MATTERS OF MOMENT, October 1967

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MATTERS OF MOMENT

111 THE ANTI-7o PETITION

The response to the petition included in the last issue of MOTOR SP-oat has been extremely encouraging and over-time is being carried on in the office to cope with the ‘Rood Of forms which have been returned.

The completed petition cannot be presented to the Minister of Transport until Parliament reassembleS. Consequently, if any readers have not yet sent in the Signatures they have collected we would remind them that a few more days’ grace remains before the petitions are assembled for presentation to the Minister. The position to date leaves us in no doubt of the feelings of the majority of skilled motorists, not only those owning fast cars, but everyone who enjoys driving on our roads, that the overall speed limit in this country is extremely unpopular. Letters accompanying the petitions make it quite plain that, in the opinion of the majority, accidents are caused not by speed hut by speed in the wrong places by careless and casual driving, and that the majority of accidents occur at speeds eonsiderably below the existing speed limitS, usually on roads in built up areas. In appealing to Barbara Castle’s intelligence to reconsider blanket speed limits on British roads, we would hope that town limits might be raised to 40 m.p.h. and no limit be imposed on motot-wa?,s.

The result of the petition cannot be known fOr some time, but Our object in presenting it to her is to.show how public feeling stands on this very important matter which affects not only motorists but the whole community; the motor industry can be seriously retarded by the continuation of unnecessary speed limits which no practical experiment has yet shown to save us from an increasing accident rate.

• BROOKLANDS SOCIETY LIMITED

As announced last month the Brooklands Society Ltd. has been formed, to Comply with the aims and objects as published. Within a week we hope to Send OM membership forms to those Who have already applied, but in the meantime others interested are invited to ask for these forms to be sent to them. The Society has been formed as a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital, which will eventually be in the interests of members but is causing delay at the start. Subscriptions for members is kz and for associates tos.

III NEW TRENDS IN RALLIES

The general conception of a motor rally is .a long-distance touring QVC111 in which varying terrain has to be covered, and navigating play.s almost as important a part as driving in the overall results. It is desirable that geographical conditions., weather, etc., combine with average speeds to make such contests a fitting demonstration of Cars’ capabilities and to give value to the results from the viewpoint of advertising, publicity and technical advancement. It is therefore pleasing to find that this year’s Alpine Rally fully lived up to its reputation as a severe and punishing contest. It was More of a race tharra rally and has been described asa succession of Targa Florio-type hill-climbs placed end to end, extending over a period of five -days and some 3,800 kilometres Of the fiercest geographical rallying country that Europe has to offer. It is significant that it was contested between Group 6. cars, only 15 of which finished out of 79 .starters, and that only four competitors gained the coveted Coupes de5 .4/ee. It is also most unfortunate that it cost the life Of Frenelmian JeanPierre Rouget. The greatest possible credit goes therefore to the four cars which achieved these awards, namely the Hopkirk/Crellin B,M.C. Cooper S, two Alfa Romeo GTAs and a Renault Gordini. How .much longer it will be possible to run rallies of this high-speed nature over public roads remains to be seen, although, providing the organising club and the countries concerned co-operate, there .seems no reason for any valid objection to be raised to them. The fact is that this year’s Liege was primarily run round and round the Is/urburgring, being likened to doing three Le Mans races combined except not necessarily run at quite the speeds that one expects from this Forddominated 24-hour race today. Boring, perhaps, for the drivers of the slower cars, boring certainly for those servicing them and looking on, this event nevertheless proved a tough test for the competing vehicles. We have at times found ourselves wondering whether a motor race can be run in which the winner is the car which is running when all others finally fall to pieces and been forcibly retired. The 1967 Marathon de: to Route had something of this atmosphere about it, and it is noteworthy that it was won by Vic ElfordaterrmanniNeerpasch in a Porsche 911R With automatic gearbox and that the Wowing six places were held by a B.M.C. Cooper S, a Volvo Amazon, two Tams, a Continued on page 904

Daf 44 and a large Mercedes 250 estate car.

It is well known that in any road rallies cars require frequent servicing along the route, and that in this Nurburgring event pit stops were incorporated. But while the buying public is prepared to overlook the special features of the competing cars and the assistance accorded to them during the event, rallies will continue to be highly competitive and to appeal to manufacturers’ publicity departments. That Porsche have won the Liege and B.M.C. the Alpine must stand these two firms in very good stead on the eve of the forthcoming Motor Show at Earls Court.