May 2016 alert:
Scroll down page / search for 'Banger Racing' to find a new and brilliant little video: 5 minutes of joy!
This 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 photos 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.
British 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 me their stories and their own photos.
Ex-racer Dick [now 'Rick']Young, lap-scorer Ken Mason, and Brafield 'deejay' Russ Thomas ---- along with many many others ---- have been especially helpful with pictures and stories.
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.
You'll need hours to go through this pictorial history. Click 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.
Last 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, we're enjoying stock cars!
If 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.====================================================
My JUNK SHOP principles:
First, 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].
Second, 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 this is 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.
Look 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 just "2014".
I try 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.
This introductory page includes photos of stock-car badges, stickers, programmes, audio files, films, books, and so on.
Over 1300 photos of British stock-cars
1960s-1970s British drag-racing
Do you have a vintage stocks or drags photo or story you'd like to contribute?
"Shield of honour"
If you were good enough to qualify into the stock car World Final, you received this shield.
This 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 Fred.
Pete 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.
The "King of Tar" 1967 World Champ George Ansell
George Ansell 375 won Harringay's qualifying round in 1970, on tarmac of course [photo below] before going on to the WF semi on Coventry's trickier shale --- and won that too. George generously gave this QR trophy to his lifelong number one fan Ian Snoad. Ian had followed the racing at Harringay since the age of 8, and years 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.
Two classic programme covers, from 1959 and 1960
[Brandon programme from Andrew Lively]
Two pit passes to revive old memories, courtesy of Barry Redman #151:
Belle Vue Harringay
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 have been announcing at my local 1/8 mile drag races since 1999:
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:
and 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 racers on hand. My driver was Charlie Hollings, a serious F3 competitor, and his terse instructions were "hang on 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.
Silverstone's new Grand Prix circuit layout was opened in April 2010, and the track was actually blessed by the Bishop of Brixworth, by tapping the tarmac with his bishop's crozier or 'pastoral staff' (that's a shepherd's crook to you and me). So what? It was my late father who made that crozier about 30 years ago. , watched by Prince Andrew, GP world champion Damon Hill, Mark Webber, David Coulthard. Cheers for my dad.
I took a two-day racing course at a tight road circuit near Vancouver in March 2009. I borrowed a stripped-out 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 am into Turn 2 --- yes, he soon passed. There's nothing like a serious training course to shake you up when you think you're pretty good.
Tunes from the tracks: Speakers on
Remember the theme over the Tannoy? Thanks to Malc Brown who has brilliantly soundtracked RinkyDink with his collection of stock car photos on YouTube:
The Anthem for bangers, Mouldy Old Dough:
played by "Lieutenant Pigeon", a band led by Rob Woodward with his mum Hilda on keyboards. The 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!
Also the outrageous 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 NUTCRACKER.)
You know this: 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", by Whistling Jack Smith?
(Most YouTube clips of it show an imposter posing on a platform lip-synching to the real record.)
Another favourite: Bert Kaempfert's "Swingin' Safari":
Let us 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 for the song. Here are.
Novelty-nonsense songs were often big hits in Britain in the 50's, 60's and 70's --- have we become too serious today? Remember:
- "Come Outside" and "Will I What?" by Mike Sarne,
- Bernard Cribbins's "Right Said Fred" and "Hole In The Ground".
- Then there was "Lily The Pink" and "Thank You Very Much" by The Scaffold.
- Then Charley Drake's "My Boomerang Won't Come Back" and "Please Mr Custer"
- Jake Thackray's "Ulysses".
- Hedgehoppers Anonymous [who were RAF pilots] : "It's Good News Week".
- Bernard Bresslaw's "You Need Feet" and "I Only Arsked"
Stock-cars and 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 . 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 Savages", you were listening to Joe Meek productions. Joe Meek wrote and 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.
'The Man on the Mike'
If you enjoyed Sunday afternoons at Brafield Stadium, whether as picnicking early-birds or just-in-time race fans, you were serenaded for 14 years from 1963 to 1977 by a fascinating chap billed as 'Rick' Thomas, real name Russ Thomas. Russ "lived and breathed stock cars", and early on had the gumption to buttonhole manager Graham Guthrie and owner John La Trobe about having music. Before that, Geoff Barnett had played tape recordings of Alan Freeman's PICK OF THE POPS. The only actual records owned by Brafield were God Save The Queen, Bobby's Girl, and 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 " stuck in your mind, it's because Russ chose it and kept on playing it, and eventually other tracks in England and Holland copied the idea. Despite people groaning "Oh no, not again" when Rinky Dink started up, drivers and mechanics came to appreciate it as an ideal "races starting" reminder.
