© Copyright 2011  Julianne Dodds Speedboat and hydroplane Championships 1921 - 1925 Major Donkin in Meteor retires after Century Tire breaks down. Photo from Williams Collection Friendly rivalry with the Major Mac’s luxury motor yacht Malaita moored on the Brisbane River in front of his Kangaroo Point home. The Botanic Gardens and the old Mineral House building are on the other side of the river. Photo from Williams Collection While this competition was going on for ‘bigger and better’ between these two contenders, another rival arrived on the scene. On the 3rd December 1923, Mr. J. W. Thornycroft, of the Thornycroft Motor Company, disembarked in Melbourne from London. He announced that his new hydroplane, Lady Sid, was the first of its kind to be brought to Australia. It was the same type that was used for patrol work on the Belgium coast by Allies during the war. Lady Sid was thirty-three feet long and fitted with a 400 h.p. Thornycroft engine. The appearance of this new contender had Mac and the Rymill brothers concerned. The first official appearance of Century Tire was in Brisbane on 8th December 1923, when, in company with Major Donkin’s Meteor, she attempted to establish a record for a flying mile. Century Tire was not running well - she was officially timed at 1 min. 16 secs. under Meteor’s 1 min. 4 secs.  Engine size limitations were generally in place for races but there were still exceptional events held for boats with differing horsepower. The unrestricted Speedboat Championship of Queensland was set for 15th December between Century Tire with a 450 h.p. Liberty motor and Meteor with two 350 hp V12 motors. For two days before the race Mac and Donkin took some time off with a fishing trip on Mac’s yacht Malaita. This was considered the most important motor boat race of the year, made more notable as these two boats were without doubt the fastest in Australia. Spectators jostled to get the best vantage point along the riverbank at the mouth of Breakfast Creek. When the race began at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, it was a very high tide and the water was smooth with barely a ripple. Before the event Century Tire suffered clutch problems. Mac’s mechanic tried a temporary repair by jamming the clutch and making the drive direct. Although the race was sensational, the crowds were disappointed. Century Tire’s clutch worked for a short time but then gave out completely, and she broke down. Too good a sport to take advantage of Century Tire’s breakdown, Donkin retired Meteor, making it a ‘no race’. On this occasion Meteor broke her own record by completing the flying mile in 55 2/5 secs. Century Tire was repaired and prepared for shipment to Adelaide. Three weeks before the race she was placed aboard the steamer Burwah. Remembering the damage done to the hull of Miss Brisbane the previous year, Mac had his hydroplane securely packed on a heavy framework, which would make sure the hull did not suffer any strain, and she was wrapped in a tight-fitting canvas cover. Mac left a few days later with his crew, travelling by train to Adelaide. Century Tire on the steamer Burwah bound for Adelaide.