Was this Britain's first race ?

Author

Bill Boddy

View profile
Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

It is something of a chicken or egg puzzle. I refer to the fact that the CARkeys website has put a motoring cat among the publicity pigeons by posing the question: where was the first British motor race?

Bexhill-on-Sea has claimed this distinction when holding its commemorative speed trials, classing these as races because two cars competed together along the seafront. But now an article by Ross Finlay on the aforesaid motoring website has reminded us that Scotland had a motor race in September 1901, as part of Glasgow’s mammoth International Exhibition in the Kelvingrove Park, which brought almost seven million visitors.

The Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland (later to become the RAC) staged a motoring event on the day that the show closed, and this it did on a banked 440-yard cycle race track built for the exhibition on the Glasgow University’s sports ground at Gilmorehill, overlooking Kelvingrove Park.

The automobile contests were held on September 7, with enthusiastic support from Alec Govan, MD of the Argyll Car Company. After a concours and driving tests, the races began. Slow, but races nevertheless, with a pair of cars running together, over events of 20 laps and five laps. Officials of the Scottish Automobile Club marshalled. Two Locomobile steam cars contested the long race first, and then Moffat Ford’s Decauville petrol car lapped at 29mph in the shover event, being only just beaten by a Locomobile. The Decauville’s speed detered other petrol cars from taking it on, until a Century tricar took the challenge, only to retire. Low-key, but it was surely Britain’s first motor race meeting.

Odd then that at the ACGBI-run speed trials at Bexhill in 1902 there were signs proclaiming it to be the ‘Birthplace of British Motor Racing’, a claim repeated when a commemorative event was run a few years ago.

Today, Glasgow University’s Kelvin Building stands on the site of the old race course grandstand, while lecture rooms and laboratories now cover the location of what seems to have been Britain’s first car race track.

Related articles

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore

Related products

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore