VETERAN EVENTS AND COMMENTS
IT is rath r a curious coincidence that a few days after I had been wondering whether there was any racing car still going which was Old enough to have taken part in any of the Gordon Bennett events, I heard of the recent exploits of various motors which took part in even earlier. races. ‘there has reached me, in fact, an account of a most amusing event which was organised recently by the cycling division of the Automobile Club de France, and which started off with a run for veterans, from Lisieux, a little Normandy town famous for its cider, to Deauville. I do not know what the age limit for the cars was, but thirteen of them turned up at the start, and the youngest first saw the light in 1902.
The oldest real racing car among them was one of the Amedee Bailees which actually ran in the Paris-Amsterdam-Paris race of 1898, which was the first international town-to-town race ever run. Almost as glorious, perhaps, as its first run of 900 odd miles in that race, was its journey of about 90 miles thirty-two years later from le Mans to Lisieux in the hands of Monsieur Verney. A mere chicken compared to the Bailee was one of the famous 16 h.p. Renaults which ran in the Paris-Vienna race of
1902. I do not know whether this machine was the one which Marcel Renault drove to victory in that race, covering 620 miles at over 39 m.p.h., but it certainly seems to have been extremely rapid when Monsieur Maurice bequet brought it the 100 miles from Paris to Lisieux. I am enormously glad to know that these two cars are still running.
The oldest motor of all was another Bailee of the year 1895—one year before the famous London-Brighton run which marked the repeal of the Red Flag Act in England. This car was built by Leon Bollee and is really a motor tricycle of the type which distinguished itself in that London-Brighton demonstration. It appeared at Lisieux driven by the enthusiastic. Monsieur Teronaune. It was run very close in point of age by a Peugeot, also of 1895 which ran extremely well in the hands of M. Delpeucii. Other Nineteenth Century motor cars were two Panhard-et-Levassors of 1896, driven by MM. Miland and Richer ; a third dating from 1898 driven by M. Schoeller, and a Peugeot of the same year with M. Vallery at the tiller. The 19;.0 Renault, which M. Bernardot drove, proudly carried the number 28, only 27 Renaults having preceded it : I wonder how many have been built since ! A
Panhard et Levassor of the same year had been brought by M. Desormeaux to Lisieux all the way from Tours, a run of about 150 miles, and the rest of the competitors consisted of a couple of 19(.0 6 h.p. De Dion Boutons driven by MM. Desroziers and Chapaz and a 1902 Renault handled by M. Castex, which with the Paris-Vienna car represented the ” juveniles.”
Leaving Lisieux the veterans, accompanied by an enormous number of cyclists and motorists on more modern mounts, trundled along the dozen miles to Pont l’Eveque, a little town famous for its cheeses, where a speech of greeting (and lots of cider) had been prepared by the mayor. Thence to Deauville where an excellent lunch at the Chalet Normand regaled the drivers and others after their efforts. In the afternoon there were several races between the cars and cyclists, which, I may say, resulted in a victory for the latter in spite of the speed displayed by the raris-Vienna Renault. A great prize-giving terminated the proceedings. There is obviously great enthusiasm in France for the real veterans. If only they would build that Channel tunnel we could make our LondonBrighton run a London-Paris race I