Which is this: so far as I was aware and although some have got close, no-one had ever tackled Le Mans single-handed. At least not successfully. I recall Raymond Sommer drove over 20 hours to win in 1932 after co-driver Luigi Chinetti got sick, and, 17 years later, Chinetti driving for longer even than that to claim a victory for Ferrari on its debut in 1949. And of course I think quite of lot of us know about poor Pierre Levegh, the man tragically most famous for losing his life when his Mercedes went into the crowd at Le Mans in 1955, whose missed shift after almost 23 hours of driving in 1952 denied him perhaps the most heroic Le Mans victory of all.
But no-one, surely, got all the way around the clock twice and all by themselves? It now seems that at least one person did. Allow me to introduce you to my new hero, one Edward Ramsden Hall known, if at all, simply as Eddie.
Eddie Hall was one of those irritating people who was not only born into considerable wealth but excelled at anything to which he turned his hand. He may not have been quite in the Woolf Barnato league, who was not only diamond millionaire but also an extraordinary racing driver, a decent shot, an accomplished boxer and powerboat racer who kept wicket for Surrey, but he still managed a racing career 30 seasons long and fit in time to represent Britain in the 1928 Winter Olympics in the bobsled team, a year after winning the European Champions for both the two and five man bob. He was also a photographer who published a well-regarded book of his images of figure skating.
Born in 1900 into a wealthy textiles family, Eddie started racing in 1922, always in his own cars and at his own expense, in the true spirit of the well heeled amateur enthusiast. He raced Bugattis, MGs, Talbots and Lagondas, usually in long distances races. In particular, he loved the notoriously tough RAC Tourist Trophy races on the Ards circuit in Northern Ireland.