RUMBLINGS, September 1934



Fashions in Records.

SINCE Von Stuck set up a speed of 134.6 m.p.h. for the world’s hour record there has been a lull in the usual activity of people attempting to gain what is probably the most coveted speed record of all. This is partly due to the racing season occupying drivers’ time to the full, but I understand there will be several attempts made at Montlhery in the Autumn. Whitney Straight wanted to try at the end of July, but had to postpone his effort. It certainly seems that a modern Grand Prix racing car should have an excellent chance being light on tyres and possessing a large reserve of speed. John Cobb, too, intends to take the Napier Railton across the Channel once more, and with his new Dunlops should be a serious contender. Records seem largely a matter of fashion, and one which, although of a special kind, has been strangely left alone is the Montlhery lap record. I say” strangely,” but after all there must be very few drivers indeed capable of handling a car .at the Paris autodrome as fast as Mrs. Gwenda Stewart. Her latest speed of 147.79 m.p.h., measured on the middle line, represents an actual higher speed, and is a performance to which

it is difficult to do justice by mere words. Robert Benoist was rumoured to be making an attempt on this record some months ago on a 4.9-litre Bugatti, as was Von Stuck with an Auto Union, but I haven’t heard anything more since. John Cobb may try it when he goes over for the Hour Record attempt, and it would be especially satisfactory for him to succeed and hold the lap records for both Brooklands and Montlhery.

Turning to a different kind of record, the fact that some new gramaphone records were broadcast at Brooklands on August Bank Holiday is one deserving to be printed for all times in these columns. The fate of the 3-year-old discarded discs is at present undecided.

Bad Months.

In contrast to 1933, this ‘car has not been marred by too many fatal accidents. July and August were bad months, however, with the deaths of Moll, Wog and Berthelon following Gaupillat and Houldsworth. The Scudeira Ferrari has lost its most promising young driver in Guy Moll, just when his class as a driver of the fastest road racing machines had become an established fact. He fell a victim to one of three funda

mental causes of accidents given by the late Sir Henry in his book : change of road surface, error of judgment, or mechanical defect. At Monza last year Campari, Borzacchini and Czaikowski died from an artificial change of road surface, while Moll had to contend with a road on which spasmodic rain had fallen.

The Right Spirit.

At the Klausen hill-climb the issue lay beween Caracciola and Von Stuck, driving a Mercedes-Benz and an Auto Union respectively. Caracciola went up first, and ‘when he got to the top his first remark was : “That’s the best I can do. If Hans gets up quicker— well, he does.” As you all know, Stuck was 4 seconds slower, partly owing to a skid and also to the fact that his car seemed to be overheating on the upper stretches of the ascent.

Those Short Races.

I hear a lot of criticism nowadays about the short races, both at Brooklands and Donington. Dealing with Brooklands first, I am bound to agree that unless one is a regular” habitué ” of the track and can recognise the competing cars quickly, without reference to the programme, these 6 and 9 mile sprints are most unsatisfactory to watch. They are over almost as soon as they are started.

At Donington the five-lap races certainly last longer, but they attract only small -entries and are usually lacking in interest. On the other hand the 25-mile handicaps are worth going a long way to see, allowing the spectators time to become familiar with the Cars and to get a grip on the progress of the race. At both courses the remedy seems to lie in having fewer and longer races. The old 10-lap mountain races were better than the present 5-lap affairs, and the Long and Short Handicaps could be condensed into two or three 50-mile races. At Donington it would be better to cut out the 5-lap races altogether, but the difficulty here is lack of entries. As it is, practically the same field competes in both the 25-mile handicaps. Prize money is the solution, and I am glad to hear that the substantial sum of £600, together with the Nuffield Trophy, has been donated for the meeting on October 6th. There will be only three races, one of 10 laps, one of 20 laps, and the final race of 40 laps.