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British GP race days; from Saturdays to Sundays...


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#1 Twin Window

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 22:21

For reasons I cannot explain, I just decided to check British Grand Prix race days (since 1950) against their calendar dates.

Prior to the sweltering heat of Sunday July 18th, 1976 at Brands Hatch, the BGP had been held exclusively on Saturdays regardless of its venue.

Silverstone, however, stuck to a Saturday race until it switched in 1985, and has been hosted on Sundays ever since.

Why was this? Was the British GP originally held on a Saturday because of some form of religious conflict? I seem to recall that this was (possibly still is) an issue at Oulton Park and, IIRC, Thruxton.

Can anyone shed any light?

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#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 22:36

It had something to do with not being able to charge for admission to sporting events which took place on Sundays, Stu. When Sunday cricket started in the 1960s they got round it by charging for a (compulsory) scorecard.

#3 Stoatspeed

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 00:12

I think the answer is "The Lords Day Observance Society" ... there was a recent item in the MAC News about the same effect on Sunday dates for Shelsley Walsh hillclimbs, although I recalled the events discussed were in the "50 years ago" or "75 years ago" section of the mag., so rather earlier than you mention. Aparently, the LDOS had brought successful prosecution against some events and the MAC comittee of the day decided that they would avoid the risk of prosecution (persecution?) by changing to Saturday events for a while ...
I'll see if I can dig out the article, or maybe Toby Moody can lay hands on it faster ...?

#4 Rob29

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 06:37

RAC rules prohibited trade supported meetings on sundays until 1966. First international on a sunday was the 'Motor Show 200' F2 at Brands Hatch in Oct66. First F1 the Race of Champions the following march.
Only circuits I recall visiting on a sunday before then were Brands & Snetterton for clubbies. Crystal Palace,Goodwood,Silverstone,Oulton Park, Castle Coombe & Aintree were sats & bank holidays only

#5 BRG

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 09:18

What about other GPs elsewhere? Have these always been on Sundays, and, if not, why not and why did they change?

#6 Sharman

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 09:29

Continental Sundays!!!

#7 ian senior

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 09:38

What about when the Indy 500 was a championship race? Doesn't - or didn't - that occur on the same date every year, regardless of what day of the week it is (you'll have to excuse my ignorance of most things pertaining to oval racing). And not REALLY a GP, of course.

#8 scheivlak

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 09:42

Earlier threads:
http://forums.autosp...ghlight=sundays
http://forums.autosp...ghlight=sundays

So there have been GPs on Saturdays and an occasional Monday holiday in other countries (Netherlands, South Africa) as well.

#9 Stephen W

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 09:42

There was also the Sunday Trading Act which prohibitted businesses trading on the Sabbath.

I remember going to see Preston North End play on a Sunday and they couldn't charge for admission but they sold Day Membership of the 'North End' club. For your 'membership' you got a programme and a Membership card which you handed in at the turnstiles.

The move to Sunday racing was gradual and in some cases where there are churches nearby the venue they still have quiet periods on Sundays when the services are on.

:wave:

#10 ensign14

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 09:43

Originally posted by BRG
What about other GPs elsewhere? Have these always been on Sundays, and, if not, why not and why did they change?

South Africa certainly had them on Saturdays. I think for religious reasons. Strangely running a Grand Prix on a Sunday was blasphemous but treating non-Caucasians as sub-human was not.

#11 Geoff E

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 09:51

I think the miners' strike of 1974 and "electricity rationing" resulted in League football being played on a Sunday. Possibly, more than anything else, this was the factor that brought about professional Sunday sport in the UK.

#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 09:56

Oddly enough, we don't seem to have done a listing of these. Ignoring the Indy 500 and British GP I came up with these WC events:

USA 1959 - Saturday

Netherlands 1960 and 1961 - Monday

South Africa 1962-85: Saturdays except 1965, 1967 and 1968. I assume New Year's Day is a public holiday in ZA: the 1965 race was on a Friday, 1967 and 1968 on a Monday. The 1967 race was on January 2nd, as New Year's Day fell on Sunday.

There may be more.

And IIRC Monaco was sometimes held on Mondays pre-war.

#13 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 10:10

Originally posted by ian senior
What about when the Indy 500 was a championship race? Doesn't - or didn't - that occur on the same date every year, regardless of what day of the week it is (you'll have to excuse my ignorance of most things pertaining to oval racing). And not REALLY a GP, of course.

The "fixed" date for the 500 was May 30th - Memorial Day - but when May 30th fell on a Sunday, the holiday was taken on Monday May 31st. That only affects one of the 500s which were part of the Championship - 1954.

