Stock-Car Racing in the
Welcome all to David
BriSCA Stock-Car Racing in
fans of real racing in the golden age
is not a personal home page. I set it up to share a specialized topic
for relatively few people world-wide: BriSCA "Stock-car
racing" as the phrase has applied in Britain since 1954, and
the early days of drag
racing in Britain. This is a nostalgia page
about rough-'n'-ready forms of motor sport that were
too often ignored or looked down on.
stock-car racing and drag racing thrive today in a more sophisticated
way, but this site is dedicated to the racers who
entertained us in the 1960's and 70's.
I started with a collection of old snapshots I'd
kept in a shoe
box; but over the years, many kind people have sent
stories and their own photos.
Ex-racer Dick [now
Young, lap-scorer Ken Mason, and Brafield 'deejay' Russ Thomas ---- along
with many many others ---- have been especially
helpful with pictures
As a result, my website has now
become a collective and communal celebration on the part of fans who,
like me, admired the early era of stock-car racing and drag racing.
Some were racers; some are the sons and daughters
and even grandchildren of racers featured here. It
has been wonderful to hear from you good folks over
the years. Keep 'em coming.
need hours to go through this pictorial history.
on the page headings at the top and bottom of the pages, and you'll
find a ton of
stories and technical facts, plus my opinions, and most photos are a
link to click on.
warning: I don't know computers, and over the years the
background html codes have become very tangled, so you must put up with
odd spacing and typefaces, etc. I can't fix it. Who cares,
enjoying stock cars!
you stood on the terraces and cheered your heroes and booed your
villains in the fifties, sixties, and seventies, the passage of years
is naturally taking those drivers away. Until 2013
I occasionally reported the death of stock car
racers; but I
don't want this living historical website to become a list of
obituaries. Besides, men
like Dougie Wardropper and Chick Woodroffe, to us, are still
fighting their cars and their rivals round the tarmac and shale up and
down the country in our memories. Let's leave them racing
in peace without too many R.I.P. notices.
JUNK SHOP principles:
I don't gather photos from the Internet; everything on this
site has been sent to me personally by a stock car or drag racing fan,
making it a kind of community collection. Naturally, they may
have donated their photos elsewhere as well. [The Automotive Oddments section,
howvere, is a free-for-all, sourced from everywhere] .
it's a jumble --- that's the way it has grown, and that's the way I
like it, and many people tell me the same thing. There are some
excellent "quick-reference index" websites on the Net, but
a place for browsing leisurely at random and stumbling on stories and
drivers and cars you weren't expecting. You can always use the
edit-find function on a page to look for a favourite driver or track.
out for the labels
for recent additions, which are not necessarily at the
top of a page. If you are already an occasional visitor, just do edit-find for a
month/year since you last visited, e.g. "August 2011", or
to keep drivers' info bunched together, but often a race photo contains
several cars. Also, a driver may appear in two or even
three decades, and some photos can't be dated accurately.
introductory page includes photos of stock-car
programmes, audio files, films, books, and so on.
1300 photos of British stock-cars
one whole page on:
Do you have a vintage
stocks or drags photo or story you'd like to contribute?
"Shield of honour"
were good enough to qualify into the stock car World Final, you
received this shield.
was presented to superstar Fred
Mitchell, #38, when he entered the
1963 world final as defending (1962) world champion. This
beautiful memento passed to Fred's long-time race mechanic Pete
Schafer, who generously entrusted it to me, in memory of
Schafer, master mechanic (Pete
Tucker called him a "wizard"), friend
to everyone, and loyal to Fred Mitchell and his family for many years,
passed away at his home in Washington State, USA, in early 2007 at 82
years. Pete was a gent of the old
school, but with that characteristic sense of practical joking that was
everywhere in stock-car racing in those days. Pete loved this
little tale, which I will pass on here as a way of winking "thank you"
to Pete and his generation:
Fred Mitchell and Pete were working on the #38 car in Fred's workshop,
and they called for some help from a chap who had dropped in, a farm
worker who was wearing steel-toed boots. Fred was
welding some steel plate onto the car, and he said "Ah,
just the bloke we need — stand up on this, will you, to hold it in
place", and "But shut
your eyes because of the sparks."
You've guessed it --- Fred took a piece of scrap and
tack-welded the man's boots to the #38 chassis.
"King of Tar" 1967 World Champ George Ansell
Ansell 375 won Harringay's qualifying round in 1970, on tarmac of course [photo
before going on to the WF semi on Coventry's trickier
and won that too. George generously gave this QR trophy to
lifelong number one fan Ian
had followed the racing at Harringay since the age of 8,
later contacted George's ex-mechanic Jim Bunyan, and George himself.
Ian sent this handsome photo, saying he'd not part with the
trophy for all the money in the world.
Father-and-son fans Bill and Cliff Burdett were
at Belle Vue in 1969 when Stu Smith won the World Final. Here are some
famous names to stir your memories, along with the programme cover.
was a big Willie Harrison fan and made up a
perspex "sticker board" for his car, and recently re-discovered it
classic programme covers, from 1959 and 1960
[Brandon programme from Andrew Lively]
Two pit passes to revive old
memories, courtesy of Barry
Ex-speedway rider, and Kiwi
promoter Trevor Redmond knew how to put on a show, and Steve Harrison
got this seat in the front row. Steve raced for
over 20 years in Bangers, Rebels,
Stock Rods and Lightning Rods:
A bit about me:
I taught technical and
business writing for 30 years at the BC Institute of
Technology, in Canada, but I grew up in Brixworth
(rural Northamptonshire UK). The field where I once
herded sheep is now occupied by Indy-and-Grand Prix-winning
ILMOR / Mercedes Racing Engines. I also lived in Birmingham,
North London, Redhill
(Surrey), Bristol, the
South of France, and Vancouver BC, Canada.
