Little is known about the Guinness brothers, but they were both fine racing drivers. Sir Algernon Guinness, Bt, achieved much for Darracq; in 1906, he covered a kilometre at Ostend in the fearsome 1905 V8 200hp model at 117.7mph, and enjoyed other sprint successes with it at even higher speeds.
He came third in the 1906 IoM and second in the 1907 Circuit des Ardennes. In 1908, he was second in the ‘four inch’ IoM TT. Business may have then intervened; not until 1914 did he reappear at the TT, in the STD warn. He held second until the transmission failed. Later he made FTD at Beacon Hillclimb in a 1914 GP Sunbeam.
He came out of retirement eight years later, aged 39, to win for STD a very wet 226-mile International 1.5-litre race from the renowned Albert Divo.
Sir Algemon held important official positions at Brooldands, etc, long after he had given up competing.
His younger brother Kenelm Lee Guinness joined STD before WWI. A burst tyre caused him to crash in the 1913 French GP, but he was third in the Coupe de L’Auto Boulogne race. He also completed two-hour stints in the single-seater 4.5-litre Sunbeam which took 37 records at Brooldands that year.
In 1914, KLG won on the 600-mile loM TT Mountain Course, but a broken piston put him out of the French GP. He then proved able to tame the 18.3-litre 350hp V12 Sunbeam; he won and was placed several times at Brooklands in this and other Sunbeams, and took the LSR to 133.75mph.
Sammy Davis referred in 1921 to Kenehn Lee Guinness as having made a fine name for himself in racing, having a prosperous business (KLG spark plugs), and being an easy-going gentleman who treated motor-racing as an amusement, victory a pleasant reward.
In 1922, KLG took the STD team to the Coppa Florio on his yacht, The Ocean Rover, which he sailed himself from Le Havre to Spain and back, racing-cars in the hold. In the 1924 San Sebastian GP, KLG crashed; his mechanic, Barrett, was killed, and Guinness so badly injured that he gave up racing.
In Ireland, the RIAC Archive holds the records of the Guinness Segrave Library, so maybe one day we will learn more about these fine drivers.
WB miscellany, September 2005
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