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#1 Barry Boor

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 19:26

It seems that whenever the subject of the Aintree circuit comes up, the comments are universally negative. Granted a circuit with gas holders in the background is never going to develop the charisma of Monaco or the Ring, but actually it seems to me that it was actually not a bad race circuit. (I should point out that I am racing my slot-car British Grand Prix on it at present.)

I wonder what other people, especially those who may have actually been there, (I haven't) really think about it.

Two other points occur to me; it is listed as being 3 miles long - exactly. Was that an accident? Or is it actually a nominal figure (it seems fairly unlikely to me.)

Also, some of the corner names at Aintree seem not to have been there from the start. My Autosport Directory (1955) shows the track with Waterway Corner, Anchor Bend, Cottage Corner, Canal Curve, Esses and Tatts Corner. But not, Country, Village or Melling Crossing. Similarly it names several straight bits - Enclosure Straight, Canalside, Barn Alley, The 800, The 700, Valentines Way and Sefton Straight. So I wonder when the other names begun to be used and when did Anchor Bend become Anchor Crossing and wasn't Canal Curve always known as Beechers Bend?

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#2 Rob29

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 20:03

I was there for the last GP in 1962 & the International 200s 62-64. Plus 3 later meetings on the club circuit and an RAC Rally stage which included a demo by a Vanwall!
Certainly a nicer place to visit than Silverstone. Walking distance from a train station.
I think the corner names were lifted from the horse course. The crossings at Anchor & Melling are at the same place that the Grand National course crosses the public road. Must have been the only english public road closed for racing.

#3 petefenelon

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 20:40

Originally posted by Barry Boor
It seems that whenever the subject of the Aintree circuit comes up, the comments are universally negative. Granted a circuit with gas holders in the background is never going to develop the charisma of Monaco or the Ring, but actually it seems to me that it was actually not a bad race circuit. (I should point out that I am racing my slot-car British Grand Prix on it at present.)

I wonder what other people, especially those who may have actually been there, (I haven't) really think about it.

Two other points occur to me; it is listed as being 3 miles long - exactly. Was that an accident? Or is it actually a nominal figure (it seems fairly unlikely to me.)

Also, some of the corner names at Aintree seem not to have been there from the start. My Autosport Directory (1955) shows the track with Waterway Corner, Anchor Bend, Cottage Corner, Canal Curve, Esses and Tatts Corner. But not, Country, Village or Melling Crossing. Similarly it names several straight bits - Enclosure Straight, Canalside, Barn Alley, The 800, The 700, Valentines Way and Sefton Straight. So I wonder when the other names begun to be used and when did Anchor Bend become Anchor Crossing and wasn't Canal Curve always known as Beechers Bend?


I lived there for a long time and it was sad to see the state that the 'full' circuit fell into.

But I went to a LOT of clubbies on the short circuit from about '73 to the end of racing there in '82 (and various bike, kart, single-venue rally, rallycross, drag, sprint... events after). It had no facilities whatsoever - no pits or paddock to speak of, no spectator facilities beyond a few old tannoys, a decrepit scrute's bay, and a clubhouse where everyone went.

Despite Aintree's bleak, run-down atmosphere the club racing there was usually fantastic - the short circuit was fast and quite long for a clubbie venue (aided by the fast Bechers/Railway Straight combo and spiced up by the interesting Club Corner at the end of it) and the surface good.

And Tuesday night test sessions? Don't get me started ;) - anyone who was anyone in the Northern racing scene was there. All the Chevron regulars; Richard Thwaites and his collection of interesting machinery (notably his Elva); Nigel "Willie Eckerslyke" Moores and his D-Types; Vin Malkie; Kim Mather and his exotic (by our standards) single seaters (and later, his twin-engined VW rally car!); "Knickers In Tins Racing" and their immaculate black and red Minis; locally-sponsored duo Dave Millington (Firenza) and Tony Sugden (Escort) - backed by Brook Hire, an allegedly-dodgy car hire firm...

