(Sir) Henry Segrave at the wheel of the 1923 six-cylinder, 2-liter Sunbeam Grand Prix car.
King George V thought it was very funny. “You’re late, my boy,” he guffawed. The world’s fastest human being had tried to get to Buckingham Palace on time for his own investiture, but he turned up half an hour late. He had been delayed by a slow goods train huffing and puffing across not one, but three, level crossings that stood in his way. The king was most amused, and could barely contain himself as he tapped the Grand Prix winner and land speed record holder on both shoulders with his ceremonial sword and said with all the decorum as he could muster, “Arise Sir Henry.”
Henry Segrave earned his knighthood at the Daytona Beach racecourse, where he became the first person to break the 200 mph barrier driving Mystery, the fire-breathing 1000 hp Sunbeam, to set a speed of 203.79 mph. That was his most recent exploit, because his short life was crammed with incredible acts of courage and daring dating back to his childhood.
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