If anything you see here makes sense or revives memories, say "Hi" on
I am the announcer at my local
twice-a-year drag races:
Below: Summer 2004 happy to be back at Brandon [first time
there since 1966!], beside the car of Big Tony Smith:
Below: at Skagit Speedway in Washington State, USA:
below at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit:
- and that's me after
some passenger "hot laps" on the
Silverstone circuit in 2007 --- I could go
bankrupt, because it's so addictive. They had several professional
My driver was
Charlie Hollings, a serious F3 competitor, and his terse instructions
on tight and don't touch anything." Just
being a passenger exhausted me; this was a full-race
Caterham R400, and it felt like being
shot out of a cannon onto a toboggan run. Yes, I burned my hand on that
carbon-fibre exhaust shroud.
new Grand Prix circuit layout was opened in April 2010, and
the track was actually blessed by
of Brixworth, by tapping the tarmac with his bishop's crozier
a shepherd's crook to you and me). So what? It was
my late father who made that
crozier about 30 years ago. Here's
the track blessing, watched by Prince Andrew, GP world
champion Damon Hill, Mark Webber, David Coulthard. Cheers for my dad.
took a two-day racing course at a tight road circuit
near Vancouver in March 2009. I borrowed a stripped-out Honda CRX and
had a ball, though I am frankly a rather obstinate student ---
and received a couple of
black-flag warnings for going a bit over my actual skill level. Here I
into Turn 2 --- yes, he soon passed. There's nothing like a serious
course to shake you up when you think you're pretty good.
Tunes from the tracks: Speakers on
Remember the Rinkydink
theme over the Tannoy? Thanks to Malc Brown who has
soundtracked RinkyDink with his collection of stock car photos on
The Anthem for bangers, Mouldy Old
played by "Lieutenant
Pigeon", a band led by Rob Woodward with his mum Hilda on
song made it to #2 in Belgium
before it rose to #1 in Britain in 1972.
On this video, Mouldy Old Dough accompanies
a good compilation
of banger action, but the first few seconds are silent ---
speakers on! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En8EKOR6AAo
the outrageous Nut
Rocker by "Bee Bumble and the Stingers", (also recorded by the Pigeon band!)
which occasionally played at Brafield. (No.
1 in 1962's hit parade, a take-off of Tchaikovsky's
You know this: March
of The Mods by
the Joe Loss Orchestra
in 1964, which oddly was based on an old Finnish
dance tune called the 'Jenka' .
How about the
Spedeworth favourite, "I was Kaiser Bill's Batman",
Whistling Jack Smith? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZOgbOojBJU
(Most YouTube clips of it show an imposter posing on a platform
lip-synching to the real record.)
Another favourite: Bert
never forget "Stock
Car Racing is Magic". Comic
actor Bill Maynard ---"Claud
Greengrass" in Heartbeat, as well as a
"Carry On" films regular --- wrote the lyrics. Click on this link
to YouTube for
the song. Here are the lyrics.
Rock-stars? Russ Thomas the Brafield deejay tells me
that a regular record-requester at the track was Biddy Meek, mother
of the pioneering British sound engineer and rock producer
JOE MEEK. Joe's memory lives on in the Joe Meek Appreciation
Society. If you jived or
twisted to Heinz, Mike Berry, Lonnie Donegan, John Leyton, Dave Berry,
and my own heroes "His Majesty Screaming Lord Sutch and His
you were listening to Joe Meek productions. Joe
produced the all-time hit "TELSTAR", inside his tiny upstairs
bed-sitter, using even the kitchen and stairwell to get the right
sound. Joe Meek's whole family,
including his farming brothers Eric and Arthur, loved stock-car racing.
Man on the Mike'
you enjoyed Sunday afternoons at Brafield Stadium
as picnicking early-birds or just-in-time race fans, you
for 14 years from 1963 to 1977 by a fascinating chap billed as 'Rick'
Thomas, real name Russ Thomas.
and breathed stock cars",
and early on had the gumption to buttonhole manager
Graham Guthrie and owner John La Trobe about having music.
that, Geoff Barnett had played tape recordings of
Freeman's PICK OF THE POPS. The only actual records owned by
Brafield were God Save
The Queen, Bobby's
the Tornadoes' Globetrotter;
what a collection! Russ persisted until they let him
start with a Dansette Junior record
player in front of the mike.
In 1965 La Trobe splashed out on a
new PA system, along with disco
style twin-deck Garrard
turntables that allowed Russ to fade records in and
out. If "Rinky
Dink" by the Johnny Howard
Band stuck in your mind, it's because Russ chose
it and kept on
it, and eventually other tracks in England and Holland copied the idea.
Despite people groaning "Oh
no, not again" when Rinky
up, drivers and mechanics came to appreciate it as an ideal
years Brafield's PA system ran on a single car battery.
it died, Russ would tour the track on the back of a truck,
the race results chalked on a blackboard ---.
Barnett, previously the Staines manager/commentator, was a big
believer in entertainment: brass bands, gymnastics displays,
backwards races, the terrifying Australian speedway sidecars, spectator
photo], burst-a-balloon, Senior-vs-Junior match
climb-the-greasy-pole, comic commentaries, you name it, and even sudden
prizes, such as:
Aubrey Leighton's under his car doing repairs --- the first girl to run
across and give Aubrey a kiss wins three bottles of Coke."
has for years studied the early
history of the stadium and its cast of weird and wonderful showmen and
impresarios --- let's hope he writes a book about it one day. Russ
trained as a motor mechanic in Northampton, and developed his career
into sign-painting, becoming a lifelong signwriter, http://www.rjthomas-signwriting.co.uk/,
(including stockers of course), shops, antiques, vintage machinery and
specializing in the mysterious and arcane arts of canal-boat and fairground
decoration, (strictly by hand, no airbrush) of which here are four
1 apart from the brilliant paintwork, look at the
"marbling" on this mobile fairground paybox.
