LEADING MOTOR CLUBS. THE ESSEX MOTOR CLUB. By THE ASSISTANT EDITOR.
AMONG the most famous present day motor clubs, popular with sporting motorists and well known throughout the motoring fraternity, is the Essex Motor Club.
This club, which is remarkable for its progressive policy and up-to-date ideas was one of the first motor clubs to be established in this country, and as such must be regarded as a great factor in the fostering of motoring, and particularly of motoring sport, since the early days of the pastime.
The Essex Club was founded in 1904, and was the first club in that county. The reason for its formation arose from a trip by motorcycle to Yarmouth by two members of the Beaumont Cycling Club—Messrs. Bass and Reynolds.
gine, and by an accident to Rene Thomas, which was considered at the time to have ended his driving career. How wrong this was, we all know.
The Essex Club was now becoming famous for its competent organising prowess, and staged the motor cycle meeting at the Franco-British Exhibition held at the White City in 1906.
Hill climbs were early a prominent feature of the club’s activities, and the first climb was held at Lippitt’s Hill, Essex. At this meeting, the present secretary, the popular Mr. E. J. Bass, succeeded in making fastest time of the day, at the excellent speed of fifty-five miles per hour.
In 1913 was held the first climb at Kop Hill, Princes Risborough, and an excellent entry was forthcoming.
These two accomplished their journey with such freedom from trouble—except for a punctured tyre at Chelmsford on the return—that they discussed the possibility of a motor club for its social value on such runs. The result was the formation of the Essex Motor Club, which in the beginning was rather the motor contingent of the Beaumont Cycling Club. In the club’s early days, the membership was composed almost entirely of motor cyclists.
The club early undertook the organisation of sporting events, and held what was possibly the first motor cycle race meeting, at Canning Town track. The club president, Mr. Du Cros, presented a handsome cup, which was won outright by Colver on a Matchless. The next meeting, on the same track, was made notable by the appearance in England of the Anzani en
The hill was seen to be ideal for the purpose, and fourteen cars with sixty motor cycles entered for the first climb.
The same year saw this go-ahead club holding events at Brooklands, the first outside club to do so. Ever in the front rank of innovators, the Essex M.C. held the first speed trials on a sea-front, in 1914, at Westcliffe. This aroused a great deal of public interest, and here and there, some popular prejudice. Another early activity of the club was the institution of a popular feature—the Standard Ride. This event was open the whole year. The competitor might enter at any time, and was required to cover a set course at twenty miles per hour schedule speed, having his route card signed at stated points to prove that he had covered the course. At the end of the year the records of 3,11. the
entrants having been scrutinised, an award was made for the best performance.
Another now defunct event was the Winter One-Day Trial, while better known were the London-York and back, and later, the London-Bala-London trials. These latter were both 24-hour trials, the last of quite appreciable severity.
These events ended some four or five years ago, owing to lack of enthusiasm for this form of sport.
Other activities in the early days were the holding of gymkhanas at “The King’s Oak,” High Beech, Essex.
These events were among the first of their kind in England, and proved very popular with the general public.
The Beaumont Cycling Club had always made a feature of the Cripples Outing, and the Essex Club carried on this excellent and charitable event. The Cripples Outing has been an annual fixture ever since. The first outing consisted of one motor cycle and trailer, it now includes char-a-bancs and carries between four and five hundred children.
Popularclub features were the holding of lantern lectures of events, and a lecture read after each Motor Show by the late D. Reachman.
Perhaps the greatest fame of the club rested in the holding of the Kop Hill climbs. These were all open events, and notable for their efficient organisation and the extent of their entries. Nearly every one who was anyone entered for these events, the habitués of Brocklands and the trade cracks being familiar figures on the Buckinghamshire hill. So popular did these events become from the spectator’s point of view that the chief difficulty of organi
sation became the control of the huge crowds which assembled on the hill-side.
It was, in the end, the crowd which put a stop to billclimbs on public roads. It was at the memorable climb of April, 1925, when members of the enormous crowd, which numbered several thousands, brought disaster on the competitors by encroaching on the course. A competitor was unfortunate enough to injure a foolhardy spectator, and a motor cycle competitor crashed heavily, owing, it was said to a knot of spectators obstructing the course.
These unfortunate happenings sounded the deathknell of racing on public roads, a ban which has lain heavily and handicapped motor sport in this country ever oince.
Two very important meetings were held by the club at Brooklands in 1922. The first, known as the Royal Meeting, was held in May 20th, and resulted in about 0,500 being handed over to charities. The Duke of York was present and entered two motor cycles, a Douglas and a Trump Anzani, and with the latter he scored a popular win.
The other was the Championship Meeting on September 30th. This was very successful, but owing to R.A.C. action, was discontinued. Any proof required of the Club’s popularity may be found in the list of members. Almost every famous rider or driver is or has been a member of the club. Of the pioneer members A. C. Reynolds, Charles Jarrott anp E. J. Bass, the present secretary, are still well known, while those of more recent fame are Major Segrave, Capt. Malcolm Campbell, Woolf Barnato, and Boissy
of Peugeot fame. S. 0. Cumming, the president to-day, has held that office for the last sixteen years, and Dr. A. M. Low has been associated with the club in the capacity of judge and technical adviser for many years.
The club goes from strength to strength, always on the look out for novel events and original ideas. Last year saw the interesting Six Hour Race which will be re-staged on May 12th next year. Other dates fixed for Brooklands in 1928 are July 24th and September 29th, when we may look forward to something worth seeing.
The Essex M.C. is in a very powerful state to-day, financial and social, and we may look forward to the club continuing in the position it has held for so long in the affections of the motoring community, ever jealous of the welfare of motor sport in this country.
To such clubs as the Essex M.C. the ordinary motorist owes much for their ceaseless war against motorphobia, and so deserve the enthusiastic support and goodwill of motori.sts of all ranks, who will join with us in wishing good luck and prosperity to the Essex Motor Club.
SCHNEIDER CARS IN 1928.
THE products of Th. Schneider Automobiles Ltd., were not on exhibition this year at Olympia, and thus many will have missed the range of cars for 1928. Very attractive to the sportsman is the 10.50 o.h.v. sports two-seater, which is produced with a most alluring body of pleasing lines. The price of this model is
2395. The programme for 1928 is as follows :—