Walter Clifford Earp's Napier at Ormond

This image is from a photograph published in the January 25, 1906 Indianapolis News. It is a shot of English driver Walter Clifford-Earp driving his Napier in the Ormond Beach (1906) speed tournament. From 1904 to 1910 this annual winter competition was among the most important automobile competitions in America. It even attracted major cars and drivers of Europe. 
The photo ran in support of an article about the event. You can also find expanded coverage elsewhere on First Super Speedway. These articles concern the 1906 competition when the event was probably at its zenith.
Clifford-Earp was the central figure in a breathtaking moment when his Napier lost its right rear tire while practicing  on the beach at 110 MPH. Impressively he kept his machine pointed straight to retain control and there was no further damage. Later in the week he not only won a five-mile "championship" race but also the feature long distance contest of the week was the 100-mile Minneapolis Cup. He drove the final 63 miles with no tire on his right rear rim. That puts his earlier practice moment in a new light as perhaps not so outrageous as the newspapers originally portrayed. The wheels were wire spoke and not wood which might have worked better under the scenario and the sand surface may have made this kind of seemingly impossible act...well, possible.

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