Motoring Sportsmen

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32

Motoring

by the Editor-)

Capt. MALCOLM CAMPBELL. IF a whole issue of THE BROOKLANDS GAZETTE were

available for this article, and Capt. Campbell could be persuaded to recount a tithe of his experiences in connection with motoring, there would be no room either for “Editorial Notes” or ” Correspondence ” ; but, as such is not the case, our notes on this famous motoring sportsman must necessarily be very much abridged.

Although there are few who have not heard of Capt. Campbell’s exploits with the monster Sunbeam and other racing cars, it is not generally known that he is almost as prominent in the flying world. As early as the year 1909 he was flying a twin cylinder monoplane in which even the most courageous aviator of to-day would hesitate to take the air. From that date his interest in flying never flagged, and during the war his services were called upon by the Royal Air Force, and subsequently used to very good effect.

Capt. Campbell was certainly one of the pioneers of motoring, and no enthusiast has ever kept in closer touch with all sides of the pastime from the time when he took delivery of his first car till the hour at which he accomplished the fastest land speed ever recorded by man. British motorists all over the world should be glad and proud of the fact that Capt. Campbell, a British amateur, holds the premier place in the world of speed.

Though part of his present activities are employed in controlling the business of Messrs. Malcolm Campbell (London), Ltd., the subject of our sketch is an amateur motor racer, his now prosperous business being a byproduct of his interest in the sport of motor racing. In the year 1919 Capt. Campbell decided to enlarge the sphere of his hobby, and in a way to make it pay for itself, so he opened the motor business at Albemarle Street, which he has lately moved to South Kensington. It is probable that had Capt. Campbell desired to keep out of the motor business altogether he would have been practically forced into it owing to his willingness to advise friends, who naturally looked to him for assistance on all motoring matters. We have seldom met a busier man than Capt. Campbell, who, in addition

to breaking world’s records here, there, and everywhere, finds time to control every detail of his motor business, fulfil various duties connected with his membership of Lloyds and the Stock Exchange, write books about flying, and build monster racers in his private workshop at his country house.

Those who maintain the theory that enthusiasm is 99.9 per cent, of success will be glad to know that Capt. Campbell takes just as keen an interest and pleasure in selling a car as he does in putting up some fresh “bonne bouche ” for the benefit of Parry Thomas or Eldridge.

Naturally his successes on the track prove a great business asset, as people who come to view one or another of his racing cars cannot resist the temptation to become car owners themselves when they hear the pastime recommended by one who may be termed the leading advocate of motoring.

Thus racing helps the business, and business helps the racing, and when Capt. Campbell holds the reins anything but success is out of the question. Even if one is not in search of the latest thing in the car line, a visit to the showrooms in Sussex Place is a thing to be remembered, for it would be difficult to equal the unique collection of photographs which decorate the walls. Press photographers simply refuse to leave Capt. Campbell alone, and examples of their persistence show him in innumerable incidents of his motoring career. These pictures, by the way, do not merely consist in the conventional poses beloved by the

MOTORING

car-proud owner, but depict one who has many hairbreadth escapes to look back upon. To converse with Capt. Campbell one would imagine it was the easiest thing in the world to right a car that had lost a couple of tyres when travelling at over ioo miles an hour ; but actually his remarkable skill has brought him safely through a hundred incidents that would be sufficient to frighten an ordinary man at the very sight of a car. Capt. Campbell goes about any particular job he happens to have on hand in a quiet, persistent sort of way, before which all obstacles have a habit of vanishing discreetly. Take the education of the twelve-cylindered Sunbeam for example. Reared and nourished with every care at Wolverhampton, it tried hard to carve out a career for itself, but somehow or other met with no luck. Practically every driver of repute took its wheel, and still the machine failed to justify its

years or so will still find him in the front rank of motoring “aces,” whatever he may think about the matter at the moment.

At the time of writing, Capt. Campbell is working on a mighty machine built with the intention of travelling at the speed of three miles a minute, and immediately we are given the word our readers may be assured of full details of this “Mystery Bus,” which, apart from many unique mechanical features, will be a revelation in the direction of scientific streamlining.

If this line is not censored we may state that Capt. Campbell has won the respect and affection of everyone of his subordinates in his business. On the track the name of Campbell is synonymous with fair play, to his large circle of friends he is a real friend, and to the motoring public he is the personification of the highest ideals of Motoring Sport.

existence, until Kenelm Guinness managed to make it realise the responsibility of being the largest car in the world. Then eventually it came into the possession of Capt. Campbell, who felt its pulse, looked at its camshaft, and proceeded to turn a somewhat refractory leviathan into the most docile of record breakers that ever sauntered along Pendine Sands at a gentle 150.25 miles per hour. We are sure the Sunbeam did not want to get that particular world’s record, for it was only by the aid of planks placed under the wheels that it was prevented from digging itself in, but Malcolm Campbell was out for making world’s records, and not for demonstrating how racing Sunbeams could make entrenchments, so the Sunbeam gave in, and eventually shone brilliantly. Some time last spring Capt. Campbell told us that he had definitely decided to give up racing, but, calling at his office a few days later, he explained how his decision had been affected by a new record Eldridge had established on the Fiat, and we predict that the next fifteen

To show that Capt. Campbell is not merely a man with a single sporting interest, it may be mentioned that he is a good horseman, and used to follow the hounds regularly, pilots a fast motor boat on occasions, and is something out of the ordinary as an amateur boxer. He has a strong and quick left, besides being able to throw out a shower of right hands that would make many a professional sit up and take notice.

During our interview, the subject of the danger of motor racing was briefly discussed, and Capt. Campbell is under no delusions as to the risks incurred when driving at ultra high speeds. But it may be some consolation to the less experienced, or neophyte, speedmen to know that he does not consider the element of danger in the ordinary Brooklands or hill-climbing events anything to constitute a deterrent to followers of the Spirit of Speed. He suggests the best course for the beginner to adopt is that of acquiring some seasoned racing car which (Continued on page 353.)