2 have you ever ridden the Super Waltzer?
3 a tiger snarls from "the Waltzer".
more of the Waltzer, and now below: the winged messenger
Mercury in dazzling colour:
February 2015 Update:
2.4 megabyte image should bring joy to the heart of any
veteran fan or driver. Russ Thomas
painted this 24" by 20" picture in oils, and it was auctioned at a
VSCDA event and bought by Alan Wardropper. As soon as I set eyes on it,
"Yes: this is
what it was like --- this is exactly what it was like at its best."
a brilliant and fond depiction of a perfect Sunday afternoon under
flawless summer skies, out in the countryside, with all our heroes and
villains in colourful action. A huge thank-you to Russ Thomas
creating this work of art, and for allowing me to show it on this
respect Russ's signature and copyright of this painting.
Let's finish with
Russ's own words:
"I got a bird's eye view of
some fantastic racing, witnessed the start of banger racing and the
attempted revival of speedway at the track. I met people from all walks
of life from all
over the world, some famous, some infamous, made many friends and
enjoyed every minute of it." To quote the Alan Price song ---
Two 1950's movies featured stock-car racing.
An early Benny Hill cops
'n' spies comedy, titled Who Done It?
was filmed in 1956:
7-minute clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md79_mGp-nA
It has a short scene in which
Benny accidentally gets into a stock-car race at West Ham's stadium
(identified thanks to Graham Brown.)
Film fans who enjoy reporting continuity errors point out
after several hard damaging collisions, Benny's car is shown undamaged. I've not seen the film, but its cast
included substantial actors like
"Stock Car" in 1955 featured great racing
and so-so acting. Available in a two-film package: David
Kossof, (Alf Larkin from television's THE
LARKINS 1958-64; also in Cliff Richard's Summer Holiday.)
Charles Hawtrey ('Carry-On'
films veteran), one of the last eccentrics.
The US crooner and actor "Fabian" ("Gonna
Sit Right Down and Write ---") [joke in the film is
that Benny's dog is named FABIAN.]
(Softly Softly) and Arthur
Rigby (from The Blue Lamp to Dixon of Dick
Green), and --
was Sabrina's first brief film appearance, but with a dubbed
voice. According to Speedway And Stock
Car World of 7 July 1955, Sabrina made an appearance at a
Birmingham stock car meeting with Bill "Mad" Mason.
Carpenter played the star role, maybe his best among many B movies.
His girlfriend was played by Rona Anderson (Dixon
of Dick Green,
Doctor Finlay's Casebook). Also
in it were Paul Whitsun-Jones (The Avengers and
Uncredited is Frank Thornton (Are
You Being Served? and Last of the Summer Wine) who was
still acting in
2010; and Frazer Hines (Emmerdale
cinematographer Geofrey Faithfull
did over a hundred films, including Village of the Damned and The Green
Young has alerted me that YouTube has a race sequence from the movie,
and you can try doing "screen shots" to catch a car number and name! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9wrF2mVV0o
minutes of fun: brilliant litle video project on BANGER RACING by
can be seen [but
not downloaded] on his website:
Alas! Copyright problems have 'squashed this terrific video from being available
Maybe one day it will return?:
The Papers Say"
One of the South Devon Herald Express editors
fondly remembers the action at Newton Abbot from the old days,
and published this excellent article about the
stock cars and bangers. (copied-and-pasted from their website onto a
BBC Radio Goes into
Stock Car History
the blue, I
was contacted by BBC Radio Northampton, who were doing a series of
about local heroes, and who had evidently come across my website.
They wanted to hear about Aubrey
so here is a 13-minute
conversation between myself and the excellent
interviewer John Griff on his afternoon show of Thursday 19th February
2009. Like most people,
I hate hearing my voice recorded.
The programme implied that Aubrey was
world champion, and I forgot to mention that Kettering racer Murray Harrison was
also a local World Champ (1999) and scored two
other World podiums.
2010: On Saturday 4th September,
BBC Radio 4 broadcast an unusual documentary, "Stock Car
below]. Brian Sewell is a famously "lah-di-dah"
art critic, once described as 'the only person who makes the
Queen sound common'. A journalist and
one-time Christie's art
consultant, Sewell was a close friend of Sir Anthony Blunt.
Sewell the suave gentleman has
been a keen stock car fan for over 30 years. In this radio
programme, he ventures out to interview the legendary
Wembley rascal Pete
Tucker #85 who raced at the very first New
Cross meeting, about those wild early days.
Pete does his wonderful gravelly Cockney drawl to counterpoint
Sewell's posh accent.
Then Brian visits a Wimbledon Spedeworth meet
and talks to his guide Paul
Huggett, Spedeworth's magazine editor ("A
Virgil to my Dante, if you will.");
banger racers; raves over the vista of smoke and sparks under
the floodlights ("Like a November sunset by
wishes that a realist painter could portray the scene; and insists he
can smell gin in the exhaust fumes.
