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From little acorns... memories of Brands Hatch


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#1 Twin Window

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 00:18

This is a press release photo of Brands Hatch, issued on February 16th 1950...

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The message [literally] reads;

"A view of the newly built Brands Hatch Stadium, near Farningham, Kent, today, when racing cars were tried out for the first time under supervision of motor racing officials and the R.A.C.

Subject to approval, the track will be used for motor cycle racing and motor car racing, and is due to open next month."


It's amazing to see the humble beginnings of what quickly became a venue which was appreciated by competitors and loved by visiting spectators from all over the world. Those who've been there over the years never forget the place, and almost always regard it as one of the best venues they've ever visited - in spite often getting saturated, and being forced to eat from the dreaded cholesterol castle!

In the photo there are no pits (and presumably no paddock, nor tunnel either), no grandstands, of course there's no GP circuit, and the cars are running anticlockwise on a track covered in mud. Oh, and trees are growing on South Bank!

My, how that place would change...

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#2 LB

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 00:57

Theres also no Druids Hairpin iirc.

Paddock hill bend must have been fun going uphill.

#3 Rob29

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 09:29

Druids hill was added to original 1 mile circuit in 1954 and direction of action changed to clockwise.Grandstand opened 1955.GP circuit and first pits(and tunnel) in 1960.

#4 BRG

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 11:01

Fascinating picture - I don’t know if it is just a trick of the light in that shot, but the track looks awfully narrow – far too narrow for racing. And did they really just build a track with no buildings? It doesn’t look like a track that was due to open ‘next month’ to me. Has anyone got any shots from the first proper meetings there as a comparison?

I didn’t visit Brands for the first time until 1967 – and it looked a LOT different by then!

#5 Ronaldo

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 13:29

That's a great picture, not seen that one before. Thanks Mr.Twin Window.

Perhaps I could mention that right up until the late seventies the circuit was used in the reverse direction (both long and short circuits) for a couple of motorcycle meetings every year. Having competed in those meetings, I still remember the massive acceleration down the steep hill from Druids leading to a stomach turning dip before the rise to the unsighted very late apex of Paddock. No run off area at all there, just bales along the track edge. Very difficult to get it right.

#6 Rob29

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 14:08

Originally posted by BRG
Fascinating picture - I don’t know if it is just a trick of the light in that shot, but the track looks awfully narrow – far too narrow for racing. And did they really just build a track with no buildings? It doesn’t look like a track that was due to open ‘next month’ to me. Has anyone got any shots from the first proper meetings there as a comparison?

I didn’t visit Brands for the first time until 1967 – and it looked a LOT different by then!

There were no buildings on the inside of the circuit until the GP circuit was opened in 1960. Not much that I recall on my first visit on the outside in 1955,apart from the now sadly demolished stand . Only motorbikes and 500cc cars were allowed until 1954.

#7 RTH

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 16:28

Oh to have circuits that look like that now, delightful, - unspoilt by tastless commercialism.

#8 SEdward

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Posted 03 December 2004 - 18:49

Brands has always been a wonderful circuit. I honestly feel that, in the UK, only Cadwell Park and Oulton Park can match it. Sadly, Brands and Oulton have been butchered, while Cadwell remains pretty well intact.

All those sweeps and dips and rises and irregular, negative camber curves...

Even in its most primitive state, Brands puts to shame almost all of the car park/theme park/slag heap apologies for circuits that we have to put up with now.

Edward

#9 Mike Lawrence

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 05:19

Until Druids was added, racing was restricted to the 500cc Formula Three, but you might get a dozen or so races on a programme. There were heats and finals for Junior and Senrior drivers (judged by experience, not age) and races for home-built cars.

