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UK racing venues: the definitive list


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#101 ghinzani

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 16:13

Originally posted by Macca
Horndean is a grass stock-car track in a field about 0.5 miles south of the village beside the B2149 - easily visible on google maps (and they're racing there this weekend!).

Paul M

(edit: but the Horndean mentioned on Steve's list of hillclimbs would be Windmill Hill, north of the village east of the A3 (and about a quarter of a mile from me!)


I see it, just by the road down to Rowlands Castle. My in-laws live 5 mins from that track yet Id never heard of it. Something to do when Im over there then.

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#102 ghinzani

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 16:19

Originally posted by fuzzi
Fordingbridge was used in 1946 & 47 it was a loose & dusty course over the downs to an RAF site Ken Hutchison's Allard was fastest in May 46 and Leslie Allard (brother of Sydney) was fastest in May47.



Trengwainton used the drive to the house which is part of the National Trust gardens it was very tight and looks daunting on foot.


Re Fordingbridge, this may sound stupid but its not Ibsley is it? I didnt even know Fordingbrdige had downs!

Re Trengwainton - the drive??!! I wouldnt take a pedal car up there!

#103 ghinzani

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 16:20

Originally posted by David McKinney

You're going to kill me for this :)
Quite recently, I read a fairly accurate description of exactly where this was, and thought "That's interesting". I may even have gone so far as to find it on Google Earth. But now I can't remember where it was, or where I read about it. This sort of thing happens when you get older :wave:


Yes I sympathise! If you do recall though...

#104 fuzzi

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 16:23

Fordingbridge I have down as a Sprint course and it isn't Iblsey as far as I know. Though I'd like confirmation ;)

#105 bradbury west

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 16:51

Originally posted by fuzzi
Thorney Island was an RAF base not far from Goodwood AFAIK it was n't used for sprinting,
]

It was in 1969 , not sure about other years, nor which club ran it.
Roger Lund
.

#106 Barry Boor

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 18:06

Sixteen posts since my qiestion about Edzell but no answers. :(

#107 fuzzi

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 18:53

Originally posted by bradbury west

It was in 1969 , not sure about other years, nor which club ran it.
Roger Lund
.


Thank you Roger, I will investigate further and if I find out more I'll let you know.

Barry, All I have on Edzell is It is in Aberdeenshire and is a former airfield used for motor cyle racing and car sprints and that is from "Road Racing Scotland" on the Web

#108 bradbury west

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 19:37

Originally posted by Barry Boor
Sixteen posts since my qiestion about Edzell but no answers. :(

Barry, looking at the Autosport report for the June '59 meeting, there are 2 photos showing 3 cars, with spectators on the outside and drums on the inside with the cars clearly turning right, with the other with a s/seater with some opposite left lock, possibly indicating that the track went clockwise, although the map shows a major left bend on part of the circuit. Perhaps Graham Gauld can help
Roger Lund

#109 Mark A

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 19:43

This is my understanding of Edzell's layout and location. Perhaps Roger can pinpoint other runways in his pics from Autosport.

Posted Image

Lat: 56°48'33.51"N
Long: 2°36'20.23"W

Nothing on direction or startline even on the old RacingCircuits.net site.

#110 Barry Boor

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 21:20

Thanks for that, Roger. I'll probably go with clockwise.

It looks quite a nice circuit for slot cars and the real one was 3 miles long, which must have led to a pretty long (by today's standards anyway) lap time.

#111 RS2000

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 21:41

Trengwainton, August 1966

Posted Image
Posted Image

Posted Image
Posted Image

Stopping distance at the top became an issue (unjustifiably so and down to one individual's influential opinion according to a regional champion who competed there in the 70s). Then overtaken by National Trust taking it over (same NT problem as Dyrham Park).

Regarding Dunkeswell, the earlier comment regarding Kirstie Allsop should be re-directed at Nigel Mansell. I'm sure that has been covered before here but the problems with Dunkeswell were Mansell's development plans, not the existing use for karting and car sprints. Even then, IIRC, he could have secured his planning assents if he had been willing to compromise on the height of one building. Instead he seems to have gone off in a huff and left the place blighted for sprints.

