nEEimm000mmemommommoossamommE Li Li LI t By the Editor. • Motoring Sportsmen : umm000moDuum000mmomul000mpoo Mr. H. Kensington Moir.
FIERBERT KENSINGTON ‘MOIR, like so many of our motoring personalities, was at first extremely reluctant to disclose the secrets of his horrid past, but with his back to the wall, and faced with. the threat of a fictitious life story (composed with. the aid of a faulty memory and a vivid imagination) he decided that perhaps the truth was preferable, and warmed to his “confession.”
His first connection with motoring was established at the early age of fourteen, when he was apprenticed to A.B.C. Motors at their Walton-on-Thames factory. This was in 1915, when, of course, the activities of the firm were fully engaged on the manufacture of the successful A.B.C. aero-engines for war service. Two names at once suggest themselves to the mind in this connection, to wit, Granville Bradshaw and Jack Emerson, both of whom were engaged on the experimental side of the business. Jack Emerson it was who first sowed the racing germ in Kensington Moir’s mind and doubtless imparted much knowledge which was to prove useful to the latter in after years.
At the end of two years, Moir told some dreadful lies about his age, managed to get into the Royal Naval Air Service, and added a little flying experience to his growing store of knowledge.
A year later he transferred to Commander LockerLampson’s fleet of armoured cars—an interesting unit whose whole history, though little known, would prove a thrilling epic.
The fleet consisted of forty Austins fitted with twin gun turrets and the whole party was dispatched to Mesopotamia, landed at the head of the Persian Gulf, and proceeded by ” road ” to Bagdad. The nature of the ” roads” in the one time Garden of Eden is best left to the imagination, a faculty which will not fail those who have ever read about Persian
travels and campaigns. From Bagdad the convoy continued to motor in a north-easterly direction until on the shores of the Caspian Sea, near Baku, and 1,300 miles from their railhead, they encountered Johnny Turk, who had reprehensible designs on India. The 40 cars and 700 British. troops were enjoying the doubtful support of 4,000 Armenians, so that their task could not have been all milk and honey. However, as everyone knows, the Turk was stopped, which was all that mattered at the time.
While in this salubrious spot, Moir made the acquaintance of P. 0. Kennedy, who was a well-known motorcycle speedman in the early years after the war, and a successful Oxford representative in Inter-‘Varsity events. It is interesting to note, also, that at a later date Kensington Moir became P. G. Kennedy’s brotherin-law!
A few months after the Armistice, Moir had the misfortune to be invalided out of the service and returned to England. On recovering his normal health, Moir joined the experimental department of Straker-Squires at their North London works, which were at this time engaged on the well-known 6-cylinder model,
Hitherto, our subject had never had any connection with racing, but shortly after joining Straker’s he was
given the opportunity of handling a car in competition with a rival. This match was the outcome of a private wager between Mr. Squire (who is ” K.M.’s” uncle) and the owner of a hotstuff 30 h.p. French car, and actually took place on a quiet stretch of public road.
The Straker-Squire, driven by Moir, defeated its opponent, whereupon Mr. Squire decided that the car should perform at Brooklands in the hands of its successful driver.
Kensington Moir was therefore given a job after his own heart and, by patient experiment and hard work, developed the Straker-Squire engine until it was a wellknown performer at Brooklands. Frequenters of the track will remember the black and white striped car which featured prominently in races during 1920, 1921 and 1922. The engine had a capacity of 3900 C.C. and eventually lapped the track at 104.9
In 1921, however, Moir joined the Zenith Carburettor company and, while continuing to race the StrakerSquire, his chief occupation was the tuning of carburettors for the various manufacturers who fitted this instrument.
During 1922, besides both the above activities, Moir featured on the first Aston-Martin racing cars and managed to annexe numerous ” firsts ” in races and hill climbs throughout the country.
He drove the famous ” Bunny ” A.-M. in the I.O.M. Tourist Trophy that year, but unfortunately retired after covering only 13 miles—owing to its short wheel base the car was inclined to be a handful at speed on bumpy roads.
In the 200 Miles Race of that year, again on an AstonMartin, he put up the most praiseworthy opposition to the all-conquering Darracq team, but again suffered elimination when running fourth to the latter, at the hands of a petrol tank which came adrift. Another outstanding achievement during this busy year was the establishment of the first world’s records (as opposed to class records) by a light car. In *conjunction with Clive Gallop and S. C. H. Davis, Kensington Moir drove an Aston-Martin for 16 hours at approximately 75 m.p.h. This drive was so uncomfortable that all three drivers earnestly prayed for the
motor to ” burst,” from half-time onwards, but fortunately for its reputation, and unfortunately for them, it would not! Incidentally, two of these records are still standing, which makes the performance all the more remarkable. In the 200 Miles Race of 1923, ” K.M. ” on an ” A.M.,” setting off at a most exhilarating and tactless
speed, led the field for exactly seven laps when, as was to be expected, the engine ” passed out” so that Moir once more became a spectator. It was during this year that Moir began the series of successes which earned for him a great reputation as
a hill-climb expert. Driving the Straker-Squire, he made the fastest time of the day at the famous Caerphilly Hill (where Raymond Mays shed a wheel) and also the fastest light car time on the Aston Martin.
Other 1923 achievements included driving and finishing at Boulogne and the bursting of two back tyres at Aston Clinton, causing a considerable deviation from the road!
Shortly after this occurrence, Kensington Moir joined the staff of Bentley Motors, Ltd., in the capacity of service manager, but his activities also included a certain amount of experimental work and racing.
In 1924 he broke the record for Caerphilly on a Bentley, making the fastest time of the day. This success (to anticipate) he repeated in 1925 with the same make of car. In 1925, Moir was a member of the Bentley team in the Grand Prix d’Endurance at Le Mans and had a thrilling duel with the early 3-litre Sunbeam driven by Segrave. For the second and third hours our Bentley driver held the lead, but a miscalculation of petrol consumption caused his retirement soon after,
since replenishments were not allowed till a certain time had expired.
During this and the following year, Kensington Moir, besides driving Bentley cars, was mainly responsible for the firm’s racing programme and tactics, while he also organised successful attacks on world’s records which were made during the period. In his capacity of team manager for Bentley’s, Kensington Moir has become quite a well-known figure at all the more important long distance racing events, where his cool but authoritative instructions have undoubtedly saved many valuable seconds of replenishment delays. Bentley depot organisation in a race, in
fact, is well worth studying and copying by rival concerns, and much of its efficiency is directly due to ” himself.
Latterly, Moir returned to his post of service manager at Bentley’s, though not neglecting the racing side of the business in any way, and in this position he remained until the end of 1927.
He is now sales manager to Messrs. Gaffikin Wilkinson and Co., Ltd., who deal mainly with Bentley and Lagonda speed models, and we have no doubt that his genial and breezy personality will ensure as great success in the selling business as his skill and nerve have secured him at the racing game.