F5000s visiting for Libre races were always a treat. You grew a bit blase' about F2s and Atlantics; lots of people had new or newish ones of those, but the day Tony Dean zapped the club circuit lap record in his Chevron was fantastic indeed.

Who was it that turned the McLaren M19s into F5000s? - there's a picture of a very young me sitting in one of those.


And another pic to give the full air of Aintree's bleak surroundings - Your Humble Narrator at a very impressionable age looking at something that seems to be a Lotus 61 FFord in the early 70s:

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#4 Barry Boor

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 20:45

Thanks for that, Pete.

It is nice to read something positive about the old place.

You have added to my confusion regarding the names on the circuit. I have always thought Beechers Bend led onto the Railway Straight as you have said but my book has the Canal Curve leading on to Sefton Straight.

:confused:

#5 petefenelon

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 20:57

Originally posted by Barry Boor
Thanks for that, Pete.

It is nice to read something positive about the old place.

You have added to my confusion regarding the names on the circuit. I have always thought Beechers Bend led onto the Railway Straight as you have said but my book has the Canal Curve leading on to Sefton Straight.

:confused:


Canal Curve was the one that came after Anchor Crossing where the track turned 'inland'; Sefton Straight was the straight that later became the paddock for the club circuit.

(you do remember that Aintree started off going anti-clockwise and became clockwise after the first meeting?)

#6 Don Capps

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 20:58

I was there for the 1955 & 1959 British GP's and several other races as well during the 1955 thru 1960 period. Yes, it was bleak, dreary, devoid of anything remotely like atmosphere, terrible food, an uninspiring track, but other than that not a bad place to visit for a race since folks seem to really enjoy themselves -- I know that I certainly did.

However, compared to most of the Continental circuits we usually frequented, Aintree did leave a bit to be desired. Indeed, it would not have been out of place with many of the dirt bullrings I later hung out at later in life. Whatever else it might have lacked, it seemed to have some "character."

Pete, they reversed the course in 1955.

#7 Geoff E

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 21:04

When did they get rid of the gasometers at Monaco? Perhaps they gave the track its atmosphere!;)

Regarding the Aintree course, the Becher's and Canal Turn jumps are perhaps a quarter of a mile apart, so it seems unlikely that they would be two names given to the same corner on the motor racing circuit.

#8 petefenelon

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 21:15

Originally posted by Don Capps

It seemed to have some "character."

Pete, they reversed the course in 1955.


Yes, the first "200" was run anticlockwise wasn't it?

Character was one thing Aintree was never short of, sometimes in the sense of being "character-building". There's only two places like it in Britain for me - Castle Combe and Croft. They're real clubbie places where you're only there if you love racing - very little for the non-lunatic there but the racing's always worth it. And there was nothing like a wet Prodsports race at Aintree to remind you that you that life could be BLEAK!

It was always amusing watching Aintree newcomers acclimatising to the club circuit. Because the club circuit it looks fairly easy and geometrical they tended to underestimate the Canal/Bechers/Railway/Club section - particularly how much speed you needed to carry through Canal/Bechers and how Club opened out into a fast, tricky corner. Quite a few big names have ended up in the long grass around the track.

The track surface was odd too - very quick-drying, quite high-grip and I seem to recall fairly tough on tyres.

A lot of Irish drivers used to come over and do double-headers, IIRC - Aintree on Saturday, Oulton on Sunday (if they still had cars left).

Circuit map: http://magnust.d2g.c...map-aintree.pdf

pete

#9 Roger Clark

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 21:22

Originally posted by Don Capps


Pete, they reversed the course in 1955.


They reversed the course for the second 1954 meeting.

#10 Roger Clark

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 22:05

Originally posted by Barry Boor


Also, some of the corner names at Aintree seem not to have been there from the start. My Autosport Directory (1955) shows the track with Waterway Corner, Anchor Bend, Cottage Corner, Canal Curve, Esses and Tatts Corner. But not, Country, Village or Melling Crossing. Similarly it names several straight bits - Enclosure Straight, Canalside, Barn Alley, The 800, The 700, Valentines Way and Sefton Straight. So I wonder when the other names begun to be used and when did Anchor Bend become Anchor Crossing and wasn't Canal Curve always known as Beechers Bend?