Thorney Island was used for stage rallying in the 80s.
Edzell was due to be used for stage rallying (after the USN puilled out?) in comparatively recent years.
Clay Pigeon kart track was used for a car sprint for the first time this spring and another is scheduled for October. Like most new speed venues, low entries initially - and that may kill it.
Some of the venues being mentioned (Zig Zag Hill nr Blandford?) were public road hill climbs that were run all over the place up until the Kop Hill problem (1920something?). Chris Mason's "Uphill Racers" lists many of them but it will be a long list if repeated here.

#112 David McKinney

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 21:52

Back to Fordingbridge, and an attempt to redeem myself

The Motor Sport report of the 1946 event mentions a "very loose-surfaced gravel winding road over the downs" on private property and says "the crowd could see almost the whole of the hill from the natrual banks beside the road". Does that help?

#113 bradbury west

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 23:33

Originally posted by Barry Boor
Thanks for that, Roger. I'll probably go with clockwise.

It looks quite a nice circuit for slot cars and the real one was 3 miles long, which must have led to a pretty long (by today's standards anyway) lap time.

Fastest lap was around 95mph so a lap for most would be over 2 mins, I suspect.
Perhaps someone at Aberdeen and District MC may have some recollections of track layout and start line position. The race report gives some corner names.
RL

#114 RStock

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 03:57

Originally posted by ghinzani


I also recall hearing of drag races there many years ago.


Speaking of which , Should Santa Pod be mentioned here ? I don't think I saw it anywhere .

#115 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 08:40

Originally posted by REDARMYSOJA


Speaking of which , Should Santa Pod be mentioned here ? I don't think I saw it anywhere .


Does anyone recall the plans to create a full circuit at the Pod sometime in the 90s? There was a layout in Autosport - may even have been a Jim Bamber drawing . I can't recall any other mention of it after that so wonder how serious a plan it really was?

#116 Stephen W

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 11:02

Originally posted by simonlewisbooks


Does anyone recall the plans to create a full circuit at the Pod sometime in the 90s? There was a layout in Autosport - may even have been a Jim Bamber drawing . I can't recall any other mention of it after that so wonder how serious a plan it really was?


When the sprints, as opposed to the drag races, took place at Santa Pod they set out cones to provide something other than a straight line blast. However it wasn't a circuit. The venue was only used once as a round of the British Sprint Championship (1971) when Bob Rose won in his McLaren M10B in a time of 41.59 seconds.

:wave:

#117 RS2000

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 11:28

Santa Pod made a comeback as a sprint course around 1994/5(?), using cones etc. Only one event in that later period I think.

#118 Neil Andrew

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 22:47

There was motorcycle racing at Errol, an old airfield between Perth & Dundee in the fifties, and motorcycle sand racing at Prestwick, on the Ayrshire coast in the same period.

I also remember coming across a car sprint event on the promenade at Bognor Regis in the summer of 1970.

nca

#119 brakedisc

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 23:14

St Andrews had races on the beach.

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#120 Simpson RX1

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 00:04

Well, there were some mentioned in the OP and a few more since, so here's a list of some of the English venues that have been host to bona fide motorcycle speedway tracks over the years:


Stamford Bridge
Hackney
Wembley
Wimbledon
Crystal Palace
New Cross
West Ham (Custom House)
Lea Bridge
Walthamstow
White City
Harringay
Romford
Crayford
Halifax
Bradford
Bristol
Southampton
Oxford
California
Ringwood
Cradley Heath
Liverpool
Yarmouth
Norwich
Exeter
St Austell
Trelawny
Milton Keynes
Leicester
Nelson
Rayleigh
Portsmouth
Aldershot
Fleetwood
Middlesbrough
Castleford
Hull
Barrow
Leeds
Barnsley
Salford
Burnley
Wombwell
Hastings
Wigan
Northampton
Ashington
Crewe
Doncaster
Felton
Canterbury
Gosforth
Long Eaton
Preston
Rochdale
Skegness
Sunderland
Tamworth
Whitley Bay

Not a complete list (there's reckoned to be over 300 defunct tracks in the UK) and it obviously doesn't include anything in Scotland, Wales or Ireland; rather a sorry state of affairs for the only motorsport that ever rivalled football in terms of weekly attendance.........

