Major C. G. Coe.
By THE EDITOR.
THOUGH best known to our readers by reason of his successful appearances at Brooklands Track, hill climbs, and various Continental events, Major C. G. Coe has been a very keen motorist for about 20 years, during which time he has owned all sorts and conditions of machines, ranging from an early record breaker in
the form of a Martin-jap motor-cycle, a single cylinder De Dion, as well as such widely-separated classes as the Ford and the 9o-b..p. MercedOs.
Whilst still at Dulwich. College, Charles Coe showed a decided bent for engineering, and gained distinction in mechanical engineering studies ; but, eventually selecting the profession of chartered accountant, took up articles on leaving college, and, having qualified, started in practice on his own account. Notwithstanding the continuous studies necessary for success in the various examinations connected with his profession, Coe managed to find time to keep in touch with the engineering side of motoring, and it is interesting to record that he invariably made a point of learning all there was to know about the different cars he owned, and soon became adept as an amateur mechanic, which knowledge has stood him in good stead in connection with his subsequent achievements in following up motoring as a pastime.
Major Coe gained his rank during the War, serving with the Royal Air Force, being attached to the Staff of the 6th Brigade. In this capacity his duties were of an extremely varied nature, and included a large amount of flying, though the greater part of his work was of an administrative character. Nevertheless, he undertook some important journeys in the air, and was in the first British machine to fly from London to Spain in one day, another of his flights being from London to Edinburgh during the night. On becoming demobilised in the year 1919, Major Coe recommenced his practice, and would probably have been content with the ordinary form of motoring as a pastime and recreation had he not become
acquainted with Capt. Malcolm Campbell, who at that time resided near by. With his natural leanings towards the scientific and technical side of motoring, it is a matter of small wonder that Major Coe was soon fired with enthusiasm, and in 1921 we find him entering for his first hill climb at the wheel of his 3098 Vauxhall. The occasion was a meeting of the Essex County and Southend A.C., and a motoring scribe at the time describes Major Coe’s performance as follows : “Mentioning amateurs, I confess I have never seen an amateur manage a car quite like Major Coe handles his 30/98 Vauxhall, which secured the second fastest time in 31.4 secs.” This was about the time when Frazer Nash was sweeping the board at all hill climbs, and the competitors included all the foremost exponents of speed car driving. On this day Major Coe made a record ” bag ” of ten Firsts—a very remarkable performance for an. amateuron.his debut. Among other successes at hill climbs may be mentioned that at Spread Eagle, when Major Coe put up the fastest time in the unlimited closed class in 55.4
seconds. This time he snatched the victory from another very well-known Vauxhall driver with many years of racing experience. Space does not permit of a full account of all Major Coe’s achievements at hill climbs, but readers will remember how that very shortly after his appearance he became recognised as a driver of no ordinary merit, with a style that has delighted the spectators at Shelsley Walsh, Aston and Kop. Success followed success at hill climbs, and Major Coe was equally favoured when taking part in speed trials on the sands at various meetings, but it was not until he had participated in his first race at Brooklands that he fully realised the uncanny fascination—to use
his own expression—of travelling at speed under the best possible conditions.
