James Algenon Toop

James Algenon Toop

0/8/1882 - 9/6/1924

James Algenon Toop raced at Brooklands before the First World War. After the war he returned but was killed at the Whitsun meeting in 1924 when the 1913 Grand Prix Peugeot he was driving went over the Byfleet banking.

Born in Aldingbourne, West Sussex, James Algenon Toop came from a farming family and took up racing just before the First World War.

1913 he was part of the team attempting to set a number of Class D records in an Argyll at Brooklands. W. H. Scott and L.G. Hornstead were the main drivers with Toop in reserve. On May 19th they set out and established 26 records. More records were attempted on the 27th of the month. Toop once again aiding Scott and Hornstead. Toop's spell in the car was hampered by heavy rain but he drove well and lost only a small amount of time and once agin a number of National and World records were set. In the Mid-Summer meeting he drove a Sunbeam and he took a win in Benzole Handicap at 80.25 mph.

He had a narrow escape in 1914 rding as a passenger in Hornstead's Big Benz. Hornstead had been attempting the one hour record but was having problems with the rear tyres not lasting the full 60 minutes. The car had lapped at over 120 mph and with Toop as riding mechanic one of the rear tyres let go jamming the chain drive on the off-side. The car slid for about 100 yard before spinning three times and shooting up the Byfleet banking. Hornstead then put the car in third and took off again only to spin off into the sewage farm. Fortunately the only injury was to Toop's nose which received a sharp blow from Horstead's elbow as he fought the car! Toop was back out for the Whitsun Meeting taking second in the Lightnigh Short race in Watney's Peugeot behind Shersbey-Harvie's Itala.

He raced Watney's Peogeot again in the Mid-Summer meeting and the Bank Holiday Meeting on August 3rd. That turned out to be the last race a Brooklands before the outbreak of WWI.

Toop joined the Army achieving the rank of Captain.

With the war over, Toop wanted to take up racing again and at the Brooklands Whitsun meeting on June 9th 1924 he drove Brocklebank's 1913 Grand Prix Type Peugeot in the BARC 38th 100mph Long Handicap.  Brocklebank was going to ride with him but decided not to in order to lighten the car. On the last lap he closed in on Gallop in the leading 5 litre Ballot. For whatever reason, he swerved and lost control. The car went over the Byfleet banking and hit a tree. Toop was trapped beneath the car and was dead before anyone could reach him.

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