Interviewing race marshal Andy Cook, Sewell asks rather
you are the grey eminence behind all this?" and
"I'm the Law is what I am."
the officials, drivers, and mechanics
were surprisingly hospitable to this eccentric
alien in their midst. Leaving at the end of the night, Sewell
"It feels as
though you've just watched BenHur, King Lear, and a pantomime all
Listen to this
unique radio programme. (Big file may take a minute to
March 2010: [from a 1960 BSCDA newsletter,
courtesy of Steve Farndon] Several stock car
sites mention a short documentary/news film called SMASHING THROUGH, showing in cinemas in 1960
as part of the Rank Films series "Look at Life".
According to Peter Marsh's site, the film shows Staines and includes
Alan Wardropper. There is a 4-DVD set of Rank's Look at Life, on the
theme of transport, but I don't think it includes "Smashing Through".
If you know it, please e-mail me.
ago, March 1965 to be precise, I was at Graveley airfield in Cambs
where one of Britain's early drag-race practice meets was being run.
was a Senior F1 stock car there, being tuned and shaken down, and I
remember the snooty announcer making a snide remark about its presence.
Later that year, DRAG RACING magazine printed a bold and
inspiring letter that contrasted stock-car people with less-helpful
types". I found an old copy of the magazine, and
the letter I realized the [misspelled] writer
was Jayne Tabor,
once Jayne Douglas,
an American woman who raced F2's built by Roy Goodman, and who married Graham "Tiny" Tabor
from Cambridge, who raced both F1 and F2. His career is
mentioned on the Junior F2 page. The car Tabor ran that day
--- twice beating a
dragster off the line --- was his ex-Barry van den
Oetelaar machine, which had a highly modified Olds Rocket 88 motor.
letter and give a loud cheer for our sport.
artist Jason Curwen, who paints portraits to order,
crafted this pastel/chalk portrait of Trevor Frost on behalf of
daughter. It is based on a photo of Trevor in 1964. You can
many more examples of his work on this website: http://www.capturedmyart.com/#/artworks-for-sale/43/
Books, Badges, and Programmes
vol. 4, issue 4, April 1964 see
link below photo:
March 2018, from Steve Dailey, big 25-page
scan of Stock Car Racing News, with higher-res photos added
at the end.
March 2018: from Steve Dailey,
Spedeworth's world championship brought out this
September 1965 issue, 25+
pages [link:] Stock
February 2018: thanks to Steve Palmer for
scanning and sending this high-resolution
Car Supporter June 1968: 42 pages packed with stories
Thanks to Kevin Fisher
for these PDF scans of stock-car programmes
and Stock Car Racing News.
unique bits of history are valuable not just for the driver lists
(which we love), but for the old half-tone photographs, and the
on-the-spot comments ands news by track promoters: bits of
simply didn't appear anywhere else.
One or two of the Brafield links may be 'duplocates. I will try to fix this
1962 New Cross May 30th Junior
Other Tracks 1963
Other Tracks 1966
Stock Car Racing News:
SCRN front and and
back covers for 1963:
SCRN front and back
covers for 1964:
SCRN front and back
covers for 1965:
SCRN front and back
covers for 1966:
you, Kevin Fisher!
Stock Car Programmes
1963 West Ham world semi-final. I've had these scans for ages
apologise for forgotting who sent them. However, some famous
names and numbers here:
Pages 2-3, showing Pete
Arnold's intro [and Reg Pryor's garage
Pages 4-5, with more Pete,
a cigarette promo, and
the Brandon semi results.
- Pages 6-7,
showing the two heats for the evening's Gold Sash final, and
the first WF semi heat, with winners pencilled in.
- Pages 8-9, showing the second semi
and Gold Sash, winners pencilled in.
- Page 11,
in which Len Porter predicts a first heat win for Alan Wardropper,
chased by Johnny King; now go back to page 7 and see if he got it right.
January 2011: John Dyson grew up
in Leicester not far from the Blackbird Road stadium, and a miracle of
preservation means that this first-meeting-of-1955 Leicester programme
survives in perfect nick: it's a huge 6MB "pdf" file of all 12
pages. See the ticket prices and the prize money in
when they were packing 10,000 to 20,000 fans into the stadiums.
I have copied the photographs from this into the EARLY DAYS /
FIFTIES page of this site.
Cox scanned this
Brands Hatch programme from their historic
stock-car meet on April 10th, 1966, with winners written
2010: Long Eaton rivalled
Brafield for "oldest track", as shown by this
1955 programme cover, and Graham Cox kindly scanned the full
contents which you can see in The Early Days section of this
Another Barry Redman
contribution, and the indefatigable Gerry Dommett
was promoting Hell Drivers and stock cars at Weymouth's Wessex Stadium
in 1958. The 381 car is listed as being"Killer" Sayers from Nottingham
--- imagine trying to
enter a race under that nickname today.
about Kent's Lydden
Hill circuit in 1956;
the photo of Ken Freeman and Pat Willis is high enough resolution that
I will enlarge it for the EARLY DAYS section of this site.
Ian Melton is proud
owner of this mint Coventry/Brandon
World Final poster --- there's no year printed on it, but
that artist's impression is adapted from this
real track photograph
of the 1950's -- but which track?
