From the Blog

Bald Hill and Superbikes

Spent the morning at Bald Hill this morning. MCC had a stand there doing some testing of helmets and we spent the morning talking to the riders who turned up there (and there weren’t many as the weather was cold and bitter) and encouraging them to sign up for the survey.

While we were there we also had to opportunity to see some whales heading north as part of their winter migration.

As a sidelight, Bald Hill was, of course the scene of Lawrence Hargreave’s experiments with box kites in the very last few years of the 19th Century. Lawrence was one of my father’s relations, his mother’s maiden name being Hargreave, so there was a strong feeling of family history there this morning.

Hargreave was a true scientist, having perfected the concept of “wing warping” to achieve lift and directional changes in his box kites. Friends and colleagues urged him to patent his invention but he refused, telling them that scientific discoveries were public property and shouldn’t be seen as being someone’s personal property.

A couple of years later the Wright brothers flew the first practical lighter than air machine at Kittyhawk in the USA, using the exact same wing warping technology that Hargreave had perfected some years before. And, while one of the brothers continued flying, the other one spent nearly the rest of his life fighting lawsuit after lawsuit against people who, they claimed, had stolen “their” ideas. Despite being asked on many occasions, about Hargreave, neither brother ever gave any credit to the humble Australian whose invention had helped them to become part of world history.

And, sadly, Hargreave lived long enough to see his son die in an aeroplane, fighting with the RFC (Royal Flying Corps) during World War I.

Anyway, off to watch the WSBK meeting from Brno. Go, the Aussies.