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Is this the same Chas Mortimer?


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#1 Barry Boor

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 22:39

I confess to knowing marginally less than nothing about motor cycle racers of the past, other than Behra, Beltoise, Surtees, Hailwood, Hocking, Ivy and one or two others who did quite well in cars.

However, looking at the entry for the 1950 Jersey International Road Race (I'm not going to explain why! :) ) I see the name Chas Mortimer listed as having finished 10th in an H.W.M, 5 laps behind the winning Ferrari.

I assume it IS the motor cycle racer of that name and this causes me to wonder how many other car races did he compete in and with what degree of success?

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#2 mfd

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 23:06

I assume it IS the motor cycle racer of that name and this causes me to wonder how many other car races did he compete in and with what degree of success?

Not quite Barry. You've got Charles Mortimer (Snr). This is from Chas Mortimer's website.

"Chas began his racing career at Brands Hatch in July 1965 aged sixteen. His father Charles Mortimer Senior raced cars and motorbikes at Brooklands in the 1930’s and then after the war both his parents raced cars at circuits such as Goodwood and Silverstone. Chas’s maternal grandfather was the chief test pilot for Vickers Armstrong in Weybridge and flew the first test flight on the Spitfire. He was also the pilot who did all the tests with Barnes Wallis on the bouncing bomb, a weapon that succeeded in destroying the Ruhr dams with 617 Squadron in 1944.

Coming from such a family it seems inevitable that speed was in his genes and that Chas went on to become a professional motorcycle road racer for nearly twenty years. His first ever racing bike was a 250cc Greeves Silverstone but Chas eventually became an official Yamaha factory rider during the 1970’s and 80’s winning eight Isle of Man TT races during the same period"



#3 David Birchall

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 23:06

Barry, for some reason I cannot find my "Racing a Sports Car" by Mortimer but I recall he mentions some of his race history in there. In his book :The Constant Search" he recalls his participation in the first race in England after WW2 on June 15th 1946 when he took 5th place in a Maserati 4C. "A Life With HWM" only mentions that HWM did a lot of work for Mortimer-especially on a 4 1/2 Invicta-but no mention of his racing one. Since he was a good customer though, he may have?

#4 David McKinney

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 05:18

Without wishing to drag this OT, was the man who recently died in the shower in Belgium a son of Charles (Sr) or Chas (Jr)?

#5 Barry Boor

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 06:51

died in the shower


How tactful, David!

Interesting that Mr. Mortimer's appearance in Jersey as listed on Darren's site is shown as Chas and not Charles. I wonder if the assumption was made that this was Mortimer junior and thus Chas, or was Mortimer senior also known as Chas?

#6 GD66

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 06:54

The Robin Mortimer who died recently was a brother to Chas the bike racer, was also a bike racer in his own right, and a son to Charles Mortimer Senior, the car and bike racer.

#7 Allan Lupton

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 07:45

Interesting that Mr. Mortimer's appearance in Jersey as listed on Darren's site is shown as Chas and not Charles. I wonder if the assumption was made that this was Mortimer junior and thus Chas, or was Mortimer senior also known as Chas?

The conceit of naming the son after the father might have been invented to confuse the poor historian :mad:
IMO it is a recent change to not only write Chas as a shortened form of Charles, but to actually say it as spelled. That is to say that the man who wrote "Racing a Sports Car" may well have appeared in print as Chas. Mortimer, but it would have been pronounced "Charles".
c.f. "Bros." for "Brothers" (except as in "Moss Bros" of course), "Ltd." for "Limited" and of course "Mrs." for "Missis" not to mention "Jno." for "John"
In the more formal days of Brooklands CM's wife (who also raced their Healey) would have appeared as Mrs. Chas. (or Charles) Mortimer, pronounced "Jean Mortimer"

Edited by Allan Lupton, 10 July 2010 - 07:51.


#8 kayemod

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 07:46

Barry, for some reason I cannot find my "Racing a Sports Car" by Mortimer but I recall he mentions some of his race history in there.


All about racing a Healey Silverstone if I remember correctly.


#9 Tim Murray

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 07:54

My recollection is that the younger Charles Mortimer was known as Chas to distinguish him from his father, who was always known as Charles. I can't find any reference to confirm this, though.

#10 Doug Nye

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 08:01

Within 'the trade' as it were, Charles Mortimer Sr of Brooklands motor-cycling and Healey Silverstone fame was a gentleman dealer who was highly regarded and came to be very well respected, selling motoring books and memorabilia in East Horsley, Surrey. He became a great friend and mentor of his near neighbour there, Eoin Young, whose commercial instincts were similarly well-honed, and when 'Charlie' Mortimer finally retired ESY bought his business/stock and continued to trade. I think that's the right order - though former Aston Martin works driver Eric Thompson either augmented his book dealing or followed-on from ESY and/or Charlie M. I'm frankly muddled on how that works...no doubt someone else can enlighten us.