The trees look like
Brafield but Brafield didn't have lights. March
Trevor Chater confirms this is indeed the 1960 poster.
ex-racer Barry Redman #151, a trip back through 54 years to Staines, on
1st June 1956: the programme
cover. Look closer here
and remember that, post-war National Service still going,
discounts, and some of you remember it was normal practice to
a soldier hitch-hiking in uniform, anywhere in Britain. Also,
notice that antique phrase, the "popular
enclosure" --- like the
public bar vs
the lounge bar. Then, the
showing famous and less-familiar names, racing under the old numbering
programme, kindly scanned
and sent by Terry Dickinson. Belle Vue, October 30th, 1954,
with Johnnie Hoskins's notes and all the drivers, and some results
pencilled in. This was apparently the seventh meeting of that
inaugural year at Belle Vue. The six double-pages are scanned at high
resolution, so you can zoom in and get every detail, even if it takes a
while to open. Terry
and his father spectated for many years, and
both raced saloon formulas on ovals. It was Terry's dad who
this actual programme at Hyde Road all those years ago. Thanks a
million to Terry for this gem.
will extract some of the photos and save them into the "Early
Days / Fifties" section of this site.
found a few stock car treasures among his collection of speedway
programmes, and kindly sent me this bit of history --- a stock-car
fan's handwriting in 'Biro' on the Southampton
for Tuesday 12th October
1954. The wonderfully named "Maxie
Bacon" from Plumstead won the Consolation and collected £12 [double
the average weekly wage for a consie win]. And
here is its
spot: younger fans in Britain, and fans elsewhere
may not know that 'Biro'
is a generic word for a ballpoint pen. Laszlo Biro of Hungary invented
it in 1938, and it was first used by the RAF because high altitude
pilots could not use fountain pens! The patent was bought by
Marcel Bich in 1950, for his Bic pen
Move on eight years to Tuesday
some familiar names line up at Southampton, including Danny Bassett and
Maxie Bacon, who had both been there in '54. Here too is
Mark Crisp kindly
dug out this Long Eaton programme from 19th May 1973:
are twelve programme covers scanned for us by Trevor
Richings, all early 1960's, and an early one from Ken
will leave you to read the exact dates from the covers. This
brings back memories:
WF Qualifying Round
1958 [Ken Mason];
F2 Junior WF
Brian Clements, long-time
veteran F2 fan, sent these scans of a Walthamstow Whitsun 1965
programme: a then-traditional "mixed meet" of Juniors and
star drivers like Dougie Wardropper, Chick Woodroffe, etc, racing both
formulas the same day.
Here is the (June 7th) programme cover.
Here are the first two races,
showing winners and placemen.
Here are the third and fourth
races, and the trophy race,
again with results added.
More of Brian's
historic programmes can be seen in the Junior F2 section of my site.
Brian, this programme from Plymouth's Pennycross Stadium, 1965.
The pages include a comprehensive list of
South West drivers, details of the (notoriously rough) team
races, and the regular heats.
And the advert for the Plymouth
Stock Car Association.
Stadium ran from 1928 to 1972, with greyhounds, speedway,
stock-cars. I just uncovered a photo of a poster
from one of
the rock concerts there --- did any of you in 1969 shake your long hair
bell-bottoms to FLEETWOOD
MAC and THE HERD [Pete
Frampton's first band, with their single "I Can Fly" Their
b/w video of this song is viewable on YouTube, and oddly it looks like
it may have been filmed at a stock car track --- Pennycross? although
the building they stand on is like those at Newton Abbot, and
there is a piece of fenced "track" in the background of some shots ----.
aerial photos of Pennycross: one,
Cliff Burdett and
his father Bill Burdett
Cliff Burdett in Leics. who has frequently helped me with my
website for years. Cliff's late father, a brilliant mechanic, Bill
also well-known around the spectator areas, a 'postie' for over 30
Billy Stewart (UK Modifieds #88) remembers as always having a laugh.
'races' a mobility scooter these days, but still gets to meetings when
Cliff himself raced and won over 80 trophies in bangers, saloon stocks,
stock rods. After 1992, Cliff mechanic'd in National Hot Rods and
--- including for his pal Brian Catchpole.. Cliff has sent me
several programmes from his collection. Note: The Burdetts were
meticulous brecord keepers, and every programme is neatly filled-in
with every car placing!
25 May 1980, (when Willie beat Mike Close to
the flag in the Grand Final): Full
Vue the 1962
World Final on 8th September. Supporting races results
written in. WF 1st was Fred Mitchell #38
Vue 25th July 1981: Full programme.
When Keith Barber's "WILD
BILL" book was launched at Brafield, this replica programme
of the very first Brafield meeting (14th August 1955, promoter by
Digger Pugh) was issued. Don't buy a 'genuine rare original'
it has the little blue notice on the back cover!
Arnolds Memorial Trophy, 23rd August 1970:
Full programme with autographs
August 1978: Steve Bateman won the Grand
Final, and the ever-popular White-Tops race was won by Keith Harrison.
TRACKMASTER TROPHY, 2nd September 1978: Full programme
Park on 16th August 1970. All
results written in. Cadwell's hot air balloon was on hand,
and Ansell entered late but won the F1.
1970 World Final 26th September: Full
18th May 1974: Full
Leicester 21 May
1977: Danny Clarke 203 won the WF qualifying round final. Full programme
Eaton 31st July 1971 world semi-final: Full
Eaton 30th June 1979 "Stock
Car Superstar Trophy" [B. Finnikin beat B. Powles] :
17th May 1970:
I got published!
In 1964 I took some photos at
Brafield with my cheap Brownie Cresta
and in 1965, got permission from John La Trobe to publish them, and
sent an article to AUTOCAR
weekly. Lo and behold, they published
it with a cute title and artwork, in their 3rd September 1965 issue.