#121 ghinzani

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 07:03

Originally posted by Simpson RX1


Not a complete list (there's reckoned to be over 300 defunct tracks in the UK)


300? Mein Gott!! Most built over I guess (like Par from my youth).

#122 RAP

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 07:26

Originally posted by Neil Andrew
There was motorcycle racing at Errol, an old airfield between Perth & Dundee in the fifties, and motorcycle sand racing at Prestwick, on the Ayrshire coast in the same period.

I also remember coming across a car sprint event on the promenade at Bognor Regis in the summer of 1970.

nca


I think the Bognor event you saw might have been an Autotest (or driving test as it would have been called then) rather than a sprint? For a while I was a member of the Bognor club, although this was after 1970, and they had an annual autotest on the seafront, as did Eastbourne and Brighton.

RAP

#123 Simpson RX1

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 08:27

Originally posted by ghinzani


300? Mein Gott!! Most built over I guess (like Par from my youth).



Most have been, many of the City tracks would be on prime real estate.

Quite a few stadiums still exist, but stopped running speedway when the stock car promoters insisted on concrete or tarmac tracks (Yarmouth is a good example), still more were closed following noise abatement pressure from local residents, the stadiums were demolished but then never redeveloped (Canterbury's Kingsmead stadium is one such), a few (like California) closed when the money ran out and were allowed to return to nature, but the saddest are tracks like Ellesmere Port; empty and unused since 1985, it's still more or less complete and, for not a lot of money, could be used again, but the NIMBYs put the block on a return for speedway, usually with lame excuses about noise or lack of parking.

#124 Terry Walker

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 13:31

Saltburn sands. Venue for the Yorkshire auto club meeting in mid 1907, beach racing, and included a British 1 km record set by A Lee Guinness at 111.84 mph.

Fromes Hill, a stretch of the A4103 starting roughly where it meets the B4214 up to the village of Fromes Hill.
Used 1907 or thereabouts. A car hillclimb.

North Carlton hill climb, Lincolnshire - motorcycles, 1907. Close to Scampton. The climb ran from the edge of the village to the B1369. (I didn't believe it either, but the slope shows on the OS maps!)

Sharpenhoe, Autocycle Club hill climb used when Birdlip was unavailable, again held in 1907. Northeast of Luton. Used a section of the Sharpenhoe to Streatley Rd.

Knowsley Park, stately home near Liverpool. A 4-mile circuit of tracks within the Estate was used for the International Cup (sort of motorcycle Gordon Bennett) trials, 1906. A handful of motorcycles competed, the Collier bros winning berths in the big race in Austria.

Skegness Sands, used by the Notts Auto Club in 1905 and 1906 at least, as well as in the 20s.

Canning Town, used regularly for motorcycle racing 1906-7, judging by the 1907 report I read.

Crystal Palace used as early as 1907.

All of which came from reading a pile of late 1960s Veteran and Vintage magazines which had a "Sixty years Ago" section in the back, quoting from The Autocar and The Car Illustrated.

#125 Barry Boor

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 13:35

Canning Town

:eek:

#126 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 14:18

Originally posted by Simpson RX1



Most have been, many of the City tracks would be on prime real estate.

Quite a few stadiums still exist, but stopped running speedway when the stock car promoters insisted on concrete or tarmac tracks (Yarmouth is a good example), still more were closed following noise abatement pressure from local residents, the stadiums were demolished but then never redeveloped (Canterbury's Kingsmead stadium is one such), a few (like California) closed when the money ran out and were allowed to return to nature, but the saddest are tracks like Ellesmere Port; empty and unused since 1985, it's still more or less complete and, for not a lot of money, could be used again, but the NIMBYs put the block on a return for speedway, usually with lame excuses about noise or lack of parking.


I think Ellsmere Port was victim of some unimaginable bungling by the local authority who rented it out to the promotor quite happily for quite a number of years, before suddenly "realising" that "oh dear...we never actually gave OURSELVES planning consent in the first place so please can you take your noisy motorbikes somewhere else ..."
Anyone not familiar with how British local authorities work might think this level of incompetence very unusual... ...think again!