For years Brafield's PA system ran on a single car battery. When it died, Russ would tour the track on the back of a truck, with the race results chalked on a blackboard ---.
Geoff Barnett, previously the Staines manager/commentator, was a big believer in entertainment: brass bands, gymnastics displays, backwards races, the terrifying Australian speedway sidecars,, burst-a-balloon, Senior-vs-Junior match races, climb-the-greasy-pole, comic commentaries, you name it, and even sudden spontaneous prizes, such as:
"Look, Aubrey Leighton's under his car doing repairs --- the first girl to run across and give Aubrey a kiss wins three bottles of Coke."
Russ 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 first trained as a motor mechanic in Northampton, and developed his career into sign-painting, becoming a lifelong signwriter, , doing cars (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 stunning examples:
apart from the brilliant paintwork, look at the "marbling" on this mobile fairground paybox.
have you ever ridden the Super Waltzer?
a tiger snarls from "the Waltzer".
more of the Waltzer, and now below: the winged messenger Mercury in dazzling colour:
February 2015 Update:This 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, I said
"Yes: this is what it was like --- this is exactly what it was like at its best."
What 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 for creating this work of art, and for allowing me to show it on this website.
Please 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 --- 'Lucky Man'
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:
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 that after several hard damaging collisions, Benny's car is shown undamaged. I've not seen the film, but its cast included substantial actors likeDavid 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.]Arthur Lowe (Dad's Army).
Stratford Johns (Softly Softly) and Arthur Rigby (from The Blue Lamp to Dixon of Dick Green), and --
The Dagenham Girl Pipers. I'd always thought they were a made-up joke on Morecombe and Wise, but they formed in 1930 and are still running after 80 years. When they were ENSA performers in WW2, Hitler was overheard to say "I wish I had a band like that." Here are some nostalgic photos accompanied by the DGP,
"Stock Car" in 1955 featured great racing and so-so acting. Available in a two-film package:
It 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.
Paul 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 Quatermass Experiment) Uncredited is Frank Thornton (Are You Being Served? and Last of the Summer Wine) who was still acting in 2010; and Frazer Hines (Emmerdale Farm). The cinematographer Geofrey Faithfull did over a hundred films, including Village of the Damned and The Green Helmet.
Rick 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!
Five minutes of fun: brilliant litle video project on BANGER RACING by filmmaker Alexander Turner,
which can be seen [but not downloaded] on his website:
"What The Papers Say"
One of the South Devon Herald Express editors fondly remembers the action at Newton Abbot from the old days, and published about the stock cars and bangers. (copied-and-pasted from their website onto a PDF file).
BBC Radio Goes into Stock Car HistoryFebruary 2009: Out of the blue, I was contacted by BBC Radio Northampton, who were doing a series of pieces about local heroes, and who had evidently come across my website. They wanted to hear about Aubrey Leighton #42, so here is a 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 Northamptonshire's only 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.
September 2010: On Saturday 4th September, BBC Radio 4 broadcast an unusual documentary, "Stock Car Sewell" [link 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.
But has also 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."); chats to banger racers; raves over the vista of smoke and sparks under the floodlights ("Like a November sunset by J.M.W.Turner"); 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 loftily "So you are the grey eminence behind all this?" and Andy retorts "I'm the Law is what I am."
Yet the officials, drivers, and mechanics were surprisingly hospitable to this eccentric upper-class alien in their midst. Leaving at the end of the night, Sewell says "It feels as though you've just watched BenHur, King Lear, and a pantomime all together."
Listen to (Big file may take a minute to open.)
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.
An Inspiring Letter:
August 2011: Long 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. There 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 "RAC types". I found an old copy of the magazine, and re-reading 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.
Read and give a loud cheer for our sport.
The artist Jason Curwen, who paints portraits to order, crafted this pastel/chalk portrait of Trevor Frost on behalf of Trevor's daughter. It is based on a photo of Trevor in 1964. You can see many more examples of his work on this website:
Books, Badges, and Programmes
SCRN vol. 4, issue 4, April 1964 see link below photo:
Update March 2018, from Steve Dailey, big, with higher-res photos added at the end.