Somehow I lost my own copy over the years, but managed to
one in a public library, photocopied it, and here
it is in a "pdf" file, along with the following week's
February 2014: Twenty
years before stock-cars competed on Britain's stadium ovals, Midget
cars struggled to "take off". Postwar Britain also saw
to revive this form of racing, and today a high-tech version flourishes
especially on tarmac. But on the cinder-tracks of Belle Vue,
Stoke, Brandon, Crystal Palace et al., some brave
entrepreneurs went at
it in the 1930s with outboard motors and big J.A.P. V-twins,
often in tiny
4-wheel-drive chassis. This phenomenon has been largely
by the general public, but thanks to dedicated fans, and author Derek Bridgett,
we can re-live those days and perhaps wish things had gone better
before speedway politics and the Second World War got in the way.
Here are the front and back covers of Derek's excellent book:
the back cover photo below
shows the illustrious Bugatti specialist Ivan
Dutton with some of his midget car collection. Derek has sent
big high-res file of this photo, along with this
key identifying the cars visible. Derek
Bridgett has contributed photos of his late brother Bill Bridgett who
raced stock-cars, grasstrack and speedway in the late fifties, on my
EARLY DAYS page.
Derek's book reads like a hot-off-the-press race report,and
driver biographies and plenty of technical info. You can buy it
from FONTHILL MEDIA, at fonthillmedia.com
Trivia quiz: In 1963, out of
almost 120 Senior/F1 finals, how
many were won by white-top drivers, who were they, and at
which tracks? Or: on 2nd
April in 1977 two
red-tops, both first name Gordon, won finals under two
different promoting organizations --- . Gordon who, and which tracks?
simply the biggest and only complete record
of EVERY SINGLE
SENIOR/F1 FINAL WIN from the start of stock car racing up
to the end of 2013:
by a team led by BriSCA's Guy Parker and Nigel Anderson, this heavy
large-format paperbound glossy volume of 330 pages ---- definitely for
the kitchen/dining table, too hefty for bedtime reading --- is made of
comprehensive tables with every name and date and number and
organization in the sixty years thus far of Senior/F1 competition.
Scores of programme covers, excellent car photographs, this
keep you busy for ever. To purchase this marvellous book,
contact Guy Parker by e-mail (not
by the previously listed postal address)
BOOK IS PUBLISHED in France, by pioneer racer Guy
Curval, on the history of stock-car racing in France
Guy Curval regularly raced in England in Senior F1's and in Junior
F2's, including several World Finals. Guy was a close buddy
Jock Lloyd, who often helped arrange Guy's trips. French
stock-car racing never developed the oval-dedicated "specials" that
appeared in the UK in the mid-sixties onwards. French cars
always large American and French saloons, and the tracks were mostly
larger dirt ovals on temporary sites. However, Jock's
influence persuaded Curval to build a fantastic-looking
Guy Curval last raced in
1969, when after an injury-filled career his doctors ordered
to stop. Guy is still to be seen around the
France, and has a classically-restored stock-car in his
book is a high quality hard-back,
"coffee-table" size, over 140 pages, with scores of fascinating photos,
including some of English tracks, and of Fred Mitchell's
union-jack-wearing car on a French visit. It is quite
all in French of course. You can ask about it or buy it from
specialist car book shop in Paris: "PASSION AUTOMOBILE", and
their e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Ooh la la, more from France: William Camus
was half-Iroquois, half-French, born in the Yukon, who became
Parisian journalist, children's author, writer of Westerns, and
driver. He was one of the French contingent who came over to
Cross in 1954. He wrote a stock car adventure novel
for a youth audience called
FERRAILLEURS", the title roughly meaning "scrap dealing
swashbucklers". It is set in the USA, not in
France. I haven't read it yet. It's published in Belgium and
France by Duculot Editions
as a paperback.
DVD: Les Cotton has
available a DVD (sleeve image)
action from the 'real' Belle Vue in 1986, the new Belle Vue in 2004,
and Sheffield in 1987.
Les's website: http://home.clara.net/norden/lescotton/cd.htm
Les Cotton's wife Sue is an accomplished artist, in
oil, pastel, and pencil. Here is a
portrait of a modern F2 stock car on her website: http://www.seahorsestudios.co.uk/penother.htm
May 2012: Many
of us have to take a hundred photos to get one
or two "decent" ones; then we come across a photograph by a
professional and think "Now that is classy."
has self-published a superb collection of photographs of Banger racing.
My site does not normally touch on bangers, but having seen
tip-top quality of Paul's photography, and his text, I just had to
it here. Like the Sowerby Smith photos of Long Eaton in 1965, you can
tell that these are artworks made by someone with a trained eye.
I will show just the cover
and one page
to give you the idea. The photos show the special lifestyle, humour,
and skills of banger drivers and builders, and Paul Fielding was able
to choose those unique shots that say it all about life in the pits and
the track. email@example.com
The Daily Telegraph, 6th December
A Daily Telegraph journalist
stepped boldly out to visit Plough Lane for her first-ever experience
of Banger Racing, at the 2003 Banger Championshiop Of The World, in
which Dave Vincent from West Row, Suffolk, was crowned.
Feiner is a terrific writer, and I bet her column encouraged a lot of
people to visit the bangers the following year. So sad that Wimbledon
has now gone. Anyway, here
is the Telegraph article in a pdf file:
The book everyone's heard of
OF THE CENTURY by the stock car icon (though no
saint) Pete Tucker #85.
Reading this is like sitting in on the
best after-hours pub
talk with a bunch of fans and drivers. It's like having Pete
talk to you --- no fancy editors to tame or 'correct' it.
laugh a minute, Pete and his contemporaries were up to all the larks,
but don't forget they were skilled and hard working
mechanics too, putting in all the hours. If he has any copies of the
book left, you can get in touch with Pete on tel. 01-223-207324, or at TUCKERS USA CARS,
142 Meldreth Road, Whaddon, nr ROYSTON, Herts SG8 5RP
you want a couple of books that you literally can't put down, these are
for you. Down to earth writing, chock full of life,
and exploits that make you want to cheer; that's what you get in these
self-written self-published books.
