NOW that the Spanish Grand Prix, the first of the World Championship classics, is over, it might be interesting to take stock of what has happened. The Italians attended in full force while not one single English factory machine was present, and though many people felt it rather foolish to throw away points so easily, it turned out differently. Thanks to some of those English riders who make racing their bread and butter, a worthy collection of points has been totalled up for this country. One can only hope that private riders, such as Eric Oliver, Bill “‘etch and Tommy Wood, especially the last mentioned, will receive thanks from the factories concerned in proportion to -their efforts.
There was some hard feeling among the locals in Barcelona about the fact that English firms first wrote saying they would enter and then cancelled the arrangements, one firm even allowing their star rider to clean up a small French circuit meeting on the same day as the Grand Prix. The feeling in Spain was that if the rider could be sent to Marseilles, then why couldn’t he have been sent to Barcelona.
Gilera, Guzzi and M.V. all turned out in full force for the Spanish event and both of the first two named firms arrived with complete sets of single-cylinder and multi-cylinder maeliines in order to find out just which was most suitable for the unknown Montjuieh Park circuit. The Gilera riders chopped and changed between ” Saturn° ” models and the fourcylinders, while Guzzis were trying the ” Gambalunga ” and the V-twin 500s. Poor M.V. had no alternative but to persevere with their four-cylinders and they did not. look too suitable for the course. It was pretty obvious that the ” Saturno ” Gilera was quite uncatchable and only mechanical trouble allowed the four-cylinder model, ridden by reigning cliampion Umberto Maserti, to get past the flying single. I should have liked to have seen Albino Milani bring the sinOe home first, in only his second ” works ” ride, for having given up sidecar riding in favour of ” works ” solo riding it is nice to see him Making good. Hero of the 500-e.e. class was undoubtedly Tommy Wood, who galloped his standard Manx Norton into second place, having been with the leaders all the way. The 350-c.c. race was naturally a private owners’ battle and it was pleasing to see two German riders in the lists. Roland Schnell and Herman Gablenz were present with a. pair of Italian Parilla machines. but unfortunately neither was able to complete the course ; anyway, it was nice to see Deutschland back in the sport. In the tiddler race conmetition was very keen and the most successful Mondials once again cleaned the board, while the locally-built Montesa twostroke came home a fine fifth and first two-stroke machine.
In the sidecar class Erie Oliver [wove(‘ himself the absolute king of the threewheelers and, though he was using a new Norton ” 500 ” with rear suspension and roadholder forks, all against the existing principles of sidecar racing, he made things look very easy. His new outfit certainly justifies some deep thought at a later date.
Altogether the first road-racing classic cannot be considered much of a success. though many lessons were learnt by all concerned. The Italians were caused much trouble due to the enormous number of corners, requiring much braking and gear-changing. It seems that the criterion of how good a machine is in Italy is how fast it can lap the Monza track. The twin Guzzi is regarded with awe as it has proved fastest, not for only one lap, but. for a great many, showing sustained speed and stamina. But Monza is done mostly in top gear and it would seem that it does not prove all that is required from a road-racing bicycle. It certainly made me feel rather envious when the Italians were talking about the way the three top firms had all been testing for high speed on their national track and to realise that we had nothing comparable. The recent race meeting at Goodwood proved highly successful, and while speeds were not quite as high as the Grand Prix cars at Easter, they showed great promise and indicated that. after riders had Wit used to the circuit there was not going to be much to choose between a fast Nix or a fast bike round Goodwood. While the racing proved a success and a large crowd attended and were presturtably satisfied, there were things that left a lot to be desired, especially from the point of view of those inside, namely the riders and the trade. Many people felt that the prizes did not go far enough down the lists, an example being prizes for only the first three in the i50-c.c. class when it had a record entry of some 45 riders, of which only two or three .were absent. With an entry of that size one would have thought that six or even eight places could have carried prizes. While all that is a question of financial management, of which very few people are really aware of the magnitude, a thing which does depress is the growing elementof control by paperwork. Obviously, if ow British public arc going to turn up in their thousands then they will need eon trotting. to begin to inflict this sort of emit rid (Si riders and their friends is most undesirable. A rider and his mechanic have more titan enough to keep them busy with gen ing the machine to the line in good fettle, without having to bother with forms and cards and signatures and similar paperwork. It was never necessary at pre-war meetings, why should it be so now ? We know that under the present system every honest worker requires three or four people to sort out his paperwork, but please let us keep this
sort of thing out of the sport. If we are not careful we shall be spending so much time with coloured labels, tickets, cards and what-have-you that we shall not have any time left for the racing !
Enough, of that, Goodwood itself proved highly successful for racing motor-cycles and thanks tire due to the owners for allowing the experiment. Let Us hope that it will be repeated.
Now for a little miscellaneous chatter’. With the inclusion of the 125-c.c. class in the T.T. this year it is quite surprising how many rumours are circulating about trade interests in this class. It is an interest that is long overdue, hitt now it Juts come let us give it full support and hope for every success.