Autosport published a map before the first race, Autocourse had one in their report of that race. The named sections, running anti-clockwise from the start were (Autosport first):

Tatts Corner;/Same;
Esses/Melling Crossing;
Sefton Straight/Railway Straight;
Canal Curve/Beechers Bend;
Valentine's Way/Same;
No name/Village Corner;
The 700/no name;
No name/Country corner;
The 800/no name;
Cottage Corner/same;
Barn Alley/Sefton Straight;
Anchor Bend/Anchor crossing;
Canal Side/no name;
Waterway corner/same;
Enclosure Straight/Finishing Straight

#11 Barry Boor

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 22:10

For comparison purposes, here is the map from my 1955 book. Note the variation of names.

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#12 Bumblyari

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 22:51

In his book 'Cars At Speed', Robert Daley had this to say about Aintree in 1961:

"At Aintree, which is five miles north of Liverpool, it might drizzle for a week at a time. And although part of the long grandstand opposite the pit straight was covered, most of it was not. In a cold, persistent drizzle, furthermore, one could could not even see across the wide green prairie of a track to where the cars came down the back stretch toward Melling Crossing. The only advantage Aintree has, from the spectator's point of view, is that if you sit up high and have good eyesight or good glasses you can see the cars all the way round - provided it's not raining.

The Aintree circuit, three miles to the lap, has, to my mind, no charm at all, no atmosphere, no taut swelling in the throat due to obvious speed and obvious danger. It is not, in other words, a road circuit. It has no curbs, fire hydrants, lamp posts, trees, hills or variety of surface. It is flat, uniformly asphalt-surfaced, and a driver can run off the road almost anywhere without hurting anything except the grass. It is so utterly devoid of the hazards and even problems of normal road driving that it reduces motor racing, as far as I am concerned, to the emotional level of a track meet. There is not even any sensation of speed, because the cars are not going past anything more substantial than the steeplechase hedges - which are too low for contrast. The Aintree circuit is lapped at about 90 miles an hour, but it is speed in a vacuum, speed on a great green table. When the cars race down the back stretch along the white rails of the steeplechase course, they seem to be going no faster than horses.

The British make much of the amenities of Aintree circuit, bragging about its grandstands, its bars, its lavatories. It is true that you can buy scotch whiskey during a race, and usually the weather is so awful you will want to. But the grandstand itself is not much. It is long and haphazard, whole sections having been added here and there at various times over the years, much like Forbes Field in Pittsburgh or Griffiths Stadium in Washington.

It is at Liverpool (rather than Aintree) that the inconveniences start. Liverpool is a singularly dirty, unsophisticated place. The walls of the buildings are black with soot, there is only one good hotel (the Adelphi), which is where all the drivers stay, and there are no good restaurants at all. I have never in my life been to a city whose 'best' restaurants were so universally terrible, places where a tourist could count on stale bread, mashed potatoes served with an ice cream scoop and slices of grey beef submerged in alien gravy"
(Some things don't change)

So it obviously made an impression on him.

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 00:05

Originally posted by Bumblyari
.....but it is speed in a vacuum, speed on a great green table.....


What a good description of what I have always held important...

The circuit always needs to look like it's going somewhere... not just bend around in a paddock for no real reason.

#14 Lotus23

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 02:04

Pete, in your initial post in this thread, you mentioned "a few old tannoys".

Do you have a translation of that term for those of us in The Colonies?

#15 dbw

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 06:06

does the car in the pic have street tyres or is it just me....

#16 David Beard

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 06:20

Originally posted by dbw
does the car in the pic have street tyres or is it just me....


That's what Formula Ford in the UK used to use.

