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Old 4 Feb 2004, 18:30 (Ref:863053)   #1
Speedy norm
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Aintree remembered

Anyone remember not only the international races at Aintree but the clubbies at the short circuit over the Melling road?
I use to marshall there on the tuesday night sessions in the late seventies and have some great memories.
Richard Peacock, Ian Stronach, Alo Lawler, and many more.
I think Jim crawford still holds the outright lap record and for special saloons the magic minute was the target.
Also what about other such circuits now gone Rufforth, Longridge. I never got to these but there must be tails to tell
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Old 4 Feb 2004, 19:02 (Ref:863087)   #2
Barry Pomfret
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I raced there in the early 80's in FF 1600, I've just dug out an old programme from '82 and among the entry are are a few familiar names such as John Bosch,Richard Peacock,Andy Middlehurst,Tim Sugden and Dave Abram.
We raced there twice during the season and at one of the meetings a large hole appeared in the track at the right hander which led onto the straight alongside the horse jumps. This hole was on the racing line, approx 6" deep and about 12" across, the race organisers (750 MC) placed a cone over the hole and the races continued with this cone in place! At the end of this straight there was a tight hairpin with a runoff leading to a gate, beyond the gate was a row of shops along a main Aintree road, apparently the locals shouted " another one going for chips" if you slid up the escape road as a fish and chip shop was at the end of the road. The time keepers accommodation consisted of an old derelict double decker bus.
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Old 4 Feb 2004, 20:02 (Ref:863135)   #3
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I had the pleasure of being Aintree Circuit Club's Secretary of the Meeting from 73-77 and for two meetings on a 'guest type basis' in 1980. Oh yes, happy days.

Big race entries, no modern day BS and some big stars at the meetings. Eddie Jordan had his first car win there, Gunnar Nillson and the F3 boys in 75. Legendary F Libre races - which no doubt will get DanRear onto this thread.

Tuesday night testing from 6-8 with anything from road cars to F1 machinery. Most new Chevron models turned their first wheels on an Aintree Tuesday and I missed very few of them from being a schoolboy in 63 upto 82.

The politics of ownership battles from Mrs Topham, through Bill Davis to the Jockey Club and the club fighting to keep the circuit open.

The 1.64mile track is still there and is used for sprints etc. The bulk of the 3.0 mile Grand Prix tarmac is also still there and wouldn't it be nice to see it used again. Pie in the sky? Probably, but it is nice to dream.

Richard Peacock starting a race school in 78, before selling it to Malcolm Barfoot in 85.

Val Musetti not stopping for a pint after a Tuesday night test, because he had to be in London to overturn a bus at 4.30am the following morning at Hyde Park Corner.

The J+P Polymers Formula Ford Fiesta meeting in 76 - I couldn't call it a Festival because I had taken on [and beaten] John Webb in 75

I could go on and on and on and .........

Oh yes, the buses. The original got replaced as a transport museum wanted it. I got quite good at bump starting a bus and driving it across the Melling Road and I never recall us ever needing to tip any diesel into it.
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Old 4 Feb 2004, 20:06 (Ref:863140)   #4
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I was doing FF F3 Modsports Sports-Racers and SuperVW 68 - 73 and can remenmber a few of the weirder circuits.
Like the Brands Hatch mini circuit where we stopped halfway along the bottom straight and raced up to the top of Paddock.
Rufforth I remember because if you gently nudged the bollards you'd open the corners out, so as the race progressed, you'd get faster.
And Aintee I can only just recall but we did OK and it was fast in places. Was it in the evening?
And Llandow ... ....!
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Old 4 Feb 2004, 20:31 (Ref:863176)   #5
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Not the racing John, just the 'general' testing. I remember many a Saturday morning at the crack of sparrows seing Peter White's FSV parked up outside and Peter giving it the zzzzzs'
fast in places FF1600s topped 130mph down the Railway Straight into Club Corner hairpin. That is why a few 'went for chips', me included on a test day.

