How to Get to a Continental Motor Race
With the vast post-war increase in foreign travel many motorists take it as a matter of course to travel abroad for their holidays, and it is now popular to arrange holiday dates to coincide with major motor races taking place on the Continent. These notes are aimed at assisting those who have not previously travelled to Continental motor races.
Firstly, of course, one must decide the means of travelling, as the two air ferry companies, Silver City and Air Charter now offer economically priced flights which take one to the Continent in a matter of minutes. Naturally, prices are still higher than the sea ferries but if time is important to you then they are an excellent means of reaching the Continent. Plans are afoot to provide new aircraft which will be capable of flying cars to such places as Lyons, Strasbourg, and Dusseldorf, thus avoiding some of the long drag across the drearier parts of France. The French Riviera is only 270 miles from Lyons, so that it is quite possible to have dinner in Nice having left home at 8 a.m. the same morning. However, these plans have not yet been approved by the various Governments and may not be operating this summer.
If you wish to travel by the more leisurely means of sea transport such organisations as Townsend Ferries, British Railways, French Railways and Belgian Railways all operate excellent services to various ports on the Continent. The Dover-Calais and Dover-Boulogne ferries take 1½ hours, compared to the 20-40 minutes of the air ferries, and one is able to save further time by having a meal on the ship.
Documentation is the next problem and if one is a member of the A.A. or R.A.C. this can be handled for a small fee. Most countries, realising the importance of tourists, have done away with much of the red tape surrounding entry and exit, and it is a quite simple matter to arrange one’s own travel documents. A Form 29c should be obtained from the Stationery Office, filled in and kept ready for inspection by Customs Officers, together with the car log book. A Green Card of insurance should be obtained from one’s insurance company (usually supplied free of charge) and this should be kept ready for inspection, together with passports. A normal British driving licence is valid in all European countries except Spain, for which country an International licence can be obtained from the A.A. or R.A.C. A triptyque is also required for Spain, obtainable from A.A. or R.A.C. A regulation size G.B. plate is also a requirement, and although seldom checked is worth fitting, especially if one is involved in an accident. Petrol coupons are available in this country for France and Italy which allow one to obtain fuel at lower prices than those obtaining for the luckless home motorist. Coupons for France can be obtained from branches of Thos. Cook & Son and for Italy from the Swiss Bank Corporation, 99, Gresham Street, E.C.2.
The dates printed here cover the major events but a large number of National events are held all over the Continent which invariably provide interesting racing, as most of the races and hillclimbs take place on circuits not used in International events. Many of these courses, especially those used for Formula Junior racing, are street circuits laid out in towns which provide a brand of racing totally unknown to British enthusiasts. Racing is not confined to the countries which hold Championships events, and if holidays are taken in Sweden, Austria, East Germany, and even Switzerland, one can always arrange them to coincide with a meeting of one sort or another. Details of non-international events can be obtained from the R.A.C. Year Book, which is available from their Pall Mall office at 2s. 6d.