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1908  London Summer Olympics

1908 Summer Olympics - The Results (Water motorsports)

Water motorsports at the 1908 London Summer Games

 

 

Host City: London, Great Britain
Date Started: August 28, 1908
Date Finished: August 29, 1908
Events: 3

Participants: 14 (13 men and 1 women) from 2 countries
Youngest Participant: GBR Thomas Thornycroft (26 years, 279 days)
Oldest Participant: GBR John Gorham (54 years, 276 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 3 athletes with 2 medals
Most Medals (Country): GBR Great Britain (2 medals)

 

Participating nations

17 boaters from 2 nations competed.

  •  France (4)
  •  Great Britain (13)
  

Overview

The Olympic motorboat racing was originally scheduled to be held in mid-July but as the dates did not suit the [Duke of Westminister] or [Lord Howard de Walden], they were postponed for more than a month. On the original date, these two influential figures were in America making an unsuccessful challenge for the )British International Cup).

The Olympic races were held under the auspices of the Motor Yacht Club from their club ship Enchantress in Southampton Water. All races consisted of five laps of a course of approximately eight nautical miles, for a total distance of 40 nautical miles. The competitions were marred by extremely poor weather conditions. In addition to the three Olympic events, there were several handicap events held concurrently at Southampton.

Motorboating never again appeared on the Olympic program and, in fact, it is not even permitted by the Olympic Charter. The current version of the Olympic Charter specifically states, "Sports, disciplines or events in which performance depends essentially on mechanical propulsion are not acceptable."

At the 1908 Summer Olympics, three motorboat racing events were contested. Various sources refer to the sport as "water motorsports", "motor boats", and "power boating". These Games were the only one to feature motorized sports; although it was featured in 1900, those events were deemed by the IOC in later years to be non-Olympic.

All three events used the same distance, five laps around an 8 nautical mile course for a total of 40 nautical miles (70 km). In each of the events, multiple boats started but only one finished, due primarily to the gale that was blowing during the course of the competition. Events were held on 28 August and 29 August 1908.

  

Medal summary

Games Gold Silver Bronze
Class A — Open  Emile Thubron (FRA)
Camille
none none
Class B — Under 60 feet  Great Britain (GBR)
John Field-Richards
Bernard Boverton Redwood
Isaac Thomas Thornycroft Gyrinus
none none
Class C — 6.5–8 metres  Great Britain (GBR)
John Field-Richards
Bernard Boverton Redwood
Isaac Thomas Thornycroft Gyrinus
none none

The water motorsports event was quickly abolished because after these games the IOC decided that the Olympics was not intended for motorized competition.

  

Medal table

 
Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Great Britain (GBR) 2 0 0 2
2  France (FRA) 1 0 0 1
Totals (2 nations) 3 0 0 3
 

Mixed A-Class (Open)

 Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Southampton Water, Southampton
Date Started: August 28, 1908
Date Finished: August 29, 1908
Format: Two races, both of 5 laps of a course of approxmately 8 nautical miles for a total distance of 40 nautical miles per race. Open to boats of any length or power.

Competitors 7from 2 nations

Summary

The winner, Camille, did not start in the race which, on the previous day, was abandoned after three laps due to adverse weather conditions. Dylan, who started in the abandoned race, did not compete in the re-scheduled race. The Daily Telegraph (31 August) refers to "Mr. Thubron and his crew," but the names of his crew are not known. The report also mentions that "Mr. Thubron's boat was variously described during the day as Camille, X, and Tréfle-à-Quatre." In race two, the Wolseley-Siddeley ran aground and did not finish, giving the victory to Camille.

The "Yachting and Boating" volume (1916) in the British Sports & Sportsmen series states that Emile Thubron was British and that he entered his French-built boat for France in order to give an international flavor to the competition. Judging by his name, Emile Thubron's connection with France was probably stronger than the mere fact that Camille had been built there.

The Class A (open class) was one of three motorboating classes contested on the Water motorsports at the 1908 Summer Olympics programme.

The open class was scheduled to take place on the first day of competition, 28 August. The race was a 40 nautical miles long. Two boats, Wolseley-Siddely and Dylan, began the race. Dylan abandoned the race partway through the first lap, with Wolseley-Siddely finishing the first before the weather became too severe to continue the race.

A second attempt to run the event took place the next day, after the other two races had been completed. Wolseley-Siddely again started, this time against Camille (the only French boat to take part in competition). Wolseley-Siddely ran aground on a mud spit, leaving Camille to finish alone for the gold medal.

Results

Place Boat Boaters Nation Time
1st, gold medalist(s) Camille Emile Thubron  France 2:26:53 (h:mm:ss)
Dylan A. G. Fentiman
Thomas Scott-Ellis
 Great Britain Did not finish
Wolseley-Siddely George Clowes
Hugh Grosvenor
Joseph Frederick Laycock (first race)
G. H. Atkinson (second race)
 Great Britain Did not finish

Mixed B-Class (Under 60 Feet)

Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Southampton Water, Southampton
Date Started: August 28, 1908
Date Finished: August 28, 1908
Format: Five laps of a course of approximately 8 nautical miles for a total distance of 40 nautical miles.

Competitors 4from 1 nation

Summary

This class was limited to motorboats less than 60 feet in length, and with a total piston area not exceeding that of four cylinders, each of 106 mm. bore. It has not previously been published in a book that women competed in this sport, but The Times noted, ". . . it is worthy of special remark as an example of feminine endurance that Mrs. Gorham was also on board."

The Class B (under 60 feet) was one of three motorboating classes contested on the Water motorsports at the 1908 Summer Olympics programme.

The B class was held on 28 August, after the abortive first running of the open class. Again only two boats appeared at the starting line, Quicksilver and Gyrinus. Quicksilver became threatened by water coming in over the sides, abandoning the race. Gyrinus, a small boat with an extra crewman to bail water, was able to finish to make its crew the first Olympic champions in motorsports.

Results

Place Boat Boaters Nation Time
1st, gold medalist(s) Gyrinus John Field-Richards
Bernard Boverton Redwood
Isaac Thomas Thornycroft
 Great Britain Unknown
Quicksilver John Marshall Gorham  Great Britain Did not finish

Mixed C-Class

Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Southampton Water, Southampton
Date Started: August 29, 1908
Date Finished: August 29, 1908
Format: Five laps of a course of approximately 8 nautical miles for a total distance of 40 nautical miles.

 

Summary

This class was limited to motorboats exceeding 6 metres but less than 8 metres in length, weighing not less than 800 kg. without fuel or crew, and with a total piston area not exceeding that of four cylinders, each of 106 mm. bore. This race was very close until the Sea Dog was forced to stop due to a "hot bearing."

The Class C (6.5 to 8 metres) was one of three motorboating classes contested on the Water motorsports at the 1908 Summer Olympics programme.

The first race of 29 August was the small class of boats. Gyrinus, which had won the B class the day before, appeared again. This time her competition was Sea Dog. Again, however, Gyrinus was the only boat to finish, as Sea Dog experienced engine problems and had to be towed off the course.

Results

Place Boat Boaters Nation Time
1st, gold medalist(s) Gyrinus John Field-Richards
Bernard Boverton Redwood
Isaac Thomas Thornycroft
 Great Britain Unknown
Sea Dog Thomas Weston
Warwick Wright
 Great Britain Did not finish
   
   

 

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