Lumby entered the world of caravanning in 1950. He was offered two jobs, one working with a photographic journal and another for The Caravan magazine. Thinking that the post with The Caravan would get him out on the road more he accepted it, though becoming a competitor in the Caravan Road Rallies may have been more than he bargained for.
Covering the event as a journalist in 1954, the following year he set off as a fully–fledged competitor in a Morris Oxford towing a borrowed Argosy 12 caravan. Reporting for the magazine he admitted to ‘shaking at the knees like a jelly with a stomach-full of butterflies’ prior to the event having never ‘entered anything more competitive than an egg and spoon race’. Practicing his reversing skills over an afternoon, himself and co”‘driver A. Brodie Fraser later discovered they ‘had practised in the wrong direction!’ The pair missed out on prizes that year but Lumby returned to the event every year until it ended in 1977.
Like any motor sport there was an element of risk involved in the rallies and at Goodwood in 1965 Martin took a tumble on the bend during the timed lap test. Despite warnings that the bend had wind blowing into it, he rolled two and a half times.
The following year Lumby had begun working for the UK’s largest caravan manufacturer Caravans International. Hitching up with Roger Kemplen the ‘nearest thing … to a human computing radar set’ as co-driver, the pair took the bronze award. Three years later, on his 14th Caravan Road Rally attempt, Lumby finally scooped The Caravan Trophy in what he described as a ‘fluke’. The Caravan Club reported in its En Route Magazine, that his long awaited win was one of the most popular of the series.
Recalling the events he commented that there was a great atmosphere and camaraderie among competitors along with ‘happy party times at the end … it was great fun’.
Watch Martin Lumby fall foul to the bend on the Goodwood circuit during the timed single lap tests in 1965. Accidents at the Road Rallies, although extreme, led to the development of improved stability in caravans:
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