Six Hazards in Seven Minutes
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TWELVE R.A.S.C: drivers last Saturday essayed the formidable task of performing six difficult manceuvres in seven minutes. They were competing, at Aldershot, in the final stage of the Army driving championship. Although the general standard. of driving was high. "bogey." was too much for most of the competitors, who lost marks accordingly.
The contestants were 59 Coy. R.A.S.C., Sedgefield, and 22 Coy. R.A.S.C., Taunton. Each was represented by a team of six chosen at random by the War Office a week before the final contest. Most of the drivers had no great experience and
some were only 18 years old. The method of selection ensured that the competitors were representative of the general efficiency of the units.
Men in 22 Coy., who were easy winners, drove Thames 3-tonners and 59 Coy. had Bedford 3-tanners.
The tests, all true trials of skill, were as follows:—
(1) Drive forward from starting line, halt, reverse in serpentine fasAion between three obstacles spaced 34 ft. apart, halt and drive forward between the bollards.
(2) Negotiate a staggered crossing by ' a lane affording 2 ft. tolerance and
bisected by a cross-road a vehicle length wide.
(3) Drive in a straight line with the off-side wheels passing between five pairs of blocks spaced 4 in. wider than the width of the tyres.
(4) Park 6 in. from the off-side kerb, and parallel to it, by reversing into a space If times the length of the vehicle. No limit on number of movements.
(5) Reverse at right angles into a "garage with 2 ft. clearance.
(6) Pass in a straight line through
four pairs of obstructions diminishing in tolerance from 12 in. to 2 in. As in the Lorry Driver of the Year Competition, the kerb parking test was. the most searching. Competitors tended to waste precious seconds in trying to improve on the 6-in, margin laid down and then had difficulty in getting out without crossing the kerb and losing. marks.
There were certain inconsistencies in the system of evaluating faults and deducting marks, which need further consideration before next year's contest is held.
This year's event was the first annual competition for a safe-driving cup presented to the Army last year by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. It was restricted to regular R.A.S.C. Motor Trantport companies in the United Kingdom, but its scope will in future he widened.
The manceuvrability test was preceded by a road test, held last Friday, and a competition based on the appearance of vehicles and drivers. Twentysix R.A.S.C. units competed in the eliminating rounds.
Altogether, 377 marks out of a possible 490 in the three sections were scored by 22 Coy.; 59.Coy, recorded 328. The• best performance in manceuvring was by Driver Bradford (22 Coy.), with 65 out of 70 marks. The "stars" of 59 Coy.. were Driver Walker and Driver Gardiner, with 57 points each.
Paradoxically, in the year to last May, 59 Coy. had a better accident record than 22 Coy.-56,463 miles per accident, as against 47,770 miles. The average of the 26 competing units was 13,130 miles per accident, with a total mileage covered of 18.1m. The average age . of drivers in R.A.S.C. M.T. units is about 19 years.