One could buy material from Charles/Charlie Mortimer and he would shake you warmly by the hand, look straight into your eyes and say sincerely - with perfect educated English diction - "Thank you for the business". And it would be at that point that you would realise you had just been royally screwed on the price...but somehow you didn't really mind. To deal with him was to deal with a like minded enthusiast, a proper gent, and an accomplished, hugely experienced trader of the old school.

His wife Jean was the daughter, I believe, of 'Mutt' Summers, one of Britain's most famous test pilots before and around World War 2. She was friendly if she liked you, abrupt if she did not and a pretty fearsome presence all round.

Chas Mortimer - No 1 son - became a top class racing motor-cyclist in his own right - research his record. Nice man, chip off the old block.

I never met nor knew Robin but he was also very highly regarded within the motor sporting world on both two wheels and four. Sad, tragic, silly business...and my sincere condolences to Chas and all the family.

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 10 July 2010 - 08:07.


#11 GD66

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 08:10

Chas’s maternal grandfather was the chief test pilot for Vickers Armstrong in Weybridge and flew the first test flight on the Spitfire. He was also the pilot who did all the tests with Barnes Wallis on the bouncing bomb, a weapon that succeeded in destroying the Ruhr dams with 617 Squadron in 1944.



By chance, there's an article confirming this published today entitled "My father, Dambuster pilot " about Jean Mortimer, on www.daventryexpress.co.uk


#12 kayemod

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 09:08

ESY bought his business/stock and continued to trade.

...and it would be at that point that you would realise you had just been royally screwed on the price...


How nice that Eoin should maintain those old traditions so well...


#13 RCH

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 09:46

Was Robin Mortimer the chap who had a Ferrari dealership in the Cotswolds? The Mortimer I'm thinking of was a regular customer at my late lamented model car shop in Bourton on the Water. Seemed like a nice guy and very interesting to talk to but a bit like his father(?) at times when he went through the door you realised you had been screwed just a little bit on the prices you had accepted!

He tried, unsuccessfully, for a short while to corner the market in hand built 1/43 scale F1 cars.

#14 David McKinney

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 10:59

I've just remembered - there was also a Robin Mortimer who raced a Surtees TS20 in the early 1990s. I never made the connection to the motorcycling family but I guess it was the same bloke

#15 Bloggsworth

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 14:13

The conceit of naming the son after the father might have been invented to confuse the poor historian :mad:


At least the Americans have the gumption to give them ordinal numbers, even if it does look a tad pretentious..... Signed Bloggsworth I

#16 David McKinney

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 15:04

At least the Americans have the gumption to give them ordinal numbers, even if it does look a tad pretentious..... Signed Bloggsworth I

A practice inherited of course from the English, though for the past thousand years it's been limited here to hereditary peers (as in the 14th Viscount Bloggsworth) :)


#17 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 12:09

One could buy material from Charles/Charlie Mortimer and he would shake you warmly by the hand, look straight into your eyes and say sincerely - with perfect educated English diction - "Thank you for the business". And it would be at that point that you would realise you had just been royally screwed on the price...but somehow you didn't really mind. To deal with him was to deal with a like minded enthusiast, a proper gent, and an accomplished, hugely experienced trader of the old school.


When I started out selling car books in 1985, the very first event I did was an autojumble at Cheltenham racecourse. The first book I ever sold was to Charles, who I didn't know from Adam at the time.

He used to arrive in a black Mini Clubman with the front passenger seat removed and several boxes of books and some display cases of mascots crammed in.

He was always , as Doug says, a 'proper gent' and every time I met him it was always "how are you my boy?" - I think as I was a mere 18 at the time and saw him almost every week at some event or other, and always made time to have a long chat, he looked on me as something of a protege.

Once I realized who he was and the nature of his extensive racing background on 2 and 4 wheels I frequently quizzed him about Brooklands etc. and he was very happy to talk. I just wish I had taken a tape recorder with me...

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Here's the old boy on the AJS supercharged V Twin speed record bike which I don't think he raced but probably had 'in trade' at some point in the mid 30s. The bike never ran properly and cost AJS a fortune with no return at all. However, many decades later, it was apparently discovered that the vent hole in the fuel tank was too small and had restricted the fuel flow at high revs, leaning the mixture and burning out valves and pistons.
On such small details are races/records won and lost!


#18 D-Type

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 16:49

How nice that Eoin should maintain those old traditions so well...

I see that Chaters are giving away a free copy of "It still beats working" with every purchase. Any connection? :evil:

#19 eolith

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 05:52

At a Donnington meeting about ten years ago I was helping Paul Jaye fix the Ex Beadle single seat Alta in the paddock when an attractive elderly lady came and said ,can I give you any advice I used to drive one of these.It was of course Mrs Jean Mortimer who had on occasions driven the offset that her husband owned .I used to talk to Charles as he sat in a corner of one of the large tents at Beaulieu selling his stock of books and mascots.I sked him for his thoughts on Alta one day his reply.Wonderful old boy if you only want to run for 45 seconds.

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#20 kayemod

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 14:31

Just in case anyone here is interested...

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#21 David Birchall

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 15:00

Just in case anyone here is interested...

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So that's where my copy went!