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Old 10 Nov 2005, 13:55 (Ref:1457245)   #1
Darren Galpin
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Darren Galpin should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Crystal Palace-Birmingham-Crystal Palace, 1897

I've already raised this on TNF, but it might get some fresh faces here.

To summarise:

By myself:
While researching early racing, I came across the following in the Liverpool Daily Post of the 25th May 1897 on pg 14:

"Eleven hundred guineas having been offered by the proprietors of the Engineer as prizes, a horseless carriage competition has been arranged to take place at the Crystal Palace. The cars - about fifty in number - will undergo preliminary trials and inspection by the judges between now and the 29th, and will leave the palace for a race to Birmingham on June 1, returning to the palace within fifty hours for inspection and award of prizes. The judges are Sir Frederick Dramwell, Mr J.A.F.Aspinall, chief mechanical engineer to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, and Dr John Hopkinson F.R.S. The secretary is Mr H.Graham Harris and the assistant secretaries are Mr H. Carpenacl, Mr G.E.Chadwyck-Hoaler and Mr Henry Fowler. The competition is to be international."

However, I couldn't find a result or any further information about this event (probably due to the proximity of the Derby, which rated higher coverage in Liverpool). Does anyone else know anything about this event?


By KJJ:
A distinguished panel of judges, all of whom are to be found in the pages of the Dictionary of National Biography. A few corrections to the names: Bramwell not Dramwell, Carpmael not Carpenacl and Chadwyck-Healey not Chadwyck-Hoaler - this from the Times of 24th May 1897. Yet to find any mention of the race taking place though.



By Vitesse:
This may be a different event, but I'll mention it anyway.

I have a compilation of old Autocar offprints done by Michael Frostick in the early 70s. Frustratingly, the original dates on the pages have been omitted, but there's a page of illustrations showing "The Autocars at the Crystal Palace". If the reprint is chronological, then this was between the Paris-Trouville in August 1897 and the second annual meeting of the Motor Car Club on Monday November 29th 1897. The latter was a leisurely run from the Hotel Metropole to Sheen House and back, with luncheon at Sheen, "some interesting motor cycle demonstrations", a light tea at the Metropole and then the annual dinner. Another possible date marker would be the ordinary general meeting of the British Motor Syndicate Ltd "on the 18th inst" - no clue as to which month "inst" was though! The pictures appear within the lengthy report of what seems to have been a lively and heated meeting.

The vehicles at the Crystal Palace were the "Lifu" Steam Van, the Roots-Venables Petrocar, the Holroyd-Smith Phaeton, the Yeovil Car, the Roots-Venables Petrocycle and the Bushbury Electric Cart.

From the inscription on the side of it "Lifu" is short for "Liquid Fuel" and it was built by the Liquid Fuel Engineering Company of East Cowes, Isle of Wight (the only vehicle ever built on the island?). Messrs Roots and Venables appear to be sitting on the Petrocar: the wheels look somewhat fragile and look to have come off a bicycle! Their Petrocycle is a trike, with the single wheel at the back, the passenger seat suspended perilously over the front axle with absolutely no safety considerations and the driver sitting on top of the engine! The Bushbury is also a trike, but with the single wheel at the front. The makers of the Yeovil seem to have been daring enough to let a lady take the tiller - although it doesn't appear to be moving and there is a bearded gentleman standing by in case of emergencies!



Any further ideas?
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Old 27 Apr 2006, 23:16 (Ref:1596583)   #2
alexcaffi
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some further info...the race was due to be 200 miles, but it never took places as all the competitors were disqualified before the start
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Old 30 Apr 2006, 12:22 (Ref:1598075)   #3
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Based on Autocar (an extract from my forthcoming "Record of Motor Racing at Crystal Palace")
The contestants would undergo preliminary trials and an inspection by a panel of judges at Crystal Palace, followed by a road-run to Birmingham and back, which had to be completed within 50 hours. Following this a further inspection of the vehicles would be made.

When the journalist returned to Crystal Palace on the Tuesday for the start of the road trial to Birmingham, he found all the cars gone and a notice posted saying "The judges have decided that they cannot award a prize to any of the cars exhibited. It will not therefore be necessary for the trial run to Birmingham to take place. Though the judges cannot see their way to award any prizes, the steam van of the Liquid Fuel & Engineering Co and the Bushbury electric car of the Electric Construction Co are highly commended". However, the "Lifu" steam van started on an unofficial run to Birmingham with its designer, H A House jun, in charge.

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Old 30 Apr 2006, 13:20 (Ref:1598108)   #4
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ss_collins should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridss_collins should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridss_collins should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
I think the first proper closed course 'race' is the oval course one in 1899 - RAP?
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Old 30 Apr 2006, 14:40 (Ref:1598133)   #5
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Originally Posted by ss_collins
I think the first proper closed course 'race' is the oval course one in 1899 - RAP?
Yes - According to The Times at Easter 1899, but note that this was for tricycles. The first 4-wheel race appears to be Easter 1901 - unless anyone knows different !

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Old 30 Apr 2006, 15:07 (Ref:1598143)   #6
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ss_collins should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridss_collins should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridss_collins should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
RAP - there was a race the same day for cars I think - possibly on a different course. What do I say about it in the book? Also check jarrott.
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Old 30 Apr 2006, 17:28 (Ref:1598203)   #7
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Originally Posted by ss_collins
RAP - there was a race the same day for cars I think - possibly on a different course. What do I say about it in the book? Also check jarrott.
Sam - are you thinking of the Motor Car Club meeting on 6th May 1899? This comprised a series of tests round a tortuous 2 mile circuit of the grounds. It was timed but involved half-dozen stop & restart tests. I suppose it is a matter of definition whether you call this a race, to me it isn't. Following the test there were races on the velodrome but again these appear to have been tricycles.

I don't have the Jarrott book but the extract that was kindly provided to me refers to Whitsun 1899, and again I think relates to tricycles as he refers to newly acquired "De Dion-Bouton racing tricycles" (page 82)
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Old 14 May 2006, 04:41 (Ref:1609199)   #8
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According to Gerald Rose:

An 1100 guinea competition was proposed...the entry lists closed on March 31st with 70 entered.
Only 6 cars appeared on the day of competition (this number also matches with the photos and details mentioned in Frostick's compilation of The Autocar):

Lifu Steam van
Roots-Venables Petrocar
Holroyd-Smith Phaeton
Yeovil Car
Roots-Venables Petrocycle
Bushbury Electric Cart Tricycle

The competition was stopped - whilst in progress - by the judges as none of the vehicles fulfilled the conditions set down in the regulations. The event was not considered a true race, but among the tests was a 200 mile run on the road. The strenuous nature of the competition proved too much, and all the vehicles failed.

Last edited by alexcaffi; 14 May 2006 at 04:45.
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Old 14 May 2006, 10:05 (Ref:1609317)   #9
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According to Gerald Rose

Thanks for that. Are there any other Crystal Palace references in Rose?
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Old 15 May 2006, 11:12 (Ref:1610382)   #10
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nope, that's about it I'm afraid!

Charles Jarrott mentions a race from Coventry to Birmingham in May 1897 though! He only mentions a few competitors though, and no real detail of times or speeds.
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Old 15 May 2006, 16:18 (Ref:1610677)   #11
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Thanks for looking
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