Soon after Brands Hatch was extended, and other cars allowed to race, the Half-Litre Club became the British Racing & Sports Car Club. The club magazine became 'Motor Racing' edited by John Blunsden and Alan Brinton and that became the best magazine of the 1950s. It had an international outlook and had interviews with the likes of Fangio, Brooks and Scott Brown Tell me which other British magazine ever interviewed Fangio? The famous diagram of how Archie Scott Brown lapped Goodwood in his Lister-Jaguar (reproduced in 'Archie And The Listers' and on TNF) came from 'Motor Racing'.

'Motor Racing' also pioneered track tests, but they were always of new racing cars and Jack Fairman was usually the driver. Fairman wasn't a bad choice because, though not a great driver, he had wide experience.

'Motor Racing' was a better magazine overall than 'Motor Sport' if you wanted a broad perspective. I learned about the small Italian marque, Ermini, through Motor Racing, and I know that no photograph of the 1952 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL appeared in Motor Sport. There is no photo of this landmark car in the LAT archives.

The thing that most people missed about the power of Motor Sport in the 1950s and 1960s is the small ads at the back. Printers could sell pre-publication copies to the motor trade for a fiver, that's more than £100 in today's terms, cash in hand. Motor Racing never attracted much advertising.

Laying down a firm surface at Brands Hatch in 1950 led to a lot more than just 500cc racing.

#10 David Beard

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 16:41

Originally posted by Ronaldo
That's a great picture, not seen that one before. Thanks Mr.Twin Window.

Perhaps I could mention that right up until the late seventies the circuit was used in the reverse direction (both long and short circuits) for a couple of motorcycle meetings every year. Having competed in those meetings, I still remember the massive acceleration down the steep hill from Druids leading to a stomach turning dip before the rise to the unsighted very late apex of Paddock. No run off area at all there, just bales along the track edge. Very difficult to get it right.


I was going to mention those events..I attended at least one, and may still have the programme.
I'm trying to recall how much armco there was then, and how much of it was covered by the bales you mentioned. To run a circuit the "wrong" way, really the armco should all be unbolted and reassembled with the overlaps in the other direction.

#11 Ronaldo

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Posted 17 December 2004 - 13:16

Interestingly the site that evolved into the circuit was part of Barnshatch Farm, the main farm buildings being located immediately north of Westfield Wood.

Anyone know when and why the circuit name was changed to Brands.

#12 Lotus23

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Posted 18 December 2004 - 01:59

This has absolutely nothing to do with Brands, but the mention of bikes running the circuit "backwards" reminded me of Roebling Road near Savannah, GA. I recall attending a bike meeting there in the mid-60's where they ran the opposite direction from the 4-wheelers.

They may still do so...haven't been there in ages.

#13 Doug Nye

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Posted 18 December 2004 - 14:08

'Motor Racing' magazine from 1954 was run by one Roy Pearl with Douggie Armstrong an editorial asset. Pearl was subsequently moved aside as the magazine changed hands and track tests were conducted by new editor John Blunsden replacing Jack Fairman in 1961-62 as far as I can recall. His track tests included Ian Raby's Brabham-BRM BT3, an Aston Martin Project 214, Ford GT40, the Brands Hatch fire engine and Roy Pierpoint's Attila-Climax which he spun - without any damage - while brilliantly avoiding a schemozzle at the foot of Paddock Hill. John was/is a supremely competent driver who had competed (very briefly) in a C-Type Jaguar. I joined him on 'Motor Racing' at Brands Hatch in December 1963 as a sprog straight from school...primarily, however, as assistant editor (i.e. the only other editorial bloke) on 'Airfix Magazine' which was also published by Knightsbridge Publications Ltd. Working as occasional weekend press officer at Brands helped the pocket money situation through 1964-65. Cyril Posthumus later replaced 'Blunders' and Alan Brinton as editor, and I became Cyril's 2IC on 'Motor Racing'...but that was after we had moved offices away from that chilly portakabin adjacent to the paddock cafeteria at Brands Hatch...they were happy days actually...my works transport was a folding Moulton bike. :smoking:

DCN

#14 Ruairidh

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Posted 18 December 2004 - 18:32

Originally posted by Doug Nye
'Airfix Magazine' which was also published by Knightsbridge Publications Ltd.
DCN


Airfix as in those plastic kits stuck together with that smelly glue that got everywhere and painted with little pots of Humbrol (which also got everywhere)?