#127 RS2000

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 14:50

Knowsley (Safari) Park mentioned above was of course a regular stage on the RAC Rally in more recent years, famous for its short vertical logs at the track edge that caught Mikkola in 83 (Arne Hertz climbing on the back of the Quattro to balance the lost front corner) and Pond in the Rover Vitesse in 84.
Regarding Canning Town and surrounding area, after the London Docks closed and before the re-development got under way, there was a plan for a major multi-venue stage rally to be known as the "Dockland Rally". Rumour has it, killed off by the MSA on safety grounds before it ever ran.

#128 Terry Walker

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 15:36

I think Canning Town might have been a speedwayish sort of venue: trotting track or dog track. Just a guess. One of those vintage Ordnance Survey maps might give a clue.

#129 CoulthardD

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Posted 26 August 2008 - 15:55

A little more detail on Saltburn can be found here:

http://www.bluebirdt...a/saltburn.html

Regards,

David

#130 Terry Walker

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 06:14

Correction on Crystal Palace. The Auto Cycle Club held annual races there 1903, 1904, and 1905 (and undoubtedly later, but that is as late as my source goes). The feature race was the 1-hour scratch race.

1903: J F Crundall, 42 miles 1,160 yards
1904: J F Crundall, Humber, 42 miles 1,390 yards
1905: Rene Thomas (Fr), Alcyon-Buchet, 45 miles 146 yards.

Clarification on Fromes Hill: it's in Hereford and Worcester, on the road from Hereford to Worcester.

#131 RAP

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 07:48

Races were held regularly on the cycle track at Crystal Palace from 1899 to 1906. The vast majority were for bicycles/tricycles. I document the results of 23 such events in my book "A Record of Motor Racing at Crystal Palace".

The last one I found was 5 May 1906. The Auto Cycle Club's annual meeting was scheduled for 22 Sept 1906 but at fairly short notice was transfered to the Canning Town cycle track, where it was said, the steeper bankings would allow higher speeds and better racing.

Motor bike racing (plus a couple of car races) returned to Crystal Palace from 1927 to 1929, 1933/34 on the paths of the park before the road course was built for 1937. There was also a speedway track from 1929 to 1939.

RAP

#132 Greystone

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 07:54

Originally posted by alansart


Yes It's Flookburgh, pronounced 'boro".

Has it ever been used for circuit car racing. I think they've raced bikes there and run sprints. The airfield was also as a parachute school.


I remember attending a motorcycle race meeting at Flookburgh, whilst having a break in the area, back in the early 80s. We are talking about the same place aren't we - near Grange over Sands? I seem to recall that it was known as "The Ponderosa Circuit" for some unfathomable reason.

From what I remember the circuit consisted of two long parallel straights, quite close together with a couple of chicanes to break them up, a tight hairpin at one end and a couple of more open turns at the other. From the picture the straights might have been either side of one of the runways, which would probably be wide enough for bikes to run in both directions with an adequate gap. This might have been a bit close for running cars though which tend to spear off in different directions more than bikes do.

However, this was a long time ago and the memory is not what it was.

Andrew

#133 Terry Walker

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 08:23

Well, that clarifies things a bit: Crystal Palace motorbike racing in the earlies was on the cycle track (velodrome ?) - and so was Canning Town, which was a banked track. Thanks, RAP!

The two reports I read were maddenly vague about things like exactly where, what sort of track, lap length, etc.

#134 RAP

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Posted 27 August 2008 - 20:11

Velodrome was 0.3 miles oval, slightly banked cement surface.

#135 Nick Wa

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 14:51

Thorney Island
Probably used as speed trial (straight line) rather than a sprint for quite sometime as use in 1969 has been quoted because I know it was used in 1957. As an avid petrol head I intended to spectate at this event organised iirc by the Southsea M.C. starting at 1 or 2p.m. However I nearly was turned into an instant nimby when I was woken at 8.45 a.m. with a sore head by some inconsiderate hoon running up an ERA outside my bedroom window!

Witchford Airfield near Ely, Cambs.
Used for motor cycle racing in early 50s.

#136 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 15:23

STAVERTON (now Gloucester Airport) Used for sprints in the 50s (Wharton's ERA scored one FTD I think) and motorcycle racing until the mid 1980s.

MORETON VALENCE, Near Gloucester. Used for motorcycle racing until the M5 went right through the middle of it in the early/mid 70s.

