Glamour

Webster: "I'm so jolly glad I won for England!"
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By the end of the war, Venetians were all too ready to return to their glamorous role as hosts to the rich tourists of America and Europe. Count Giuseppe di Volpi Misurata built aggressively on Spada’s pre-war legacy, actively encouraging upmarket tourism by, amongst other things, ensuring that the Schneider Trophy air race took place at Lido every three years. This, together with other attractions he sponsored, such as the international motor-boat races and the Casino, kept the Lido on the map as an international resort. The Schneider Trophy, a glamorous affair, drew in a new breed of rich English, French and American speed kings and queens, set on thrashing their cars, boats and planes harder, faster and for longer than their rivals. The bittersweet scent of Adieu Sagesse on the terrace of the Excelsior and the strains of Belle Epoque melody in the ballroom of the Hotel des Bains were replaced by the aphrodisiac whiff of benzina and the libido-stirring roar of Rolls Royce engines. The Excelsior marked the finishing post of the air race which comprised a circuit of Lido from San Nicol√≥ to Alberoni and back. A report of the 1927 Schneider Trophy race, won for Britain by Flt Lt Sidney Webster of the RAF, gives a good idea of the atmosphere. “These three whirled, as it were, around the clock in most thrilling fashion. On the longest side of the triangular course, Webster dashed in pursuit of Guazetti. For one breathless moment the machines were level, and in the next the royal blue of the British machine was seen a quarter of a mile ahead of the blood red Italian, proving that the British engines were immeasurably the faster. Webster, who is stockily built, stepped nonchalantly from his machine, showing no signs of the ordeal through which he had passed. He quietly remarked, “I am so jolly glad I won for Britain. She is going to celebrate. So shall I.”