De Dion Bouton Club UK

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The Horseless Carriage Exhibition 1896

"The First London Motor Show"

120th Anniversary
re-enactment at
Imperial College Kensington
7/8th May 2016

International Historic Motoring Awards 2016

The First Motor Races in Britain

The Lure of Speed–trike track racing


Racing the trikes became popular very quickly. Not only did they take part in most of the early long distance town to town races in France, where they had not inconsiderable success; they were adopted by cycle club members and raced on cement, grass or boarded tracks - particularly in England. Jarrott, Stocks, Edge and Wridgeway quickly became the stars of the track.  


On Monday 29th November 1897, Charles Jarrott, who was present at the start of the Emancipation Run from Whitehall Place on 14th November 1896, took part in the first English motor race. On this historic day the criteria of a definition of motor competition – racing against each other and the clock - are fulfilled. This was at the second meeting of the Motor-Car Club, which Jarrott organised. They started in Whitehall Place in central London, and drove to Sheen House, Richmond Park, where the competition took place on arrival at a private members Club - Sheen House, on the extensive, oval cycle racing track which had been laid out in the grounds. There were heats, followed by two races. A large crowd of Motor-Car Club members, many of whom had driven their machines from Whitehall, witnessed the occasion.

And so the new era had begun. 12 months later the Motor-Car Club returned to Sheen House for a second and much more extensive series of motor races, again featuring the De Dion Bouton trikes.In 1899 a third Race meeting was held at the Crystal Palace track, again featuring the De Dion Bouton trikes. Four wheeled motor racing was yet to begin on these shores. But these pioneers had shown the way.   


This particular article is just an extract from one of an ongoing series in Motorvations, the De Dion Bouton Club’s quarterly journal. Motorvations readers have access to rare and often unique historic pictures, biographies, race results, together with social and period contextual information which is published in association with this historical research.


Membership of the Club is not restricted to owners of De Dion Bouton engined vehicles. We encourage membership applications from historians and enthusiasts of the Victorian and Edwardian period of motoring. The Club is also interested in receiving early material for publishing in Motorvations.

This article is copyright to the author, Mr NCF Pellett. It may not be reproduced in whole or part without written permission. Interested parties (such as historians, students of the period and enthusiasts) should contact the club on