'The Great Air Race', sheet music, 1911.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Sheet music cover featuring an illustration of aeroplanes flying through the night sky. The music, composed by Lawrence Wright, is described as being 'sensational descriptive fantasia for the pianoforte'. The air race which inspired the composition may have been the Circuit of Europe, which began in Paris on 18th June 1911. 52 competitors took part in the event which covered a 994 mile course with stages connecting Paris with Liege, Utrecht, Brusels, Roubaix, Calais, London and Dover, before returning to Paris. Andre Beaumont won the race, completing the course in a time of 58 hours and 38 minutes. Alternatively the inspiration may have been the first Round Britain Air Race which started from Brooklands, Surrey, on 22nd July 1911.