Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Land Speed Record

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I can't say I'm very interested in modern-day motor sport. Take rallying for example, time was it tested road car reliability, stamina and navigational skills. Nowadays road cars are pretty reliable, you can find your way with satnav and driving for long periods without a break is seen as irresponsible. Modern day rallying has retreated to the forests where a series of short sprints are the order of the day. What is the point?

Formula racing might have a purpose if it contributed to the most important motoring issue of the day - sustainability. As it happens 1950s Grand Prix racing - when the cars ran on ethanol for example- was far more eco friendly than the current over-blown circus.

Perhaps the most pointless exercise of all is the Land Speed Record. Who but a few eccentric Englishman would want to charge around at 700mph? Everyone else gave up when technological development meant landing on the moon, not sitting on the end of a four-wheeled rocket belting across a dried out lake.

Of course it once had a point and the holder of the land speed record at 125mph between 1914 and 1924 was one Ligurd G Hornstead - or was it? Now Ligurd is a pretty rare forename and no such person as Ligurd Hornstead exists in the public records, I once put forward the theory that the speedsters real name was Lydston Hornstedt, a son of a former British consul, born in Moscow. Now the above extract from the 1911 census seems to clinch that identification.

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