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Sunday 1 November


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01 May 2019

An Interesting Read: Charles Jarrott & the Emancipation Run

On 14th November 1896, amongst the plethora of vehicles rattling windows in Whitehall, was a Daimler parcel van driven by C.H.E. Rush accompanied by an enthusiastic 19 year old who had just learnt to drive, called Charles Jarrott.  The motoring bug had taken hold and after the 1st Emancipation anniversary Run in 1897, Jarrott took part in motorcycle displays and competitions at Sheen House track.

Just two years later in 1899, Charles Jarrott participated in no fewer than 50 races that year alone, during an illustrious racing career that would see him form the backbone of the UK’s national racing team. Along with his close friend S.F.Edge, the UK’s hopes in the Gordon Bennett races lay with them. A stalwart of the continental racing scene, the 1902/1903 seasons proved to be Jarrott’s best racing years, with places in the Circuit des Ardennes (1stnd 1902), Paris-Berlin (10th 1902) and third place in the ill-fated Paris-Madrid race of 1903. Despite his love of racing Jarrott believed that from the outset motor sport suffered from the `the curse of commercialism’ and he later questioned whether the increasing speed of cars created less of a sport and more of a `positive torture’ as `the driver knew that he carried his life in his hands’.

An active and vocal member of the ACGBI, later to become the Royal Automobile Club, Jarrott was never afraid to express an opinion. Accompanied by Mark Mayhew and Selwyn Edge, he formed the Automobile Association to warn motorists of impending speed traps. He also imported American cars, such as Oldsmobiles and Dodges into the UK, diversifying to bring De Dietrich automobiles to his home market.

By 1927 increased production of vehicles had led to a nostalgia for the old crocks of the early days and the Daily Sketch organised a commemoration of the Emancipation Run. On Saturday 12th November, the day before the run, judges inspected the vehicles for roadworthiness. One of the celebrated judges was 50-year-old Charles Jarrott, who had participated almost 31 years to the day, in the original event.


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