And he believes he and the Darracq 200Hp, once a land speed record holder, still have more to offer in the Edwardian and Veteran Class in the future.
“I could have gone faster, there’s definitely room for improvement! I wasn’t confident of the win, especially after Geoff Smith in the Piccard beat my first run. That made me concentrate! I was definitely there to go as fast as I can. Luckily the car ran well after an earlier misfire.”
Built in 1905 by French designer, Paul Ribeyrolles, specifically to break records, the Darracq has one of the earliest V8 engines. With an estimated power output of 300bhp, but no bodywork or floorboards, only two forward gears, no reverse gear and no front brakes, there is little to slow it down.
Having clocked 109.65mph in France in 1905, the Darracq was then shipped to the USA, where it hit 120mph at Ormond-Daytona Beach in Florida. Bought by Algernon Guinness, heir to the Guinness fortune, in 1906, Algy set a number of records, including the English land speed record of 120.26mph at Saltburn in 1909.
At the inaugural Chateau Impney Hill Climb, Mark set the Edwardian and Veteran Cars record with a blistering run of 52.07 seconds. With a greater knowledge of the course, he was able to knock that down to 51.75 seconds at this year’s event. It was a tight victory, however, as rival Geoff in the Piccard-Pictet Sturtevant Aero Special was less than a second behind him.