=========================================================================Also scanned by Steve Dailey: for their 1965 World Championship, here is Spedeworth's September issue of
[link to pdf file below]
Update: February 2018: thanks to Steve Palmer for scanning and sending this high-resolution
Stock Car Supporter June 1968: 42 pages packed with stories
AUGUST 2014: Thanks to Kevin Fisher for these PDF scans of stock-car programmes and Stock Car Racing News. These 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 gossip that simply didn't appear anywhere else.
OOOPS: some of the Brafield links below all go to the same programme: I will try to fix this
Other Tracks 1963
Other Tracks 1965
Other Tracks 1966
Other Tracks 1967
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:
Thank you, Kevin Fisher!
More Old Stock Car Programmes
January 2011: The 1963 West Ham world semi-final. I've had these scans for ages and apologise for forgotting who sent them. However, some famous names and numbers here:
, showing Pete Arnold's intro [and Reg Pryor's garage advertisement]
, with more Pete, including a cigarette promo, and the Brandon semi results.
- , showing the two heats for the evening's Gold Sash final, and the first WF semi heat, with winners pencilled in.
- , showing the second semi and Gold Sash, winners pencilled in.
- Page 10 missing.
- , 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 survives in perfect nick: it's a huge 6MB "pdf" file of all 12 pages. See the ticket prices and the prize money in the days 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.
August 2010: Graham Cox scanned this Brands Hatch programme from their historic first stock-car meet on April 10th, 1966, with winners written in.
saloon stock cars photos
: May 2010: Long Eaton rivalled Brafield for "oldest track", as shown by , and Graham Cox kindly scanned the full contents which you can see in The Early Days section of this site.
Another Barry Redman contribution, and the indefatigable 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.Also, how about ; 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. Thanks, Barry.
Ian Melton is proud owner of this mint --- there's no year printed on it, but that artist's impression is adapted from this real of the 1950's -- but which track? The trees look like Brafield but Brafield didn't have lights. March 2010, Trevor Chater confirms this is indeed the 1960 poster.
From ex-racer Barry Redman #151, a trip back through 54 years to Staines, on 1st June 1956: the programme cover. Look and remember that, post-war National Service still going, soldiers enjoyed discounts, and some of you remember it was normal practice to pick up 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 system.
Historic 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 picked up this actual programme at Hyde Road all those years ago. Thanks a million to Terry for this gem.I will extract some of the photos and save them into the "Early Days / Fifties" section of this site.
Gavin Davis 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 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.
Trivia 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 company.
Move on eight years to Tuesday, and 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:
Here are twelve programme covers scanned for us by Trevor Richings, all early 1960's, and an early one from Ken Mason. I will leave you to read the exact dates from the covers. This brings back memories:
from 1963 and from 1963
from 1963 and from 1963;
from 1964; from 1963;
from 1963; from 1963;
from 1958 [Ken Mason]; from 1964;
from 1965; from 1962.
Brian Clements, long-time veteran F2 fan, sent these scans of a Walthamstow Whitsun 1965 programme: a then-traditional "mixed meet" of Juniors and Seniors, with star drivers like Dougie Wardropper, Chick Woodroffe, etc, racing both formulas the same day.
Here is the.
Here are the, showing winners and placemen.
Here are the third and fourth races,, again with results added.
More of Brian's historic programmes can be seen in the Junior F2 section of my site.
Also from Brian, this programme from Plymouth's Pennycross Stadium, 1965. The pages include a comprehensive, details of the (notoriously rough), and the regular And the advert for the.
Pennycross Stadium ran from 1928 to 1972, with greyhounds, speedway, and 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 and bell-bottoms to and THE HERD [Pete Frampton's first band, with their single "I Can Fly" Their old 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 ----.
Two old aerial photos of Pennycross: , and
Cliff Burdett and his father Bill Burdett
Thanks to Cliff Burdett in Leics. who has frequently helped me with my website for years. Cliff's late father, a brilliant mechanic, Bill Burdett was also well-known around the spectator areas, a 'postie' for over 30 years, who Billy Stewart (UK Modifieds #88) remembers as always having a laugh. Cliff 'races' a mobility scooter these days, but still gets to meetings when he can. Cliff himself raced and won over 80 trophies in bangers, saloon stocks, and Incarace stock rods. After 1992, Cliff mechanic'd in National Hot Rods and Rebels and more --- 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!
