Pete's Stock Car Pages - History Pete's Stock Car Pages Formula One in the South A Brief History and Personal Perspective Stock Car Racing, UK Style, arrived at New Cross Stadium, London, on Good Friday, 16th April 1954. Over 26,000 saw this first meeting which was promoted by Digger Pugh.
It is reported that some 20,000 people were locked out of the full stadium. The sport came to England via France. During 1952 and 1953, big old American cars, with V8 engines and specially built tough bumpers were a popular attraction at the Buffalo Stadium in Paris. Loosely based on the American NASCAR cars of the period, the small oval tracks which they were to race on in France meant that contact was inevitable and, as the events were principally staged as a money-making spectator attraction, encouraged. French Stock Car drivers could push and shove their opponents! Stadium racing in France stopped after a few years, but the sport took hold in Britain.
Sybase Sql Anywhere Studio 9.0.2 on this page. BriSCA F1 Stock Cars. Drivers are graded on their ability and past performance and this is indicated by the colour of their fin.
And so, with a few low spots but many highs, today's decedents of the original cars still feature those big V8 engines and heavy ironwork. Stock Car Racing was featured at many venues around the UK during the 1950's. In 1954 over 130 meetings took place on more than 35 tracks. The V8 powered monsters made an impressive sight at small oval tracks of around a quarter of a mile in town and country.
The tracks were often shared with motorcycle speedway teams or built within greyhound racing tracks. The cars were still based around American saloon cars which gave the cars more of a 'banger' look than the 'specials' which they were to develop into in later years. After the first couple of years, and sensing that the bubble may burst, promoters, drivers and advisors worked together to get the sport organised. Through the 1950's, 60's and early '70's, the V8 powered stock cars continued to appear at venues around the country. In the south they were featured at tracks such as Harringay, West Ham, Walthamstow, New Cross, Crayford, Lydden, Swindon, Ringwood, Eastbourne, Brafield (Northampton), Brands Hatch, Bristol, Rayleigh, Oxford and Reading. During the period, some of the old 'dirt' tracks were tarmaced. The first meeting on the Ringwood tarmac was 17th July 1955.
Brafield and Harringay followed in the early 60's. Further north, Belle Vue, Coventry, Long Eaton, Nelson, Rochdale, Bradford and Leicester were some of the tracks on the fixture list, as well as Cadwell Park and Snetterton. In the main, during these first twenty years of the sport, drivers from the south dominated the grading lists. With the costs involved in building these large gas guzzeling V8's, a smaller 'junior' Stock Car was introduced in 1960. These cars were based around smaller engines and UK saloon cars, but still ironed up for contact. The original big cars adopted the 'senior' tag. In 1961, the fragile world of organised Stock Car Racing in the UK was blown apart.
A disagreement between promoters about an 'unlicensed' meeting at Arlington Stadium near Eastbourne in July split the Stock Car Racing establishment in two and would last for 35 years. Paramount Promotions, later to become Spedeworth International, were expelled from the British Stock Car Association of promoters, later to become BriSCA, for holding the meeting.
Moreover, the BriSCA promoters banned drivers from appearing at Paramount venues. Letters were sent to Fred Mitchell, Jock Lloyd, Ted Pankhurst and other drivers saying that they would be fined and banned if they continued to race at 'outlaw' tracks. Paramount in the South of England and, later, East Anglia went its own way, basing its operation on its own licensed Junior Stock Cars which it had started to promote in 1960.
The other promoters took the drivers of the Senior Stock Cars with them. In time, the two divisions became known as Formula One, or F1, Stock Cars (the original big cars) and Formula Two, or F2, Stock Cars (the newer, smaller class). The 1961 split meant that Stock Car fans in the South and South East of England lost out on seeing the impressive Formula One Stock Cars race on the Spedeworth promoted ovals. A meeting on 18th May 1961 was to be their last appearance at Aldershot the, by then, spiritual home of racing in the south. Seventeen drivers took part at that last meeting. After 1961, Formula One Stock Cars were to appear in London and Kent at non-Spedeworth tracks, and they were to be seen more in the Midlands and north of England, even though many of the top drivers were from London and the south.
Fans of Stock Car racing in the south had to contend themselves, by and large, with the Spedeworth variety of action and entertainment. In fact, the quality was very good. Meetings were staged throughout the week. And the Spedeworth publicity machine was well managed, with adverts on pirate radio stations and various promotional stunts.