Friday, June 27, 2008

Freddie Dixon

This biography of pre-war racer Freddie Dixon is due to be published by Haynes next month. I wonder if there is any chance of a few more such books, concerning the interesting characters who circulated around the tracks in the happy days BBCE, seeing the light of day.

It's surprising how little is really known about these old timers. Even the country's leading motor-sport historian was under the impression that Dixon's 1935 prison sentence followed a fatal accident whilst he was racing Luis Fontes on the public highway.

Infact Freddie was sentenced to three months imprisonment for dangerous and reckless driving on 4th October 1935, in Middlesborough. The incident in which Luis Fontes, a Manchester born ace of Brazilian extraction, killed a motor cyclist, and for which he was subsequently sentenced to three years imprisonment, occurred on 6th October 1935 in Coleshill, Warwickshire. The close proximity of the dates must have led to the subsequent confusion.

Motor Sport history has been dominated to an extent by the rivet counters, after all many of the cars still exist and historic authentication, leading to sales, is big business. Driver biographies haven't usually strayed very far from the race-track. They've also tended towards the hagiographic, with everyone being a bloody good chap. It will be interesting to see where this new biography of Dixon stands.

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