" Finals " Day in Regional Driving Competition
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UNDER "active service " conditions a great deal may depend upon. the Akin with which Civil Defence vehicles are manoeuvred. As a direct encouragement to drivers, therefore, a Regional Driving Competition was inaugurated in London, and the finalists-56 of them—assembled at the White City Stadium, London, last 'Friday, to find a few "best performers." The interesting thing about these finals was the fact that they were framed fairly closely on tests which were familiar in peace-time at R.A.C. Rallies. Unfortunately, Captain Phillips—the official umpire—was unable to be present at the event owing to illness.
Patrons of the driving competition, including Sir Ernest Gowers and Admiral Sir Edward Evans, took a keen interest in the proceedings. There were five tests in all. The first was observed driving, vehicles being despatched, almost in Rally style, from Brook Green to the White City by a circuitous route, this being followed immediately by an
IL oral test in the Highway Code. Com
petitors were required to answer four questions. We learned subsequently that their knowledge of the Code was extensive; in fact, one man was word perfect!
Then came an Obstacle Test, which consisted merely in driving in and out of a series of trestles—which was much easier for short-wheelbase vehicles than for the larger ambulances, fire-engines, etc.
The fourth test called for a good deal of skill. Vehicles were started alongside a bay ; they proceeded in a forward direction, reversed into the bay, were driven out of the bay and then had to be turned and driven forwards into the bay. This test really did show up to great advantage the skill of all the drivers concerned, but we noted that some of them failed to realize the need for making a smart getaway.
In this manceuvring test Fire Force towing units did not take 'part. On the other hand, a section of Test No. 4 was reserved for them. It consisted in unhitching and rehitching a trailer pump of a towing unit, the towing unit in between being required to turn round.
The final test was on familiar. R.A.C. Rally lines. Vehicles had to be parked between two obstacles within 9 ins, of the off-side kerb, the obstacles being placed a length and-a-half of the vehicle apart. A maximum time of 45 secs, was allowed for this test. Here the most noteworthy point was that the heavier vehicles, like ambulances and fire-engines, appeared to put up a better showing than the private-car type.
Our impressions of the event as a whole were that it was well worth while. The tests were carried out without hitch or delay, credit, in the absence of Captain Phillips, going to Mr. G. Green. clerk of the course.