My three long runs.
the aviator must wear round his neck during the whole journey and present to the race steward on each stopover, for the times of
landing and take-off to be added.
From then on, my big bird [mon grand oiseau] is properly under starter's orders; it inspires me with confidence. I had added a tank capable of holding 15 litres of petrol in order to carry my flying time from three hours to three hours forty-five and allow me to accomplish the long Hendon-Harrogate stage without a stop (292 kilometres). Wishing to test it, I take-off to go and reconnoitre the route from Brooklands to Hendon, which is largely difficult [difficile en général].
The majority of competing aviators take to the air, while the others undertake the final tasks to ready their machines. I note with what care the English correct their compasses. Everyone is astonished that I do not imitate them; I reply that two or three degrees of compass error is insignificant due to the prevalence of drift in an aeroplane. An approximation is sufficient. [Je réponds que les deux ou trois degrés d'erreur d'une boussole disparaissant par suite de l'importance de la dérive en aéroplane. Une approximation suffit.]
I see the famous machine of the Austrian Lieutenant Bier brought out, with its 140 horse power engine. Notable also is the aeroplane of Cody, quickly nicknamed The Cathedral. The machine does justice to the name of Cody for the ingenious inventor built every part of her, without the help of a single craftsman.
A new Bristol monoplane also attracts my attention: its streamlined shape [sa forme de moindre résistance à l'avancement] has been designed by Prier, who flew from London to Paris non-stop in four hours using the machine Leblanc flew in the Circuit of the East.
A pilot about to fly must have a store of physical energy [doit s'approvisioner de forces physiques] and his nervous system must be rested. I get up very late the following day, the 22nd July, despite the smart servant at the Hand and Spear (Hotel of the Hand and Spear, in Weybridge) arriving repeatedly to let me know that it is 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30. Towards 1 o' clock, at lunch time, the principal aviators of the Circuit sit down together for a meal; relations between them remain friendly.
I reach Brooklands at 2:15.
To my great surprise, my engine is not in good condition: the spark plugs are fouled [encrassées]. I get them changed. The series of problems is going to continue. Changing into the aviator's garb, I notice that my wool cap [mon polo] has disappeared - my faithful companion from Paris to Rome and on the Circuit of Europe. Poor hat! It witnessed my disappointment at Nice, and my victory at Rome. It protected me in Holland, and reached Vincennes. It's loss exacerbates my bad mood. The heat irritates me too. I damn the wind and turbulence [le vent and les remous] of Brooklands to all the devils. And I curse those curious spectators who, in their hundreds, invade my hangar.
But that is not all.
As I am bringing out my machine to the starting line to get away at 3 o' clock - the officially designated start time - one of the fifteen or twenty photographers present says to me, with a dumbfounded air: “You're leaving already! The start isn't taking place until 5 o' clock!” I must take off first, they have scheduled the start for 3 o' clock, I am ready, and without telling me they change the time! Moreover, they have told no-one. Some lively protests are made and get lost in an intense commotion that