So:

1950 Tuesday
1951 Wednesday
1952 Friday
1953 Saturday
1954 Monday
1955 Monday
1956 Tuesday
1957 Wednesday
1958 Friday
1959 Saturday
1960 Monday

#14 LOTI

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 10:19

I do recall sunday morning at Brands having to be quiet for an hour, presumably while some church near by had a service? this would have been 66 and 67. A strange double standard as previously mentioned...... you can go out and race noisy, smelly cars as long as you go to church first and say you are sorry [or not].
Loti

#15 BRG

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 10:26

Originally posted by LOTI
A strange double standard as previously mentioned...... you can go out and race noisy, smelly cars as long as you go to church first and say you are sorry [or not].
Loti

I think that's a bit unfair - it was more a live-and-let-live arrangement - you can race noisy cars on Sunday as long as you keep it quiet whilst the churches hold their morning services. Quiet spiritual contemplation and unsilenced racing engines don't really mix, after all.

#16 JamesPage

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 10:28

Veering slightly from the topic, but what Loti said reminded of a time many years ago when I went to a sprint that Dad was competing in at Oulton Park. One of the other drivers there was a vicar, and they let him do all his practice runs one after the other so that he could nip off, perform a wedding ceremony, then return in the afternoon for his timed runs!

#17 Hieronymus

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 10:32

Originally posted by Vitesse2

South Africa 1962-85: Saturdays except 1965, 1967 and 1968. I assume New Year's Day is a public holiday in ZA: the 1965 race was on a Friday, 1967 and 1968 on a Monday. The 1967 race was on January 2nd, as New Year's Day fell on Sunday.



I do not have my files with me at the moment, but I recall that the 1st South African GP (aka Border 100) was held on a Thursday (27 December 1934).

Saturdays were always the "sports days" in South Africa some years ago, but nothing prevented one from staging an event on a Sunday. It was not the norm, though. I recall that one of the first ever motor races I attended was on a Sunday. That was 1970/71.

As far back as the late 40's there was already races held on a Sunday out here.

#18 Head Rev

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 13:18

Problem solved here in Australia........

As a Motorpsort Chaplain (South Australia) I will often have either a short service or say a prayer with competitors and / or track officials on a Sunday morning before racing starts. Keeps everyone happy!!!!

The only time I get any complaints is when it rains..... but I tell the competitors that I'm in sales and not management!!!

Doug Nye should or will remember me as the Chaplain at the Classic Adelaide Rally which I officiate each year (that's if he is paying attention at the competitors briefing!!!).

GO HARD / PRAY HARD

#19 Stoatspeed

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 14:01

Originally posted by JamesPage
One of the other drivers there was a vicar, and they let him do all his practice runs one after the other so that he could nip off, perform a wedding ceremony, then return in the afternoon for his timed runs!

I would venture to guess that the vicar in question was probably the Rev. Barry Whitehead who ran a Terrapin-like creation called the RBS - "Reverend Barry Special" IIRC. He was part of the Allan Staniforth circle of Lancashire/Yorkshire special builders, along with Keith Gowers and his Monopin ..
Dave

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#20 JamesPage

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 14:03

Yes - that name seems to ring a bell (if you'll excuse the church-related pun).

#21 Stephen W

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 15:50

Originally posted by JamesPage
Veering slightly from the topic, but what Loti said reminded of a time many years ago when I went to a sprint that Dad was competing in at Oulton Park. One of the other drivers there was a vicar, and they let him do all his practice runs one after the other so that he could nip off, perform a wedding ceremony, then return in the afternoon for his timed runs!


That would be Barry Whitehead. He is retired now but still does the odd service when asked! He now runs RBS6 and shares with his daughter Eve.

:wave:

#22 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 15:57

And not REALLY a GP, of course.


:rolleyes:

#23 SEdward

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 19:02

Sunday morning practice was interrupted at Brands for an hour throughout the 1970s. I don't know if it is still the case. The break coincided with the Sunday morning service at the nearby Fawkham church.

Edward

#24 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 19:10

Isnt there a similar situation somewhere like Thruxton, currently?

#25 MCS

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 19:29

Oulton Park meetings used to be on Saturdays and then in the seventies (1973?) dispensation was given by the local council to run some meetings on Sundays.

The clubbies at Aintree were also on Saturdays and I was curious to know if the Grands Prix were also held on Saturday. Anybody?

#26 Twin Window

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 19:30

They were - see my opening post!

#27 MCS

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 19:37

Whoops! :cat: (Long day...)

#28 Roger Clark

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 21:06

There was a time when all Grands Prix started on a Tuesday.

#29 Alan Cox

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 21:23

Yes, Mark, as Twinny says all Aintree GPs were on a Saturday, as were the Aintree 200s.

The first Oulton Sunday meeting was the Rothmans European F5000 round on May 13th 1973, won by Teddy Pilette in a Chevron, from Peter Gethin.

