Saturday, June 3, 2017


Seven in Contest at Aviation and Automobile Meet are Led by Buchanan Lyon of Durham in Thomas Flyer Five Miles in 7 Minutes 9 Seconds

The Contest Was a Spirited One and There Was Intense Enthusiasm Among the Thousands as the Fast Racing Machines Swept at Terrific Speed Around the Half Mile Track at the Fair Grounds, the Various Drivers and Mechanicians Showing Daring and All Possible Skill in the Control of the automobiles, Which Made Time Fly as the Course Was Covered in the Dash For the Laurels.

            With swiftness almost incredible, seven automobiles dashed at terrific speed around the race track at the Fair Grounds yesterday afternoon while thousands looked on and cheered, the enthusiasm being great, the hazardous racing against time being conducted without a single mishap, and records being made which set the pace in this section. And there will be more of this today.
            It was at the News and Observer Aviation and Automobile Meet that this swift racking of machines was seen to the delight of the many thousands who filled the grandstand, occupying every seat in the many stands erected about the race track and crowded in great numbers about the railing which shut in the race track. It was a speed contest of the perilous kind with men half hanging from the car to balance these annihilators of space as they swept around the curves and with increasing speed seemed almost to fly along the straight stretches. And though the sport is a perilous one, there was not a tremor on the part of the drivers who forgot all of self in the mad rush to be first in the contest.
            The surroundings and the enthusiasm were such as to spur on men to their best endeavors, and not once in the great speed contest but who rose to the occasion and almost forcing his own will and determination into the machine in which he rode made it almost human in the fight to stand first among its fellows, each being in the rush to be hailed the victor.

Let the races begin

            It was at 2 o’clock sharp that the automobile races were begun, each car in the contest having as the work before it a dash of five miles, which is ten times around the half-mile race track at the Fair Grounds. Each car made a fine record, and only one, the Vellie, driven by R. Wayland Yates, fell by the wayside and this car, which was making the fastest time in the two miles it kept going, ended its course in the fifth lap, the car carburetors failing to act fast enough in the use of the gasoline. If this car, entered by the W. H. Brewer Garage of Raleigh, had kept the speed of its first four laps it had every prospect of being a leader.
            From early in the day the crowds had begun to assemble at the Fair Grounds for the automobile racing and the aeroplane flights in Curtiss machines by McCurdy and Ely, and with from seven to eight thousand people present the automobile racing was begun sharp on time at 3 o’clock. Raleigh had a great representation, while from all the surrounding towns there came hundreds to increase the thousands. Men and women were here o see the action in the air of the marvels of the age, the gathering being representative one of the very best life in North Carolina, while in the great throng, there were many who came to study the scientific side of the Curtiss flyhing machines, as well as to see to how great a speed an automobile could be driven. It was a great crowd, and all in it were eager for the events of the day.
            In the judges’ stand the gentlemen in charge of the racing were all kept busy in making the time of the speeding automobiles, the judges being Mr. R. D. Godwin, Mr. C. B. Barbee, Col. Joseph E. Pogue, Maj. R. M. Albright, and Mr. M. W. Colcock, of Cleveland, Ohio, the latter being on the race track, and acting as the starter. As each machine started and ended its race, its name, driver and time were announced from the judges’ stand.
            The rush of the automobiles around the race track was a sight to set the nerves tingling. As the machines went at terrific speed the dust arose in clouds behind them, while on the turns of the track the assistants to the drivers would swing themselves way out towards the inner rail of the course in order to help the turn and would then crouch back on the side step awaiting the next turn. As the machine would pass the judges’ stand there was great shouting from the crowd.

The Prize Winners

            As the result of the contest the three prizes were awarded for the time made in the five-mile dash as follows:
            First—Thomas Flyer, 60 horse power, entered by E. R. Lyon Motor Car Company of Durham. Driver Buchanan Lynn. Time: 7 minutes 9 seconds.41.95 miles an hour. $50.

1907 Thomas-Flyer

            Second—Jackson, 40 horse power, entered by Raleigh Motor Car and Machine Company. Driver, H. D. Mitchell. Time: 7 minutes 12 seconds, 41.7 miles an hour, $40.

1908 Jackson Touring

            Third—Hinson, 60 horse power, entered by Carolina Carriage and Machine Company of Raleigh.  Driver John Park. Time: 7 minutes 39 seconds 39.2 miles per hour.  $30.

        Men who have knowledge of other automobile races and the condition of various tracks say that the time made was most excellent and that as a half mile course the Raleigh track is excellent for automobiles. The great crowd was enthusiastic over the contest and it whetted up the appetite for the aeroplane flights of  McCurdy and Ely which came after the automobile races.

[News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) 17 Nov 1910]

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