After the article on Chris Staniland, racing driver, rider and test pilot, in the February issue of MOTOR SPORT, a query has been raised as to what caused his fatal accident in 1942. Due to the war, no official report was issued, but apparently Staniland was engaged in the high-speed testing of the second Fairey Firefly to have been built in the experimental shop at Hayes when the canopy blew off, damaging the tail and making the ‘plane uncontrollable. It is thought that the pilot may have been knocked out, preventing him using his parachute.
Incidentally, Staniland’s interest in motorcycles, which led to his successful racing career at Brooklands and elsewhere, began when he rode his brother’s 1911 Douglas with suction inlet valves. He then had his own Rudge Multi, a sporting big single, followed by a Velocette two-stroke and a side-valve single-gear Norton, and three more Nortons. His competition debut was at the Abergele hillclimb in Wales. It was hardly surprising, therefore, that he joined the BMCRC and was soon racing to good purpose at Brooklands.