The Royal Automobile Club 1000 mile trial will make a scheduled appearance at the Circuit on Thursday 13th July between 9.30 and 11.30am
In 1899, nobody except a social elite and engineers had really heard of the motor car, they weren’t aware of its capabilities and how it would change the face of modern society as we know it.
Back then, the roads were quite poor and often unsurfaced meaning that getting from A to B sometimes felt like travelling all the way from A to Z and then back to A to get to B. On the 23rd of April 1900, 65 crews made the start line at Grosvenor House, London and headed through the country via Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Derby, Kendal, Carlisle, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham and back to London for the finish at Marble Arch.
Most notable out of the competitors were several pioneers who would go on to become household names, the most famous being C.S. Rolls (of Rolls-Royce fame) who won the event in his 12 h.p. Panhard et Levassor after reaching 37.63 miles per hour at the Welbeck Park one-mile speed test. He was also successful over several hill climbs, the most notable being in the Lake District at Shap Fell and Dunmail Raise, two of the steepest parts of the trial.
The event was run by the then Automobile Club and was instigated by the then Secretary of The Club, Claude Johnson, who wanted to overturn the scepticism that surrounded the motor vehicle and demonstrate the prowess it had. In a twist of fate, Johnson would become the first Managing Director of Rolls-Royce, he was often referred to as the hyphen in the Rolls-Royce name.
In 2014, the second real running of the event took place with crews starting and finishing from the Royal Automobile Club’s Woodcote Park in Epsom, after travelling via the Midlands, north-west England and the borders, crews were welcomed into Edinburgh with a sumptuous meal on board the Royal Yacht Britannia. Heading through the eastern side of the UK and passing through Northumbria, Yorkshire and the Shires, the winners of the first modern running were John Abel / Martyn Taylor who went on to claim the double victory in 2015. In 2016 John claimed his hat trick with Iain Tullie as his navigator, thus becoming the most successful participant in the event’s history. The event has been nominated for the prestigious ‘Rally of The Year’ Award at the International Historic Motoring Awards three times, winning it twice. It has also received the FIA (the governing body of motor sport) FMC Heritage Cup in 2015.
This year sees a packed to capacity entry with 63 of the world’s rarest and most beautiful pre-war cars starting from Windsor and tackling roads in the Downs, Derbyshire, Peak District, Cheshire and Wales before they reach the legendary Castle Combe Circuit. Spectators are welcome to come and watch at the circuit from 9.30am to 11.30am on Thursday 13th July. From here they will venture via Winchester and the Dorset / Buckinghamshire areas before reaching the hallowed grounds of Brooklands where two driving tests will be held before the short drive back to Woodcote Park and the final driving test down The Captains Drive.
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