Ormond Beach Speed Trials 1907

This is a collection of articles describing the Ormond Beach Speed Trials of 1907. Automobile Magazine provides the best and most comprehensive account, but other articles from the Indianapolis Star are useful as well. The 1907 speed trials were something of a disappointment as the entries of both cars and drivers were less spectacular than in previous years. Absent were drivers like Barney Oldfield, Victor Hemery and William K. Vanderbilt, Jr.
Fred Marriott was back in the Stanley Steamer but his experience was more harrowing than glorious. The steam powered "freak racer" had blown away all comers in 1906 with an incredible record run in excess of 127 mph. That performance may have dampened enthusiasm from other camps and accounted for the less than stellar entry list. In 1907 he was involved in two incidents, the second of which was a massive car-destroying shunt that the driver was very lucky to have escaped with only minor injuries.
He was not so lucky with his car. The wooden-body machine splintered into thousands of fragments as it caught a gust of wind, took flight and tumbled sideways into the surf, its boiler flying through the air. Interesting to note that this was not the first time during the tournament that Marriott had taken an excursion into the surf. On the opening day (see attachment Ormond012307 below) of the speed trials a woman spectator strayed into the steamer's path forcing Marriott to take evasive action and leaving him hub-deep in salt water just off the shore. Note the "sportscartoon012707" attachment. It was an attempt to sumarize the events in sports that week and at the bottom is a sketch of wreck race cars at Ormond.
These events re-ignited the freak racer debate. This was especially true of steamers in the context of mile straightaway records. While I don't understand the engineering behind it steamers when brought to full boil deliver tons of torque immediately to the wheels with no need for shifting gears. The pressure dissipates relatively rapidly which means the advantage the have over short distants is soon lost and the nature of the engine is a disadvantage when running for extended periods of time. For this reason mile runs fell out of vogue during this period, tipping the scales to the gasoline compression engines that most of the automotive industry had placed their bets on.

floridaraces.pdf2.66 MB
Ormond012207.pdf167.8 KB
Ormond012307.pdf985.38 KB
Ormond012507.pdf240.1 KB
Ormond012607.pdf1.27 MB
sportscartoon012707.pdf633.06 KB