The 500-c.c. Outlook

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The 500 Club has now finalised Its National 500-c.c. Formula, which it hopes will make for keen competition amongst drivers of 500-c.c. racing cars and will reduce to a practical minimum the cost of constructing such cars. This Formula stipulates the following specification requirements: —

Engines. — Any unsupercharged engine not exceeding 500-c.c. capacity. Multicylinder engines have been let in because it is considered that in unblown form such engines will not seriously rival singles and twins in respect of power output. Incidentally, it is pointed out that 40 b.h.p. and decent streamlining should produce about 90 m.p.h.

Fuel. — It has been decided to permit any fuel, as it was found difficult to define “standard” petrol. This will please those who, headed by John Bolster, say that expense is saved by using alcohol fuels as “blow-ups” due to overheating are obviated. It will depress those who aver that dope motors are expensive.

Fuel Tanks. — The fuel tank capacity must not exceed one gallon. The purpose of this rule is to even up dope and petrol-burning cars in longish races, by necessitating stops for re-fuelling on the part of the former cars. It is also emphasised that fire risks are reduced and that better stability results from using small tanks on small cars.

Minimum Weight. — This is set as 500 lb. unladen net weight. This is considered a reasonable compromise between the desirability of increasing performance by ingeniously reducing weight and yet not permitting dangerously or expensively light cars.

Reverse gear. — As motorcycle gearboxes have no reverse gear this is optional. It is pointed out, incidentally, that cars weighing under 8 cwt. can run legally on the road minus a reverse gear.

Brakes. — Four-wheel brakes are compulsory and, additionally, hand operation of the brakes on either the front or back pair of Wheels must be provided. This is purely a safety measure, although the Club emphasises that good brakes improve the effectiveness of a car under racing conditions.

Bodywork. — It has been decided to let stripped chassis compete if a competitor has run short of time or money and hasn’t built a body. But strong emphasis is placed on the desirability of fitting bodywork, if only to suggest to the public that these 500-c.c. class vehicles are real racing cars.

Wheel and Tyre Sizes. — To obviate a return to those carefree days when cyclecar exponents motored on wheels and tyres that would have shocked modern motorcycle riders, a minimum combined wheel and tyre diameter of 21 in. (wheel 15 in., tyre 3 in.) is laid down.

Track. — Likewise, to prevent dangerous freaks, the minimum permissible track is 3 feet.

The foregoing rules seem very reasonable and worth while, and Count Lurani’s “Nibbio” would apparently conform to them. Incidentally, three-wheelers, the only form of cyclecar now recognised by the A.C.U., are not within the scope of the 500 Club.

Having framed these rules, the Club hopes to hold its own races and sprint events when venues can be found — it has wisely decided not to hold an I.O.M. race this year. For the time being it depends on existing organisers including classes for 500-c.c. cars, and it is distressing to find that, while such cars are catered for at Prescott and Shelsley Walsh, no mention is made of the Formula, and consequently 500-c.c. cars not conforming to the above specification can compete. This is bound to undo all that the 500 Club has done towards obtaining fair and inexpensive racing and we hope this not-easy-to-understand state of affairs will soon be rectified. Many new 500-c.c. cars are likely to join the already successful cars of Strang, Cooper and Lones this year. J.A.P., H.R.D., Douglas, Aspin and Triumph Speed Twin engines are expected to be popular and it will be most interesting to see whether the existing Prescott record (Strang, 52.98 sec.) and Shelsley Walsh record (Strang, 52.46 sec.) will fall. The 500 Club’s Patron is Earl Howe, its President S. C. H. Davis, and its Vice-Presidents Messrs. Findon, Mays and Pomeroy — which speaks for itself. A stall will be occupied by the Club at the next Shelsley Walsh hill-climb and its magazine “Iota” will be on sale there. The Secretary is V. O. H. Siddall, Milford House, Lansdown, Bath.