Matters of moment, September 1956

Well done, Ecurie Ecosse!

We were very pleased indeed when the lone Ecurie Ecosse D-type Jaguar crossed the line victorious in this year’s 24-Hour Race at Le Mans, so ably driven by Flockhart and Sanderson, and so, we imagine, were all this country’s genuine enthusiasts. In the first place David Murray and his men from North o’ the Border richly deserved this success. Murray, after personal retirement from racing after a nasty accident, hit upon the happy idea of forming a team of sports-racing cars which would represent Scotland and would be driven, as far as possible, by Scottish drivers, how well he has put his plan into action ! Although we believe he has little need to make money out of motor racing, being associated financially with a certain warming liquid, he very properly decided that Ecurie Ecosse should be run on a serious business footing. Murray made another very sensible move when he secured the services of “Wilky” Wilkinson, who had previously tuned the Maserati Murray raced, and set him up as a Director of the Edinburgh garage where the team Jaguars were to to be tuned and serviced. “Wilky” came to the forefront of British racing engineers before the war, at the Evans family’s Bellevue Garage, where they believed firmly in the “careful preparation and clean overall” creed and made various MGs win an enviable collection of silverware. What’s more, Wilkinson, when allowed to “have a go,” drove rather faster than his employers !

Murray made yet another wise decision in buying for his purpose the best of the British sports cars. All of which has added up to winning at Le Mans this year, upholding Jaguar prestige when the cars from Coventry were eliminated and in trouble, and leading home a car from the “works” Aston Martin team driven by drivers of potential World Champion calibre.

So we say, “Well done Ecurie Ecossse!” and are the more pleased to do so because the boys from over the Border are so universally popular and well-liked.

Now the Ecurie Ecosse Jaguars are for sale and we wish David Murray as much and greater success with whatever project he is entrusting to Wilkinson in 1957,

Not on Sunday

It is fantastic and farcical that in this enlightened age the Lord’s Day Observance Society should be able to intimidate the country into calling off sport on Sundays. Yet this is what it has done, bringing a successful lawsuit against innocent promoters of a motorcycle scramble and Causing the august RAC to announce that in future no permits will be issued for Sunday meetings to which paying spectators are admitted.

Although it is traditional in this little island not to hold Grand Prix and other important races on a Sunday, many excellent speed events, notably the Prescott Hill Climb, Brands Hatch races and similar fixtures, have taken place. on the Sabbath, thus giving those workers who are unable to attend racing on Saturdays an opportunity of seeing at least some competition motoring on their day of leisure. It is probable that if our major F1 and sports-car meetings were held on Sundays bigger gates would result than are obtained at present.

The R.A.C. has a responsible position to uphold as the body controlling motor sport in this country. It may have been wise temporarily to rescind Sunday permits, inasmuch as, ineredible though it seems to issue them is to become an accessory to law-breaking. But we hope the RAC will reasure us and tell us what action it is taking to have changed a hopelessly antiquated Act which has for some ridiculous reason boomeranged into motor racing at a time when this sport has never been more popular. Its curtailment on Sundays thus having a far-reaching effect.

Who is behind the LDOS ? How many members has it and what are their ultimate aims and objects ? Why should amateur officials have been picked upon and fined for doing sometlhing hundreds or their fellow men have been doing in all innocence, and in ignorance of an Act of 1700 for the past 50 years or more ? Why, oh why, is it the motorist who yet again has to suffer ?

These are questions all who enjoyed Sunday sport are asking. Shifting Sunday “dates” to Saturday deprives them of watching a sport they love, nor will this ease the pressing problem or the overerowded calendar. The RAC Competitions Department should fight the LDOS until reason prevails, the Act in question is repailed, and freedom restored.