Hastings Gymkhana

From Historical Hastings

The Hastings Gymkhana was an event organised by the Automobile Association that ran annually between 1904 and 1907 (albeit no records have been found of the event taking place in 1905 and 1906). Events included a starting and stopping race, motor musical chairs, a lady passenger race, and obstacle race among others. The gymkhana itself was preceded by a 'decorated motor car' parade along the seafront, with the cars assembling in Warrior Square. The local M. P. Harvey du Cross was reportedly a keen promoter of this event[1].. This event occurred on the following dates (venues are in brackets):-

The 1904 event featured the 'youngest driver'; a child of five years old who was driving a 2½ horsepower car[2]. The only female entrant in the 1907 event (albeit a regular entrant to this event), a Miss Ellen Florence De Warrene Harries of Redhill was subsequently banned from driving for three months and fined £15 and costs at Haywards Heath Court for driving with excess speed (a speed recorded as being 25½ miles per hour!). The 1908 event reported a loss of £16 15s. 5d.[5], and a loss was also recorded the previous year; this largely being reported due to expenses incurred in placing notices in all major newspapers[6], which, together with the growing threat of war may have sounded the death-knell for this event. There was, however, an Invasion of Motor Cars in 1909 which may have replaced the event for that year.


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