#15 Doug Nye

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Posted 18 December 2004 - 20:02

Not if you were any good at it...but otherwise...:cat: ...purrzactly...

#16 Rob29

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 08:45

Originally posted by Ruairidh


Airfix as in those plastic kits stuck together with that smelly glue that got everywhere and painted with little pots of Humbrol (which also got everywhere)?

They also made slot car racing sets around that time.My first contained a Lotus 24 & Porsche.

#17 Barry Boor

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 14:42

....and here they are....

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#18 Ruairidh

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 15:31

Originally posted by Barry Boor
....and here they are....

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Wow, I didn't know that!

#19 WDH74

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 20:59

Wasn't Brands originally intended for bicycle racing, or am I misinterpreting "bikes" again (or was that simply a different circuit at the same locale)? Also, as I'm not an expert, wasn't the first circuit essentially the small, kidney bean shaped one that I call the "Indy" circuit? I'm finding this one a bit confusing....which is perfectly normal for me!

-William

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#20 Twin Window

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 21:34

William

You're correct that the original layout was the 'Indy' circuit, except it didn't include Druids. Effectively the bottom of Paddock linked up with Bottom (Graham Hill) Bend, much in the same way as I seem to remember the rallycross track did.

#21 D-Type

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 22:00

William,

Prewar, Brands was used for motorcycle grass track racing - both solo and sidecars.

And before anybody asks - no i wasn't there! :lol:

#22 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 22:11

These photos are by Skyfotos/New Romney:

1949. The motorcycle grass track being tarmaced. Note the trees on South Bank.
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1950. Ready for the first meeting ( April). Spectator fencing in place.
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1955. The Druids extension added. Racing permanently clockwise now.
The course of the future GP track (opened in 1960) can be seen.
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1983. Brands roughly as it is today.
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#23 D-Type

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 17:31

I find the 1955 one interesting. Was the Grand Prix circuit based on existing tracks then? Or are they an early start to the works - cutting the trees so it's possible to survey the route properly for example.

#24 bigears

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 17:53

Also has the Paddock Hill bend have been reprofiled according to the 1983 photograph?

I can't really work it out to compare with the 1955 photo.

I have been wondering about that as in the early 1980s GPs at Brands Hatch, I could see some tarmac runoff areas at the top of the Paddock Hill bend. So is that from the old track?

I will try to find a photo with the tarmac runoff area during a 1980s GP.

#25 dolomite

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 18:50

Originally posted by bigears
Also has the Paddock Hill bend have been reprofiled according to the 1983 photograph?

I can't really work it out to compare with the 1955 photo.

I have been wondering about that as in the early 1980s GPs at Brands Hatch, I could see some tarmac runoff areas at the top of the Paddock Hill bend. So is that from the old track?

I will try to find a photo with the tarmac runoff area during a 1980s GP.


Yes, Paddock Hill bend was changed in 1976 to provide increased runoff area on the outside. The tarmac on the outside is the old track. You can see this clearly in photos of the shunt at the start of the 1976 GP.
At the same time the Cooper Straight was modified to increase the amount of space behind the pits. In the 1983 photo you can just see the beginning of the old track disappearing under the bottom lefthand corner of the tarmaced pit area.

#26 bigears

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Posted 22 December 2004 - 19:27

Oh I see now. Thank you for clairfying over this matter.

I have always wondered about the Cooper Straight with the Surtees corner. As I noticed in various motorsport programmes on ITV that the entry of Surtees is liek a quick left-right flick.