#17 Rob29

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 07:52

Originally posted by Lotus23
Pete, in your initial post in this thread, you mentioned "a few old tannoys".

Do you have a translation of that term for those of us in The Colonies?

'Tannoy' was the firm that made the loudspeakers for the public address system at that time.

#18 petefenelon

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 10:07

Originally posted by Rob29
'Tannoy' was the firm that made the loudspeakers for the public address system at that time.


Still around and still make fairly reasonable hifi loudspeakers actually!

pete

#19 petefenelon

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 13:51

More semi-structured Aintree memories as I take my afternoon tea-break.

For a start, as well as the racecourse and full circuit being bisected by Melling Road (not "The Melling Road" as the BBC are fond of calling it - it goes neither from nor to Melling; it runs between Warbreck Moor and Aintree Lane!) Aintree had a public footpath running through it and I'm not sure many other circuits ever did! And you know, I don't ever recall me or my dad paying to get into a meeting there. It was actually my dad's route to and from work - he was a manager in a factory that was located beyond the old Cheshire Lines and Signal Works just behind the Railway Straight.

Anchor Crossing was named after the nearby Blue Anchor pub (although that's actually a few hundred yards further up the Leeds-Liverpool canal). The bridge over the canal just past the crossing was (A) a great point to watch the bottom end of the club circuit from and (B) had the slabs of which it was made painted in a black-and-white chequered fashion!

There was only one block of lavs on the whole club circuit side. So you might find yourself going for a pee next to Derek Bennett, or Gunnar Nilsson, or indeed anyone else who happened to be there. And as lavs go... you knew where they were a fair old way downstream. The characteristic smell of the beer tent and the urinals on a summer's day made Aintree quite nasally distinctive, especially if Courtauld's (which is where the big 'cooling towers' were, although they'd long gone by my time) had been making some of their odder synthetic fibres -- oh yes and there was Spiller's dogfood factory just over in Fazakerley too.

As Autosport once put it in their yearbook: "AINTREE: Formula Ford and Factories". Both have gone. Liverpool in the 80s for you, eh?....

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#20 ian senior

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 14:09

Aintree was a bit outside the bounds of my usual limits, but some of the scenarios described here will be all too familar to regular visitors at such primitive places as Rufforth - another circuit where Tony Dean was in his element. And I think the McLaren M19, F5000 version, was conducted by Brian Robinson, another well known Northerner.

#21 petefenelon

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 14:49

Originally posted by ian senior
Aintree was a bit outside the bounds of my usual limits, but some of the scenarios described here will be all too familar to regular visitors at such primitive places as Rufforth - another circuit where Tony Dean was in his element. And I think the McLaren M19, F5000 version, was conducted by Brian Robinson, another well known Northerner.


That name rings a bell Ian - ta.

I seem to be surrounded by defunct circuits up here in York now. Elvington (still used in modified form for bikes and sprints), Full Sutton (now a high-security nick), Linton-on-Ouse, Rufforth.... and many more!

I was going to look on oldracingcars.com for the owner of the F5000 M19s, but every page is just telling me "The system cannot find the file specified." - Allen? :(

#22 Barry Boor

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 21:27

I always try to make my slot circuits as accurate as possible. Here is my Aintree...

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As a matter of no interest whatsoever, Harry Schell is on pole for my race, in the VANWALL.

#23 Lotus23

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Posted 28 June 2003 - 02:59

Rob29 and Pete: thanks for the tannoy update. I learn something new every time I log on here.

#24 fines

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 07:46

Originally posted by Barry Boor
I always try to make my slot circuits as accurate as possible. Here is my Aintree...

How did you model the lack of atmosphere described above?;)

#25 D-Type

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 08:12

Originally posted by fines

How did you model the lack of atmosphere described above?;)

Build the circuit in the garden by the outside privy? :D

#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 13:45

Originally posted by D-Type
Build the circuit in the garden by the outside privy? :D


I guess it is Wales...

