Gordon Bennett Course 1905

This six page PDF article was originally published in the July 6, 1905 issue of The Automobile. It is another description of the Auvergne course for the 1905 James Gordon Bennett Cup race near Clermont, France - but this story has a special twist. The backdrop to the description is an adventure of exploration performed by drivers Herb Lytle and Bert Dingley (Lytle drove, Dingley rode) as well as Diamond Tire Company executive C.B. Meyers and two unnamed passengers: a French interpreter and the Automobile writer who developed the colorful article. Dingley spends much of his time throughout the 2 hour, 28 minute junket standing up and hanging out of the car, stretching his neck to see around the seemingly interminable series of bends, corners and sharp turns to ensure their vehcile has right of way.
The writer provides a vivid description of the setting: winding curves, steep grades, majestic vantage points peering out over the edge of the road at the precipice of sheer mountainside drop-offs. Along the way they encounter an active railroad crossing, a flock of sheep in the middle the road and men doffing their hats as women smile and wave. The alpha sheep dogs, insistent of their territory and authority snap at the Pope-Toledo touring car's wheels. In Old World testimony, the explorers pass over an ancient Roman bridge, cross a stream and speed through villages of red-roof cottages.
Apart from the romance of the setting, it is almost incredible to consider that the American entries were given no practice time on the 85.35-mile course. They arrived too late for the official practice session and by authoritative decree, no race cars were allowed on the course in the last several days leading up to what was the world's most important auto race. For Lytle and Dingley, their only meaningful opportunity to familiarize themselves with the course is described here as they drive a 30 horsepower touring car up and down the steep grades of this mountainous setting. Included here is a list of the European entries, some pretty fair images and a map of the region.

Gordon_Bennett_Course_1905.pdf1.79 MB