LEADING MOTOR CLUBS.
No. The Southport Motor Club. ? ••=1 •
THIS month we present to our readers another famous club—The Southport Motor British Beach Racing Club. Few indeed, if any of us, are not aware of the activities of this club as pioneers of Sand Racing, and to-day it stands at the forefront of this particular branch of the racing world. However, our readers will, probably, be surprised to find that Southport’s races date back to the end of last century, so that in 1903, four years before Brooklands was built, we find that the Southport entry list included names of pioneers now famous, and some even “household “, such as S. F. Edge, The Hon. C. S. Rolls, Harvey du Cros, Sam Wright, Professor Hele-Shaw, Tessier, Bert Yates, Herbert Austin (now Sir Herbert), Syd Girling, Capt. Ravvlinson, — Siddeley, Dorothy Levitt, and Eli Clarke are among the English list, whilst continental names are in profusion— D. Citroen, Barush-Blakey, Marquis de Moe, C. Gomez, B. L. Hockenheimer, M. A. Rosenbeim. Among the local names which appeared were George Masters (now V.C.) who rode a Bamber motor cycle, Leonard Williamson, who drove a 16 h.p. La.nchester, and T. Hampson on a Vulcan, a car at that time manufactured by himself and his two brothers. Reviewing the meeting in 1903, the” Automotor Journal” predicted an excellent day’s” sport” from the 188 motor cars and cycles. The meetings continued but as with so many clubs, interest flagged until the ‘great argument’ in 1914 brought all racing to an end. 1919 saw the revival with the present club, and in 1920 an extremely good meeting was held, though this was unfortunately brought to an untimely end by a terrific thunderstorm, a few of the sidecar classes having to be abandoned. We now find more famous men from
present day figures, Victor Horsman, George Cowley, Jim Whalley and Brockbank, being more of the ‘world’s best’ who made their debut at Southport.
Long Distance Races.
In 1922 the first long distance races were held, being over 10 miles, the course consisting of two mile laps with hairpin bends, and in 1923 these were increased to 50 miles these fifties’ are now world famous and the starters always number more than 50 machines, and more often than not over 70 entries are received. In 1924 the club made further progress and the Home Office ban on road races put the club in a most favourable position,
of which every advantage was taken. The car events in the club’s programme began to assume an added importance and a line of twelve starting at once afforded no special excitement, so common did it become. Here, one might mention that massed starts are the rule at all Southport’s events—all the entrants starting together at the fall of the flag—such starts are most impressive and produce real racing’ for the spectators, as of course, the first past the finishing post wins.
Southport’s records are 188 entrants for one meeting and over 60,000 spectators—no mean achievement. The prizes for last season’s speed trials (1925) totalled over £380, and some £300 worth of challenge trophies were also presented.
Famous men who made their initial acquaintance with racing at Southport during the past three or four years are almost too numerous to mention. One’s mind reflects on such men as Searle, the Davenport brothers, the Welsbys, Hudson, Patchett, Hanford-Stevens amongst others, whilst the car exponents include the famous Davenport-Spider combination, Miss May Cunliffe, Geoffrey Farrie, C. M. Needham, G. J. Jackson and H. F. Clay, indeed one would have difficulty in naming any prominent racing man who has not competed in Southport’s events.
During 1926 the club advanced still further when Segrave. after participating during two seasons in the
club’s race meetings, chose Southport for the successful attempt on world’s records with the 12-cylinder Sunbeam.
The Southport Club is fortunate in having the lease of a private shore, not under the jurisdiction of the Board of Trade. The Club thus possesses the finest and the longest stretch of sand available for racing in Europe if not in the world. According to such men as Segrave, Jack Barclay, Parry-Thomas and others the Southport Beach is the fastest and also the safest course in this country. The same year Southport members were the majority of the Amateur T.T. entrants, and they were also profusely represented in the finishers in all three T.T. races. It is doubtful if any club can present a more distin
guished list of members, and there is little doubt that they deserve that proud position.
For the past two years no stone has been left unturned by their active and courteous Hon. Secretary, Mr. T. H. Halsall, and we wonder how they will manage without him next year, an efficient organiser and as successful at self effacement as he is at organisation. The Club’s Hon. Treasurer, Mr. D. Bums, is one of its oldest members and has always been a staunch supporter.
Next Season’s Activities.
The club’s programme for next year is now complete and comprehensive, opening on January 8th with a race meeting, followed by the annual dinner and dance. In February Parry-Thomas is to go for his 200 m.p.h. and
will attempt the kilo, mile, 5 kilo, 5 mile, and possibly the 10 miles world’s records. His attempt will probably be followed by Segrave on the 950 h.p. Sunbeam in March or April. Other race meetings are on March 12th, April 9th, May 7th, August 20th, October 22nd, with a day for cars only on June 4th, and the championship meeting on September 17th.
Our review would be incomplete if we failed to mention the Reliability side of this club, although there is no doubt that the speed side tends to eclipse the other. Four trials a year are held, and of these the Coast-toCoast is the important event, and is held each year on the 26th and 27th • of December, usually running to Scarborough and back. The entries for the other events leave much to be desired, due in no small measure to the social and other amenities of a resort like Southport.
W. S. T.
MOTOR CYCLE RACING IN SOUTH AFRICA’:.:
Those T.T. riders who complain of an occasional sheep on the mountain, or of a stray dog ii the neighbourhood of Bray Hill, will read with interest the difficulties which beset riders in the recent PretoriaNylst room and back race.
The event was of a handicap nature, 160 miles in length, and was won, on both time and handicap, by C. E. Turner on a 21 h.p. Raleigh. In a previous event Turner had crashed into a mounted policeman—a more formidable object, surely, than all the Snaefell sheep !and was far from fit for the race. However, he won in the record time of 3 hours 19 minutes, despite several delays on the road due to the traffic and wandering cattle. The third man, also on a Raleigh, tried conclusions with a barbed wire fence—and lost time • in ‘ consequence.
Motor-cycle racing in the Isle of Man may be considered dangerous, but it is surely a ” safety first” pastime as compared with that in the Colonies.