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Stanley Sedgwick and Cunningham - info please!

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#1 drivers71

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 11:15

Could anyone please supply more information about the British timekeepers/scorers/manager who were part of the Cunningham team at Le Mans in the early 1950s?
Included in their number, I believe, were Stanley Sedgwick as team manager and Geoffrey Kramer and Derek Waller as timekeepers.
Which years did they perform these roles for the team, and were they responsible for team strategy?
I would appreciate any further information.


#2 fuzzi

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 11:55

In "Cunningham - the Life and Cars of Briggs Swift Cunningham" by Dean Batchelor & Albert R Bochroch

The first Cunningham entry at Le Mans in 1950 included:

"Also in the Cunningham pits, working as chief timer, was an Englishman named Stanley Sedgwick. Both Briggs and Stanley were members of the Bentley Drivers Club, and in correspondening with the Englishman, Cunnigham learned that he was an expert timer and scorer. From that time on Sedgwick and some of his friends handled Team Cunningham's timing, scoring and strategy in Europe and at Sebring."

From Sedgwick's book ("Motoring My Way") it seems they became close friends, sharing an appreciation of the finest motor cars. The generous BSG often loaning cars to his fellow BDC member.

#3 Doug Nye

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 20:05

I remember spending an afternoon with Stan Sedgwick at his house in Cobham, Surrey, during which he spelled out much of his association with Briggs. Sadly I cannot now find the notes. I do, however, recall him claiming credit for the Cunningham racing livery of white with those two blue centreline stripes. He said he had carefully read the FIA requirements and recalled that they specified - and I have not cross-checked this - that American cars in International competition should wear white bodywork with blue chassis members...

Stan then reasoned with Briggs that since the chassis of the Cunninghams was hidden by the body panelling, a substitute for the two main chassis longerons could be represented by those two parallel lengthwise stripes, in blue.

As I recall it, Briggs and Stan Sedgwick would draw up a strategy pre-race, with reference to timing records from preceding years. However, I also recall the impression that Mr Sedgwick was not, perhaps, above inflating his own role in these matters. For example I have NO DOUBT that Phil Walters and Alfred Momo would also have had influential opinions to express, and that - above all - Briggs himself was perfectly capable of skippering that particular ship without too much dictation from a fellow but foreign enthusiast, no matter how congenial he found his company upon a personal level.


#4 drivers71

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 11:59

Thanks to Fuzzy, and Doug
What prompted my question was an apparent quote from one of the Cunningham drivers, after Le Mans in 1953 or 1954, that 'but for team orders from the English limiting us to pre-arranged lap times, we could have won the race'.
It is not a direct quote, and I cannot find the reference to it amongst all my paperwork, so I cannot provide the details.
I was a little surprised that BSC would have allowed this to happen, if there was a chance of victory - or that he would have totally placed team strategy in the hands of his English friends?
Another photograph, showing BSC with Sedgwick and Kramer credits them as 'Timekeeper and Scorer'.
When I can provide the details of the quotes, I'll post them.
In the meantime, thank you.

Edited by drivers71, 09 October 2011 - 12:04.

#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 12:41

The race statistics indicate that this could quite possibly be true for the 1953 race. The winning Jaguar beat the previous distance record by a whopping 220 miles. The third-placed Cunningham also beat the old record, by 178 miles, and thus was only 42 miles behind the winner. If Cunningham had based their set lap times on the previous distance record, they may well have been caught out by the speed of the Jaguars.