Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Major Rupert Robinson

A reader enquires who was Major Rupert Robinson who helped Innes Ireland purchase his first Lotus XI at the tail end of the 1956 season?

Innes's brother Allan was at that time a captain in the Royal Artillery. I've read a contemporary report in Autosport, which gives the Major's initials as R. C. Robinson. If that is the case then this was probably Major Rupert Chater Robinson R. A., an Old Marlburian, something of a sportsman - Squash and Cricket. I'm not aware that he had any motor sport connections other than his friendship with the Irelands?

In his Autosport profile of 21/10/1960 Innes has this to say about Major Robinson, who is described as being in the "Airborne Artillery":

One day he offered to buy me a car and run it for me. I just couldn't believe it. He finally convinced me that he meant what he had said and bought me a Series I Mk II Lotus. I had my first race in it in September (1956) at Goodwood where I came fourth in one event and second in another. The next week we went to Aintree, where I gained two seconds and broke the club lap record.

"This, of course, was a tremendous break for me and I just cannot find the words to express my gratitude to Major Robinson. However at the time I promised him that should the day ever come when I found myself making money out of racing, I would repay every penny he spent in giving me that golden opportunity. Now I am reaching the position where I can fulfil that promise."

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