#27 David Beard

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 16:40

I have a small bundle of snapshots given to me by L.J. Braithwaite (who joined us at the Northern TNF meeting before last) taken by him at the 1955 British GP at Aintree. They are tiny photos taken with a snapshot camera, but I thought them to be historic gems worthy of an appearance here …

Sign outside the circuit

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Melling Crossing

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Leslie Marr, Connaught, and some real Aintree scenery

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Moss chasing Fangio before that controversial win. Surely that must have been debated on TNF somewhere, but I can’t recall it or find it.

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#28 Gary C

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 17:45

great, atmospheric photos, David.
What's the car in the third photo??

#29 Wolf

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 18:17

Gary, David identified it as Leslie Marr in Connaught. If my memory does not decieve me, I think Marr drove streamlined Connaught in '55 GB GP, and to my untrained eye it looks just right...

#30 f1steveuk

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 18:42

As an aside, and for the aerodynamic fans among us. The nose intake on the Connaught streamliner must be the first use of the NACA duct on a racing car, surely??

#31 David Beard

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 19:03

Originally posted by f1steveuk
As an aside, and for the aerodynamic fans among us. The nose intake on the Connaught streamliner must be the first use of the NACA duct on a racing car, surely??


Steve: I believe I have posted exactly the same thing myself....somewhere :drunk:

#32 MCS

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 20:53

First time I've seen this. Wonderful.

Sadly (and I mean sadly) I wasn't around in the late fifties and early sixties to see racing at Aintree - my first meeting there was in the early seventies on the "club" circuit, as it was christened.

So a question for those here in the know, as it were. What was the atmosphere like at Aintree compared to Silverstone?

Silverstone must have seemed dreadfully bleak (I'm guessing), whereas Aintree at least had some infrastructure - stands and buildings and of course the chimneys and the railway and so on???

#33 petefenelon

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 21:32

Originally posted by MCS
First time I've seen this. Wonderful.

Sadly (and I mean sadly) I wasn't around in the late fifties and early sixties to see racing at Aintree - my first meeting there was in the early seventies on the "club" circuit, as it was christened.

So a question for those here in the know, as it were. What was the atmosphere like at Aintree compared to Silverstone?

Silverstone must have seemed dreadfully bleak (I'm guessing), whereas Aintree at least had some infrastructure - stands and buildings and of course the chimneys and the railway and so on???


It has always puzzled me that people call Silverstone "magnificent" -- the place is about my least favourite of the UK circuits I've visited. It's somewhere I go because there's a specific race I want to see, not because "it's somewhere nice to go racing" -- I'll go to Oulton or Donington or Croft at almost any excuse, and despite the fact that it's at the wrong end of the country I love Brands too. But Silverstone is just big and bleak and a bit down-at-heel. I can occasionally see BCE's point -- but we don't have an alternative to it, and ruining another circuit just to keep a GP doesn't seem worth it. Castle Combe had a brilliant clubbie atmosphere, Aintree was great fun...

Even Thruxton, which is probably the most spectator-indifferent place I've spectated at, has more atmosphere than Silverstone.

#34 f1steveuk

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 21:33

Originally posted by David Beard


Steve: I believe I have posted exactly the same thing myself....somewhere :drunk:


Then we'll say that's a case of "great minds thinking alike"!!!!

#35 MCS

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 21:41

We should have a vote on the best circuits in the UK, Pete.

Have to say, in all honesty, I've often found some of them really quite depressing - Silverstone certainly being prime and hardly helped by its ridiculously continually changing shape and appearance! :down:

For goodness sake, think of the great days of Woodcote and Rindt, Peterson and Rosberg

God. Think of now... :down:

#36 ian senior

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 09:48

Lovely pictures - and good to see a Jowett Javelin parked at Melling Crossing. Was it Mr Braithwaite's car (irrelevant, anorak-esque posting....)?

