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S.F.Edge raced cars during the early years of the sport for the publicity but he was an influential figure in those Edwardian days. Born in Australia, he was raised in London and worked in the emerging motor industry as the Century drew to a close.
Early career in business and racing
He was a manager with the Dunlop tyre company when he began racing bicycles. Edge then formed a company to import De Dion-Bouton cars in 1899 with fellow motorist Charles Jarrott. Well aware of the benefit that success would bring, Edge began his short racing career by entering that year’s Paris-Bordeaux with a De Dion tricycle.
By 1901 their company was also representing Napier and Edge was chosen as Britain’s representative in the 1901 Gordon Bennett Trophy with a 17-litre 50hp model. But he was not allowed to start due to competition rules that stipulated all parts of the car had to be manufactured in the country it was representing. With his Dunlops wearing at an alarming rate, French Michelin tyres were fitted and so Edge was disqualified. That Edge was Australian-born seemed of no concern to the purity of this nation versus nation contest.
Gordon Bennett Trophy winner
Edge and his Napier 30hp represented Britain in the 1902 Gordon Bennett with the event run concurrently with the Paris to Vienna city-to-city contest although declared when the competitors reached Innsbruck. Only six cars entered and all but one retired. Edge lasted the course and so secured glory for Britain.
As champions, Britain staged the 1903 event and Edge assisted with designing the course at Athy in Ireland. He was disqualified from the race after receiving outside assistance and he retired again in 1904. That was his last season of international competition but he did set a 24-hour record speed at Brooklands in 1907 – covering 1,582 miles at 65.92mph. Edge decided to enter the 1908 French Grand Prix with a team of Napiers but withdrew when the organisers deemed their detachable wire wheels illegal.
He left the motor industry in 1913 before returning in 1921 as a Director of AC Cars. A new 24-hour record was attempted at Brooklands a year later although with night driving now barred, Edge’s Spyker 30/40hp averaged 74.270mph in two 12-hour stints. AC suffered financial difficulties during the economic depression of 1929 and all-but-ceased production.
S.F.Edge died in Eastbourne’s Princess Alice Hospital in 1940 after falling from a hotel window in the town.