Matters Of Moment

Motor Sport Trophies

The first event to count for this trophy took place in 1950. Subsequent events achieved considerable popularity and the purpose of these races, namely to unite the clubs and allow their members to meet one another, was to some extent fulfilled.

These five-lap handicap events have continued successfully to date and have given amateur drivers a chance to win a small amount of money, together with a silver trophy. One or two defects have, however, shown up in the course of recent years in the necessarily complicated rules and club secretaries have had difficulties in handicapping cars which they have never seen race before. Accordingly, Motor Sport has decided to make certain alterations to the previous rules to simplify the running of the event and increase the incentive for club drivers to compete.

The new regulations do away with the necessity for six members of one club to have to appear at other club events in order to qualify for points, each club now runs its own handicap races and qualifying five-lap race, six finishers being taken from any three handicap races during the earlier part of the day of the meeting, so making up a field of 18 cars for the five-lap Motor Sport qualifying race. The first six finishers in this last race then compete in a final race at the end of the season at the close of which the silver trophy will be presented. Qualifying competitors for this actual Trophy Handicap will therefore not be required to compete in any further intermediary qualifying races held by other clubs competing for the same trophy during the season.

The lap times of competing cars in the qualifying races will be worked out by Motor Sport in conjunction with the club secretaries at the individual meetings. The official R.A.C. handicapper will have these times in his possession when handicapping the final.

Only sports cars are eligible to compete. Cash prizes are to he awarded to winners in qualifying races, £10 for first place, £6 for second and £3 for third place. They will be presented to drivers at the close of each club meeting. The outright winner of the trophy will receive a cash prize of £75, the second and third will receive £40 and £15, respectively. Arrangements for the Goodwood Memorial Trophy continue unchanged from last year.

Petrol For Motor Racing

The Ministry of Power has sanctioned petrol for a limited number of car and motor-cycle competitions. The car events are:—

April 6th: B.R.D.C. Empire Trophy, Oulton Park. April 13th: B.A.R.C. Aintree Meeting. April 22nd: B.A.R.C. Goodwood Meeting. May 24th: B.A.R.C. Aintree "200." June 10th: B.R.S.C.C. Crystal Palace Meeting. July 20th: R.A.C. G.P. d'Europe, Aintree. August 5th: B.R.S.C.C. Brands Hatch Races. August 24th: B.R.S.C.C. Oulton Park Meeting. September 14th: R.A.C. T.T. September 21st: Mid-Cheshire M.C. Oulton Park Meeting. September 28th: B.A,R.C. Goodwood Meeting. The B.R.D.C./Daily Express International Trophy Meeting at Silverstone is included but has been postponed from May 4th, as the B.R.D.C. finds three months insufficient time for organising this meeting "on its usual scale."

F.I and F. III races will also be possible if supplies of methanol are available. While it is encouraging that H.M. Government recognises the importance of motor sport, which, as the Daily Mail observed recently, "is part of the greater game of survival," this announcement portends the continuation of petrol rationing throughout the summer, a truly dismal outlook, especially as the gambit of taxing several cars to increase the mileage available, which was general during the previous rationing period, has lost its glamour with the high price of petrol and taxation at its present savage level. If Mr. Butler, Home Secretary and Lord Privy Seal, is serious in his desire to stem the emigration rush, he should consider the vital part motoring plays in the enjoyment of hundreds of thousands of British people and should do his utmost to end petrol rationing in Britain, as France hopes to do within a few months.

Out-of-Date-Design

It is small wonder that British designers remain complacent in the face of world competition. For the Motoring Correspondent of the Sunday Express has been telling motorists of this country that British cars at the 1957 Show will be "smoother, simpler and far ahead of any rivals," a sweeping statement to make about cars most of which he cannot have seen, far less tested, at this early stage. But wait, that isn't all. This Sunday Express journalist remarks that Britain is expected to be the first country to fit disc brakes in family cars, overlooking the fact that this honour belongs to the Citroen DS19, and he informs his millions of readers that independent-rear-suspension, "so far a luxury found only in some foreign cars and our more expensive makes," is being tried on British prototypes. As i.r.s. is found on Volkswagen, Fiat 600, the baby Renaults, Goggomobiles, Citroen 2 c.v.s, Saabs and Skodas, etc.—in fact, on the majority of inexpensive foreign cars, as well as on almost every high-performance car of note—it becomes, on sales-totals, the conventional form of rear suspension. It is the rigid back axle and "cart springs" of British cars that rank as the unconventional system in world markets. Far from being a luxury, i.r.s. is accepted as essential by the majority of European designers and, indeed, is found on two of our lowest-priced cars, the Astra minicar and Berkeley mini-sports-car. It is high time British designers adopted it universally, following the lead set years ago by A.C. and Lagonda. To suggest that the better roadholding, improved traction and stability, and enhanced comfort provided by this item of chassis specification is a luxury is just punk!

