Gallery: The ferocious pre-war behemoths of the S.F. Edge Trophy

17th October 2021
Goodwood Road & Racing

A century is a long time in terms of automotive tech. In fact, the cars from the original roaring ‘20s are almost unrecognisable from the racers of today. But they can still put on a bloody good show, as the S.F. Edge Trophy reminds us annually. 

Unfolding at every Members’ Meeting, the race welcomes Edwardian Specials of a type that raced up to 1923. We’re talking tall, ungainly machines, for whom aerodynamics are an alien concept. 

The oldest on the entry list is the 1903 Mercedes 60hp, piloted by Gareth Graham, while at the other end of the power spectrum sits the 1905 Darracq 200hp and the 1909 Benz 200HP ‘Blitzen Benz’, piloted by Mark Walker and Ben Collings respectively. And one car that needs no introduction to fervent Goodwood followers is the 1911 Fiat S76 of Duncan Pittaway – aka the fire-breathing Beast of Turin. 

The two-dozen-strong field has taken to the track twice today – first during this morning’s torrential downpour for practice, and then again this afternoon.
Three of the aforementioned models found themselves in the top five in practice, with the Beast in second, the Blitzen Benz in fourth and the Darracq in fifth. First in the 15-minute session was Hughie Walker in the 1913 Theophile Schneider Aero, and third was Christopher Mann in the 1923 Alfa Romeo RLTF.

The five-lap first race began just before 17:00, and the imposing machines began body rolling their way around the 2.37-mile circuit. In a dramatic competition, the drivers put on an incredible display of ‘derring-do’, pushing the century-old cars harder than they likely were even in period.

Walker once again came first, finishing his five laps in just 10 minutes and 1 second. Close behind him was the 1916 Sunbeam 'Indianapolis' of Julian Majzub and then the Darracq. What magnificent machines.

Photography by James Lynch.

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