‘Grande Vitesse’ – a model for Jenks

We often recall Denis Jenkinson as the standard-setting racing writer. He had his own exemplar – ‘Grande Vitesse’ of The Motor magazine, otherwise Rodney Lewis de Burgh Walkerley. Born in 1905, Rodney was this magazine’s co-editor from 1927-28 before becoming Sports Editor of first The Light Car, 1930-33, then of The Motor, 1934-59. He was incredibly well connected and probably kept quiet about more than he actually reported.

Motor photographer Maurice Rowe’s wife Beryl was Rodney’s secretary. She recalls him clattering away in his tiny smoke-filled office, with a fortifying glass, dew drop on nose and ever-lengthening, sagging fag ash. Maurice recalls, “After a fall, he had to spend one entire Reims weekend in his hotel bed but still managed a full report, because all the drivers came and told him what had happened!”. That, friends, is journalistic stature.