of the ” works ” teams will be ready in time, and many of the accessory kings are already preparing for the trip to Barcelona. In some ways it is unfortunate that the Montjuicb. Park circuit has been chosen for this Grand Prix and I had hoped that when it was lengthened it would also be made faster, but that is not the ease. It is certainly longer but contains many more slow and tricky corners. Speed will not win this first classic, it will be ” caroling ” and brakes that will win. If all the ” works ” teams of five-hundreds turn up some of the corners are going to get very crowded. With Duke, Dale and Lockett on Nortons, Doran, Featherstone and Sandford on A.J.S., Graham, Bandirola and Bertatehini on M.V. fourcylinders, Pagani, Masetti and Alfredo Milani on the other Italian “four,” the Client, with perhaps Fergus Anderson and Lorenzetti on twin-cylinder Guzzis, I can hardly wait to get down to Barcelona. Those are only the ” works ” riders remember ; there will be plenty “of’
private entrants bringing up the rear both from this country and all the others. There is no doubt that a really first-class International road race has something that will rouse the most lethargic enthusiast to action. One private entrant I shall watch with interest this year is F. W. Fry, who will be riding 350-c.c. and 500-c.c. versions of a special machine built by Ernie Earles, a Birmingham light alloy “king.” While the general principles of design are similar to the Duplex frame “works ” Nortons, the Earles specials are completely in light alloy tubing and have a front fork system of suspension that can only be described as a rear-swinging-arm turned round the other way. I know that Nortons are very friendly towards Buries, so it should mean that Frank Fry will have very quick motors fitted in the frames, and I am quite certain that he will make very good use of them. * * *
The recent trial at the Old Bailey at which three men were convicted of organised motor-cycle stealing in the London area is very disturbing, but it is good to know that the culprits have been caught and suitably punished, even though Many motor-cyclists might feel that the punishment was not severe enough. It was most unfortunate that one of the men Concerned should have been a member of a respected A.C.1.1. club, and I sincerely hope that them are no more such miserable specimens amongst our ranks. If there are then it is up to us to weed them out before they spoil the good name of motor-cycle club-life. * * * It cannot be very long before the world’s maximum record is broken, for the onslaughts are becoming terrifying both in number and ferocity. The latest attempt, by Vie Proctor, of South Africa, was yet another to go awry, Proctor having to step off at nearly 170 m.p.h. Like so many other people who have come off motor-cycles travelling at really high speed, he got away with only a shaking and the bicycle suffered the most. In one unofficial timed run he reached 105 m.p.h. with his Vincent Black Lightning and, bearing in mind that this machine was literally bought over the counter from Stevenage and is used for road racing as well us records, it says much for both the machine and the people who look after it. That is one reason why I like to see world’s record machines keep to the generally accepted principle of a racing motor-cycle. In the car world about the only similarity between the ” fastest ” and other racing ears is the fact that they both run on wheels. It will be a sad day when ” freak ” machines are used for the twowheeler ultimate. That is not to say that people do not already think up ideas to attain the record with a “freak,” for an Italian firm actually built a device, it certainly was not a motor-cycle, but it was ruled out by the definition
of a motor-cycle calling for a single track vehicle, and quite rightly so in my opinion. * * *
At a recent South Midland Centre Scramble Duke competed with a “works’ Norton scramble special consisting of a twin-cylinder Norton Dominator engine in a Duplex racing-type frame and forks. The whole machine was beautifully prepared and a sleeker scramble motorcycle I have not seen before. Because a motor-cycle is going to spend its life in and out of bogs is no reason why it should look like something dragged from a bog before the event, nor is there any reason why it should look as though it was built in a rather third-rate blacksmith’s shop. The Norton certainly showed that mud and water cannotdisguise a thoroughbred machine. * * *
Giving a talk to some members of the min-racing-motor-cycle public, I was surprised to find that they were not aware of world-wide successes that British men and machines have, nor were they conscious of the fact that motor-cycle racing is the one sport in which this country stands supreme. I know that we have the best men and machines in the game and you probably know too, but it is surprising how many people do not know, and it is up to us to tell them at. every possible opportunity.