Thus I was really happy when I stumbled across a magnificent memorial to Emile Levassor who finished first in the World's first motor race. I nearly missed it but curiosity meant that I eventually found it.
|The monument to Levassor by Porte Maillot in Paris.|
The early city to city races were quite epic events held on unsurfaced roads in unsophisticated vehicles and over incredible distances. Just imagine driving from Paris to Bordeaux and back on bumpy roads rather than a modern motorway. In 1895 Emile Lavassor drove his yellow Panhard et Lavassor with the number 5 on it for 48 hours and 48 minutes at an average speed of 24.5 kph to be the first home. The next car finished over five hours later and third car finished eleven hours later than Emile. This third car, also a Panhard et Levassor and driven by Koechlin was declared the winner as it complied with the rules of having 4 seats whereas the first two cars past the post had only two seats. I'm rather surprised they didn't spot that at scrutineering! However, funnily enough it is the moral victor, Emile Levassor who is remembered today and has the memorial at the Porte Maillot.
Some of the characters we have met in earlier posts such as Leon Serpollet and Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat also took part but didn't finish.
|A magnificent memorial to Levassor and the first motor race|
One of the next great races was the Paris-Marseilles-Paris of 1896. Again Emile took part but was seriously injured, crashing his car whilst trying to avoid a dog. He never fully recovered and died the following year of an embolism aged 54.
|Perhaps, one of the best motor racing statues|