Raymond Mays was one of the principal people behind the development of the motor racing stables of English Racing Automobiles (ERA) and British Racing Motors (BRM). The workshops of each firm were established, in turn, in The Maltings adjacent to the Spalding road, behind “Eastgate House”, the family home on Eastgate road in Bourne. His lifelong ambition was to see his country succeed at the top level of international motor sport. This ambition was not always matched by his technical or financial resources and a low point was reached with the failure of the BRM V16 project, before BRM won the Constructors’ World Championship in 1962.
Mays raced for some thirty years, competing in various cars: a Speed-model 1½-litre Hillman, two 1½-litre Bugattis, an unsuccessful supercharged AC, the Vauxhall-Villiers, Mercedes, Invictas, Rileys and ERAs. Mays was renowned for competing at Shelsley Walsh, racing there in the early 1920s with a pair of Brescia Bugattis, known as ‘Cordon Bleu’ and ‘Cordon Rouge’. A famous picture was taken of ‘Cordon Bleu’ at the Caerphilly mountain hill-climb in 1924 showing a rear wheel escaping from the car with the driver looking at it over his shoulder. He developed his cars with superchargers through Amherst Villiers and this association continued from AC to the Vauxhall-Villiers and then the famous ‘White Riley’, that eventually became the starting point for ERA.