But in the 1955 photograph, it shows that the entry to Surtees is a bit of like a gentle left then a right to go around into Clark corner.

Also, I remember seeing footage of the 1976 GP stunt with the tarmac area. Now I understand the whole thing.

#27 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 11:57

I was quite amazed to see a rallycross from BH event on TV, with cars running on and of the 'normal' GP track. Was that a permanent rallycross course or one designed anew every year?

#28 D-Type

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 12:15

From memory:

Rallycross was 'invented' in the Brands Hatch car parks. About 1963 there was an outbreak of foot and mouth disease and the RAC Rally was cancelled. As the cars and drivers were available, and the BBC had a slot to fill they set up a course in the Brands car park and filmed it. This went down quite well and they then instituted rallycross proper in about 1968 at Lydden Hill, also in Kent. the course was a mixture of tarmac and dirt plus spreading chalk all over the tarmac 'Hairy Hill' to simulate snow. The idea being to produce a reflect the different conditions a rally driver had (and still has?) to cope with. Then they let Paddy Hopkirk etc loose on it. The hill soon lost its chalk, they realised four cars at a time was even more fun. And Rallycross was born with a short circuit and a mix of tarmac and loose surfaces.

They then wanted more venues and, amongst others, Brands Hatch obliged.

The loop at Clearways has also been used for stock car racing, but I don't know if that was why it was built.

All of this is off the top of my head and is probably complete bulldust

Edited by D-Type, 12 May 2009 - 12:28.


#29 SEdward

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 13:50

The loop at Clearways was indeed used for stock car racing. I even seem to remember some midget car races there.

Wasn't there a track for scrambling too? I think that it was in the woods to the left of Pilgrim's Rise, or whatever it's called now.

Do the cars parked on South Bank still sound their horns when the winner drives by on his lap of honour?

Edward

#30 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 13:53

There was also the mini-circuit, used for club meetings in the late 60s when the stock cars were on the clearways oval. The course turned right halfway along bottom straight at the back of the pits using the link road to the top straight, as can be seen in the 1983 photo. This link road also forms part of the modern day rallycross course.

#31 Rob29

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 14:00

The first 'Rallycross' as I remember it ,was organized for the BBC,not I recall on account of foot & mouth, but snow & ice. All the regular sport they used to show in January,Horse racing & rugby was frozen off. Unfortunately the planned ice racing in the field behind the Brands grandstand became mud plugging due a thaw on the race morning!

#32 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 14:07

It looks as though there is a scramble track in the trees at the top of Druids in this shot ( under the yellow type 'kentagon').
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#33 SEdward

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Posted 23 December 2004 - 16:02

Many thanks Andrew. That's the one.

Edward

#34 Twin Window

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 10:47

Originally posted by SEdward

Do the cars parked on South Bank still sound their horns when the winner drives by on his lap of honour?

Those days are long gone, Edward. You can't even get your car onto South Bank any more, never mind honk your horn... :(

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#35 David Lawson

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 11:29

Sorry to correct you TW but you can still park on South Bank for most of the meetings although the practice of sounding horns has almost completely died out.

The rallycross circuit is pretty much the same each year with the cars turning right just before Paddoch going down the infield on cinders before rejoining the track at an S bend at the foot of Pilgrims Rise, after Druids the cars turn left and go along the top of the South Bank car park again on cinders and turn right down the slope and across the track at Kidney and then turn right onto the circuit pit straight.

I think the scramble track in the trees is a 4x4 off road "experience" offered by Brands Hatch as part of the racing school. I'm not sure about this.

David

#36 Twin Window

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 11:39

On the contrary, David, please correct away... :up:

Actually, I haven't been to Brands for a car race in ages so I wonder if I've got that impression from the World Superbike meetings? Or maybe I've just lost it! :blush:

#37 RTH

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 11:46

Actually you are both right, a couple of months ago I was surprised to see cars back parked on the south bank ( not mind you in anything like the sea of bumper to bumper numbers of the early 70's , I was one of those myself every Sunday in those halcyon days ,)

Stuart is also right for a great many years now , very stupidly the circuit did not allow people to watch from this great vantage point in the comfort of their own car - something which was often the only way to get spouses etc to attend at all ! The circuit owners seem to love repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot .

#38 D-Type

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 22:00

hmmm
The 1983 aerial photo shows a full paddock, cars on the track but South Bank almost empty. It must have been early on a practice day. I can't see any shadows clear enough to say the time.

#39 Twin Window

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 22:05

Just a flying guess, but if it really is a genuine 1983 pic, then you might remember that the weather was unseasonally brilliant for the European GP held that October. So much so, in fact, that I got a bit of a top-up to my fading tan!

And, if so, then perhaps it was taken on the Friday...

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#40 eldougo

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 08:04

:wave:
I found this pictures of BRANDS. Front cover of S.C.W.(Sport Car World) November 1963. As you can see there is no pitsboxesand you can see right across track. I guess that is Frank Gardner on pole in the yellow car with white helmut,i don't know the rest....hint hint. :up:

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#41 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 08:10

Gardner in the BT5 of course...

#42 Barry Boor

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 10:46

Given that this picture is taken AFTER the Grand Prix extension was built, I am sure there were proper pits but the start/finish line is closer to Paddock Bend than the end of the pits so you can't see them.

Of course, I may be completely wrong.....

#43 Doug Nye

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 10:57

That's Frank Gardner almost hidden from view over on the far side of the photograph isn't it? Paul Hawkins in the sister Ian Walker team car closest the camera, Tony Hegbourne in a Normand Lotus 23 in white with the red and blue bands on the nose and - perhaps??? - Jim Morley's 23 in third spot just inboard of Hawkeye???

DCN

#44 eldougo

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 02:33

Originally posted by eldougo
:wave:
I found this pictures of BRANDS. Front cover of S.C.W.(Sport Car World) November 1963. As you can see there is no pitsboxesand you can see right across track. I guess that is Frank Gardner on pole in the yellow car with white helmut,i don't know the rest....hint hint. :up:

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POLE (inside)Frank Gardner Brabham BT5-Tony Hegbourne Normand Lotus 23 - Jim Morley Lotus23 & Paul Hawkins Lotus 23.
Thanks for that info DCN.

#45 sterling49

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 11:16

As the forum will know, I for my sins ( :lol: ) was brought up in Kent, within earshot of Brands, having lived in my current vicinity for the past 47 years, it was a normal occurrence to have traffic disruption at GP week-ends and to hear F1 cars and Bikes, echoing around the valley. I think I was so priviledged to witness and attend so many of the meetings that I did during the golden era, but Brands conveys so many things to me. The Old Pavillion, where one could thaw out whilst nursing a hot cuppa and a bourbon biscuit, where I could cheekily ask George and Rose Officer, if there were any posters spare, and could I sneak into the Paddock through the Pavillion entrance by his office (......he usually said yes to both!). The old Green BBC outside broadcast unit Commer Trucks dotted around the track ( usually one behind Druids), the deep puddles out on the long circuit under the spectator/safety banks that in spring were alive with frogs :lol: Rallycrossing my GT Cortina in the valley out on the long circuit and sideways motoring (shades of Ronnie :lol: ). The sadness during the day at that BOAC meeting, the Victory meeting that October, Pedro's amazing drive in the 917. Seppi's GP win in 1968, Jochen in 1970, Jimmy Clark in a myriad of Lotus cars from 1962, David Bowie at a Radio London day, dinner dances in the then "new" Kentagon. My old motoring club (Bexley Light Car Club) used to meet in the bar behind the Pavillion every Tuesday evening. Brands was a source of fun, excitement, sadness, beauty and in between races on a club meeting, peace, on the long circuit. I go now and it seems those days were a longtime ago. Lots of members here would have visited "my" home circuit, prey tell of your recollections of Kent's finest?

