Monte Carlo, May 26th
Quite often people ask the question "What is a classic motor race?" and one simple answer is "The Grand Prix race round the streets of Monte Carlo". Even though the starting grid is limited to sixteen cars and this year there were only two serious competitors running just after half distance, the twenty-sixth Monaco Grand Prix was as classic as all its forebears, for the happenings during the four days of the meeting were full and varied and provided the true appeal of Grand Prix racing, which was never meant to be an easy and simple activity for anyone who thinks he is a racing driver. The Monte Carlo circuit is ridiculously short, only 3.145 kilometres (approx. 1.9 miles) to the lap, absurdly slow, 128.513 k.p.h. (approx. 79.8 m.p.h.) record lap, it has three bottom gear hairpins, nowhere can you reach more than about 120 m.p.h. and then only for a second or two, and if the circuit were in England it would he described as a "Mickey Mouse" track suitable for kiddy-cars. The fact that it is not a "track" as we know the word, but a circuit laid out on the normal streets of the town of Monte Carlo, running steeply uphill between hotels and gardens, plunging equally steeply downhill, running through a tunnel built on a right hand curve, dodging through an artificial chicane on to the harbour promenade, along a length of promenade that is normally a footpath and forbidden to motor traffic and the whole affair is overlooked by the towering buildings of Monte Carlo with high mountains forming a back-cloth makes it all that much different from a slow wiggly "track" laid out in a field.