Thundersley Hill revisited

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

A facet of speed-trial history, which a reader has drown to our attention — the accident at Kop Hill early in 1925 — is usually blamed for the subsequent ban on all such events on British public roads, although the increasing attendance at such speed events and thus the problems of safe crowd control made such a ban inevitable, sooner or later.

Less known is that during an Essex MC speed hill-climb at Thundersley Hill in 1923 a motorcycle and sidecar ridden by R Cotgrove ran into a Mr F L Davin when the machine’s front wheelnut apparently came loose and caused it to swerve across the road at a bend and onto the grass verge. Mr Davill, who was out for a walk and had paused to speak to friends, and was not it seems spectator, suffered two broken legs and a fractured wrist in the collision.

He sued the rider and in spite of pleas by the defence claiming that the club had police sanction to hold the event and had put up a warning notice at the bend, the Judge, Mr Justice McCardie, found for the plaintiff. He was awarded £420 damages by the King’s Bench jury; which does not seem much, even for those days, considering that he had lost his job and would probably limp for the rest of his life and most likely never regain full use of his wrist.

The Judge reversed Council’s arguments for the defendant, saying no-one had the right to use a highway for racing purposes, quoting a case of 1863. As the police were involved the Chief Constable of Essex, Caps Unett, agreed he had given permission for the event to be held (he was present; was he an enthusiast?) but said he had no authority to do this, simply guaranteeing that the police would take no notice of excessive speed, providing the event was run on a byroad, with permission from the local authority, and no objection was raised by locals.

The Judge remarked that he could not see that the police or any other body had the right to close any part of a highway for motor-racing and implied that there might be other considerations — presumably breaking the then 20mph speed-limit.

The case was heard in October 1924, and must have had an influence on the RAC’s eventual ban. If the Chief Constable’s ‘by-road’ was Two Church Hill, it was an unlucky venue, because it was where Parry Thomas in the Leyland, at a meeting earlier in 1923, had damaged two motorcycles and the heel of a policeman’s boot…

You may also like

Related products