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1903 Southport Speed Trials

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1903 October 3rd - Saturday



THE SOUTHPORT MOTOR RACES.[1]

ENORMOUS CROWDS AND SENSATIONAL CONTESTS. [From A Special Correspondent.] Southport, Saturday Night.

Southport has been very prominent before the public notice during the past summer, with the walking craze, and then with the of the British Association; but no local has attracted such enormous crowds as motor speed trials which were successfully concluded to-day. The weather in the morning was wet and cheerless; but, despite this at an early hour heavily-laden trains arrive from all quarters. Half-past ten hour fixed for the commencement, and time the barriers along the whole length of the promenade track were thickly lined by spectators. As the hours advanced the weather improved considerably and an occasional gleam of sunshine did something to compensate for the powerful wind which, as on the previous day, swept along the course dead in the teeth of competitors. By half-past two it was estimated that 50,000 spectators were present, the scene along the front, as viewed from the lofty elevation of the press stand, being one to be remembered. The grandstands erected in front of the hotels and principal houses were packed with fashionably-dressed ladies and gentlemen whilst behind the stout barriers along the roadside thousands men, women, and children struggled to catch a glimpse of the competitors as they flew past on their machines.

THE RACING SECTION. As on the previous day, chief interest centred the doings of the powerful racing cars, and some very exciting finishes witnessed. The class for cars weighing than 12cwts. 3qrs. 5lbs. resulted in a walk-over - if one may use such a term in connection a motor race - for Mr. A. Rawlinson, who, on a Paris-Madrid type of Darracq car, covered the flying kilometre at the rate of 59.13 an hour, thus securing the cup presented by Captain Thornycroft Vernon.

The class for cars weighing not more than 19cwts. 3qrs. 2lbs was productive of much interest. In the final Mr. S. F. Edge, on a 45 h.p. Napier defeated Mr. G. Higginbottom, on his 60 h.p. Mercedes, the respective rates of speed being 68 and 59 miles per hour.

The second heat in the semi-final won easily by Mr. J. E. Hutton in a 70 h.p. Panhard. In the final Edge carried off the silver bowl presented by Mr. L. Williamson, the winner's time for the flying kilometre being 33 1-5 seconds, which figures out at the rate of 67.33 miles an hour.

In the race for the cup, presented by Mr. C. Scarisbrick, J.P., Hutton turned the tables on Edge. The latter led to about ten yards from the winning post, when Hutton shot ahead to the delight of the spectators, who cheered again and again, and to the evident surprise of Edge who apparently thought he had the race well in hand. Hutton's rate was 58.77 miles per and Edge's 58.22, the actual time occupied,' covering the kilometre being 37 2-5 seconds. In the semi-final for the Mayor's cup and silver bowl, Edge was easily out of it, and the contest lay between Mr. Andrew Fletcher on a 60 h.p. Mercedes, and Hutton on a Panhard, the former winning. Compared with the times in some of the heats, the time in this final was slow, the winner travelling only at the rate 52.97 miles per hour, and covering the kilometre in 42 1-5 seconds. The fastest time in these events was the 68 miles done by Edge, which, considering the wind, was an excellent performance.

THE MOTOR CYCLE EVENTS. From a purely racing point of view, the motorcycle events attracted chief interest next big racing cars. The silver cup for cycles up to 1141bs. in weight was carried off by J. Spencer on an Ariel machine, his time for the seven furlongs being two minutes. The second and third prizes were secured, respectively, by C. H. Richards (on a Minerva) and J. F. Crundall (on a Humber).

In the class for cycles to 170lbs weight the cup was secured by S. Wright on an Excelsior machine, his time being 1min. 37 3-5sec, H. Rignold and B. Yates being second and third. There was a good turnout for the handicap confined to owners of motorcycles who have resided in Lancashire for three months and, after some capital racing in the semi-finals, the honours of the day rested with C. H. Threlfall (Excelsior), who covered the distance in 1min. 19sec, and thus secured the cup presented by the directors of the Cycle and Motor Show Limited. H. Rignold (on a Riley) and J. Edge (Batby ) were respecting, second and third.

The cup presented by Miss Daisy Hampson (a well-known Southport motorist) for motor cycles of any cylinder capacity, but not above 170lbs. in weight, was secured by S. Wright (Excelsior), who with 1min. 14sec. to his credit, did the fastest of the day in the motor cycle events. J. S. Crundall - (Humber) was second, and H. Rignold - (Riley) third.

THE TOURING CARS. Some splendid cars competed in the various classes for tourist cars, although the from the racing point of view, was not very exciting. As in the high speeded events, the race was over a flying kilometre. Some good performances were done, considering the conditions and the fact that these cars are not constructed for racing purposes. Mr. J. W. Stocks, on a 6 h.p. De Dion Bouton two-seated car, won the silver cup for cars costing £200 or under, his time being 1 minute 34 4-5 seconds. J. A. Bennett (5 h.p. Baby Peugeot) was second and H. C. Tryon (6 h.p. Pick) was third.

For cars costing £200, but not more than £400, four people, E. F. Baker, on 10 h.p. Surrey car, was first, with 1 minute 7 seconds to his credit. A. H. Walker (12 h.p. Darracq) and C. W. Pennell (12 h.p. Richardson) being respectively second and third.

Miss Dorothy Levitt, on a 12 h.p. Gladiator car carried off the honours in the class for cars costing over £400 but not more than £550, this lady's driving being a signal for a continual roll of cheering all along the route. Miss Levitt's victory was very popular. Her time was 1 minute 4 4-5 seconds. She defeated Alex. Govan on a 16 h.p. Argyll who was second.

Coming to the higher priced cars (between £550 and £750) Mr. L. Williamson on his 16 h.p. Lanchester was covering the distance in 57 1-5 seconds, the other two prizes being awarded to a Georges Richard and a Newton Pearce car.

For cars costing up to £1,000 Victor Miller, on a 24 h.p. F.I.A.T. car (51 4-5 seconds) beat Charles Jarrott on 24 h.p. De Dietrich, the time being 56 3-5 seconds. The third prize also went to a De Dietrich car (24 h.p.), there only being a fifth of a second between this and Jarrott's machine.

Only two competed in the class for cars costing £1,000 and over, the winner of the cup being A. E. Macdonald in a 20 h.p. Napier, time 54 3-5 seconds. T. Thornycroft Vernon being second on an 18 h.p. Mercedes.

The only remaining class section was the Lancashire Inter-Club handicap, which was won by J. Whittaker, who rode a C. G. B. car of 15 h.p.. the second prize going to T. Thornycroft Vernon, with a 12 h.p. Georges Richard, L. Williamson his 16 h.p. Lanchester making a close finish for third place.

ATTEMPTS AT RECORD BREAKING. The ordinary programme of events having been completed, the course was reversed, so as to race with the wind, and attempts were made to lower the world's records. This, however, was found to be impossible, the fastest time recorded being that of Mr. Fletcher, who travelled over the kilometre at a fraction under 70 miles per hour. The sensation of those events Tessier's performance on a motor-cycle. He covered the course at the rate of 62.75 miles per hour. In the evening the prizes were presented to the successful competitors by the Mayoress.

NEXT YEAR'S TRIALS. A conference took place between representatives of the Automobile Club of Great and Ireland and the Corporation of Southport and it was resolved that, provided the Southport Corporation sent an invitation to hold the motor trials, the meeting be held in Southport year, probably in May or June.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Monday 05 October 1903