From the archive: The first race on the Isle of Man – Autocar

“The climb seemed to be made by a series of leaps such as one witnesses when the clutch is let suddenly in with an engine accelerated and the car at rest. [Mark] Mayhew’s car appeared to do this in the greatest degree, and he never appeared to have his motor running with the life and go that characterised the other Napiers.

“The course round the island was arranged so that the driver always steered to the right instead of, as is usual in most racing, the reverse direction. It would appear that more difficulty is experienced in negotiating corners which require bearing to the left, and there is more tendency for a car to skid or upset.

“A particularly noisy hum, like a huge humming-top, always heralded the approach of Edge. The speed he attained on the turn in the last round was well in advance of anything previously done, his negotiation of the top corner being such as to be remembered.

“Girling never appeared to be quite happy at the corner and slowed down rather more than any of the other competitors. It therefore speaks well for the picking-up powers of his engine.

“Earp was apparently out on a pleasure excursion, as he appeared to be all smiles, and paid as much attention to the spectators as to his car and the road. Albeit his driving was perfection and most confident. [John] Hargreaves might have been astride a thoroughbred by his style, and only seemed to require a whip to complete the illusion. [Sidney] Girling and Jarrott drove well, but Jarrott looked tired and seemed more anxious than usual.”

On Wednesday came the hillclimb, “which was arranged to take place over a measured half-mile on the Port Lewaigue-Maghold Road, up an average gradient of one in sixteen. A very large number of spectators journeyed out from Douglas by the electric trams and automobiles to the scene of the contest, so that the course of the climb was lined with interested spectators from foot to summit. Each car made three runs.”

Edge went quickest on every occasion, averaging 47.7mph. Joining him on the metaphorical podium were Earp, with 41.22mph, and Girling on 41.09mph.

Speeches given after at a dinner hosted by the Lieutenant-Governor, Autocar summarised, “made it clear that not only the light and leading of Manxland, but Manxmen throught the island, were delighted at having their island roads chosen as the scene of the trials, and the prospect of their roads to motor racing again at intervals”.

The next day “turned out as fine as the two which preceded it, but, unhappily, was marred by an accident which was keenly regretted on all hands.” Again, the course was lined with spectators.


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