#137 Terry Walker

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 03:29

Here they are today:

Witchford
Posted Image

Staverton
Posted Image

Thorney Isl
Posted Image

Moreton Valence: you can just see the bisected runway
Posted Image

#138 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 08:43

Originally posted by Terry Walker
Here they are today:

Moreton Valence: you can just see the bisected runway
Posted Image

And smack in the middle you can see the current Autograss oval track - somehow appropriate that motor sport remains a feature at this otherwise obliterated venue. The other runway is covered by the M5 itself which was built along it's entire length.

#139 Hse289

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 15:06

Hi, just wondering if anyone has shed more light as to exactly where the Fordingbridge sprint was. I drive there everyday and am curious.

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#140 Mark A

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 16:45

The Welsh TT circuit on Epynt.

Posted Image

#141 coupekarter

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 20:29

Has anyone mentioned Brunton Beadnell airfield? Around 10 miles north of Alnwick, Jim Clark took part in one of his first events there. Last used as a motorsports venue possibly in 1972 when the National Schools Karting Association held their annual National Championship there.
What about Tewin Water (about 1/2 mile from Lewis Hamiltons family home in in Tewin, Hertfordshire), where I believe Colin Chapman took part in some of his earliest competitions around 1953.

#142 ghinzani

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 20:33

Originally posted by Hse289
Hi, just wondering if anyone has shed more light as to exactly where the Fordingbridge sprint was. I drive there everyday and am curious.


Is it not past all the double parked cars, lorries and vans in the high street? In all seriousness I have asked a few friends who grew up here and none of them have heard of Fordingbridge Downs.

#143 Hse289

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 20:58

I know what you mean about the double parking in the High Street, and i have to squeeze a lorry through. Wonder if the Fordingbridge sprint eventually became the Gurston Down venue. Its not far away.

#144 britishtrident

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 20:59

Originally posted by RAP
I think Edzell was only used once, in 1959. It was a replacement for Crimond (1951 - 58). I don't know why no further meetings were held.


A causuality of the cold war Uncle Sam put it into use as radio evesdropping station, istr it has used for some club speed events since the US Navy left.

#145 ghinzani

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 21:02

Originally posted by Hse289
I know what you mean about the double parking in the High Street, and i have to squeeze a lorry through. Wonder if the Fordingbridge sprint eventually became the Gurston Down venue. Its not far away.


No I dont think so, Gurstons not that local although its within 10 miles. Who do you drive for? Dont say Mouland?

#146 ghinzani

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 21:04

Originally posted by ghinzani


No I dont think so, Gurstons not that local although its within 10 miles. Who do you drive for? Dont say Mouland? I only say them 'cos they really have to squeeze those Scania's thru! Off topic but I saw a lovely old late 60's early 70's Foden coming through today, probably returning from the Steam Fair.



#147 RS2000

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 21:42

No, Brunton "became" Gurston, in the sense that it replaced it as the BARC's regional speed venue.

#148 CoulthardD

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 11:06

Can't find this one on the list, but apparently, Hartlepool used to host sprints on the promonade:

http://www.communiga...aps/page8.phtml
(from the third picture down, plus others of general interest)

DC

#149 speedman13

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 12:15

Here are some kart circuits I raced on in the 60s 70s & 80s.
Flookburgh
Heysham Head
Burtonwood
Longridge
Tern Hill
Topcliffe
Fulbeck
Little Rissington
Dunkeswell
Tilbury
Shenington
Chasewater
Wombwell
Jurby IOM
Plymouth Hoe
Olivers Mount
Vauxhall Ellesmere Port
Rowrah
Ingleston

#150 Stephen W

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 12:18

Originally posted by speedman13
Here are some kart circuits I raced on in the 60s 70s & 80s.
Flookburgh
Heysham Head
Burtonwood
Longridge
Tern Hill
Topcliffe
Fulbeck
Little Rissington
Dunkeswell
Tilbury
Shenington
Chasewater
Wombwell
Jurby IOM
Plymouth Hoe
Olivers Mount
Vauxhall Ellesmere Port
Rowrah
Ingleston


Burtonwood, Topcliffe and Jurby were all used for sprints as well.

Longridge was of course primarily a Motor Race Circuit.

Where abouts on Plymouth Hoe was the Kart track?

:wave: