|Prosser Roberts with his Bugatti|
I have noticed that many people are trying to establish the location of the Lord Howe Race Track in Kelvin. It is possible that the borehole is still there so if one can find it the rest may fall into line (see sketch below). Another clue that could assist the heritage enthusiast is that the main straight was at the top of a hill and finished in a dip. I can recall these details as I spent quite a bit of time in the pits and in the grandstand as a child as my dad, Prosser Roberts, was a fearsome racer during the 1930s. He raced the Bugatti pictured above.
Memories of the Lord Howe Circuit
|Sketch of the Lord Howe Race Track in Kelvin, Sandton|
My dad would often take my brother and I for a run to warm up the engine but once, just before the pits were cleared for the big race, he took me on a test run which was clocked on a stop watch by one of the other drivers. We exited the pit lane and made our way gently around the track towards the main straight. My dad hit the accelerator and we passed 120 MPH! I remember I was told to close my eyes at top speed to protect them (I was jammed between my dad and the side of the cockpit at the side of the windscreen so there was no protection). I tried to open them a crack to see the speed but I could not open them at all! These runs were common place in order to ensure the car was performing normally. When we got back a member of the pit team asked how I liked the speed. My reply was, "It is better than standing around doing nothing". The laughter this brought about lasted a long time. It became a bit of a hit phrase from that point on.
|Aunt Clo racing a Bugatti|
|Bruce racing in a Teraplane|
The Germans must have been very disappointed racing at Lord Howe as Hitler ordered them to use only tyres made with rubber made from coal. With the heat of the track and the fact that the track design allowed the cars to come around the last bend before the main straight at seventy to eighty MPH they were up to 120MPH by the time they were a quarter of the way down the main straight. That was where they shed the treads on their tyres, rubber flying in all directions. What a disaster!
Dealing with Mr Bugatti
|Two seater Bugatti|
Reproduced from an article by Maurice Prosser Roberts in the Heritage Portal 24 March 2016.