Wild Youth in Gloucestershire" by
'Daredevil Dick' Sheppard
spanning from 1930 to the 1960's, describes
how an ordinary lad from an ordinary background grew into a local
entrepreneur and an
extraordinary stunt man who toured the world with his team of
like-minded madmen. Lots of lovely old photos and anecdotes
of Gloucestershire life before WW2 that would entertain
don't even follow stock cars and stunting. I'll give away one
example: at school, Dick struggled for a long time to gather
enough pocket money for the school trip to Stratford to see Julius
Caesar. His unsympathetic teacher told him he was too late to get a
seat on the bus --- so Dick Sheppard rode his bike behind the
bus all the way from Gloucester to Stratford, and back again after the
Dick or a bookstore; its book number is 978-0-9565329-0-9, published by Tweenbrook
Publishing in Gloucester.
Second: the massive "Close
To The Edge", by Dick Sheppard and
the late Jacquie de Creed,
partner, who tragically died just before this book was published.
Over 400 pages, told alternately in Dick's and Jacquie's
this is a feast. This is the literary equivalent of your
favourite cafe's biggest
dish; ie, not
what your doctor or English teacher would approve of,
but what a belly-filling treat. From Dick's early days
scrambling and racing
stock cars against Bozzie and Wild Bill Bendix and Jumbo Tustin, to
World Records and television, along with tunnel-of-fire and T-bone
stunts, and the dodges and tricks of scrap-yard deals and late nights
on the road.
Jacquie's life too is enthralling, from her restless
girlhood to a stunt career in cars and motorbikes including
the existing world
record 232-foot jump in a Ford
was crashing cars and breaking world records, but put me in front of an
audience, and I froze,"
so Jacquie decided to
overcome her shyness, earned a teaching diploma and bravely began to
speech and drama in Cheltenham and to give inspirational workshops and
team building sessions.
Do yourself a favour and get this book. Contact
Dick or your bookshop; its book number is 978-0-9565329-1-6, published
by Tweenbrook Publishing in Gloucester.
Ultimate Stock Car Books:
them, Keith Barber
and Malc Aylott
have given us the last word in stock-car histories. If you
see these (eg at Keith's stall?) anywhere, dish out
Here's one. Here's
They cost a few quid, but you could spend more on a bad night at the
pub. To keep myself honest, I have refrained from 'stealing'
from the treasures in these books for my website.
"ultimate" stock-car book: Who
drove #304? What years did Chippie Weston drive? Where was
Grossman from? How do you sort it all out, especially when
the years, #21 has been assigned to fourteen
different drivers. Remember
a driver's name? This book has over 2,000 surnames in A-Z
order. Remember a number? Same thing in numerical
order, all with the driver's full name, home town, and years racing.
Put your hands together (and in your wallet) for Mike
Greenwood, who with son John Greenwood and Granville Holmes, has issued
the updated 3rd edition [click
on it:] of:
STOCK CAR DRIVERS:
an index of registered UK Formula One stock car drivers
and their racing numbers 1957-2007.
can get it from Photostox,
17 Willingham Close, Sothall, Sheffield, S20 2PD, or
Whittam maintains a truly massive collection of BriSCA
photographs, from his time as track photographer; several appear with
his pwermission on this website.
As well as selling high-quality
prints, he has now
created two "e-Books", which you can access and
purchase via this link:
target="itunes_store">BriSCA F1 Stock Cars - eBooks by A.B. Whittam</a>
(I am unsure about how to make "code links" for Apple/i-tunes
so I hope this works.)
a long-time writer, journalist, and announcer who has with
Neil, published several oval-track books. Here are
covers of four of them, and you can order them direct from his website.
Backtracks. Hot Rods. Superstox. F2s in Devon
if you're visiting this website because you
appreciate the good old days, then you should try to find an
old copy of Oval Track Classic magazine.
A brave and commendable venture, the first issue came out in
Spring 2009, from YBA Publications, the folks who brought you Short Circuit Magazine.
It ran to a total of six issues. Here's the
issue #3 cover:
Brian Jones's 'Topolino' style
car up there hasn't a piece of
Fiat tin on it; it's a Jones-crafted dead ringer, a Heritage
he's racing in memory of his years-ago exploits, which you can also see
the JUNIORS section of this site. And how d'you like this
"Pop" heritage racer below: Brian Bearman's 1974 Spedeworth Superstox:
The magazine had
many veteran racers on hand, with their stories and photos from all the
short circuit formulae, for instance Dave Willis at
doing what those cars did so well. It covered present-day
revival / heritage cars and racing, as well as archival
material going back 50 years.
Where are those badges and
stickers you collected?
may remind you:
Mark Crisp acquired
this beautiful bumper badge at a garage where he worked over 40 years
ago -- since the fabulous Formula II
cars were called Juniors for several years after their 1961
this high-quality badge is probably 1964-onwards. A very
professional design compared to many of the badges back then.
Vue fans may remember this badge, below, preserved by Terry
Dickinson on his "badge waistcoat" (like the old
cockney Pearly Kings
and Queens, serious stock car supporters were often covered in badges.)
I will for ever
regret losing my enamelled Bristol Bulldogs speedway badge from my
denim jacket many years ago.
supporters collected this one. BSCDA Membership, then
driver's patch. Aye lad, the
North knows how to race, at Aycliffe.
