MOTORING SPORTSMEN. Mons. R. SENECHAL.
By L. A. H.
THE name of Senechal must be very well known to readers of Motor Sport, in view of the excellent performances put up by this attractive little sportscar, in the hands of British amateurs.
To those who are not in the habit of watching the results of Continental sporting events, it may be surprising to learn that Mons. Senechal, the designer of the car bearing his name, is indeed a keen and practical devotee of all forms of motoring competition and sport. In buying a car of which the designer is an enthusiastic racing driver, one has much greater confidence that everything will be “just so,” since the designer, being constantly in personal touch with the machine, is bound to find room for improvement in those little things that matter so much, and is able to eradicate any serious faults that may develop after hard usage.
The subject of these notes, Monsieur R. Senechal, was born in the Oise district in 1892 and spent his earlier schooldays at Amiens, passing later to the Rue des Postes in Paris. As usual, with motoring celebrities, the stereotyped phrase, “his passion for things mechanical was evident from his earliest youth “—must be applied to the youthful Senechal, who at the age of twelve proved himself capable of driving the 20 h.p. car owned by his parents. Officially, however, he did not qualify for a driving licence until he reached the age of sixteen.
On completing his studies, Mons. Senechal became the director of a large garage near the Porte Champerret, a situation which he retained until he was called up to serve his period of military training in 1912, with the 5th Regiment of Dragoons.
During the war he gained rapid promotion for his services, and on the cessation of hostilities he was a lieutenant of Dragoons. Most of his war service, however, consisted of aeroplane work, from 1915 to 1919 he was a pilot, and accomplished over 7,000 flights on all types of French aircraft. Not the least of his distinctions was his winning of the Croix de Guerre.
In 1919 he was demobilised, and for a time directed the sale of government surplus stocks of motor cars and parts in the parks of Paris, and in the following year he began to toy with the idea of producing a cyclecar.
In 1921 the design materialised, and was well received at the Paris Salon, after a promising racing debut at the classic Gaillon Hill climb.
Since that date Mons. Senechal has raced consistently in all parts of France, gaining over Ioo firsts in various events. In 1923 he held the title of “Champion of France,” both for speed and reliability, and broke several world’s records. Another notable success was his gaining of the Brassard d’Honneur.
Mons. Senechal’s most remarkable achievement, however, was his winning for 4 years in succession the coveted Bol d’Or, contested over a period of 24 hours on a road circuit. In 1926 Mons. Senechal covered the remarkable distance of 194o Km. in 24 hours on an 1,100 c.c. car of his own manufacture, thus establishing a new world’s record.
As might be guessed, Monsieur Senechal combines with his racing talent a business ability second to none, which latter has enabled him to continue manufacture during many difficult periods.
The latest business development in connection with the Senechal car is the arrangement by which, in 1925, Mons. Senechal joined forces with the well-known firm of Chenard & Walcker, at whose Gennevilliers works these little cars are now made.
Apart from his activities in connection with his own cars, Mons. Senechal is a prominent figure in the French motoring world, being President of the Motor-cycle Club de France, President of l’Amicale des Clubs Motorcyclistes, a member of the U.M.F., and last, but not least, he bolds an important official post at the famous Montlhery Autodrome.
The Grand Prix of the R.A.C.
The R.A.C. Grand Prix will take place at Brooklands on Saturday, August 7th. The competing cars will be started at the point where the finishing straight joins the main track. They will then follow the track round in the ordinary way, but instead of continuing on behind the Members’ Hill, on leaving Byfleet Banking, they will come into the finishing straight in which two obstacles will be placed. These will each consist of three sandbanks, so arranged as to make a complete S-bend. Passing through these, the cars will continue on up the slope of the finishing straight, once more joining the main track, and so round again. The race will consist of 110 laps, an approximate distance of 287 miles. The exact length of each circuit will be 2 miles 1,084 yards.
The first of the obstacles will be placed immediately opposite the south end of the paddock, and the cars should be very fast up to this point, braking hard for the bend. The second obstacle will be 250 yards farther on,. and will actually be on the rise leading up to the main track. This intermediate section should provide a fine test of acceleration.
. The replenishment pits will be situated on the west side of the finishing straight facing the public enclosure, starting at the gate near the beginning of the straight and running down to a point opposite the new press box.
The whole of the course will be in the public view from start to finish, as that portion of the track behind the hill will not be utilized at all. Three big scoring boards will be erected, each of which will show at a glance the position of each competitor, and the leaders with their times will be announced at regular periods throughout the race. It will be possible to enter or leave any of the enclosures at any time during the progress of the race.
The start will be at 2 p.m., and after the four leading cars have completed the course, the race will be stopped, any cars not having finished, being ” placed” according to the distance they have covered. List of entries : i. Thomas Special . . T. G. P. Thomas (Thomas In ventions Development Co. Ltd.)
2. Thomas Special . . Do. do. do.
3. Aston Martin Special G. E. T. Evston.
4. Halford Special . . Frank B. Halford. 5. Talbot . . L. Coatalen (Clement Talbot, 6. Talbot . . Do. do. Ltd.)
7. Talbot . . Do. do. do. 8. Delage . . M. Martel, Automobiles Delage
9. Delage . Do. do. do.
10. Delage . Do. do. do.
ii. Talbot . . . . Malcolm Campbell.
12. Eldridge Special . . E. A. D. Eldridge.
13. Alvis . . . T. 0. John.