Aycliffe 25 May 1980, (when Willie beat Mike Close to the flag in the Grand Final):
Belle Vue the on 8th September. Supporting races results written in. WF 1st was Fred Mitchell #38
Belle Vue 25th July 1981:.
Brafield When Keith Barber's "WILD BILL" book was launched at Brafield, of the very first Brafield meeting (14th August 1955, promoter by Digger Pugh) was issued. Don't buy a 'genuine rare original' if it has the little blue notice on the back cover!
Brafield Arnolds Memorial Trophy, 23rd August 1970:
Brafield Steve Bateman won the Grand Final, and the ever-popular White-Tops race was won by Keith Harrison.
Brandon TRACKMASTER TROPHY, 2nd September 1978:
Cadwell Park on 16th August 1970. Cadwell's hot air balloon was on hand, and Ansell entered late but won the F1.
Harringay 1970 World Final 26th September:
Leicester 18th May 1974:
Leicester 21 May 1977: Danny Clarke 203 won the WF qualifying round final.
Long Eaton 31st July 1971 world semi-final:
Long Eaton 30th June 1979 "Stock Car Superstar Trophy" [B. Finnikin beat B. Powles] :
Mallory Park 17th May 1970:
In 1964 I took some photos at Brafield with my cheap Brownie Cresta camera, 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 find one in a public library, photocopied it, and file, along with the following week's reader's letter.
February 2014: Twenty years before stock-cars competed on Britain's stadium ovals, Midget cars struggled to "take off". Postwar Britain also saw attempts 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 forgotten 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:
Note: the back cover photo below shows the illustrious Bugatti specialist Ivan Dutton with some of his midget car collection. Derek has sent me, along with. 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 gives driver biographies and plenty of technical info. You can buy it from FONTHILL MEDIA, at
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?
This is 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:
Compiled 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 will keep you busy for ever. To purchase this marvellous book, contact Guy Parker by e-mail (not by the previously listed postal address)
A UNIQUE BOOK IS PUBLISHED in France, by pioneer racer Guy Curval, on the history of stock-car racing in France 1953-1970. Guy Curval regularly raced in England in Senior F1's and in Junior F2's, including several World Finals. Guy was a close buddy of 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 were 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. Guy Curval last raced in 1969, when after an injury-filled career his doctors ordered him to stop. Guy is still to be seen around the sport in France, and has a classically-restored stock-car in his garage. "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 expensive, and all in French of course. You can ask about it or buy it from a specialist car book shop in Paris: "PASSION AUTOMOBILE", and their e-mail address is
Ooh la la, more from France: William Camus was half-Iroquois, half-French, born in the Yukon, who became a Parisian journalist, children's author, writer of Westerns, and occasional stock-car driver. He was one of the French contingent who came over to New Cross in 1954. He wrote a stock car adventure novel for a youth audience called "LES 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.
Terrific DVD: Les Cotton has available a DVD of stock-car action from the 'real' Belle Vue in 1986, the new Belle Vue in 2004, and Sheffield in 1987.
Go to Les's website:
or e-mail Les:
More: Les Cotton's wife Sue is an accomplished artist, in watercolour, oil, pastel, and pencil. Here is a super commissioned portrait of a modern F2 stock car on her website:
=================================================================================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."
Paul Fielding has self-published a superb collection of photographs of Banger racing. My site does not normally touch on bangers, but having seen the tip-top quality of Paul's photography, and his text, I just had to report 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
and one 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 on the track.
The book everyone's heard of --- 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. Outrageous, a 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
If 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, characters and exploits that make you want to cheer; that's what you get in these self-written self-published books.
First: 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 readers who 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 show!
or a bookstore; its book number is 978-0-9565329-0-9, published by Tweenbrook Publishing in Gloucester.
Second: the massive, by Dick Sheppard and the late Jacquie de Creed, his daredevil partner, who tragically died just before this book was published. Over 400 pages, told alternately in Dick's and Jacquie's words, this is a feast. This is the literary equivalent of your favourite cafe's biggest sausage-egg-chips-beans-chops-mushrooms-fried-bread-bacon-and-scrape 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 Guinness 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 Mustang:. And yet: "I 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 teach speech and drama in Cheltenham and to give inspirational workshops and team building sessions.
Do yourself a favour and get this book. or your bookshop; its book number is 978-0-9565329-1-6, published by Tweenbrook Publishing in Gloucester.
The Ultimate Stock Car Books:
Between 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 the dosh. 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.
