Mr. Neve’s recent article on the potentialities of Class I RS a happy hunting ground for the amateur dicer Undoubtedly puts forward an excellent idea. But how far is it practicable ? I do not wish to condemn or belittle the schetne, but certain adverse considerations occur to me, and are here set forth. In the first place, how many people, and therefore cars, would there be to draw on for each race or sprint event in which Class I was included ? As, I take it, Class I would, wording to Mr. Neve’s idea, be composed largely of impecunious folk driving whatever cars they could construct themselves, it follows that the success or otherwise of the scheme would depend on how much the support of these people could be relied on to provide entries. The enthusiasm would be there in abundance, but as most of these wouldbe competitors, being impecunious, would have to work for their living, all construetional work and tuning would have to be done as a spare-time job, and any meeting attended would mean getting time off from work, which is not always easy to arrange. Then comes the question of expense, and here I do not altogether see eye to eye with Mr. Neve. I agree that latest groups of genuine enthusiasts could manage to build a machine of some sort by acquiring parts from scrap yards and elsewhere, but the very fact of these Specials having been built from such parts would probably—in fact, almost certainly —mean frequent renewals, thus imposing a steady drain on already slender re sources. As a member of the Seuderia Impecuniosa, though now, alas, relegated to a somewhat honorary position, I can lay some claim to knowing something of the difficulties attached to cheap motoring
in whatever form. On top of this exnense of building and maintenance would come entry fees for the actual events and transport of Special, personnel. 4. IC., to and from the course, with the added prospect of doing the journey twice in order to take part in practice. NVIIi4•11 would be a very necessary part of the proceedings. ‘Nies(‘ fiwtors combined would mean that each individual team would not be able to attend at more than about two events each season, which in turn would mean that each event would have to depend for its entries in the 500-cc. class on drivers living within a radius of, say, 50 miles of the course ; it is doubtful if there wouhl la! enough of these to make (lass I worth while from the competitive angle. Then collies tlw question of how a Class I is going to appeal to those clubs organising race and sprint nice ti rigs. Unfortunate though it is, it is nevertheless a fact that any club, no matter how sporting its committee, lots got to orgamise its events with one eye on its balance sheet, and to this end has got to consider such events, in part at least, in the light of a draw to the general public. Now a large portion of the general public at Brooklands and Donington is not there to see a race judged solely on the resp«4 i ve merits of the cars and their drivers, hot to see something spectacular, and I have heard one or t WO races rather sc verely critiyised bee:Liise there were no -incidents.” .,kt sprint events this type of spectator is not so much in evidence. hut even here if every car went up the course as if cm rails there would probably be a big falling-ofi in the ranks Of the spectators. By no means am I advocating the creation of ” incidents ” for the crowd’s benefit. But what I am getting at k this : As entries in (lass I, as a purely amateur class, would never be sufficient to justify a club in staging a race solely for this class, the cars, if run on a handicap basis or as an extra class, would be rather overshadowed, from the spectators’ point of view, and therefore as a draw, by the heavier metal in the other classes. Whilst the Class I exponents might provide, in their endeaveurs to compete w ith their larger rivals, a crop
of inci?lents ” sufficient to satisfy the most ghoulish spectator, this would hardly suit the .:tuthorities. Finally, and the crux of the whole matter : What is going to be the trend of car design after the war ? ‘Vhich depends on a further question : What attitude is the Government going to adopt towards motoring after the War ? If motor taxation is going to remain at its present level, or be increased, then designers are obviously going to pay a good deal of attention to developing smaller and more economical engines. The last war may be said to have produced the Austin Seven, and in more recent years has come the Baby Fiat, which has proved itself perfectly adequate for all normal purposes. After this war, then, will there be produced a 500-e.c. fourcylinder baby car ? Only the Government can answer that qiiestion. But if this does happen, a Class I for cars will almost certainly come into being, though hardly in the way Mr. Neve and others desire,
and, as suggested in the note at the head of Mr. Nevc’s article, the factory-produced ” Special ” will monopolise Class I and leave no room for the .amateur designer and builder.
Those are the main clinic tittles as I see them, and they do If wk rather formidable, the last especially. However. a class for amateurs is an ideal well worth sonic time and trouble to achieve, and if such a class is started it will undoubtedly have plenty of supporters, but how many of these w ill be active supporters is governed primarily by the considerations of time and money already mentioned. So all power to Mr. Neve’s elbow, and if he has sown e seed which is going to bear fruit, there will be plenty of people to thank him. I am, Yours etc.,
W. J. GIBSON.