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Topical Budget 90-1: Motor Racing at Brooklands (1913)


Main image of Topical Budget 90-1: Motor Racing at Brooklands (1913)
35mm, black and white, 49 feet
Production CompanyTopical Film Co.

Mr Percy Lambert attempts to break the one hour record of 113 miles at Brooklands.

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This film documents an attempt by Captain Percy Lambert (1881-1913) at breaking his own land speed record, which he'd set earlier that year on February 15th. At Brooklands in Surrey, the world's first purpose-built motor racing circuit, he reached 103.84mph, thus giving him a permanent place in history as the first man to travel faster than 100mph in a car (a 4.5 litre, 25 horsepower Talbot).

When his record was broken shortly afterwards, he decided to have another attempt, recorded by Topical Budget, though he was forced to abandon it due to high winds.

Sadly, Lambert's record-breaking efforts ended in tragedy a few months later, when he promised his concerned fiancée that his next attempt at retrieving the record would be his last. His prediction proved all too accurate, as he suffered a fatal crash after one of the Talbot's rear tyres fell apart. He died on the way to hospital, and was buried in a coffin that had been streamlined to match the Talbot's markings.

His gravestone in Brompton Cemetery, London, records his feats with this epitaph: "A modest friend, a fine gentleman and a thorough sportsman. The first man to cover 100 miles in one hour. Killed by accident at Brooklands Motor Racing Track whilst attempting further records." His ghost is said to haunt the track to this day.

Michael Brooke

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A Very Topical Year: 1913