Ripeness is All
From the academic point of view, the 200-mile Race at Donington Park last month had much to commend it. First of all there was the remarkable spectacle of the ten-year-old Delage showing a clean pair of heels to a field which included recently-built racing-cars of twice its engine capacity ; then there was the complete dominance of the bigger cars by the 1,500 c.c. machines in a scratch race.
Much has been written in praise of Delage that he was able to build a racing-car in 1926 that so anticipated future development that it would still be winning races ten years later. The truth is, of course, that, broadly speaking, automobile design has not altered a great deal in the past decade. What has improved is tuning, and the Delage represents the best of two worlds.
Great credit is due to Richard Seaman and his assistants for so successfully incorporating modern improvements in the Delage, improvements which have turned it from a mediocre performer into a strong favourite for every race in which it is entered. A point that has yet to be proved is whether the Delage in its present form has been fully extended. Seaman’s pit-control is careful to ease the speed of the car to suit the opposition, always keeping something in reserve for
emergencies. The E.R.As., good as they are, cannot make any impression on the Delage. It remains for Trossi’s independently-sprung Maserati to challenge the veteran. As for Seaman himself, he has shown himself to be the finest road-racing driver in Britain. He possesses all the necessary qualities of the front-rank driver, confidence, cornering skill, judgment and coolness. Given a chance, he would do great things in Grand Prix racing proper. As a
well-known Continental driver remarked, “lie looks right.”
Turning to the race, the Junior Car Club has once again made the right move at the right time, not by accident, but by the genius of ” Bunny ” Dyer, its capable general secretary. Dyer seems to specialise in doing things in the face of opposition. His channel system of handicapping in the International Trophy was a case in point. And now at Donington when everyone said it was unwise to have a scratch race and that it would be a walk-over for the big cars, he has again been proved to be right.
On a bigger circuit, with longer straights, the big cars would no doubt have gained the day, but on a give-and-take course such as Donington it certainly seems that 1,500 c.c. is the most efficient size, particularly in a long race.
There is little doubt but that the Junior Car Club will now make the 200-mile Race an annual fixture once more. That it will hold a major place in the estimation of racing-enthusiasts is a matter of course, both due to its illustrious history and to the complete success of last month’s revival. The problem remains, whether to hold it at Donington or at the future Crystal Palace circuit. Donington has advantages in a tested organ
which reflects the greatest possible credit on Mr. Fred Craner. Whether the organisation of the Crystal Palace track can be made to function smoothly from the very start remains to be seen. Certainly, the management of a racing-circuit is a thing that benefits greatly by time and experience.
And there is always the possibility that a road-circuit might be built in the grounds of Brooklands . . .