EDITORIAL NOTES., May 1926

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32

EDITORIAL NOTES. The Opportunity of the Amateur.

T’S an ill wind that blows nobody good, and although I the present attitude of the motor trade towards road competitions threatens to interfere with the promotion of such events on the scale they have

hitherto enjoyed, the position is not so black as some of the pessimists are inclined to think.

For years past the sporting side of motoring has been keenly followed by a very large section of car owners, and the mere fact that trade entries will not be accepted, does not mean that the sport will silently fade away.

Anyone who has made a study of the advance of automobilism in this, or any other country, can have no possible delusions as to the technical value of road trials, so it is unnecessary for its to make further comments on this side of the question. It is with the genuine sporting side of competitions that we are concerned, the aspect which appeals to the car-owner, for whom the possession of a car means something more than transport from place to place.

Let us, therefore, leave that section of the industry that pretends that trials have no further value from the viewpoint of development and turn to the human aspect of the subject. Suppose we admit that there are a number of good cars ; which, thanks to past competitions, are now available for the public—do we find that the standard of driving on the roads is correspondingly good ? Alas, many of us have found to our personal danger that the new driver is a hopelessly incompetent as a class and needs something more than the tuition he usually receives to fit him for road work.

Those of us who have followed competitions regularly will agree that a man does not really know whether he can drive or not, until he has taken part in some of the great classic reliability trials—and therefore, apart from their value in developing types of cars, such events will always be useful in helping to improve the standards of driving. Hitherto, there have been many car owners, who would have liked to participate in these events, but have hesitated to enter for fear that their driving skill—or lack of it–would render them conspicuous

amongst so many professionals. This feature no longer exists and presumably our trials will become more and more popular amongst a class of motorists that up to the present has held aloof.

The bogey of expense incurred by taking part in these trials has been greatly exaggerated. Most of the routes are selected with great care by the organisers and are such that the average owner-driven car, if maintained in good condition, has every chance of success.

The routes traversed embrace some of the most picturesque parts of the country and to the fascinations of ordinary touring is added the companionship of fellow competitors, the pleasure of tackling gradients where a fair amount of skill is needed, and above all, the sense of achievement in having accomplished a journey of a more or less strenuous character with one’s own car.

There is every indication that the amateur is at last coming into his own, and we hope that every sportsman will take the present opportunities of furthering the great pastime by supporting those events from which so much real pleasure is to be derived.

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