My three long runs.
4th There will be three compulsory rests of twelve hours ('resting time'), at Edinburgh, at Bristol and at Brighton.
The need to retain the same engine and the almost certain inclemency of the atmosphere give me some quite lively concerns. But, thanks to the well known sporting instinct, the lure of these obstacles overcomes my reasoned fears, and I decide, gladly, to enter my name for the race.
The preliminary elements of the contest begin some days before the Circuit of Europe. For, from the 18 July, the English officials draw the starting order of the contestants.
I learn that first place has been allocated to me. The English and French newspapers have the courtesy to consider this hazard a happy omen. People congratulate me from both sides of the Channel. I am far from sharing the pleasure of my friends.
To start first from the take-off line is in reality to be under a disadvantage. Every aviator participating in a race by far prefers to get away after the second or third competitor; in assisting the first two or three take-offs [en assistant aux deux ou trois premiers vols], he can study the turbulence unique to each aerodrome [les remous particuliers à chaque aerodrome], the direction to follow, and he also has time to master his emotions.
If my starting number does not exactly enchant me, I am nonetheless very happy to have the opportunity to attempt a long flight of 1,600 kilometres in new, very practical conditions.
I embark from Dieppe. All the passengers ignore me on board: no postcards to autograph! I have signed so much for the last month and a half, in all weathers, and in all places, that my present anonymity feels extremely pleasant to me.
But then, on my arrival at Newhaven, a station employee cries out, “Beaumont! Beaumont!” a telegram in his hand. Pens and papers come out of pockets as if by magic… and the agony of autographs begins again. I try to escape them by jumping into a passenger compartment.
A reporter from the Daily Mail is waiting for me in Victoria-Cross Station [sic] at customs. To avoid mistakes as to identity, and loss of time, he had despatched a detective to find me, who picks me up as the train stops and brings me before the pleasant journalist. We climb into a taxi and are instantly whisked away to the Savoy Hotel! The reporter begins questioning me straight away. He tries very hard to conduct an interview there and then; but the driver of the vehicle, who had recognised me, tries even harder to show me that he can do 60 as well as I can - in streets crowded with pedestrians and traffic! We proceed at a break-neck speed, which prevents all conversation. In the various countries where I have raced, motorists always drive me at the same devilish pace. Courtesy? A bizarre caprice? I do not know. We reach the Savoy, and the interview continues in my rooms. My interlocutor asks me what I think of the Circuit of Britain, stage by stage. The question embarrasses me. It is not really possible for me to explain, in great detail, the tactics I hope to employ. Nethertheless, I show him my maps from the War Office, prepared for the race. “How long will the Circuit take?” he asks with a certain anxiety, no doubt slightly concerned over the result of this perilous line of questioning. “One cannot say - three, four days if circumstances are favourable, if accidents to the machines do not occur, if … “ His countenance brightens, and he