THE MONTE CARLO RALLY
The rather dull Monte Carlo Rally is now fading into history but betfore it becomes entirely an event of the past we must congratulate Carlsson on winning outright in a 2-stroke front-drive Saab and Bohringer and Lang for getting a seemingly-unwieldy Mereedes-Benz 220SE through to second place, results that endorse Motor Sport’s good opinions of both these cars.
High praise is due to Rootes for taking the Team Prize with their Sunbeam Rapiers, which one hopes will aid sales for a Group which last year put up a noble stand against strike action, and to those indomitable girls, Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom, for winning the Ladies’ Prize with one of the new Cooper Minis, which emphasises that this small car has road-holding and braking fully in keeping with its high performance.
So the 1962 Monte Carlo Rally was won and lost, steel-spike tyres causing more trouble than they were worth, the D.K.W. Owners’ Club complaining again that the British entry was “seeded” by the R.A.C. to exclude foreign cars, two young clergymen in a Mini Austin using the Rally as a gimmick to publicise religion (it is said they opened their prayer books at the Controls—but the Saab still won!), Fords, in spite of 12 works entries, finishing nowhere, a 3-cylinder 841-c.c. Swedish car beating 312 other starters, and five Sunbeams and an Austin-Healey were the only British cars amongst the first twenty, the other proud names of which are Saab, Mercedes-Benz, D.K.W., Volvo, Citroen and Lancia.
To gardeners the first primrose (is it?) marks the end of winter but motoring enthusiasts look forward to the resumption of racing, which starts again this month at Oulton Park on the 17th at Snetterton the 18th, and at Goodwood on the 24th, the latter meeting being the first round of the 1962 Motor Sport Brooklands Memorial Trophy Contest.
In this issue we publish interviews with the leading organisers of motor racing in this country, in order that the customers shall know what kind of races will be held and when, the improvements they can expect at British circuits and how those who largely control the destiny of the Sport in this country view such controversial topics as long or short races, supporting events to the main race of the day. marshalling, starting money and so on.
We hope that this information, together with the fixture list giving rendezvous and time of start which is published in Motor Sport every month, will enable you to decide which races to attend—and that attendances will be at record levels this year, for in the Atomic Age it is not prudent to postpone pleasure! And few experiences are more enjoyable than attending a motor race, commencing with the journey to the venue, such as Goodwood under the Sussex hills, Oulton Park in Cheshire parkland or Silverstone in the heart of England—perhaps with a girl-friend (whom Stirling Moss has pledged to wear those fashionable skin-tight pants)— and embracing inspection of the astonishing variety of intriguing cars that assemble in the car parks apart from the pleasure of watching highly-tuned machinery skilfully handled out on the circuit.
So get out those diaries and plan your holidays, to take in the race meetings you fancy. . . .
What was described as a unique case was heard before Aldershot Magistrates’ Court last month when 13 students were charged. by the Police in respect of a 147-c.c. Villiers-engined bedstead driven in a Rag procession without licence or L-plates, insurance or legal brakes. The 18-year-old builder pleaded guilty to all charges, although his solicitor submitted that the bedstead had adequate brakes for its walking-pace speed and that it was thought the Rag insurance covered the vehicle.
The Police issued a warning through a third party two days before the procession, which was ignored. Youth is often carefree and irresponsible and should he taught that the Law must be observed, so a fine was to be expected but £13 and the inevitable driving disqualification seems severe—certainly when compared with a recent case at Midhurst when a titled but negligent Mini driver who pleaded guilty to driving without care and attention. causing an accident in which a motorcyclist was seriously hurt. received a £5 line and an apology for the magistrates’ statutory obligation to endorse (not confiscate) his licence, especially remembering that the student’s mechanical bedstead injured no-one and that this Rag contributed several hundred pounds to an Old People’s charity.
Curious bicycles, of abnormal length or ridden by riders whoe view is obstructed, get away with it on jolly Carnival occasions but if an engine is involved the Police close in. So if you are English and have a motorised bedstead make sure it is 100% legal before using it, or, better, emigrate with it to France or somewhere similar where the Law is less discriminating. . . . Whether this young student will be so anxious to aid charitable activities in future is open to question; it seems evident that many authorities have grown so old or absent-minded that they have forgotten the time when young people of a former generation were encouraged to drive far more precarious vehicles than this harmless bedstead and whose Hurricanes and Spitfires were not insured against a safe return. . . . We seem to recall that they did this in the cause of freedom.
The remaining young “criminals” who appeared in Court (a total of 52 police charges!) were members of the Rag Committee, some of whom could hardly have known about the bedstead; they were acquitted, but were required to pay £9 12s. costs.
This is but one motoring case out of thousands that occupy our Courts. If a Rail Strike occurs this month, motorists will again be regarded as Good Boys, while it lasts, out on parole as it were, encouraged to give lifts (like a scooter we saw in the City, inappropriately labelled “Minicab-Girls Only”—with a delightful brunette on the pillion), to park in any space available, to drive about towns as swiftly as possible, waved on frantically by worried traffic officers. But when it is all over, the persecution will he resumed. . . .
Britain must not trend towards the Police State; why, the majority of her citizens feel distaste even for Traffic Wardens, who not only impose £2 fines if car-owners return a few minutes late to their parking meters but prowl about meterless roads reporting motorists who have found a little free parking space for a while. On Black Monday, when the London Tubes stopped, motorists were parking in such streets without trouble (one wonders who instructed a Police Car to broadcast to drivers advising them to abandon their cars in Shepherd’s Bush that morning? The journey across London was practical if slow and few motorists; unused to walking, would have survived a hike to the West End, apart from the immediate parking chaos had anyone obeyed this panic advice). Later it took us nearly 2 1/2 hours to drive seven miles across the Metropolis at 4.30 p.m. that day but by the following Monday, when there was no Tube strike, free parking and a revised traffic flow worked beautifully, proving that if freedom replaced persecution, not only motorisis but the Country as a whole would benefit.
We recommend the idea to Mr. Marples—freedom all the time, not just in times of crisis, and an end to petty persecution of road users, from bedstead drivers to owners of fast cars. Let us echo the opinions of Mr. J. J. Leeming, County Surveyor of Dorset, who advocates fewer restrictions on motorists and more money spent where it does most good, on better roads; his view being that to leave dangerous places on our roads and throw the whole blame for accidents on motorists is “a perfect example of our notorious national hypocrisy.”
“MOTOR SPORT’S” READERS’ CAR SURVEY
These have been arriving in their thousands and next month we hope to commence publishing a summary showing what cars our readers own (they don’t all own VWs), which petrol, oil and tyres they favour, and what troubles they have experienced. As they say in the exclusive journals—place your order NOW.
FIFTY FAMOUS RACERS
“Famous Racing Motorcycles,” by John Griffith. 106 pp. 5 in. 7 in. (Temple Press Ltd., Bowling Green Lane, London, E.C.1. 10s. 6d.)
This landscape book covers two dozen different makes of racing motorcycle, ranging from a 1907 vee-twin Norton to George Brown’s formidable 1959 Vincent Special “Nero,” and in engine capacity from 125 to 1,000 c.c. A whole host of T.T. machines down the years is included, each machine has a full-page illustration and many engines a separate portrait, and in all 50 bicycles are covered, many of them still in existence. Another nostalgic reference work for the student’s library, but (p. 13) what was the 8-litre Ducati?—W. B.