CANNOT resist the temptation to say ” I told you so” to the organisers of the Gernaan G.P. Early in the year in these
columns I made some pungent remarks about the inadvisability of holding the G.P. at Schotten, which is a highly dangerous course for standard racing machines, let alone works machines, and in making those observations I was not alone. The D.M.V. insisted on using Schotten, with the result that after the practice periods all the works teams refused to ride on the grounds of too much danger. The trouble with the Schotten course is that it is too narrow and has too many trees lining the route. This sit-down strike by Norton, A.J.S., Guzzi and Gilera, caused a bit of an uproar, as can be imagined, for the International rules say that a rider once having signed the entry form must start, unless very good reason is given as to why he shouldn’t. If an individual rider had refused to start because he thought the circuit too dangerous he would have been liable to heavy penalties for a breach of contract and could even have been suspended from racing. When four works teams scratch in unison the F.I.M. were set a pretty problem and the result was that the 350-c.c. and 500-c.c. classes at Schotten were scrubbed from the World Championship series and only the 125 and 250-c.c. races were counted for points. All this made the German G.P. a little farcical and one hopes that next year this situation will not be allowed to arise again.
In many respects the F.I.M. themselves are to blame, for that body has to give permission for a course to be used and presumably someone went and had a look at Schotten before sanctioning its use for the Grand Prix. A pity they didn’t take a rider with them, for they would have soon been told that it was impossible for works 5008. It was already agreed that it was too narrow for sidecars and they were banned. In the 125-cc. event Ubbiali won with an M.V., while Haas walked away with the 250-c.c, event on the powerful little N.S.U. twin. The 350-c.c. race, not counting as a championship event, was won by Bandirola on the new four-cylinder MV., which is a scaled-down version of the proved 500-c.c. model, and while he had no serious opposition it was an excellent proving-ground for the machine. The works B.M.W.s were competing in the 500-cc. class, but with all the ” foreign ” Withdrawals they had no opposition and Zeller was victorious.
In direct contrast to the German meeting, the French G.P. at Rouen went off perfectly, with the exception that both Amin and anan damaged themselves in spills. Used for the first time for motor-cycles, the Rouen circuit proved very popular and pleased riders immensely as it was one on which riding skill paid dividends. Anderson continued the flight of the 350-cc. Guzzi which is playing havoc with the English teams in this class, while Duke showed his superiority in winning the 500-c.c. class with the Gilera lour. The sidecar race was rather disappointing as the B.M.W.s did not enter and Oliver and Smith had no opposition; they played games between themselves, with victory going to Oliver. What was rather surprising, in view of the excellent entry for this round of the World Championship, was the very poor spectator attendance, it being so Small that the crowd could almost be counted by eye. In large countries such as France or Germany, the location of a race plays an important part in its success, for only the very keen travel from one end of the country to the other to watch the racing, so that organisers must try to pick on a circuit that is in a heavily populated and sporting district. In addition, of course, they have to pick on the most suitable circuit from the riders’ point of view, and in the French and German events we had two examples of mistakes. The German:: .chose a bad circuit that is in the heart of a very enthusiastic part of their country and should have had 500,000 spectators had things gone right, while the French chose a magnificent circuit in a disinterested part of France, with the result that they were lucky to get 5,000 spectators. The more one thinks about the events counting for the World ‘Championship, the plainer it becomes that there is still a great deal to he desired. After the French race the works circus trekked off to Ireland for the Ulster G.P., held this year on the Dundrod circuit. in place of the usual Chicly circuit. To many people this caused Iheartburn, but only from sentimental reasons, for Duudrod is an excellent road circuit. In addition to this change the Ulster organisers broke new ground by holding a sidecar event in their meeting. After the F.I.M. recommendation forbidding the running of 125-c.c. machines on the circuit at the same time as larger machines, the Irish, in typical manner, ran the eight 125-c.c. entries in a race On their own on the Thursday of Ulster week, and then combined the 250-c.c. and 350-c.c. machines together in the afternoon. Apart from the absurdity of letting 20-year-old British 250.c.c. machines run at the sante time as the latest 350-c.c. works bicycles, there was the even more serious effect that this arrangement had on MotoGuzzi. They are in the running for the 250 and 350-c.c. championships, having been using their two regular riders Anderson and Lorenzetti. At the Ulster they were prevented from continuing their programme and had to decide to let their two main runners ride in one class or the other and they chose the 250. This meant that they had to conscript two mediocre riders to start in the 350-cc. class, whereas, normally, Anderson and Lorenzetti would have done both races and been Well in the running both times. Once again, a ludicrous situation, running a meeting but preventing
riders from competing.
The German N.S.U.s continued to dominate the 250-c.c, class, this time Armstrong being the winner, while the 350-cc. race was won by New Zealander Ken Mudford riding a works Norton in place of Aram, who was still laid up after crashing in the French G.P. The sidecar race produced a rather disappointing entry of only eight runners, Oliver and Smith being the only two works riders again. This time it was Smith’s turn for a win, as Oliver retired on the very last lap with mechanical trouble, havingbeen iu the lead as they started the last seven miles. The 500-c.c. race looked like being another win for Duke on the Gilera and at the, time of his refuelling stop he hail a minute lead over Kavannagh on the Norton, but, on restarting, his clutch gave trouble and this allowed thz Norton rider to get past and score their first win since the T. r. Although the Gilera team is potentially much stronger than Nortons’, being faster, more powerful, and having the cream of the riders, Nortons’ keep plugging away and are never too far behind, so that One slight error by the Italian equips and the Birmingham gin* is in the running.
Reverting for a moment to national events, the recent meeting at Blandford run by the A.C.U. decided who was to he the British Champion. Now this was really quite absurd, for deciding a national championship on one meeting alone is quite pointless. Just LO show how much of a farce it is, Fergus Anderson rode there and won the 250 and 350-c.c, events, thus becoming British Champ on in both of those categories. He rides in England about once a year and lives in Italy, yet by making an effort and travelling overnight icon the French G.P. he was able to become British Champiort inst like that. It really is time that the A.C.U. tried to learn a little from other countries and run a British Championship in a normal manner, with a series of events throughout the season to count points. Th.ne is enough national racing to justify it and such a scheme would tend to add a little more interest to the long succession of dreary aerodrome races that take place week after week, with no difference in character between one or another. If the B.M.C.R.C. Silverstone meetings, Blandford, Thruxton, Eppynt, Scarborough, Snetterton and Crystal Palace meetings all counted for the British Championship, we then might get a result that makes some sense. Furthermore, this year, as seems inevitable, the A.C.U. event was held the day after an important Continental event, with the resultant omissions in the entry lists. One day it is to he hoped that we can organise au event at a tune and place that will not be hampered by Continental opposition so that everyone will be free to compete.
THE 12 HOURS OF PESCARA (August 16th)
Putting the two new boys together in a 41-1itre coupe, Ferrari had the satisfaction of seeing them win the 12-hour sports-car race at Pescara, on the Adriatic coast. The two drivers concerned were 24-year-old Hawthorn and 25-year-old Maglioli, and between them they piloted the Ferrari to victory, way ahead of all opposition. Among the 40 competitors were P. Whitehead (Jaguar) and Gaze (Aston Martin), but neither was able to challenge the Ferrari. though Villoresi-P. Marzotto, also Ferrari-mounted, led at half. distance, later to retire with a broken rear axle.