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Camille Jenatzy (1868 – 1913) was a Belgian race car driver. He is known for breaking the land speed record three times and being the first man to break the 100 km/h barrier. He was nicknamed Le Diable Rouge ("The Red Devil") after the colour of his beard [1].

On January 17, 1899 at Achères, Yvelines near Paris, France, he reached the speed of 66.66 km/h (41.42 mph) over 1 kilometer, driving a CGA Dogcart. That same day the record was broken by Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat, but ten days later on January 27 Jenatzy achieved a speed of 80.35 km/h (49.93 mph). This record was again broken by Chasseloup-Laubat applying rudimentary streamlining to his Jeantaud [2], but Jenatzy set his third and final land speed record on April 29, reaching 105.88 km/h (65.79 mph) in the CITA Nº 25 Jamais Contente which was an electric vehicle. This was the first record over 100 km/h.

In 1902 he lost the land speed record to Leon Serpollet. Jenatzy regained glory in 1903 by winning the Gordon Bennet Cup in Athy, Ireland, driving a Mercedes.

Jenatzy died in 1913 in a hunting accident. He went behind a bush and made animal noises as a prank on his friends who were hunting with him. It worked too well, they heard the noise and one of them, Alfred Madoux, who was the director of the journal L'Etoile Belge[3] shot because they thought there was an animal there. When they realised it was Jenatzy they tried to rush him by car to hospital but he bled to death en route. This fulfilled his own prophesy that he would die in a Mercedes. [4]

Courtesy Wikipedia

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