Whether the fabulous little Mondials will be able to come over is still rather uncertain, but it seems likely that some of the better Continental two-strokes will be present which should prove lively competition for our two-stroke lads. The other evening I carne across a ” horde of H.R.D. Black Shadows” and a very impressive sight they made, out on a club run. The fact that there was some £2,000 worth of motor-cycles in the small group was enough to cause one to think, but the sight of the Shadow with sports chair that was capable, in touring trim, of as high a speed as the super racing chair outfit. I ride upon, made me creep away with a feeling of
The sight of a raw and keen amateur enthusiast out joy-riding on a homerehashed side-valve machine, got up to look like a racer, complete with dropped bars and megaphone exhaust, made one realise what a happy state the raw novice is in, especially as my friend remarked ” he is enjoying his racing bicycle.” Most racing !mien will agree that a racing machine is just. sheer hard toil -and sweat all the time. It’ you are not working all night to be ready for the /meting you are frightening yourself silly because you have made it go too fast ; failing that you wheel it back to the paddock with something sticking out in the wrong place.
FORMULA if G.P. OF MARSEILLES
Fifteen ears lined up im the grid for the start of the Formula 11 race at Marseilles and among them were three of the new single-seater making their first. Continental appearfinke, driven by Moss,
Maoklin and ” Chief opposition was front three Ferraris driven by Mead, Villoresi and Serafini and the. worh8 1,490-e.e. Simeas of Trintignant, Matiron and Sinion.
The race was Over 90 laps of the 1.05 miles circuit :tad front the start Mead took the lead followed by a bunch of ears in the ‘middle of which was Stirling Nloss with the. Ilrst of the 11.W,M.s. Manton held his little Sill/Cain second plitee more than half the race, daring whielt time Ascari remained out in front. At 70 laps Allx-rto overdid a corner and hit the strawbales, damaging the car too badly to oontinne, and dye laps later Marfron mis torci?ti to retire. This left Simon in the lead, but a few laps before the end he made a pit slop and Villoresi went out cc front with Trintignant and Masa behind him. Macklin came home iii sixth welition, three laps behind arm.t ” airs ” had to retire when his steering taints adrift.
Let : (1,91)1-e.e. Ferrari), 2 hr. 4 min.
35.5 sm. 71.73 rn.p.h.; 2nd : M. Trintiptant l,490.e..c. liimea), 2 hr, 4 min, 54,5 sec,. ; 3rd SI. Mints (1,900-e.e. R.W.M.), 2 M. S main. 39.5 sec: Finites’ lap : A. Atteari (Fermi).
The trend of design at Indianapolis is portrayed briefly by these 1950 qualifying runs and the results of last year’s race. The average qualifying speed was remarkably high-181.78 m.p.h. The actual speeds ranged from 184.848 m.p.h. to 129.208 m.p.h., and. rain during some of the qualifying periods slowed many of the faster cars.
The race results and qualifying speeds of the 88 starters in the 84th race of the series last year are shown on preceding page. This tabulated results list nicely emphasises the very strong position of the unblown four-cylinder 270 Cu. in., 4.82 in. by 4.63 in. (4,426 c.c.) engine. Only five blown cars, including the Cummins Diesel, qualified and only three finished, out of 69 entrants. The 270 cu. in. engine that has swept the Indianapolis board is the famous Offenhauser twin-cam that also powered the lap-record breaker. I have not named the ears in the race, for the simple reason that the only makes in the entire list of entries that would mean anything to Europeans were the two Maseratis of Farina and Roll that didn’t start and an Alfa-Romeo Special ! The
rest were Wynn’s Friction Proof Specials, Blue Crowns, Tuffy Offys, Automobile Shippers Specials, Bowes Seal Fasts (that one” rang a bell “as I polished my little English sports car recently !), Novi Mobils and such like, that are another individuality of the Indianapolis set-up.
The 1950 race was stopped after 345 miles, due to rain, Parsons’ average for the distance in the Wynn’s Friction Proof Special being 124.002 m.p.h. The highest speed at which the full 500 miles has been run is 121.88 m.p.h. by Bill Holland in a 270 Cu. in. unblown, front-drive Blue Crown Spark Special in 1949. This is fractionally faster than the speed of 121.28 m.p.h. at which John Cobb’s Napier-Railton won the 1935 B.R.D.C. 500-Mile Race at Brooklands, but the rolling Indianapolis ‘start evens it up to practically a draw! In 1937, of course, Cobb won the 800 kilometres (186.3 miles) race at 127.05 m.p.h., which America has yet to equal. In the last race their 200-mile average was within 1 m.p.h. of it, however. It is obvious, therefore, that Indianapolis nuttelies Brooklands for speed and
I have tried to show that technically the cars now racing there are the equal of any and that the effectiveness of the unblown 41-litre is borne out there as in recent G.P. racing, with greater emphasis as only four cylinders are deemed necessary.
Indianapolis, which awakes from its year’s sltunber this month, can virtually be termed the sole survivor of “outercircuit “-type racing. Soon, with unblown “4s” going non-stop through road-racing contests and blown ” 1is ” like the new Type 160 Alfa-Romeos being fitted with big-capacity tankage in the hope of emulating the range of their atmospherically-charged rivals, the American Speedway may soon be the last stand of that skilful and fascinating business, ” pit-work.”
So, in spite of, Or because Of, the bands, balloons, publicity bally-hoo, coca-cola, colour and general spectacle that makes this great ” 500″ like something out of a motor-racing novel, if you can crossover, on or above. the Atlantic and be in Indiana on May 30th, I strongly recta* mend you to do s0.-BUD STEINWAY.