Technical journalists have been screaming at our engineers to adopt i.r.s. for a long time and nothing will give Motor Sport greater pleasure than to announce that it is a normal feature of British cars for 1958. Those makers who try to get away with primitive back-ends after this year will have only themselves to blame for sales losses in home and export markets.

B.A.R.C. Midnight Film Matinee

Once again the B.A.R.C. Midnight Film Matinees took place on February 1st, 4th, 5th and 8th. It is a great credit to the club that it should be able to fill a London cinema several nights running, but the well-balanced programme is a certain draw for motoring enthusiasts of all kinds. "Britain Goes to Monte" was the opening film, telling the story of the British entries in the 1956 Monte Carlo Rally. This was followed by "The Thousand Kilometres," a fine production by the Castrol film unit giving a graphic description in colour of the preparations of the Aston Martin team entry and of the race in general at Nurburgring last year.

An interesting contrast was provided by "Vesuvius Express," an excellent film of the latest Italian express train which connects Milan, Florence, Rome and Naples, at which places this ultra-modern electric train makes brief halts, a few moments being spared in the film for scenes of some of the famous landmarks in these historical towns. There followed an interval, after which "One Cab's Family" was shown, this being an American cartoon showing the exploits of "Junior," the offspring of imaginary "living" taxicabs.

"Formula 1-1956 " gave an excellent insight into the seven major Formula I events in 1956, these being the Argentine, Monaco, Belgian, British and Italian Grands Prix.

Finally came "Water Wizardry," an American colour film of hydroplane racing with water ski-ing and acrobatic glamour girls thrown in for good measure. A happy note on which to end the 1957 show. -- I. G.

Aston Martin O.C.

On January 23rd at the British Council Cinema the club held a film show, the highlight of the evening was a film record by Leslie Marr of the 25th anniversary meeting of the Club at Silverstone with its very spectacular parade of all models of Aston Martins.

Official Economy Kits

Amongst a welter of "gives-you-more m.p.g." gadgets, many of them useless, it is nice to be able to place on record two methods which have the official blessing of the manufacturers concerned. Thus Volkswagen in England announce a conversion, comprising a smaller venturi and modified jets, which can be fitted by a VW agent for £2 2s., inclusive of engine tuning. This gives well over 50 m.p.g. Indeed, Mr. J. J. Graydon, Managing Director of VW Motors, Ltd., says: "Careful drivers can get up to 56 m.p.g. at 40 m.p.h. We have given vigorous tests to Volkswagens fitted with these new jets and are satisfied that they can do all that is claimed of them."

Another manufacturer to offer advice and special economy jets is Standard, who have published a booklet of hints and tips on economical motoring, in which the part numbers of the jets recommended are quoted.

Autoplax Locknut Cement Kit

Automobile Plastics have introduced into their already large range of plastic kits a plastic nut-locking cement. The kit consists of two tubes, of plastic and hardener, which when mixed and placed on the bolt will set hard enough to stop the nut vibrating loose but not hard enough to withhold a spanner. It also acts as an oil seal. Particulars from Automobile Plastics Co. Ltd., 62-64, High Street, Barnet, Herts.

Motor Racing Gramophone Records

The sales of these records are now being handled by the Antone Company direct and comprise the following recordings:

Prescott  8s. 9d.

Shelsley  8s. 9d.

Jersey/Silverstone  10s. 6d.

All plus 1s. 6d.  postage and packing.

The Antone Company, 113, Longdown Lane South, Epsom, Surrey.