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Cyril Snipe

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#1 Nanni Dietrich

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 15:58

It's hard to find any information about British driver Cyril Snipe, the winner of the 1912 Targa Florio.

According to the book "Targa Florio" by David Owen, the only informations we have are that Snipe was the nephew of a backer (John Bennett of Newton&Bennett ?) of one of Ceirano's many motor manufacturing ventures, SCAT (Società Cairano Automobili Torino) and that in the early years of the past Century he was employed as a test-driver at the Turin factory.

Cyril Snipe won the Targa Florio, also named Giro di Sicilia which happened on 25 and 26 May 1912. A 965 kms clockwise race circling the whole of the island (Palermo-Messina-Catania-Siracusa-Ragusa-Gela-Agrigento-Marsala-Trapani-Palermo). Snipe with co-driver Pedrini won in a SCAT, in 24h37'39". There was a field of 26 cars, including Lancia, Isotta-Fraschini, Fiat, Alfa and others.

Snipe competed again in the 1913 Targa Florio race in a SCAT and in 1919 in a British Eric-Campbell, retired in both the occasions.

It is not clear if Snipe later competed at Brooklands or in any other British circuit.

No references, no bio notes, nothing.

A very important name in motorsport history in my opinion, who seems to be almost forgotten.


#2 Allan Lupton

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 16:19

FWIW Bill Boddy's Brooklands book's index does not list him.
All that means is that Bill didn't give him a mention, not that he didn't race there.
The Newton Bennett connection with SCAT would be worth trying: I'll ask a man I know . . . .

#3 David McKinney

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 17:25

He also retired in the 1914 Targa Florio, again in a SCAT
I also have him listed as a class-winner in the 1910 Modena sprint, on that occasion in a SPA
None of which helps with his background :)

#4 Geoff E

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 17:33

Cyril Arthur SNIPE, born Conisborough, Yorks, birth registered in the first quarter of 1888, the son of a schoolmaster, Arthur W Snipe. His mother was Fanny (nee Banner).

The family were living in Tamworth(Staffs) at the time of the 1901 census.

Cyril married Blanche L Blainey in 1911 in Salford. She died 1918 in Portsmouth aged 28.

He married again in 1922 to Emily Hendrey (or Moreton) in Paddington.

#5 Marticelli

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 22:34

This year sees the centenary of Cyril Snipe's heroic victory in the first ever 'Giro di Sicilia' Targa Florio. I am involved in a project about this event and wondered if anyone here has any knowledge of heirs and successors of Cyril. His close associate R O Harper, who worked at SCAT on the technical development of the cars, and was himself a successful driver of SCATs in competition, has a surviving son, but it would be good to find a Snipe descendant.

It would also be good to find an accurate map showing the route taken by the first Giro, and in particluar to pinpoint the location of the famous stop. There are several possible locations mentioned in the many reports I have read, but the best bet seems to be Trapani, which I believe was the location of the last checkpoint on the Giro before the finish at the Palazzo Villarosa in Palermo.

I look forward to anything TNFrs can offer in the way of further information or leads.


#6 Geoff E

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 15:09

Further to what I wrote in 2008 (above), he died in Surrey in 1944 aged 55. This is the only Cyril Snipe in the English BMD records. I cannot spot births of any children from either of his marriages.