Alfred Velghe “Levegh”
Alfred Velghe was born in Kortrijk, Belgium on 16 June, 1870. He was originally a fervent bicycle racer, under the pseudonym of Levegh, and soon became adept with the automobile. Velghe never drove but one make of automobile, and he was until 1901 (when he was obliged to give it up) the unquestioned champion of the Mors. In 1899, in the “Tour de France” Levegh, on a 16 h.p. four-cylinder Mors, was the only Mors driver who arrived in Paris, and at the end of the same season he won, one after the other, the Paris-Ostend and the Bordeaux-Biarritz races, and he was classed second in Paris-Trouville and Paris-St. Maio. In 1900 Levegh was never beaten. He was first in the Paris-Toulouse race of 730 kilometres, and won all the Nice races, including the mile and the Turbie Hill, and then the race from Bordeaux to Perigueux and back. In 1901 Levegh was only able to run one race—that is to say, the Gordon-Bennett Cup, in which he was at the head as far as Poitiers, where he was obliged to stop, and this was the end of his glorious racing career. He was not only a good mechanician, but also an excellent driver. He was an artist of some talent, and holder of the “Prix de Rome”. He died due to chest problems in February, 1904.
According to Charles Jarrott: “Levegh was cool to the degree of coldness. He never appeared to hurry over anything, and never allowed anything to perturb him; and yet when driving he was a veritable whirlwind. His knowledge of his car was perfect, and much of his success was due to the high state of perfection in which he kept it. He is of the little band who have laid down their lives for the sport. Inherent consumptive tendency was aggravated by the exposure and hardship involved in motor-car racing, and at the height of his fame he retired from the sport and journeyed to a strange land to die.”