Most Oulton "clubbies" are still run on a Saturday. Sunday meetings at Oulton still don't seem quite right to me. There is a noon curfew on Sundays, before which engines cannot be started.

#30 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 21:42

Originally posted by Roger Clark
There was a time when all Grands Prix started on a Tuesday.

All the Grands Prix, but not the Grand Prizes ;)

#31 Stephen W

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Posted 12 August 2006 - 08:53

Originally posted by Alan Cox
Most Oulton "clubbies" are still run on a Saturday. Sunday meetings at Oulton still don't seem quite right to me. There is a noon curfew on Sundays, before which engines cannot be started.


Kirkistown has the same Sunday restrictions - no starting race engines before 12 noon.

:wave:

#32 Rob29

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Posted 12 August 2006 - 09:23

Originally posted by Stephen W


Kirkistown has the same Sunday restrictions - no starting race engines before 12 noon.

:wave:

I thought Kirkistown was still saturdays only-has there ever been sunday racing in N.Ireland?

#33 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 12 August 2006 - 09:53

Chatting to Ian Flux at Snetterton recently - he came up with an interesting idea, not sure if it would work though. For years now the public has been out numbered at the F3 & GT meetings by the amount of corporate guests. The number of paying spectators is often pitiful. The major money spinner to circuits and clubs are the race entry fees and corporate entertainment.

Ian suggested having the meetings on a Friday. The corporate set would love the day off work to attend and talk business, it might also attract more sponsors as it is the later TV broadcasts that count. How many of those company executives that are possible sponsors want to devote their precious weekend time to 10-12 race meetings per year? They could be persuaded with 10-12 Fridays or a mix, some weekends some Fridays.

Noise restrictions also may not be so strict on a weekday. It works for horse racing, cricket and many other sports. They still get punters through the gate. The major stumbling block I can think of is finding enough marshals who all have day jobs.

#34 Wolf

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Posted 12 August 2006 - 10:38

And more recently FIM motorcycle races held on Assen (Dutch TT?) are held on Saturday... It's a pity they seem to have ruined the track.

#35 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 12 August 2006 - 11:56

The late and much-lamented "Southern 500" at Darlington was held on Monday, Labor Day, for years upon years until the laws concerning the purchase of alcohol in South Carolina were changed to allow beer to be purchased on Sundays (all that could be sold at the track). The move of the Southern 500 to Sunday was as not as well-received as you might think.

In the Unted States, many States had "Blue Laws" which restricted various activities on Sundays, sports usually being among the restricted activies in many of the States with such laws.

I seem to recall that the "Firecracker 400" was initially held on July Fourth -- regardless of what day it fell upon during the week.

It seems that in the early years of American racing that events tended to be held from Thursday to Saturday and apparently any other day that suited the promoter's purpose.

#36 subh

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Posted 12 August 2006 - 21:43

Originally posted by Wolf
And more recently FIM motorcycle races held on Assen (Dutch TT?) are held on Saturday... It's a pity they seem to have ruined the track.


The Dutch TT was part of Assen speed week for a long time - and I’m not sure if this still happens - but the GPs have indeed been on Saturdays for many years. The Brazil/Río GP was on Saturday until they stopped going there a couple of years ago, and the Superbike and GP races in Qatar are on Saturdays. British Superbikes attract the crowds on three Bank Holiday Mondays each season.

#37 scheivlak

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Posted 12 August 2006 - 22:01



The Dutch TT was part of Assen speed week for a long time - and I’m not sure if this still happens - but the GPs have indeed been on Saturdays for many years. The Brazil/Río GP was on Saturday until they stopped going there a couple of years ago, and the Superbike and GP races in Qatar are on Saturdays. British Superbikes attract the crowds on three Bank Holiday Mondays each season.

To quote myself from http://forums.autosp...postuserid=8254

They kept the tradition.
The 'Dutch TT' dates from 1920s when certainly this part of the Netherlands was far more under strict Calvinist-christian influence than it is these days. And there were already strict sunday rest rules all over the country those days.
Another reason given is that the first circuit was far longer than it is these days and went through and alongside some villages where the inhabitants should be able to go to church without having to watch out for passing race bike.



#38 jo-briggs

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 08:28

One of the "Get arounds" for a Sunday event was to charge for the programme, entry being free. At all the UK circuits I raced at, IIRC, there was a "quiet hour"

The Sunday Grand Prix thing was complicated by the fact that Alfred Owen, owner of BRM, was a Lay Preacher and would not allow his cars to race in the UK on The Lords Day. Presumably, on the Continong, them all being heathen Catholics, it was alright to race on a Sunday!

Remember the stupid Sunday Trading laws extant; we could go into a shop and buy a newspaper but not a loaf of bread, sweets but not writing paper.