Walter Thomas Clifford Earp
(1879–1921) was a pioneer racing motorist.
He was born in 1879, in Lambeth
Lambeth is a district of south London, England, and part of the London Borough of Lambeth. It is situated southeast of Charing Cross.-Toponymy:...
, Surrey, England. His parents were Arthur Clifford Earp, a sculptor, (1855–1886) and Emily Wood. He attended Ardingly school
Ardingly College is a selective independent co-educational boarding and day school, founded in 1858 by Canon Nathaniel Woodard, included in the Tatler list of top public schools. The college is located in the village of Ardingly near Haywards Heath, West Sussex, England, having moved to its present...
, Sussex.. His surname was often spelled Clifford-Earp. He had a brother, also Arthur Clifford Earp, born 1 January 1883, who was also a racing motorist, and on occasion acted as his riding mechanic. He was a protégé of S.F. Edge
Selwyn Francis Edge was an Australian businessman, racing driver, and record-breaker. He is principally associated with selling and racing De Dion-Bouton, Gladiator; Clemént-Panhard, Napier and AC cars.-Personal life:...
and sometimes faced adversity, being considered a 'trade' professional in an age of amateurs.
During the eliminating trials for the Gordon Bennett Cup at Douglas, Isle of Man, in 1904 Clifford Earp, with brother Arthur acting as riding mechanic, crashed into a stone wall on the promenade, both being hospitalised.
In July 1905 Earp on a Napier finished eighth in The Gordon Bennett Cup
As one of three Gordon Bennett Cups established by James Gordon Bennett, Jr., millionaire owner of the New York Herald, the automobile racing award was first given in 1900 in France....
on the Auvergne circuit in France.
In July 1905 Earp, on a 90-h.p. Napier, completed the flying-start Kilometre in 23 seconds at the inaugural Brighton Speed Trials
The Brighton Speed Trials, in full The Brighton National Speed Trials, is commonly held to be the oldest running motor race. The first race was held July 19–22, 1905 after Sir Harry Preston persuaded Brighton town council to tarmac the surface of the road adjacent to the beach between the Palace...
On 27 January 1906 he broke the world record for 100 miles distance in a race for the Minneapolis Automobile Club trophy at Ormond-Daytona Beach, Florida on a 90-h.p. Napier
D. Napier & Son Limited was a British engine and pre-Great War automobile manufacturer and one of the most important aircraft engine manufacturers in the early to mid-20th century...
in a time of 1 hour 15 minutes 40.4 secs , with riding-mechanic H.H. Baker At about the 35-mile mark he shed his rear tyre and completed the rest of the race on the rim.
In 1907 he drove his 60-h.p.Thames car at Brooklands
Brooklands was a motor racing circuit and aerodrome built near Weybridge in Surrey, England. It opened in 1907, and was the world's first purpose-built motorsport venue, as well as one of Britain's first airfields...
to four new world records:
||1hr 58mins 34secs
||76 miles 453 yards
||151 miles 146 yards
The Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company, Limited was a shipyard and iron works straddling the mouth of Bow Creek at its confluence with the River Thames, at Leamouth Wharf on the west side and at Canning Town on the east side...
motor car was manufactured by the Thames Ironworks, Shipbuilding, and Engineering Company Ltd., of Greenwich.