Another "ultimate" stock-car book: Who drove #304? What years did Chippie Weston drive? Where was Karl Grossman from? How do you sort it all out, especially when over 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:
You can get it from Photostox, 17 Willingham Close, Sothall, Sheffield, S20 2PD, or contact
Arthur 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:
<a href="" 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.)
Another book: Andrew Weltch ) is a long-time writer, journalist, and announcer who has with Richard Neil, published several oval-track books. Here are the covers of four of them, and you can order them direct from his website. . . . .
Good-old-days magazine: 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 car he's racing in memory of his years-ago exploits, which you can also see in the JUNIORS section of this site. And how d'you like this lovely "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 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?
These may remind you:
Mark Crisp acquired this beautiful bumper badge at a garage where he worked over 40 years ago -- since the cars were called Juniors for several years after their 1961 birth, this high-quality badge is probably 1964-onwards. A very professional design compared to many of the badges back then.
Belle 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.
collected this one. , then their coveted . Aye lad, the North knows how to race, at . Next: , what a disgrace that the authorities let it be demolished, an unforgivable bit of "development" . How's about Lincolnshire's ? Don't forget Next: badge ("Brandon" if you're old ---). Down to Notts, where put on great shows. South a bit to . In Northants, Brafield printed a rather of a "stock-car", but it brought the crowds in. Down south, badge. Here is the rare acknowledgement of stock car racing. Next, sticker. Further still, the Mendip, where the lovely track sits in an old reservoir depression on the very top of the hills. Down west we go to [stickers courtesy of Rick Young's collection]
An early, courtesy of Chris "Totter" Holmes, Jock Lloyd 131's long time mechanic.
Model Stock Cars
Ex-racer 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 a half years. He remembers going to Harringay in 1961 and becoming hooked.
Steve raced from 1974 to 1976 and then Superstock in 1977 as #72. Now retired, Steve is building some amazing models:
"Crawfish" Crider, one of the visiting USA team in 1955: Steve's initial version
25 February 2018: Steve Daily has now revised the colour scheme after consulting with "Crawfish" Crider's family and with Pete Tucker.
Here is of the corrected interpretation. Fabulous modelmaking.
Reduced-res image below:
View of the compartment
view of the car
I only 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 where he lived at that time. Highway 72 runs straight through Greenwood nearby so that was the G.WOOD part. Ten miles East of Greenwood is Greenwood Lake but before 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 have been called Saluda River back in 1955.
Then there is the small problem of what colours are we looking at in a black and white photograph? Going by the grey tones I could make out the white on the front end and the black line bordering both colours, but what is the rear end colour? I felt Mustard Yellow 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 be 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.
There`s 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 grinder 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 but this is a 1939/40 die cast 1/34 model, just a few subtle differences around the front end as far as I can see.
Steve Daily's "take" on the famous Pete Tucker car:
I`d bought a die cast model Ford V8 1932 model A coupe in 1:32 scale and as the real Pete Tucker car wasn`t a model A [was a later 1934 model], I`d shelved the idea. Then I found the race driver figure which just happens to be the same 1:32 scale and looks a bit like Pete Tucker of 1955, so the challenge was on. Having no engine in this model, the bonnet side panels would have to stay in place, as was the case on Pete Tucker's later coupes he built.
Five photos: One, Two, THree, Four, Five
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 to date, and I am going to do a "quick pick" of my own four faves:Okay, just one more: Pete Tucker
As well as the following, there are great photos of a model Tony Wicks 93 car and transporter, in the Tony Wicks section on the "MORE SENIORS" page.
Here (and on my Links page) is an excellent website by expert modeller Colin Moss:
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!): ;
one of the Staffordshire ; ; 260; and 203
Thanks to Mark Crisp, who took some "Heritage" car photos at a 2007 Brafield meet. But the highlight is this amazing display case of the great stock cars of four decades. The model maker's name is John Nunn. I also cropped the photo to show of one small display section here. John Nunn also made this belonging to Martin Abbs.
Some serious 'working' model stock-cars. Terry Dickinson has raced radio-controlled stock cars (3.5cc motors) for years, scoring high in championships in the UK and Holland, at meets that attract anywhere from 40 to 90 "drivers". was a hard-used racer for several years, and sports the traditional roof fin.
are display models, without the rugged steel chassis that racers need. Terry's models are accurate right down to pedals and seat belts.
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