Last edited by diz; 4 Feb 2004 at 20:31.
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Old 4 Feb 2004, 23:05 (Ref:863418)   #6
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What about the meeting that was cancelled [bikes I think] after 100,100 plus attended a Michael Jackson concert. When they turned up to race their bikes the following weekend, you couldn't stand up at Club Corner, let alone race round it.
All the dog burger and chip vans had been parked up there and after they left, the track was covered with copious amounts of chip fat.
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Old 4 Feb 2004, 23:06 (Ref:863419)   #7
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You can stil use it twice ayear Diz Steve Jones from the Alpha club organizes it
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Old 4 Feb 2004, 23:43 (Ref:863463)   #8
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anyone got any then and now pictures?
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Old 5 Feb 2004, 10:31 (Ref:863870)   #9
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Aintree was a bit off the beaten track for me, but Rufforth I knew well. Real "minimal motor racing" stuff and I guess there must have been slight changes to the circuit at every meeting - how can you place bollards with pin point accuracy? The racing was usually good though, although I remember when the 750 formula boys made a one-off appearance they seemd to take an age to get down the long back straight and the commentator said he didn't expect to ever see them at Rufforth again. He was right. One thing you could always guarantee - if Tony Dean turned up, he would always win the Libre race. On one particular day in 1972 it was absolutely.....raining, and while most drivers were taking a very circumspect approach, Dean was having a right good go in his F2 Brabham and getting in some lovely slides in the corners.
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Old 5 Feb 2004, 15:10 (Ref:864192)   #10
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First corner used to be the best - a 90 left with a corn field on the outside.

Many a FF first lap incident ended with drivers chugging round and round in the corn looking for a way back onto the track.
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Old 5 Feb 2004, 20:30 (Ref:864563)   #11
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My memories centre on the Tuesday night practice sessions
I was always sent to marshall Beachers out. This was just before the long back straight but there was a public footpath crossing the track! This was closed for races but not tuesday nights. I not only had to flag marshal but act as a lolipop man also. When you had Norman Dickson in his March 772P you had to think quickly. Could I get the public across before he got here? Wekll usually.
Another night George "Welly" Potter brought his 7.2ltr Skoda down. I was on Country and one of his mates decides to join us at the post, "whos that I asked" Its george Potter" came the reply, "bugger we've forgetten the oil flags" I said, He wasn't impressed.
Great days
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Old 5 Feb 2004, 20:45 (Ref:864584)   #12
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Andrew Kitson should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridAndrew Kitson should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridAndrew Kitson should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridAndrew Kitson should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Longridge was mentioned and this has to be one of the strangest car racing circuits we have had. I recall it had a maximum grid of 8 cars. Set in an old quarry , it was only 0.43 miles per lap. Looking through the archives here, the lap record was set by Kim Mather in an F1 BRM P153 at 23.6 secs in 1973, but the track being so short and tight, this was an average speed of only 65 mph! It is now a caravan park.
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Old 6 Feb 2004, 08:13 (Ref:865163)   #13
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the lap record was set by Kim Mather in an F1 BRM P153
I recall Kim driving the BRM in Libre races at Aintree.

Never managed to marsal at Longridge - but the regulars always said that the lap was so short that if a car spun there was a likelyhood that it would hit itself the next time round!

Last edited by Flagman; 6 Feb 2004 at 08:14.
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Old 6 Feb 2004, 09:03 (Ref:865207)   #14
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I have been, reliably, informed that car races are unlikely to return to Aintree because of today's safety requirements e.g. gravel traps, proper run offs and tyre walls. These requirements would significantly change the layout and character of the horse race circuit and the proposals have been declined by the Jockey Club.



PS You can still see bikes race there.

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Old 6 Feb 2004, 12:40 (Ref:865418)   #15
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Speedy Norm , did Norman D take his F2 March there ? I'd have thought by the time he had that, 1978, he was out of Libre racing, other than in Scotland. Do you mean Kim Mather, who also had a 772P, but not the Dickson one. Kim shared his car with David Ward, ISTR the latter trashed the car in mid-79 at Aintree or Oulton maybe. Kim had it rebuilt as a 782/79B, and it went better after that.

I never got to Aintree races, but remember the great days of Northern Libre, as I've recounted many times on here before ! Neil Bold is another name I remember with an FAt Royale amongst others, tiny Warren Booth too.
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