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The League of Motor Sportsmen

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#1 Martin Dewey

Martin Dewey
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Posted 13 May 2009 - 19:08

Looking through the Motor Sport Digital Archive (what a fantastic resource!), I found an advertisement for 'The League of Motor Sportsmen' on page 173 of the Jan-Feb 1928 issue. This League was also mentioned on the front cover of the magazine for about a year afterwards.

The advert proclaimed the 'inauguration of a new league of fellowship', heralding a resurrection of 'The Spirit of the Road' and offering subscribers the chance to join this 'Fraternity of Good Fellows'. Membership was open to all who take an active and enthusiastic interest in Motor Sport in all its branches (so long as they subscribed to Motor Sport as well!), whether drivers of cars or motor cycles, or simply enthusiastic followers of the sport. The Editor had final say as to eligibility for membership, which was for 'bona fide motoring sportsmen'.

The objects of the League of Motor Sportsmen were quoted as:
  • To promote the cause of Road Racing in this country.
  • To foster Motoring Sport in all its aspects.
  • To combat Police persecution.
  • To educate Public Opinion, which is so definitely anti-motorist.
  • To restore the Chivalry and Fellowship of the Road, which, with the increase of purely utility motoring, is fast dying out.
  • To establish a bond between all owners of sports vehicles, cars or motor cycles.
  • To show, by example, thet the owner of a sports machine is the finest and most competent driver on the road, and by adopting the slogan of "Speed with Safety" show to all other road users that the members of the League of Motor Sportsmen are drivers whose consideration for all road-users is equalled only by their expert driving.
Does anyone have any other information on the League of Motor Sportsmen? Did anything substantial come of it, or was it a gimmick to encourage subscription to Motor Sport?

A badge was issued to League members. Does anyone know if there any still in existence?


#2 Martin Dewey

Martin Dewey
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Posted 14 May 2009 - 20:39

Further delving into the Archive suggests that nothing much came of the League, sadly.

In the March 1928 issue, Boanerges comments in the 'Rumblings' column:

The editor tells me that, his post bag as evidence, the new League of Motor Sportsmen is going to be a big thing. All sorts of well-known drivers and riders are joining, and the ordinary sporting owner is rolling up in his legions.
If we can only band ourselves together, we shall become a power in the land, and be able to sway the destinies of the greatest of all sports, by a united spirit of fellowship and
noblesse oblige.

The next mention that I can find of the League is in the 'Matters of the Moment' column in the August 1949 Silver Jubilee issue. Looking back over the early years of the magazine, the article states:

An attempt was made to form the League of Motor Sportsmen, but the idea petered out.