RUMBLINGS, November 1930
By ” BO ANERGES.”
Foreigners and the ” 500.”
THE greatest attraction of the B.R.D.C. 500 Miles Race to most private owners is the fact that it is open to any car, provided that car will go quickly. If a car won’t go quickly no one would want to enter it any way, but it is a great relief to be free for once from the eagle eye of the scrutineer, who tries to make out that something has been done that should not be done in the way of tuning, and so on.
The big road races are great fun for those who can afford it, but you practically must have motor of this year, and so soon as you start carting motor cars to foreign parts it starts to run into money in a horrifying manner. The ” 500 ” however, is different. The mileage of the model doesn’t greatly matter, nor does its departure from standard in various ways.
In all these things, therefore, this race is undoubtedly ,, one of the ones,” and the only pity is that we cannot get a bigger foreign entry. This year there was only one, the Maserati, and owing to some bother with the motor, and the fact that it was “simply miles from home,” it could not be got to the line.
I was listening some time ago to the views of a fa/nous Italian driver, on this very question, and he seemed surprised that we did not do more to make it worth their while to come over here. As he said, there are lots of road races on the continent which are easy to get to, and the promoters definitely make it worth while for world famous drivers to come to the starting line, while if they are successful it is even more worth while. When it comes to racing over here there are no road races actually in England. Brookland.s has a limited number of suitable events, and the expense is very high. In fact if you win you get your money back, and that is about all. This seems rather a pessimistic view of things but it is apparently the way many foreign drivers look at the matter, and so they do not enter on their own over here, but wait till they are included in some works team in the “Ulster or the Dublin races. And then they certainly make up for lost time if recent road racing results are anything to go by.
The same driver’s views on the general standard of road behaviour in this country was also interesting, and certainly I have seen a great deal to bear it out, in my efforts to escape with a whole skin from the numerous, if well-meaning, attempts on my life by drivers of slow but persistent family vehicles. “You drive so slowly, I cannot think how you get anywhere, except at crossroads and sharp corners and then— ! ” His expression showed that his stay in this country had not been free from the menace mentioned above. In his country apparently motorists use their brakes at corners and cross roads, and look, and listen, and then on the
roads between they really move ! Can we wonder that Italian sports cars are pretty lively performers. If only the motorists in this country (I mean the general run of touring drivers) would only learn to do the same, in.stead of travelling everywhere at a constant speed, which is a danger to everyone in crowded places, and a mere obstruction on the open road, we should find road travel a great deal safer. However, until we get road races in England, so that more people can see for themselves that good racing drivers are steady and not hectic on corners, and that speed is safe if it is only used in the right places, the standard of driving is not likely to improve to any extent.
An 1100 C.C. “Bug.”
C. S. Staniland, who has had such a wonderful record of successes on cars and motorcycles, recently caused a certain amount of surprise by turning up at a meeting with a 1,100 c.c. Bugatti, and proceeded to score right away, as it proved but little slower than a 1 litre. Several people have asked me what was the cause of this seeming mystery, and how Ettore Bugatti came to be making such a small car. Actually, however, there is no mystery at all. Staniland, having decided that the handicappers already knew a lot too much about the capabilities of his car, which is one of the fastest of its type that has ever been, had the engine fitted with Laystall liners to reduce the capacity to 1,100 c.c. and the result was certainly most effective. It would be very interesting to see how this modified model would perform in one of the big road races, but I am afraid that it would hardly be considered sufficiently standard to get past the scrutineers.
And now for Trials.
Now that the racing season is over, we have to turn to trials, if there is a suitable motor available, or else to rebuilding the fast motor for next year if we cannot afford a new one. Touching the matter of trials, the new regulations are going to cause trials secretaries a certain amount of anxiety to avoid getting into trouble. The law that a car may not be driven more than 15 yards (or whatever it is) from the highway puts the lid on some of our choicest colonial sections. However, there seems no need to despair. There are plenty of ways marked on the map as “roads,” which, while being highways within the law, are quite enough to cause considerable trouble to the average car entry in a sporting trial. Of course, commons are ruled out, but this will only lead to increased ingenuity on the part of organisers. Another thing which is now liable to cause trouble is the use of dye for route-marking, as the police are now totally forbidding this is many parts. Hence, more attention to the route-card, always remembering “the onus of finding the course rests with the competitor ” !