Setting straight a "sprint championship"

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Motor Sport

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Sir,

“Setting the record straight” is how Mr. Mackenzie-Wintle, of the Renault Club, describes his letter on the autocross Gordini, which, Motor Sport reported, “narrowly beat” the Manifold VW in 1965.

With respect to Mr. Mackenzie, the record seems to have been a little bent. While Motor Sport was perfectly correct in saying that the Gordini (cost £1,000-odd, rating 95 b.h.p.) narrowly beat Manifold’s 1963 VW1300 (value then £450, plus £177 mods., rating 55 b.h.p.) by one-fifth of a second on two occasions, the VW earned some comment that year by soundly beating the far more powerful Gordini on two return-match occasions (Southsea and Plymouth).

No one can blame Mr. Mackenzie for waving the Renault flag and pointing out that the Gordini won an event he calls “The British Sprint Championship” in 1965. It does sound impressive. There is, of course, no such championship! Assuming Mr. M.-W. means the ’65 B.T.R.D.A. Sprint Championship, it is interesting to note that the B.T.R.D.A. reported in that year only seven other cars scoring championship points apart from the Gordini, and in consequence of this pathetic support, their Sprint Championship was abandoned altogether by the Association!

Unfortunately, the particular Gordini cited by Mr. Mackenzie.-W. did not put in an appearance in last season’s B.T.R.D.A. autocross championship, but to judge from the fate of other R8 Gordinis that met the improved Manifold VW in 1966, it would not have made the slightest impression on the VW’s outright win.

In view of Mr. Mackenzie-Wintle’s claim that the Gordini in question was a standard 1,108 c.c. car, and that only the entry fees were paid by B.R.T. (Racing) Developments Ltd., his comments would be of interest regarding an advertisement a few weeks ago. His favourite Renault Gordini was offered for sale with a top speed of 110 mph! 

Kew Green. Jack Brown, Cambridge Engineering.

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