As at hill climbs, and in speed trials on the sand, so at Brooklands, Major Coe signalised his entry by a decided win on his very first appearance, the Vauxhall car he raced being one he was using every day to and from his office. The fact makes amateur successes such as those of Major Coe all the more creditable, for it is not simply a case of elaborate and expensive racing organisations, but merely one of carefully looking after a standard car and driving it in open events with consummate skill and judgment. Possibly one of the very best performances put up by this clever amateur was his participation in the Georges Boillot Cup over a twelve-lap course of twentythree miles of undulating and winding roads. Major Coe was again driving a Vauxhall as one of the British representatives, such famous drivers as Chassagne, Boillot, and Guyot being numbered among the competitors. Halfway through this gruelling race Major Coe was holding his own with a substantial lead, and, just as British hopes were high in anticipation of his success, he had to retire with a slight mechanical defect, which robbed him of an award in a classical Continental event. This was in the year 1924, and in the following year he again took part, but his chance in this race was entirely spoilt by the extraordinary handicapping
of the other cars ; for instance, the beetle-backed Chenard-Walcker, driven by Seneschal, the winner of the recent 24-hour race, had a start of i hour 26 minutes. Had the handicapping been a little less unfavourable on this occasion, it is probable Coe’s Vauxhall would have had a very good chance of coming home first. Though Major Coe has gained most of his successes on his own Vauxhall cars, he is equally at home on other makes, and readers will remember the fine performances he put up on the supercharged Horstmann a year ago. This car was one of the early experiments with supercharging standard engines, and though speeds of over no m.p.h. were attained, it was found that the engine would not stand up to the terrific speeds for
any length of time, and thus mechanical deficiencies prevented what might have been further successes in the shape of records at Brooklands. Major Coe’s prowess on the road and track is all the more interesting in that it provides another example of the fascination of motor racing for the professional man —and for a very busy professional man at that. He has very decided views as to the value of the sport as a relaxation from business, and considers that no better tonic exists than a practice spin round the track at the wheel of a zoo m.p.h. car. We were able to gather good deal of information concerning the essentials for success in racing and competition work from Major Coe, but some of the ingredients of his recipe cannot be acquired, unless they happen to be natural endowments. Some men are born with a natural instinct to drive cars, others are born with a natural instinct to drive well, whilst a few are born with a rarer instinct to drive any kind of car with extraordinary ability, and
we should classify Major Coe as belonging to the last category.
Major Coe has two other hobbies, in addition to motor racing, one of them being his work, and the other breeding Alsatian wolfhounds. One Alsatian of his own breeding won the premier award for owner bred dogs at this year’s Alsatian League Show, whilst his well-known imported bitch, ” Dolli von Bruchaggen,” won the Reserve Championship at Cruft’s Dog Show for two years in succession.
In view of certain comments that have been circulating with regard to his accident at Brooklands on Whit Monday last, Major Coe feels that it is only fair to state that he had no one to blame but himself for the accident, which was due to his taking one of those chances inseparable from track racing. He was out to win the race, and realised the risk he was taking, which nearly ended in disaster. Happily, the Major has now practically recovered from the effects of the spill, and hopes to take the wheel again very shortly.
LIVERPOOL MOTOR CLUB.
Colonial Road Races for Motor-cycles.
What must constitute a new departure in motorcycle speed events was held at Latham Park Estate, in Lancashire, on July iith.
There were three main races for solo motor-cycles, namely, Lightweight (up to 300 c.c.), Junior (up to 400 c.c.), and Senior (up to 600 c.c.). The length of the course was five miles, four laps being completed in each race. Without doubt, the surfaces of the course were many and varied, hard grit, cinder tracks, open park lands, and dirt tracks through woods composing the bulk of the mixture. Cart ruts assisted in places. No gradients of any note were employed, but corners and bends were numerous.
Each Race 20 Miles. Lightweight Race for Motor-Cycles. Up to 300
1st. A. Newnes (11 Powell) M 41
Sec 13 1/5.
J. Buckley (21 Levis). M 47 Sec
Junior Race. Up to 400 C.C.
ist. J. McGowan (21 Matador-Bradshaw) M 35
Sec 41 1/5.
2nd. E. M. Redmond (21 A.J.S.) 38
See 55 2/5.
3rd. H. Poole (2/ A.J.S.) M 39
See 7 4/5.
Senior Race. Up to 600 c.c.
1st. J. McGowan (21 Matador-Bradshaw) M 36
2nd. G. E. Addinsell (21 Calthorpe) M 38 Sec i
3rd. L. Rimmer (21 A.J.S.) 39
See 21 4/5.
All Comers’ Race. 2 Laps.
ist. T. Spann (34 Sunbeam) .•• ••• M I7
Sec 23 1/5.
2nd. G. E. Addinsell (2/ Calthorpe) M x8
Sec 56 4/5.
Lee (3.1 Ricardo Triumph) … M 20 Sec 13 3/5