Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Monday, March 12, 2018
|Eric Fernihough with the Brough Superior on|
which he broke land speed records and ultimately
met his demise in Hungary.
I was lucky enough to recently find for a modest sum this relic of the great Eric Crudgington Fernihough. It is his Bible which the previous owner purchased as part of a house clearance back in 1982 when his widow passed away. Her name was Florence Dorothy Fernihough and she lived in a lovely 1930s house by the name of Crosby in Clock House Close, Byfleet, not far from Brooklands circuit.
|'Crosby', Byfleet in Surrey, close to the Brooklands Circuit.|
Ferni's racing and record breaking achievements are well documented but there is scant information available about the man himself. He was born February 17th 1905 in Birkenhead the son of a tobacco warehousing and manufacturing family. As a lad from a well to do family Ferni enrolled at Magdalene College in Cambridge. The Bible is dated as October 1923 at which age Ferni would have been 18, it came with a postcard of Magdalene College within its pages. Presumably the Bible was a gift for when he left home and went to University. Within the cover of the Bible, 'See Joshua 1.7' is also annotated (in a different hand - perhaps that of a parent?).
|The postcard found in Ferni's Bible of his college, Magdalene,|
Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that though mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest.
In all honesty the Bible is not very well thumbed though there is a chocolate wrapper marking a page (606-607) so perhaps he did get stuck in some way.
Through the interwar years motor sport was very much a part of the Cambridge scene, and just as the Oxford / Cambridge boat race now is so varsity motor sport events were also big occasions. Much of Ferni's motor sport activities were under the umbrella of the Cambridge University Automobile Club, predominantly a motor cycle competitor he also dabbled heavily with Morgan three wheelers and shortly before his accident he became involved in four wheeler sport.
Speed racing was very much Ferni's thing though he did enter one IOM TT. Very active and part of the scene at Brooklands, he ran a garage by the perimeter of the track on Byfleet Road. Through the thirties Ferni became more involved in ultimate speed racing, both at Brooklands and in land speed record bids, he was motorcycle land speed record holder in 1936 and 1937. Sadly he was killed in Gyón, Hungary April 23 1938 aged just 33 whilst trying to regain his title. He had been clocked at 180 mph just before he lost control of his Brough Superior and fatally crashed.
Eric Fernihough is buried in Bournemouth East cemetery, I am not sure of his connection with Bournemouth as he was born in Birkenhead and, as far as I can see, lived in Surrey. I aim to visit his gravestone in the near future.
As a final note, the above information is collected from secondary sources and to the best of my knowledge is correct. If anyone out there can elaborate further please do get in touch. One mystery I have not found the answer to is that I have seen mentioned that in the twenties he was engaged to a Kathleen Butler who sometimes passengered his Morgan at Brooklands. This seems at odds with his widow being Florence Fernihough, perhaps someone knows the answer and will get in touch?
|Eric Fernihough's signature and|
the note to see Joshua 1.7
Thursday, March 8, 2018
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Sunday, March 4, 2018
A few days back I published a post on the subject of A F Tschifelly's travel book , Round and About Spain, this was spotted by Basha O'Reilly who is the executrix of the Tschiffely Literary Estate.
Basha has been kind enough to forward these two images of Tschiffely taken from Motor Cycling magazine. The first is of Tschiffely meeting with Major Mountford and other big wigs of the Royal Enfield company. The little Ensign looks quite new in this image and one assumes that it was before he set off. Note too the comedically large 'L' plate.
In the second image (presumably also taken at or near the Royal Enfield works) Tschiffely lassoes Graham Walker, editor of Motor Cycling magazine, who is riding an Enfield Model G. Tschiffely was a horseman of great note, well known for his long distance riding exploits, motor cycle travel was a new departure for him.
If you care to find out more about Tschiffely the man and his travels visit the Official Tschiffely website.
Many thanks to Basha O'Reilly, the Tschiffely Literary Estate for forwarding these images for publication on this site.
|A F Tschiffely meets the Royal Enfield top brass prior|
to riding an Ensign model around Spain for his book
Round and About Spain.
|A staged publicity shot in which Tschiffely lassoes Graham|
Walker, then Motor Cycling magazine Editor.
Friday, March 2, 2018
For non-UK readers, 'Beast from the East' is the name British media gave to the cold weather system currently engulfing the UK on account of it coming from an Easterly direction and being particularly harsh for this time of year...
Round these parts we had a snowfall of slightly more than six inches: many other countries would consider that to be a minor flurry but over here it is a code red emergency. Seemed like a good chance to get out on the Yamaha AG and play.
Thursday, March 1, 2018
|A F Tschiffely with his Royal Enfield Ensign, companion for|
his four month tour of Spain in 1951.
Many thanks to Ken Bryant who got in touch and introduced me to Round and About Spain. I'm a bit of a buff of old motorcycling travelogues but had never heard of this one before. Aimé Félix Tschiffely (1895 - 1954) was a Swiss borne Argentine adventurer, academic and writer. Tschiffely led a colourful life and wrote extensively of his travels; a well known and successful writer during his career (thirties, forties and fifties), most of his adventures were on horseback.
For his journey around Spain Tschiffely however chose a different mode of transport, a Royal Enfield Ensign. The motorcycle is very much secondary to the story and it is all about the culture and people rather than the bike for Tschiffely certainly was not a motorcyclist at heart.
The brand of Royal Enfield is apparently not mentioned in the book, one wonders why? Perhaps it is that the conveyance is so secondary to the story that it does not warrant a mention. In the introduction Tschiffely describes visiting the Royal Enfield factory to choose a machine, reading between the lines he was perhaps given a bike or at least bought it on very favourable terms.
From the introduction.....
I was thinking over the matter of transportation when a friend of mine came to my rescue with a brilliant idea. "Use a motor-cycle," said the one who, years ago, had been a famous motor-cycle racer, and who continues to ride one of these machines for amusement. Enthusiastically he continued, "I have a friend who is a director of a famous firm of motor-cycle manufacturers. I shall write to him at once, and I'm sure he will be delighted to supply you with a really reliable machine."
And so it came about that a few days later I found myself in a huge factory in the Midlands, where one of the directors showed me their latest model of a powerful machine. One look at it was sufficient for me. "Heavens," I exclaimed, "I don't want to travel jet-propelled! Please remember that I haven't ridden a motor-cycle for some thirty years." Catching sight of a much smaller - and therefore less speedy looking - machine and pointing at it I said, "That's the type of mount I fancy."
|Round and About Spain front cover.|
|Round and About Spain rear cover.|