Our new database page will launch shortly.
Captain George Eyston was a pillar of the British racing and motor industry and was a charming giant in both stature and physique. It was his Land Speed Record attempts during the late 1930s that left a lasting mark in history.
Land Speed Record holder
His self-penned 4500bhp Thunderbolt first took the record on November 19 1937 after averaging over 312mph on the Bonneville sands. That mark was raised in August 1938 and again a month later, when his 357.5mph run wrested the accolade of world’s fastest man back from John Cobb.
An engineering graduate of Cambridge’s Trinity College, Eyston had raced motorcycles under a pseudonym while still at school. He served in the British Army during World War I and was awarded the Military Cross for bravery. He twice rode in the motorcycling Belgian Grand Prix before switching to cars in 1923 and drove an Aston Martin in the 1926 British GP.
Motor racing success
His Bugatti T39A won that year’s Boulogne GP – he was successful again on the sands at La Baule a year later and second in the 1929 Spa 24 Hours with Boris Ivanowski and an Alfa Romeo. He won the BRDC’s 1931 Gold Star after finishing fourth in the French GP when sharing Tim Birkin’s Maserati 26M in the 10-hour race.
Although he won many times at Brooklands, his finest race there ended in defeat. That was when his 8000cc Panhard was edged by Cobb’s Delage in a memorable duel for the 1932 British Empire Trophy. Eyston then finished third in the 1933 French GP with his Alfa Romeo 8C "Monza" and he won the following year’s British Empire Trophy at Brooklands in an MG Magnette K3.
His focus switched to the Land Speed Record in 1935 and his exploits are chronicled in three books he had published before the war. The Ministry of Production’s regional controller for southern England during World War II, he was involved in planning the 1944 D-Day Normandy landings.