Motoring Sportsmen



No. 3. Kaye Don. rrHE debonair Don is a figure so well-known amongst

motoring sportsmen on road and track, that in writing of him it is hard to find a characteristic which one may reasonably hope will be unknown to one’s readers.

There is, however, one outstanding feature of this popular sportsman which marks him out as a man of peculiar interest to the BROOKLANDS GAZETTt, namely, the fact that he is equally brilliant as a driver of racing cars and as a rider of racing motor cycles. Probably in this respect no other Englishman has had quite the experience of Kaye Don. In the few conspicuous cases where famous drivers have raced both cars and motor cycles, it has usually been recognised that one is definitely their true love, and the other quite a second string. But with Kaye Don this has not been so. Of him it may be said that he is both a racing motor cyclist and a racing car driver without reservation.

In pre-war days he was principally known as “Don of Avons,” a name which has stuck to him amongst many of his old friends, for he started with the Avon Rubber Company as far back as 19°8. From 1912 to the outbreak of the war he was gradually carving out a name for himself as a reliability trials rider. During the war he served in the R.A.F. Having wielded the joystick over a long period with characteristic proficiency, he was, six months before the Armistice, posted to General Headquarters, where he served until he was demobilised. He is now a member of the R.A.F. Reserve.

After the war Kaye Don returned to the activities of the Avon Rubber Company, and for the last three years has served them in the capacity of contracts manager. Since the war, too, he has built up an enviable reputation both in speed events on the track and. as a trials driver on the road. He has won in the last six years Upwards of 150 awards, including those for the best performance in the Paris-Nice Trial in 1920 and the best performance in the Anglo-Dutch Trial in 1921. He has broken records at Brooklands on A. J.S., Diamond and Massey Arran motor cycles, and also in A.C. and Wolseley cars. Indeed, there are still standing no fewer

than 43 records in various classes which he has either broken as driver or helped to break as a mechanic. At one time Kaye Don held the record for Kop Hill, made on an Indian motor cycle, and he still holds the records for the speed trials on Bournemouth front and for the Chipstead Hill Climb which he set up in a Deemster Car,

It will be remembered by most motoring sportsmen, that last year Kaye Don won the President’s Gold Cup at Brooklands in a Deemster, and he tells me that he is all out to win this year’s 200 miles J.C.C. race in something of a super A.C.

In addition to the A.C., Kaye Donis at present running the Wolseley Viper, in which, incidentally, he nearly came to grief last year when he had as passenger in one of the races, its then owner, Mr. Pop Corry, the popular actor. Coming up the finishing straight at something over I00 m.p.h., he found, as he neared the paddock, that his brakes would not act. Knowing that he could not take the turn on the track, and faced with the distasteful prospect of shooting over the top of the banking, he deliberately ran up the steep grass ascent at the side of the Test Hill, and skidded back on to the Track, thus, by an inspired piece of driving, avoiding what appeared to all to be a certain bad smash. For every-day use, Kaye Don favours a 30/98 Vauxhall, which, he tells me, it occasions him much delight to navigate through the streets of London. Speaking of town driving, I cannot refrain from recording that one of the most interesting rides as a passenger I ever

had was, when Kaye Don drove me back to my hotel in Douglas after a T.T. prize distribution. The way he circled round a moving tram on the ‘prom, in reverse, was very sedate ! It will no doubt appear from the foregoing that Kaye Don is a somewhat versatile individual. It may

appear so even more when it is added that he is an enthusiast about wireless ; is a great person amongst the Freemasons of his neighbourhood, and is Hon. Trials Secretary to that go-ahead organisation—the Surbiton Club.

O. E. S.