This editorial seems to have sat unfinished on my computer for ever, so as editor I need to apologise for not wishing the membership 'Happy New Year' more promptly. Traditionally these wishes should be followed by the editor wishing all readers a successful season. I see no reason to break with tradition even though logic dictates that not everybody is going to have a completely successful season, not everybody's car is going to remain reliable, or collision free, so realistically the best I can wish the membership of a club with a membership in three figures is that any incident that occurs to their team is within their team's ability to handle, and that they enjoy the racing experience offered by 2011's excellent calendar.
Reporting the 2010 season was bought to a fitting conclusion when Startline received Simon Davey's end of season summary. Those of us who write copy know, the exercise is demanding, the readership will pick up any errors, and communicate their view on any inaccuracy. Simon's thorough article demonstrates mastery of the subject, which means an all embracing knowledge of what goes on at each and every one of our race meetings, we are indebted to him.
One of my personal traditions is to buy the end of year 'Autosport' magazine in an attempt to catch up with highlights of the season's sport that have escaped me. It is pleasing to note that the contest between Tristan and Jeremy for the Mono2000 title made it onto Autosport's pages summarising highlights of the club season. Another highlight for most competitors must have been racing in front of the vast crowd that attended the 'Lotus' meeting at Snetterton.
In the last few days a flurry of magazines have landed on my door mat. A pleasant surprise was the arrival 'Trackdriver' No3, this was the first edition of this magazine that I have seen, and it impressed. Quite how such a magazine is financed escapes me, for those not on the subscription list, 'Trackdriver' is a glossy with high production values, written by adults for adults. Subscription is a bit misleading, the recipient makes no financial contribution, A successor to 'Circuit Driver' magazine that ceased publication a couple of years ago, 'Trackdriver' it is mainly for the trackday industry, but edition No3 did include some production racers: BMW saloons, MR2, MX5, and Golf Mk2. One does see some of these race cars at trackdays, but trackday drivers find racing regulations restrictive, many cars are being constantly developed, so cars built to race regulations only take to circuits at race meetings unless they are being bedded in, or the driver is learning the circuit. Unfortunately, most trackday companies banned single seaters from trackdays a number of years ago, the effect of this was to make obtaining a racing licence obligatory before sampling a single seater. No longer is it possible do things like give your son a trackday in a single seater for his eighteenth birthday, the transition from Metro City (ex-grandmother) to RF84 must have been interesting, but was successfully achieved.
The 'Trackdriver' articles indicate that there is a bit of black art when producing a front of the grid racing car from production machinery, which means that by Monoposto standards (at least the editor's Monoposto standards) a successful car does not come cheap. One can certainly win in Mono1600 or Mono1800 for far less money, and naturally our single seaters are much faster, and I would suggest more rewarding to drive.
While 'Trackdriver' is a good read, regrettably the same cannot be said
for 'Motorsport Now', the MSA's house magazine. The latest edition holds
the magazine record for the briefest time between doormat and recycling
pile in the Huston household, a pity because production values are high,
it's the contents that don't engage (with the exception of Stuart Turner's
ten point pieces). I think that this is because it’s contents are
largely irrelevant to our level of motor sport Hopefully, the next incarnation
of 'Motorsport Now' will be of greater relevance to us.
I attempt to make Startline's editorials interesting, but you will search it's pages for a correspondence section and not find one. In this electronic age we have always considered the Forum as our 'Letter's Page', something that the few members dependant on paper copies miss out on. But it must be said that the editorials rarely stimulate discussion on the Forum. Fans of the forum are perfectly capable of generating their own topics.
I don't directly purchase any of the above magazines, they arrive by post as part of my membership of other organisations. Recently MotorSport tried to tempt me back to their fold by way of a generous subscription offer, strangely, I was not tempted. Strangely, because for the best part of half a century I was an enthusiastic reader of this magazine. I cannot remember when I first bought MotorSport, but was certainly reading it when Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson won the Mille Millia in 1955. Come to think of it, the articles in Motorsport were written in quality English, so my English cannot have been too bad, despite the views of my English teacher, its just that we spoke the language but to a different vocabulary.
My dissociation from MotorSport commenced when I started racing Monoposto, and realised that there was a whole section of motor sport that MotorSport ignored, the affordable club racing scene. If one is being charitable, this is probably because most of the cars that we race are not appreciating antiques. I need to qualify that last sentence, some of our cars, notably our oldest F3 cars are probably appreciating assets. These may follow monoposto cars from the past, cars that now grace Historic FF, Formula Junior, and Historic F2 grids were once on our grids. They are now in the appreciating asset category and so merit the attention of MotorSport. There is no need for anyone to rush to tell the editor that this is an example of sour grapes, I know that my view could well be different if I owned a car desirable enough to be considered a good investment. Or it could be that when it comes to racing cars I am a socialist rebelling against the elitist class structure that MotorSport represents. ( I included the last sentence to wind up the Production Editor, who I believe to be a MotorSport Subscriber.)
The other problem I have with MotorSport is that my memory has yet to
fail completely, so when they reprint Dennis Jenkinson's account of Moss's
Mille Millia victory for the second time I have read it all before, twice.
I don't subscribe to the view that things were better in the past, so
a magazine that represents a nostalgia trip is not for me.
The young with their ipads, iphones and equivalent devices may be leading
the way to an electronic newspaper and electronic magazine future. A future
that Andrew Cliffe is already catering for with 'Racing Exposure' aimed
squarely at the club racer. ‘Racing Exposure’ fills a gap
in the market, a gap that most magazines, dependant on the cult of celebrity,
find difficult to fill.
I hope that you will continue to enjoy Startline into the New Year.
* And given that he has collected them since 1955 you can imagine the size of the pile! - Mrs Ed
TrackDriver (click image for a link) gets a thumbs up from our editor...
..whereas motorsportsnow! gets a thumbs down. Lack of capitalisation and un-necessary exclamation mark don't help. Tribunals of Karting Dads chucking engines at engine builders are funny, mind.
A group of 4 1971 Monopostos, now probably worth quite a lot.
2 potentially priceless classics. (Jim Blockley & David Cox). Write your own punchline.
"I am a socialist rebelling against the elitist class structure that MotorSport represents.". Production Editor gardens in an "Anarchy" T-Shirt.
Pics: Patrick, Pace Directory, Magazine Publishers and Unknown.