Driving Good and Bad.
A recent conversation with some of those Big Shots, who are to be seen as officials at Brooklands on race days, revealed a state of mind which at first amazed and then disgusted me. We were watching a mountain race, and I was mentally admiring the driving of two competitors, both fairly new to the track and, therefore, outside the range of the Big Shots’ patronage. One was driving an old sports car in a spirited fashion most excellent to watch, while the other was handling a 750 c.c. car in a similar manner. The corner was taken as fast as possible on every lap, and neither driver once overshot nor lost control of his car. At the end of the race the adjectives applied by the Big Shots to their driving were “highly dangerous, ghastly, dreadful, most unsafe,” finishing with the futile remark : ” I thought he was for it every time.” Then they remembered the regrettable lapse of a driyer who was “one of themselves.” Although this man had actually done what the Big Shots had been so afraid the new drivers might do, their only comment was : “I wonder what happened to poor old So-and-So ? “
A Sporting Gesture.
The entry of P. L. Donkin’s M.G. Magnette in the last race at Brooklands on August Bank Holiday, followed by the words “Driver, W. Wilkinson,” came as pleasant news to all who admire that cheerful person
Wilky.” The job of those who do the actual work of preparing racing cars demands a good deal of unselfishness, for they experience the joy of handling the car while tuning it, and yet cannot drive in the race. But Wilkinson is always the picture of cheerfulness, working for whole nights before a big event, and never by any chance neglecting the smallest detail.
Anyway, there he was at Brooklands on August Bank Holiday handling a car he had so carefully tuned. Donkin and ” Wilky ” make a good team.
Alfa-Romeo have demonstrated this year that a useful increase of power could be obtained by boring out the
standard racing engines, and it is interesting to note that in the German Grand Prix the Mercedes had a five-litre engine and the Auto Unions were increased to 4.4 litres. Before this race, incidentally, it was announced that the Ferrari cars were the 1932 cars bored out to just under 3 litres, which seems possible, in view of the fact that the three-litres had run in the French and the Marne Grands Prix during the two preceding week-ends. Monsieur Bugatti followed the lead of the other makers, and his victorious cars at Francorchamps had been brought up to the four-litre mark.
Apart from the hill climbs, in which the German cars have been taking the first places, the first real encounter between the white cars and the red was in the Coppa Acerb°, the race in which, it is much regretted, Guy Moll had his fatal crash, and Fagioli, on a Mercedes, beat his fellow-countrymen on their own ground..
Can the Alfas “Come Back ” ?
The three-litre Alfa-Romeos are nearly 30 Kg under the weight limit, and could probably be bored out further to 3.5 litres or more, but the gear-boxes already show signs of weakness under the 270 h.p. at present developed, and I doubt if any further change will be made.
As for the ” hush-hush ” models, from all accounts they are not far enough advanced to be run this year, though the Spanish Grand Prix on the 23rd September has often been used for preliminary canters. The firm of Alfa-Romeo has been undergoing considerable reorganisation, of course, and the racing workshop is always the first place to be upset when changes of policy are being made.
Galloping Across Europe.
The Monte Carlo Rally will, I am afraid, lose much of its adventurous nature through the change in the regulations for 1935. In previous years, even if you got stuck in the middle of Bulgaria, near Lwow, or in the salubrious forests of Lithuania, you at least felt that but for a little bad luck you might have been amongst the first ten, but with the marks from the leading starting places evened up, there is no induce
ment for anyone to venture again across the bounding plains and mountains of Greece (and how you bounded I). All the more annoying for the Greeks, who were improving the roads for the benefit of the Rallyists of 1935.
Opening up Europe.
Talking of trans-European roads, an ambitious scheme was drawn up a short time ago by Senator Puricelli, the originator of the Autostrade, the famous Italian roads reserved exclusively for motor vehicles. His plan was to cover Europe with a network of roads of this type; with a total length of over 20,000 miles, organised either by the states through which it passed or even by the League of Nations. Great Britain was not included in the scheme, but I feel a highway following the line of the Great North Road highway would be an immediate success, while a less ambitious but equally welcome route would be one from London to Brighton. Most of the Italian motor roads are owned by a private company, who have their own police force to enforce the regulations imposed on the users, and the scheme has proved a financial success as well as a national asset.
Under the Mersey.
The newly opened tunnel from Liverpool to Birkenhead is in its way quite as fine an achievement as the Autostrade, and doubtless many of our readers who are going to Ulster or the Isle of Man this month by
the Liverpool route will take the opportunity of driving through it. The journey is made in five minutes, the air is remarkably pure, which, of course, for dwellers in Western England and Wales it saves crossing the Mersey on the tiresome vehicle ferries or the long detour through Warrington.
Airways in the North.
The aeroplane service to Northern Ireland has greatly reduced the time taken to reach Belfast and the Isle of Man, and leaving King’s Cross Station, London, at about 9 a.m. the passenger is taken to Essex Air Port by motor coach, and gets to Ireland by 1.30 or the Isle of Man an hour earlier.
I understand that the Mannin races were much more successful from a monetary point of view than they Are in 1933, and it is hoped to hold them again next year, while some of the more far-sighted amongst the committee are striving for a first prize for the Moar Race, running into four figures, which should make it worth while even for Continental drivers. The Manx Grand Prix, the famous motor-cycle race, which is the successor to the Amateur T.T., will be held on the 11th and 13th September, and once more a record entry has been received, 64 in the Junior and 66 in the Senior. This is nearly forty more than were entered for the three races in June, and there should be plenty to see on the famous 37-mile circuit.