Vue, what a disgrace
that the authorities let it be demolished, an unforgivable bit of
"development" . How's about
Lincolnshire's Cadwell Park? Don't
Kings Lynn Next: Coventry's
badge ("Brandon" if you're
old ---). Down
to Notts, where Long
Eaton put on great shows. South a bit to
In Northants, Brafield printed a rather weird image
of a "stock-car", but it brought the crowds in. Down south, Harringay Stadium's
badge. Here is the rare Brands
Hatch acknowledgement of stock car racing.
sticker. Further still, the Mendip,
where the lovely Bristol
track sits in an old reservoir depression on the
very top of the hills. Down west we go to St. Austell.
[stickers courtesy of Rick
An early Brafield Stadium sticker,
courtesy of Chris "Totter" Holmes, Jock Lloyd 131's long time mechanic.
Model Stock Cars
March 2012: One-time
racer Neill Crookes
[see the Seventies page] has
been reliving the
glory days by making 1/30 scale stock cars. He's created 45
date, and I am going to do a "quick pick" of my own four faves:
one more: Pete Tucker
Update March 2018:
Neill Crookes re-created more of his
heroes' and rivals' cars in 1/30 scale:
Steve Daily had
been fascinated with the 1950`s Stock Car scene since reading Pete
Tuckers Book, Thrill
of the Century.
Steve first saw stock Cars in 1954 at the tender age of 2 and
half years. He remembers going to Harringay in 1961 and
Steve raced Spedeworth Bangers
from 1974 to 1976 and then Superstock in 1977 as #72.
Now retired, Steve is building some amazing models:
Here is Steve's "take" on the famous Pete Tucker car. He had
bought a die cast model Ford V8 1932 model A coupe
in 1:32 scale, but as the real Pete Tucker car was a later
1934 model anyway, Steve shelved the idea.
he found a race driver figure in 1:32 scale, and as it looked 'a bit
like Pete Tucker of 1955', the challenge was on.
having no engine in this model meant the bonnet side panels would have
to stay in place as was the case on Pete Tuckers later coupes he built.
The photo Steve used is out of Tucker's, “Thrill of the Century“
and was taken in the pits at Eastbourne in 1955. When Tucker
set up his Wembley
team to race in Wales, early 1955, all of the cars
were red-and-white, and all the drivers in the team wore red
overalls with their names on the back. They must have looked
quite professional at the time. After
buying a white
gel pen it took about ten goes to write Pete Tucker on the back of the
small figure. Steve used copper wire to form the
unusual front bumper and soldered it together.
with the insulation left on was used for the roll cage. Steve says "So
maybe not a 100% exact replica but my version of it."
Five photos of the Tucker project:
Crider, one of the visiting USA team in 1955: Steve's initial version
Steve Daily has now revised the colour scheme after
with "Crawfish" Crider's family and with Pete Tucker.
Here is a big 1.5MB high-res photo
of the corrected interpretation. Fabulous modelmaking.
Reduced-res image below:
View of the bonnet
view of the car
was fanatical about getting the car and its signwriting
correct. Here's what he said:
had a photo from Oldstox.com to go on, so it took some working out what
the sign writing said on the car. I could make out SALU.....
R.... 24HR. SERVICE ..... 10ML ....... OF G.WOOD HI-WAY 72.
I got onto Google Earth and found Abbeville, South Carolina
he lived at that time. Highway 72 runs straight through
nearby so that was the G.WOOD
part. Ten miles East of Greenwood is Greenwood Lake but
1940 when the dam was built it would have been the Saluda River.
So that area now known now as The Lake would probably still
been called Saluda
River back in 1955.
some guess work as I figured the next bit was 24HR. SERVICE STN.
there is the small problem of what colours are we looking at
black and white photograph? Going by the grey tones I could
out the white on the front end and the black line bordering both
colours, but what is the rear end colour? I felt Mustard
was a fair bet because it sure wasn`t going to be black as the #9
Crawfish model on your Oldstox home page. But there again, to
that grey tone it could equally be Lime Green, Pink or Sky Blue?
The black and white print of the model seems to confirm that.
no mention of colour in any of the books I`ve read, but I thought is
there anyone out there that can still remember? I got the
to work again cutting back the front wings and trimming off lumps of
the bonnet. The original car was a 1937 Ford 5 window coupe
is a 1939/40 die cast 1/34 model, just a few
subtle differences around the front end as far as I can see.
well as the following, there are great photos of a model Tony
car and transporter, in the Tony Wicks section on the "MORE SENIORS"
(and on my Links page) is an excellent website by expert modeller Colin Moss: http://www.mossmodels.co.uk/index.htm
Justin Small was lucky as a
kid in the 1980's to have a model-making father, whose favourite
cars/drivers are shown here (tiny gems, parked beside the
towing Oxo box on a shelf!): SuperStu 1;
one of the Staffordshire Finnikins 55;
260; and Dan Clarke
to Mark Crisp, who took some "Heritage" car photos at a 2007 Brafield
meet that included Heritage cars, to be shown elsewhere. But
highlight is this amazing display
of perfect accurate models of the great stock cars of four
decades. Neither Mark nor I know who created these models, so please if
you know, give
me an e-mail.
I also cropped the photo to show a close-up
of one small display section here.
Dickinson, model builder and racer
serious 'working' model stock-cars. Terry Dickinson has raced
radio-controlled stock cars (3.5cc motors) for years, scoring
in championships in the UK and Holland, at meets that attract
anywhere from 40 to 90 "drivers". Car # 3 was a
hard-used racer for several years, and sports the traditional roof
The other two cars
are display models, without the rugged steel chassis that racers need.
Terry's models are accurate right down to pedals and seat belts.
Stories / Heroes / Photos / Friendly corrections?