#46 Alan Cox

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 12:47

Seems like a great topic for a thread, sterling, long overdue I would suggest. I hope it grows to rival the one about the Oulton Park scoreboard.

The first time I went to Brands was as a 12 year-old schoolboy in short trousers, on August Bank Holiday Monday 1964, for the Guards Trophy meeting - my first visit to a race meeting, but a reader of Motoring News (6d every Thursday) for about two years. As an avid reader of everything in that paper, I could tell my Dad all about up-and-coming Scotsman Jackie Stewart, who we saw in the F3 race (which he failed to win) and also in the Guards Trophy itself in John Coombs' E Type. My greatest recollections are of the Guards Trophy and the Mecom team with its Lola and Scarab, with Augie Pabst and A J Foyt, and Bruce McLaren winning it. It was the day after the German GP, and Clark, Hill, Brabham et al had rushed back for a day in the Kent sunshine for some 'fun' motor racing in front a vast crowd. Great days.

#47 picblanc

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 13:37

Originally posted by sterling49
As the forum will know, I for my sins ( :lol: ) was brought up in Kent, within earshot of Brands, having lived in my current vicinity for the past 47 years, it was a normal occurrence to have traffic disruption at GP week-ends and to hear F1 cars and Bikes, echoing around the valley. I think I was so priviledged to witness and attend so many of the meetings that I did during the golden era, but Brands conveys so many things to me. The Old Pavillion, where one could thaw out whilst nursing a hot cuppa and a bourbon biscuit, where I could cheekily ask George and Rose Officer, if there were any posters spare, and could I sneak into the Paddock through the Pavillion entrance by his office (......he usually said yes to both!). The old Green BBC outside broadcast unit Commer Trucks dotted around the track ( usually one behind Druids), the deep puddles out on the long circuit under the spectator/safety banks that in spring were alive with frogs :lol: Rallycrossing my GT Cortina in the valley out on the long circuit and sideways motoring (shades of Ronnie :lol: ). The sadness during the day at that BOAC meeting, the Victory meeting that October, Pedro's amazing drive in the 917. Seppi's GP win in 1968, Jochen in 1970, Jimmy Clark in a myriad of Lotus cars from 1962, David Bowie at a Radio London day, dinner dances in the then "new" Kentagon. My old motoring club (Bexley Light Car Club) used to meet in the bar behind the Pavillion every Tuesday evening. Brands was a source of fun, excitement, sadness, beauty and in between races on a club meeting, peace, on the long circuit. I go now and it seems those days were a longtime ago. Lots of members here would have visited "my" home circuit, prey tell of your recollections of Kent's finest?


Lovely comment Sterling, my first visit was in 1972 at Easter for the Trans Atlantic Trophy meeting, a very big Motorcycle meeting at the time, GB v USA, but my most vivid memories are a few years later 74 to 76? when we used to drive in to the circuit when practice had just started, and you could hear the bikes (or Cars as I did a few of them in 74/5) and parking up under the big wooden advertising hoardings on the edge of Clearways, and running up the bank to see them race past, the sound and the smell....fantastic!! no chain link safety fencing in those days and you were right on the edge of the track also back then!!.
Not quite the same now, but what is? :

#48 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 15:30

I have posted some photos from my first visit to Brands Hatch on August 1, 1953, Also some others from when I worked in the Paddock as a go-fer for Bert Lambkins. Until we left England in 1969, I regarded Brands as my second home. My wife has many memories (good or bad?) of being there with our two small children and taking them for long walks (with a push chair) all around the long circuit. Before we had our own children she would sometimes baby sit driver's children so that the wife could watch her husband race. Her vantage spot to watch the racing was the Mechanic's stand by Paddock. I flagged at virtually every point around the circuit,but for the more important races I was ususally on a straight where there would be opvertaking. I also did a few stints at #3 post at Paddock where I wore my arm out waving yellow flags.

