Early Motoring Experiences

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32

MOTORING SPORTSMEN.

Mr. Arthur George Reynolds.

By THE EDITOR.

ARTHUR GEORGE REYNOLDS started life as a boy in a printing office until he became thoroughly acquainted with all the practical side of the printing trade, and then he joined his father, who was then carrying on a printing business in its early stages in London. Mr. A. George Reynolds’ first experience with the road dated from T886, when he was a keen rider on a “Penny Farthing,” on which he won his first road race in 1887, beating a field of very good riders from a Three Minute Handicap, and covered the To miles in the very creditable time of 38 minutes 15 seconds.

On the introduction of the safety machines he became expert on grass tracks and road racing, specialising in 50 and 100 miles and 12 hour races. Although he equalled some of the premier performances of that time in his club events on Essex roads, his attention to business prevented him taking part in the classic rides of that time, where his strength at these distances would no doubt have brought him premier honours.

During this period of his cycling career be collected a nice share of medals and trophies and maintained his amateur status, following the sport as a pastime and hobby.

Early Motoring Experiences.

Mr. Reynolds became interested in motors after he witnessed the start of the great Emancipation Run

from London to Brighton in November, 1897, and the performances of some of the motor cycles inspired him with the desire to become the possessor of one of these then wonderful machines. A little later, with a 21 h.p. De Dion tricycle fitted with surface carburettor and battery ignition, he gained a good deal of experience. After having gained such experience with the De Dion machine, George Reynolds owned several of the early makes of motor cycles, including a front-driven Werner and a Chappele, which, though interesting as pioneer machines, were hardly reliable enough for anything serious in road work. In 1900 he became the proud owner of a 3/ h.p Benz car, a single cylinder with tube ignition, surface carburettor and solid tyres, upon which many well-known motorists of the day gained their earliest experience. It is interesting to note that with the possession of this car he was able to propound the working of an internal combustion engine to some of his friends who are at the present day well-known experts in the motoring world. On this car he competed in the 1901 Automobile Club’s ride to Southsea and obtained a certificate for his performance.

In 1902 George Reynolds bought one of the early and first built ” Bat” motor cycles which he entered in one of the first trials organised by the Motor Cycling Club, a 150 miles non-stop on northern roads, and gained a certificate. All this time he was actively engaged in business and carried on with motorcycling competitions in the

time he had to spare. He took part as a competitor in the second annual A.C.C. (now the A.C.U.) L000 miles Six Days’ Trials which was held in 1905, and riding his ” Bat ” was successful in finishing the trial. On this historical occasion the loss of marks he suffered was not for failing to keep to schedule time, etc., but for the fact that he was the only rider of a non-pedal machine in the trial, and while other competitors were able to climb the hills by assisting their engines with vigorous and exhaustive pedalling, he had to help his machine by dismounting and running alongside, keeping the engine running to the summit. In 1905 he became actively associated with the A.C.C. (now the A.C.U.), and joined its Committee, an appointment which be has held ever since. With his experience gained in the previous Six Days’ he

was able to put up many useful suggestions to the Committee and it was decided that he would be more useful if he helped as an official instead of a competitor, which he did, and acted as a travelling Judge throughout the trial, following the competitors throughout the course on his now famous “Bat.” This same machine was used by him in the second, third & fourth London-Edinburgh rides promoted by the M.C.C., riding in subsequent Edinburgh runs on a ” Vindec ” and ” Indian ” machines. He gained Six Gold Medals in these runs in succession and shares the distinction with Mr. W. H. Wells of being the first British rider of an ” Indian ” machine in this country. During this series of runs, George Reynolds was successful in gaining the Gold and special performance award for the double journey, the inscription being a “remarkable performance for man and machine to

keep within a fraction of the set schedule of about 18 miles an hour for nearly Soo miles in the double twentyfour hours.”

About this period he felt obliged to relinquish his participation in Competitions, owing to the increased amount of work thrown upon him as an active Honorary Official of the A.C.U., in which capacity he is best known to modern motor cyclists and car competitors. He was now in close collaboration with the late Mr. Fred Straight, the Secretary, and was sharing the responsibility for the organisation of the principal A.C.U. events, and was largely responsible for the organisation of the first Tourist Trophy Motor Cycle Races in the Isle of Man. A famous organisation of to-day which owes its origin to George Reynolds in 1904, is the Essex Motor Club,

which is now one of the largest and most influential in the country. While serving on the committee of The Motor Union and in conjunction with Mr. Rees Jeffries, the General Secretary, who was also Secretary to The Roads Improvement Association, Mr. George Reynolds acted as Head Marshal and Organiser of “The First Trials and Experiments for Dustless Roads,” which at that time created an enormous amount of public interest. Some of the tests prior and throughout the trial, furnished very valuable technical information which was watched and greatly appreciated by the municipal authorities. Mr. Henry Maybury, now Sir Henry, being amongst the interested. In 1907 he received his appointment as an Official Timekeeper to the R.A.C. and A.C.U., and in this work was contemporary with Mr. A. V. Ebblewhite, with whom he had been close friends from the early cycling days.

Perhaps his most remarkable achievement in the interest of the pastime, was the formation of the British Motor Cycle Racing Club in 1909, for which Club he held the post of Hon. Secretary, when he was compelled to relinquish it, owing to an accident sustained in the 1910 A.C.U. Six Days’ Trial, which unfortunately put him out of action for all motor cycle events for a long period. Mr. Reynolds was still anxious about the welfare of the club during his enforced retirement, but he found an able substitute in Mr. T. W. Loughborough, who then held the post until 1924 when Mr. Reynolds again took up the work.

Mr. George Reynolds organised the first and only Royal Meeting at Brooklands, and was instrumental in so popularising this event, that the sum of £2,500 was shared between the Middlesex Hospital and the Industrial Welfare Association, as the financial result of this Meeting.

As our readers are quite aware, he is a prominent figure at the principal Brooklands fixtures and in addition to which, he has acted and been responsible for the timing at most of the classic and speed tests all over the country.

During the war years he served with the City of London R.A.S.C. (M.T.), driving the W.D. lorries acting on Military duty.

He is also Official Timekeeper to the Royal Aero Club, and has timed many of the early Aeroplane events, including the first Daily Mail ii0,000 circuit of Britain Race, all the principal Aero Club events, and the Aerial Derbys, and was Handicapper and Timekeeper at the Hendon Aerodrome which was the scene of so many important flying contests prior to the war.

Mr. Reynolds continues to look upon the sporting side of motoring as his principal hobby, and is naturally very keenly interested in doing all he can to further the sport, maintaining the most loyal support to the Royal Automobile Club and Auto-Cycle Union, believing that the interest of the great pastime can only be served by a unity of control, such as these two controlling bodies provide.