Racing Mechanic. Born in Wolverhampton, England, Thomas Barrett worked at the Sunbeam Motor Works in the city. He went to the 1924 Spanish Grand Prix at Lasarte, San Sebastian, and volunteered to be the riding mechanic for Kenelm Lee Guinness in his racing Sunbeam car. Wet weather had made the course slippery and sand was intended to be scattered over the circuit however local clay was used instead. This made the surface treacherous. During the race, the Sunbeam swerved into a rut and the car left the road backwards before toppling down a railway embankment. Guinness was seriously injured and never raced again, whilst Barrett was killed. Rules were changed and drivers were then forbidden from carrying riding mechanics.