Freddie March

Freddie March

5/2/1904 - 2/11/1989

Frederick Charles Gordon-Lennox, 9th Duke of Richmond, worked in Bentley's service department under the assumed name of Freddie March to learn about cars. He raced at Brooklands and after WWII he converted the airfield at Goodwood to the race track.

<font face="Tahoma" size="2">Frederick Charles Gordon-Lennox, 9th Duke of Richmond and Gordon was born in 1904 and went on, as the young Lord Settrington, to be educated at Oxford where he contracted the motor racing bug and decided that the only way to learn about cars was to become an apprenticed mechanic. He worked in Bentley's service depot under the assumed name of Freddie March until eventually rumours started to circulate. He realised that the secret was out when one day while lying under a 3 litre Bentley one of the other mechanics remarked to a colleague; "Ave you 'eard Charlie? 'Ear there's a bloody Lord in 'ere".

In 1929 he was given a Premier Award when he completed the Junior Car Club High Speed Trial at Brooklands within the time limit and in 1930 he joined the Austin team, finishing 7th in the Double Twelve partnered by Arthur Waite, their car being awarded the chassis-price handicap on the basis that they were £190.00 per chassis. Later that year Freddie March, partnered by Sammy Davis went on to win the B.R.D.C. 500 Miles race outright on handicap, much to Tim Birkin's annoyance, although it wasn't personal, at an average speed of 83.42 m.p.h. with an overall race time of 13 seconds over six hours! At one stage their car had been lapping at 87 m.p.h. pulling 5,000 r.p.m. on 27.2 inch tyres.

For 1931 he formed his own team of M.G. Midgets and with Chris Staniland as his partner won the Double Twelve Hour Race averaging 65.62 m.p.h. for 1,547.9 miles. He retired from the 500 later that year with engine trouble but the following year he tried out a single-seater Austin with some success after which he largely stopped driving but continued to be involved in motor racing in various official capacities.

After the war he converted the airfield at Goodwood to the race track where Stirling Moss took his first victory. His grandson Charles March has now taken up the torch having extensively improved the track for its re-birth as a motor racing circuit proper on September 18th 1998, fifty years to the day after its first opening.



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