Other memories; collaborating with Graham Hill at Dingle Dell in a sports car race to show a blue to anyone when he waved coming out of Westfield! Waving a yellow when Jim Clark crashed his Lotus 33 on the Bottom Straight during a hectic duel with Dan Gurney. Following a cloud burst on the first lap which saw Bruce McLaren leave the track and disappear into the bushes at Westfield, very wet Guards Trophy when Surtees drove his Lola as if it was a dry track. Some drivers had their hand up in front of their face for protection against the rain. Denny Hulme in an F1 McLAren using the grass on the inside going into Paddock to overtake a driver when I was standing there waving a blue flag at the slower car! I ran! Working Pit Exit for an F1 practice when Surtees had a 3 litre V12 Honda which seemed to be the loudest race car I had heard. He was in after nearly every lap and I always had to hold him, thus experiencing the full benefit of the noise as he took off alongside me.

Many times we left there cold and wet, but I always put my name down for the next race meeting.

Marshall's training in February was always a great time. One year we used compressed air chisels to cut up an Austin A35 into small pieces! We were taught First Aid and Fire Fighting, how to make a path through a fire with a dry powder extinguisher, put on an aluminized asbestos suit to enter a fire and pick something up. Fortunately, as a flagger, I never had to use those skills.

On a personal note, Sterling, as a member of the Bexley Light Car Club, did you know Frank Harrison, who died last year? We were at college together and I some times stayed at his house.

#49 sterling49

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 16:00

Originally posted by Robin Fairservice
On a personal note, Sterling, as a member of the Bexley Light Car Club, did you know Frank Harrison, who died last year? We were at college together and I some times stayed at his house.


Robin, I have a tear in my eye.....I attended Frank's funeral in Hartley Church last year, I sat next to my former English teacher during the service, and then attended a brief meeting in The Anchor & Hope(as Frank would have approved!). Frank was a lovely guy, he had the hard job of keeping us under control for years! He was the guy that drove Graham Hill to open our school bank in 1965 from Race of Champions practice (that same year of Jimmy/Dan) and yes, I must have been near you, as I saw the accident on the bottom straight, the only time that I ever saw Jimmy damage a car IIRC. What a small world Robin! I used to go for a drink with Frank once a month, and last saw him in February or March of last year, my friends and I were shattered at his passing, he was always out on events, ready to marshal, in the pub, whatever. I feel honoured to have been taught by him, and then count him as a friend untill his passing.
So you must have stayed in Church Road, Hartley, a well worn path for my old tracker bike!

#50 sterling49

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 16:04

Originally posted by Alan Cox
Seems like a great topic for a thread, sterling, long overdue I would suggest. I hope it grows to rival the one about the Oulton Park scoreboard.

The first time I went to Brands was as a 12 year-old schoolboy in short trousers, on August Bank Holiday Monday 1964, for the Guards Trophy meeting - my first visit to a race meeting, but a reader of Motoring News (6d every Thursday) for about two years. As an avid reader of everything in that paper, I could tell my Dad all about up-and-coming Scotsman Jackie Stewart, who we saw in the F3 race (which he failed to win) and also in the Guards Trophy itself in John Coombs' E Type. My greatest recollections are of the Guards Trophy and the Mecom team with its Lola and Scarab, with Augie Pabst and A J Foyt, and Bruce McLaren winning it. It was the day after the German GP, and Clark, Hill, Brabham et al had rushed back for a day in the Kent sunshine for some 'fun' motor racing in front a vast crowd. Great days.


Alan, surprise, surprise, I was there too! I was so excited to see the likes of A.J and Augie, having read about Indy and suchlike. Great races, super days, did they not bill the Group 7 race as "Days of Thunder?" when Clark drove the Lotus 30 and 40 on consecutive years....where is that time machine??