WHAT IS WRONG WITH SAND RACING?
The undersigned riders are asking this question with a view to finding the reason for the apparent apathy now displayed towards this once popular and flourishing side of motor-cycle sport.
The most evident case is that of the Southport Motor Club, who used to lam up to ten meetings per year ; last year there were two . . . why ?
Surely, with crowds averaging round the 10,000 mark (putting the number low) and with a shilling or sixpenny ” gate ” to the enclosure, in -additioit to car park fees, there can be no financial loss. One is therefore entitled to ask who
is to blame for this gradual demise of sand racing in the North-West, or if sand racing is dying a natural death because of its own shortcomings. Why this seemingly lack of enthusiasm amongst riders ? Some years ago there appeared in the Motor Cycling Press a letter from Mr. Bill Smith, late Secretary of the Chester Motor Club, in which he referred to sand racing as an expensive sport for riders and organisers alike, but went on to say that all who had participated in it were unanimous in declaring it to be the finest sport of all. To-daywe would qualify that last statement by saying that it could he the finest sport of all, as the sand racing man’s lot to-day is net a very happy one. Mr. Smith was referring, of course, to the Chester Motor Club’s Wallasey meetings, and we know he was correct in his statement regarding the expense. What is more, we don’t know how Wallasey could be made to pay. Southport, however, as indicated above, is another proposition entirely, but it is not to be wondered that it does not get the entries that it did. Take the case of the rider who finished first in the last
100 mile race at Southport. His prize after a really gruelling ride was £10. A similar race at, say, Donington, would have netted him at least five times as much. Other cases which merit consideration are those of the sprint and sidecar ex ponents. Sprint tuning and racing are specialised arts, and they have a fascination all of their own (vide the Brighton sprint trials) but highly filleted motors are always liable to burst most expensively, and as things now stand a win in a sprint brings home about 10/;or 15!-. What is the result ? There are hardly any genuine sprint motors left on sand and the tendency is to regard sprints as just something to be rushed off before the serious racing begins. Silk cars too seem to be looked upon as things to be tolerated hut not encouraged. Why, we don’t know. The skilful handling of a ” chair ” never fails to entertain the
crOwd, and ,goodness knows the lads who ride them are keen enough. It Must not be inferred from our reference to cash prizes that we desire to professionalise sand racing. Far from it. What we wish is . that meetings should be organised in sufficient numbers, and prizes arranged, so that a keen amateur can receive a reasonable return for his fairly heavy Outlay. We also believe that after all those concerned with the organisation have received a fair remuneration, and the overheads have been covered, the surplus, if any, should be put to the credit of the riders who have provided the sport. In this con. nection we think that most winners and place-Men would appreciate medals to
commemorate their efforts, and surely these -,should not cost much. All the undersigned riders have discussed the whole position and are of the Opinion that beach rating_ at Southport can be made to pay, provide good entertainment for the crowd, and at the same time give that earnest trier, the enthus iastic and impecunious amateur, a genuine chance of being able to ride with the knowledge that he stands .a chance of being amongst the winners. This latter point is worthy of discussion as one can say fairly definitely that at such places as Dotting ton, the Crystal Palace, etc., the presence of works machines makes it almost im possible for the amateurs on home tuned motors to gain even a replica. On sand, the position is totally different, one can
well imagine the different factories being shy of allowing ‘works machinesto be ridden on the beach . We believe that with a properly advertised programme, which could include such events as challenge races with other centres, record attempts, match races between fastest cars and motor-cycles, 1 mile sprints, 10 and 25 mile races for solos and sidecars—no race to be longer than 50 milts—and the meetings when
ever possible put ” on the air,” the sand racing would once more regain the huge following and former popularity which is its (1e.
Therefore, if racing on the sands were organised on the lines of the suggestions given below, and the prizes increased sufficiently to enable the riders to improve their machines and thus raise the whole standard of the racing, there would be an entry list for each sand meeting which would satisfy even the most exacting Club Secretary. As most motor-cyclists are aware, the cost of maintaining a machine in racing fettle is a fairly expensive matter, and the general consensus of opinion amongst the racing lads to-day is that the expense involved in preparing and entering a machine for Sand racing is not justified when the awards are too meagre to even balance the outlay of fuel, transport
and entry fees. This, we believe, is the reason the entries and enthusiasm at Southport have fallen off.
Could not Mr. Buttress, the efficient Saltburn organiser give us two meetings per year instead of the one, as at present.
The Saltburn meeting is, of course, unparalleled and stands alone as a real example of what can be done with sand. racing. Last year clue to a bad beach at Saltburn the meeting was held at Red car and, a terrific crowd lined the course from end to end.
Due to the thorough organisation, good. prize money and trophies, there is always a bumper entry at Saltburn. This bears out our contention that providing the prizes are worthwhile the entries will be forthcoming.
After all Saltburn is a long Way from Lancashire and Cheshire, the stronghold. of Northern sand racing, indeed there have even been -entries from Brooklands in the past.
If any interested club secretaries would. care to discuss the points we have raised we could arrange a meeting when the whole question could be discussed and a situation arranged which would show a-. profit on both skies.
The first six names given below can be regarded as a Committee and could voice the opinions of the rest.
So what, gentlemen ? Shall we have properly organised sand racing or allow a grand sport to fade out ? Signed: j. B. Moss H. TE,RRETA R. BERRY J. D. Wat,sit R. 0. CH A IA’ NER W, BROAD A. R. AINSWORTH L. J. ME’reALFE P. HUTCHINSON J LEA H. BILLINGTON J. STEPHEN C. N. LEATHER R. PARKER P. L. JONES W. L. DAWSON R. M. DAY j..rocc; W. L. TURNER W. BOLTON
J. lArItRINSoal Lanes.