MATTER OF MOMENT

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MATTERS OF MOMENT

ROAD POLICY

Politics should not have a prontinent part in a motoring paper and in MOTOR SPORT they don’t. But better, safer roads are the concern of us all. It. is significant that one railway accident caused the Government to authorise the expenditure of over £17 million on installing automatic train control. This is very right and proper, but the comparative expenditure of a mere £31 million to remove “block spots” over a road system more than 30,000 miles greater than the rail system concerned, gives the motorist some idea of how he

or she is being made the scapegoat for accidents while the Road Fund revenue he or she contributes is savagely “raided.” We cannot do better than quote the British Road Federation on this vexed subject. The editorial in their last month’s Bulletin read as follows :— ” The vagaries of the Government’s attitude towards road expenditure—it cannot be called a policy—have been amply demonstrated by recent events. In Aprils information elicited from the Minister of Transport showed that grants for road maintenance for the current financial year would be over four per cent, below those for last year, which meant that, allowing for increased costs, actual work would be cot by 15 per cent. This reduction followed a statement by Lord Leathers, Secretary of State for the Co-ordination of Fuel and Power, last summer that any economy below the present level is a delusion. Now gives the motorist some idea of how he

present a Lord Leathers has announced that the Government has decided to allocate £1 million extra for roadwork this year which will go ‘come way’ to restoring the cut on maintenance. Also, Mr. James Stuart. Secretary of State for Scotland, has stated that a further .£1 million, to be spread over three years, will be spent on roads in the Highlands. Whilst these increases must. be welcomed—and they do indicate that the Government disagrees with the view of the Select Committee on Estimates that the condition of the roads is not being jeopardised by the present low level of expenditure—they arc trivial by comparison with what is necessary. “The argument advanced by the Government for not spending money on roads is the need to restrict capital investment. If this is tenable it should apply to all forms of transport. With the railways, however, the picture is vastly different. The cost of major development schemes, of over £100,000 each, authorised at in progreas, totals more than £42 million. The corresponding total for road schemes is a little over £3 million, and of this all but £1,200,000 is for one project only, the Neath Bridge scheme which should have

been completed two years ago. Yet over three-quarters of all transport and travel is by road. “The situation is the same over expenditure on safety measures. A statement by the Minister of Transport indicates that there will be no opposition to the British Transport. Commission spending over £17 million on installing automatic train control, a device which would have saved 599 lives had it existed since 1912—ten lives a year. It is to be applied to 5.320 route miles of main lines and this is equivalent to £3,250 per mile. At this rate there is justification for spending nearly £27 million on the on 8,250 miles of trunk roads alone. As it

is, the total expenditure authorised by the Government for the improvement of ‘black spots’ on the 184,000 miles of roads throughout the country is a mere £31 million.

“It is right that the Government should allow capital development of the railways. But it is of no use the Government at the same time producing a false argument for not permitting adequate maintenance and development of roads. “Last year the Government sponsored

an issue of £120 million of British Transport Commission guaranteed stock and the suggestion has now been revived that there should be a Road Loan on somewhat similar lines. interest and amortisation charges being met from motor taxation. A loan of the required magnitude would enable the cost of all the necessary large-scale road and bridge works to be spread over a considerable period. ” The is sound. It is a

” The suggestion is sound. a way out of the alleged difficulties which the Government says stand in the way of adequate and proper road expenditure. It will also enable the Government to pursue a realistic road policy without loss of face.”

CHARTERRAIL

The racing at”Scotland’s Charterhall circuit put emphasis on a number of things. The practice prang of Parnell’s B.R.M., following Wharton’ s Albi crash. makes it. seem as if these unhappy cars recognise their shortcomings better than Mr. Owen does, and are sportingly determined to erase themselves and so end their inglorious career. Wharton’s subsequent Formule Libre victory, was a hollow one. without opposition, but, coupled with his victory in the Formula II race, it does confirm our opinion that Wharton is Britain’s best all-round driver, second only to Hawthorn. ‘White Cal this subjects Flockhart and could maintained their growing reputation, and Bolt did splendidly to finish ahead of the works Connaughts in the

Formule Libre race. Moss won the 500-c.c. race but badly needs to win other races as well; his ability is not in doubt but criticism can be levelled at his choice of cars. Maybe next year ?

Farina must have been disappointed to have undisputed victory snatched from him in the big race due to the defection of the Thinwall Ferrari—it is not the first time he has travelled from Italy to Scotland and had this happen. We hope the mystery of why a car that ran so well at Silverstone should falter on its next appearance, at Charterhall, is one Tony Vandervell can solve—and that Thinwall will meet B.R.M. again at Goodwood on September 26th.

NUVOLARI

All the sporting world mourns the death, at the age of 61, of Tazio Nuvolari, the greatest Grand Prix driver the world has ever seen. The little, well-loved Italian’s victories are far too numerous to list in detail. Among the more notable were successes at Rome and Garda with his own Type 35 Bugatti in 1927, and at Tripoli and Alessandria in 1928. He won the Mille Miglia and T.T. in 1930 for Alfa-Romeo, the Montenero race and the Targa Florio in 1931.

The years 1932 and 1933 saw Nuvolari victorious in the Italian, French and Monaco G.P. races, winner of the Targa Florio, Montenero, Garda and Pescara road races, and first at Eifel, Tunis, Nimes, Alessandria, Le Mans and in the Mille Miglia. Changing from AlfaRomeo to Maserati, he took the Belgian G.P., Montenero and Nice races in 1933 and won our T.T. in a previously-untried M.G. Magnette.

With Maserati in 1934 victories were his at Naples and Modena„ and he was placed in the Pescara and Masaryk races against the full might of the German Mercedes-Benz and Auto-Union teams. 1935 found Nuvolari back in the Scuderia Ferrari team and for them, driving a P3 Alfa-Romeo, he won at Nurburg, Pau, Modena, Montenero, Biella and Nice, his victory in the German .Grand Prix against the German cars, in the face of considerable tyre trouble and in a now out-dated car, being an epic.

After winning at Milan in 1936 he went over to Auto-Union for 1937 and won for them the 1938 Italian and Donington Grands Prix, and in 1939 was first in Yugoslavia and second at Eifel.

This is a record so far unequalled. Nuvolari commenced his career on Bianchi motor-cycles and has raced with Ansaldo, Chiribiri, Bianchi, Bugatti, Alfa-Romeo, Maserati, M.G., Auto-Union, Talbot, Cisitalia and Jaguar cars.

May the ” Mantovano-Volante ” rest in peace.

He was the greatest driver of them all and, fittingly, his funeral the coffin carried on the chassis of a racing car, was attended by. some of today’s leading exponents of the stern art of Grand Prix. motor racing.

THE ASHES

England has won the Ashes and we join in the general applause of a satisfied nation. Let us hope it will not be long before the scenes of enthusiasm similar to those witnessed at the Oval greet British victories in Grand Prix races. We have the drivers—can we build the cars ?

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