#37 Stephen W

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 10:19

I went twice to the full Aintree circuit. First in 1960 for the F2 Aintree 200 and for the same race in 1961. In 1960 I spectated on Railway Straight and it was a superb atmosphere with thousands of spectators sat out on the grass banking. The only down side was that you had the Grand National course between you and the cars! In 1961 when it poured with rain I spectated in the Picnic Loop. This was far better as you had a great view of the cars as they slithered through the first Melling Crossing and round the two left handers. Not as big a crowd in '61 but I put that down to the weather.
The next time I went to Aintree was in 1979 for a race meeting round the club circuit. There were very few specators and the whole place was a shadow of its former self. The then owners were spending very little on the upkeep of an area that had no bearing on their primary money spinner - the horse racing.
I am now a member of Liverpool Motor Club who are helping to keep motorsport alive at Aintree. We run three sprints and two track days per annum all of which are over-subscribed. The venue is still low on the Jockey Club's priorities but we manage to keep the place going.

:wave:

#38 petefenelon

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 12:44

Originally posted by MCS
We should have a vote on the best circuits in the UK, Pete.

Have to say, in all honesty, I've often found some of them really quite depressing - Silverstone certainly being prime and hardly helped by its ridiculously continually changing shape and appearance! :down:

For goodness sake, think of the great days of Woodcote and Rindt, Peterson and Rosberg

God. Think of now... :down:


I'm waiting for the point where there have been so many realignments at Silverstone that the entire place is a mass of circuit, kerbs, and gravel traps, with nothing on the infield but helipads. The place will be a wonderful venue for Time Team in the future -- I can imagine the egregious Tony Robinson bawling out "Geophys! Geophys! We think we've found some evidence of a proper racing circuit under all this crap!"

#39 ian senior

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 13:16

Originally posted by MCS
We should have a vote on the best circuits in the UK, Pete.


Oulton Park. Winner. No contest.

I often wondered why it was never considered seriously as a contender to hold the British GP (or was it?). The arguments about lack of facilities didn't hold much sway in the good old days, and surely the idea that it was too far up north can't have held true either, if they had the race at Aintree.

Runner up (with a bit of lateral and fairly bonkers thinking, and for entirely different reasons) : Rufforth.

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#40 bradbury west

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 14:26

Ref Bumblyari : post 12 above, quoting from the author;

It is true that you can buy scotch whiskey during a race,

Sorry to be a bit semantic, as it matters not a jot to me since I don't touch the stuff, but I thought it was IRISH whiskey, and SCOTCH whisky.

Cheers

RL

#41 Stephen W

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 14:48

Originally posted by ian senior


Oulton Park. Winner. No contest.

I often wondered why it was never considered seriously as a contender to hold the British GP (or was it?). The arguments about lack of facilities didn't hold much sway in the good old days, and surely the idea that it was too far up north can't have held true either, if they had the race at Aintree.

Runner up (with a bit of lateral and fairly bonkers thinking, and for entirely different reasons) : Rufforth.


My understanding as to why Oulton Park never got to hold a British GP was that the track was considered to be too narrow.

Then once it became part of Motor Circuits Developments it had to play second fiddle to Brands Hatch. It always irked me that Oulton always made a profit yet very little money was ever ploughed back into the circuit. Now hopefully that Jonathan Palmer's group is in control we may see more money, better facilities and the continuation of the best track North of Lands End! :stoned:

#42 David Beard

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 20:08

Originally posted by ian senior
Lovely pictures - and good to see a Jowett Javelin parked at Melling Crossing. Was it Mr Braithwaite's car (irrelevant, anorak-esque posting....)?


No Ian, he travelled there by bus. Here it is about to leave Ambleside in the Lake District.....

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#43 Terry Walker

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 12:04

I love that bus.

Here's how "Motor Racing Directory 1957" showed Aintree, to compare with the map earlier in the thread. Anyway, what's wrong with gasometers? Okay for The Oval.

Posted Image

#44 MCS

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 18:26

Great circuit diagram, certainly. But I didn't know that the Club Circuit existed before the mid-sixties.

When was it first used?

