Dunlop Mac

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Dunlop Mac

ONE OF I HE HARDEST-WORKED PERSONALITIES AT Brooklands must have been Dunlop Mac — David MacDonald, the head fitter of tyres for the racing fraternity. A cheerful, balding, round-faced figure in white overalls which became steadily grubbier as a busy day wore on, his headquarters were the Dunlop depot in the Brooklands paddock, recently restored by the Museum.

From 1924 the technicians at Fort Dunlop, Birmingham, were taking racing tyres seriously and Mac was at the Track daily to advise the competitors and fit the tyres. When a long race was in progress, he and his elder brother (Big Mac) truly slaved, changing tyres furiously. The piles of used covers were enormous, but Mac was a kind chap; an impecunious youngster would be allowed to search the scrap racing tyres to see if there was something to use on his humble road motor. But it was tough for the two Macs, especially as tyres got bigger and heavier, like the enormous 7.50×20 Dunlops on the back wheels of the Napier-Railton. Dunlop’s Brooklands depot was opened in 1924, Mac riding to it each weekday from South London on his sidecar outfit, until he was provided with a smart van, which looked rather like a police vehicle and therefore had its uses… Soon, a 1924 200-Mile Race Alvis and older 4.9-litre racing Sunbeam were used to test tyres on the Track, driven by ex-racing man Paul Dutoit. From its

humble beginnings, with Mac over his oil-stove (as I was in later years, in the Brooklands Track 8tiliroffice — well, shed — on the Byfleet side of Brooklands) Dunlop became the premier racing tyre make there, taking on the role that Palmer tyres had before WW1. Dunlop Mac travelled the world, fitting tyres to most of the British LSR cars, from going with Segrave on his 150mph bid at Southport in 1926

to looking after the special Dunlop tyres made for the Eyston and Cobb 400mph duels in America. He knew all the famous drivers and they knew him, relying for their safety on his tyre-fitting skills and experience. It was a very full and exciting life. Mac even wrote a book about it in 1961, helped by Adrian Ball and Fleet Street motor-noter Laurie Cade. Lord Essenden wrote the foreword.

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