Saturday, July 29, 2006

Philip Turner, Welsh Racing Driver

Plenty of Welsh born racers starred on the pre-war Brooklands banking. Most famously of course there was Parry Thomas, but also the Eccles brothers, Rose-Richards, Charley Martin, Captain Marendaz, Penn-Hughes and racing as "Tim D. Davies" Dudley Folland.

Now, due to the researches of some of the guys on the TNF forum, we can add another name to that distinguished list, Philip Turner. Turner, who was also an accomplished power-boat racer and point-to-point rider, appeared at Brooklands between 1924 and 1933. Mysteriously he often raced using a nom de course such as "J. Taylor", "S. Bird", "R. Wilson", J. Sinclair" and "J. Philip". His great successes came in the major event of the year the Brooklands 500 races, retiring while in second place in 1931, finishing second in the following year's race as "J. Philip" and third in 1933 using his own name.

Born Joshua Philip Tanchan in Abergavenny in 1897, he changed his name to Turner in 1919. The Tanchans were a Jewish family who came into South Wales from Prussia via America in the middle years of the nineteenth century. Turner's family were originally in the clothing trade but young Philip was soon to become one of the leading car dealers in London, specialising in Rolls Royce and other top of the range motors. In 1935 Turner's businesses ran into financial trouble and he was declared bankrupt with liabilities of £30000 (at least a million in modern terms) and assets of only £10. Turner blamed his demise on share dealing and heavy racing expenses, the court's verdict was "rash and hazardous speculations and unjustifiable extravagance in living." Like so many of the racing crowd Turner was above all else a risk-taker.


Anonymous said...

I've been doing some research on Tanchan/Turner as I've recently learned that I may be related to him. I'm wondering if there is any other information you would be able to provide about him or any resources you could refer me to. I can continue to check any new postings on this page. Thanks for your help.

Unknown said...

He was my great uncle. He died while steeple racing, being a short man He had difficulty reaching the stirrups and fell off while jumping. His first cousin had the concession for Lancia in the UK.