When was the tarmac between the Railway Straight and Cottage Corner first laid??

#45 Rob29

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 08:51

Originally posted by MCS
Great circuit diagram, certainly. But I didn't know that the Club Circuit existed before the mid-sixties.

When was it first used?

When was the tarmac between the Railway Straight and Cottage Corner first laid??

First used in 1955 I think .seem to recall Autosport report of the first meeting.
Incidently the 'paddock' indicated in the above plan is the horse paddock. At least by the time I first visited the place in 1962 the car paddock was in the infield about where its says 'Enclosure' To access it from the stands there was a subway under the circuit followed by wooden board walkway across the horse track!

#46 Kingsleyrob

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 18:58

Hi all

Glad I found this thread...

Had to take my ailing Dad to see a specialist at Fazakerley Hospital today, and on the way back took a detour to Aintree to revisit the track that he and I used to go to in the mid sixities onwards for club meetings and the Tuesday night practice sessions. I was just a bit young (born 1955) to have gone to the full circuit GPs and 200s - I was just getting hooked by about age eight or nine, and my first Ainteree Circuit Club programme is dated 1965.

Just to digress a little I'd been there a couple of years ago for the (failed?) 'Revival Meeting', where I'd been delighted to get the autographs of Sir Stirling, Tony Brooks and Roy Salvadori. Sir Stirling was in a wheelchair at the time and I was like a little boy when we exchanged a few words - I offered him a 1962 British GP programme to sign, adding 'I don't think you made it to that one - it wasn't a good year for you'. 'You're right' he said with a chuckle.

He made my day, although it wasn't good to see him in a wheelchair - he'd had an operation that had kept him away from the Gold Cup at Oulton a few months earlier. I was pleased to be able to wish him a good recovery, and will treasure the couple of signatures he gave me, and our brief conversation.

That day I also had a lap of the full GP track in a Routemaster bus - albeit with some changes to the second Melling Crossing, where some of the original GP track has been grassed over.

Back to today - I paused at the Melling Crossing just over the canal bridge, imagining the Mercedes 'train', and the later Vanwalls, then headed for the next crossing, only to find access to the club circuit. Theres a golf course on the infield, so some access is needed for Joe Public, but I then took the opportunity of driving around practically all of the club circuit, imagining I was holding second place between Sir Stirling and JMF!!

Towards the bottom of Railway Straight I turned round and sampled the anti-clockwise version. My Mum was a bit concerned that we were going to get told off - she soon settled down though, more intrigued by the 'baldy' horse jumps than the grey tarmac.

In short - it was fantastic! A great contrast of gentle golfing activity now and the silent roar of F1 cars and legends hanging in the air. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me but guess what - I have to go back to the hospital again with my Dad tomorrow...

Sorry to go on at some length, but with my drive on the Monza banking in August (see Monza banking thread) I feel I've done a good 'double', particularly with the mid fifties - early sixties F1 scene in mind - a favourite era.

I stiil have the smile on my face from today, :D :D and it was good to take my Dad back in time too. :up: :up:

Cheers

Rob

#47 Alan Cox

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 07:16

I learned at Donington last weekend that the Aintree Circuit Club are canvassing support for another motor racing festival, contrary to previous rumours that the circuit was no longer useable. The track is to be reinstated at Tatts, 35 feet wide, with a new assembly area/paddock behind the stands. Also, it wouldn't be in the winter, like the previous effort.

#48 cosworth bdg

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 07:23

Originally posted by David Beard


No Ian, he travelled there by bus. Here it is about to leave Ambleside in the Lake District.....

Posted Image

What year was that..........?

#49 Barry Boor

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 07:24

If this is true, Alan, it's great news.

#50 Rob29

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:12

Yes,that would be great news.I missed the November revival as I was out of the country at the time.Last went around 1984.I remember walking from the station to the then paddock entrance(in fact the only entrance?)and was just about to pay the guy on the gate for a ticket when Lorina Boughton rushed up and presented me with a free pass!