THOSE who watched the BBC coverage of last month’s Grand National steeplechase will have seen the rider who was leading a preceding race by an enormous margin turn on to the National course from the inner one on which this lesser event was being run, thus losing a race he otherwise must have won very easily. It wasn’t explained whether his mount “ran out”, whether he failed to resist a lifelong temptation to try the National fences, or whether he just forgot where the race finished! This reminded me that at the very first race meeting at Brooklands, in 1907, the celebrated driver Dario Resta, driving F. R. Fry’s 1906 GP Mercedes in the big event of the day, the first Montagu Cup, had an easy victory and the £1,400 prize-money in sight when he inadvertently failed to turn into the finishing straight, although a semaphore-signal there was indicating to him that he was on the last lap. The only difference is that the horse turned onto the main course, whereas the car failed to quit it. . .
A public fund has been opened to try to save the Aintree course, for which a price of £7,000,000 is wanted by November, with another £5,500,000 estimated to be needed for renovating the old grandstands, etc. It will be interesting see whether this sum is forthcoming and, if it is, whether the motor-racing track outside the Grand National course will be revived at the same time. If the Grand National Fund succeeds one will think once again of poor old Brooklands Motor Course, not all that much younger than Aintree, remembering the difference in age of against motor transport, but allowed to become derelict before any attempt was made to save it. Think what even £1,000,000 would do for the Brooklands Society! — W.B.