The Watkins Trophy

The following has been adapted from an article in the monthly journal of the Bristol Motor Cycle & Light Car Club, April 1951

Following the death of Walter Watkins, a collection was made towards making a scale replica of his ‘special’. The completed Trophy was first shown at the BMCLCC Annual Dinner and Dance on December 14th 1950, and all those who saw it agreed that it was an excellent model. It was made by Mr. Harold Pratley of London at a cost of £25.

Mr Dick Caesar has kindly contributed to Racing World a description of Walter Watkins’s achievements, which is reproduced here:


I want to set down who Walter Watkins was and why those who knew him feel that there should be a memorial to his name. He came to the Bristol Aeroplane Company from de Havillands’ early in the war and soon made friends with every motor enthusiast he met. As a member of the Berkhamstead Club he had already distinguished himself driving a beautifully turned out G.N. Special, and he spent his spare time during the war modifying and improving this machine. He had also done well at Brooklands with an equally beautifully maintained Norton, and before the “500” movement had started he was already designing a twin-boom 500cc. car for record attempts, which anticipated the Tarf by at least five years.

He became Racing Secretary to the West Bristol M.C.C. and organised a grass track meeting on methanol for charity long before the war was over. He and I formed the Gordano Motor Company together at the end of the war. He was an active supporter of the Bristol Aeroplane Company Motor Sports Club and the “500” movement, with ingenious plans for converting his special into a five hundred. At Naish Hill he established the course record, beating Gerard’s E.R.A. with his special! He rarely missed the “Enthusiasts’ Gatherings” at the Full Moon which kept our Club alive during the War, and he worked hard to assist its revival after it. Undoubtedly he would have become a great organiser of racing and sprint meetings had he lived.

This is quite a list of achievements, but everyone who knew Walter remembers him not so much for what he did as for the way he did it. Idealist in everything, he put all he had into everything he did; he was equally at home in all sections of the motoring community and thought the barriers that divide that community were silly and unnecessary. He bubbled over with humour and enthusiasm so that the dullest agenda became hilarious when he was in form. His quick mind met you half way and he seemed to find more good in people than they ever thought there was in themselves.

R D Caesar