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Amateur Competitor Edgar Thorne

Edgar Thorne pictured far left with his Austin A105 and Ensor Elect Caravan at the 1959 British Caravan Road Rally.

Hitching up his family holiday van, Caravan Club member Edgar Thorne became a regular competitor of the Road Rallies in the 1950s and 60s.

Thorne first competed in the 1958 British Caravan Road Rally event, setting off from his home town of Bristol for the road section. Owning a butcher’s shop in Almondsbury, he was an active member of The Caravan Club Somerset and Bristol Centre which organised social rallies in his local area.

Edgar had gained car rallying experience as a member of the Bristol Motor Cycle and Light Car Club. He combined these skills with knowledge of towing he had developed during family holidays with his wife and young son Austin. Despite being a competent caravanner he found his first attempt of the event challenging admitting that ‘the reversing tests I botched completely, we did fairly well on the others’.

Thorne reported his first bash of the event in his local car club magazine to dispel a rumour among members that the Caravan Road Rally would be ‘a nightmare of snaking outfits being heaved around’. Commenting that at the end of the event ‘it only remained to park up, get the frying pan working … and attend the Mayor’s reception and Dance’ he was enthusiastic to return again.

Edgar Thorne summed up his first experience as ‘a rattling good week‑end with as hard‑working a crew as could be wished for, and the laughs were many more than curses at the weather’.

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