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Mallory Park

nr Kirby Mallory

Greetings from Kirby Mallory, United Kingdom

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From the travels and adventures of the 

“World’s #1 Trackchaser”

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mallory park sign

Mallory Park

Asphalt road course

Lifetime Track #2,222

The EventVideo PlusPhotos

 

keep calm bank holiday

Editor’s note: This spring’s 2016 “bank holiday” weekend took Carol and I to six different racetracks in the United Kingdom. The trip included trackchasing visits to:

 

Rockingham Motor Speedway

Adrian Flux Arena (King’s Lynn)

Trent Raceway

Mallory Park

Crudgington Raceway

Belle Vue Stadium

 

 

One Trackchaser Report will cover the entire trip. However, there is a separate and unique YouTube video and photo album from each track. I hope you enjoy what I have shared with you.

 

 

 

2000 plus 39

THE EVENT

This weekend’s undertaking was just one of more than 2,000 trips that have taken me up, down and around the long and dusty trackchasing trail. If you would like to see where I’ve been and experience those adventures here’s the link:

 

Randy’s Complete Track List

 

 

 

If you’ve got a question, comment or whatever please leave it at the bottom of this report.  It’s very easy to do.  Or you can visit me on Facebook.  Thanks!

 

 

facebook 2

 

Randy on Facebook

 

 

I often see two or more tracks in a single day or in a single weekend. Sometimes when that happens I will combine my observations from multiple tracks into a single Trackchaser Report. That is the case today.

 

 

 

 

ON THE WAY TO THE RACES

 

 

welcome to heathrow

Tuesday – May 24, 2016

 

 

Three years!

We were heading out on a 14-day European vacation. Would we be doing some trackchasing along the way? Of course. Did you know I have spent more than THREE YEARS of my life outside the United States trackchasing in foreign countries?

 

 

Every time we go on one of these long trips most of the time is spent touring and seeing the sights. That would be the case on this trip as well.

 

 

We would begin in jolly ol’ England.

The first half of the trip would be entirely in the United Kingdom. Three days for touring; three days for racing. I love the racing in the U.K. The last half of the trip would have us in Germany, and then it what would be trackchasing country #71….if all went well.

 

 

We left Los Angeles at an uncharacteristically late 9:30 p.m. Our flight to London would be a reasonable nine hours. We normally save about an hour flying from west to east. We’ll pay for that privilege on the way back. It’s all about the headwinds.

 

 

Pre-planning is worth its weight in gold.

As with nearly all of my foreign country visits I had put a considerable amount of pre-planning into the trip. I do that to make sure we are an productive as we possibly can be. Pre-planning also saves time and money. However, it is often the things that don’t go according to plan that are the most fun.

 

 

glasses 32

Where are my reading glasses?

There was one bit of panic as we boarded the British Airways flight from Los Angeles to London. Before we had even taken off I couldn’t locate my reading glasses! In addition to my passport and driver’s license my reading glasses are a must. I even got off the plane trying to find them. I normally carry then around the collar of my shirt. At the last minute Carol noticed them under my airline seat. They must have fallen down there when I bent over to put her bag in the overhead storage bin. Whew! I slept most of the way. It was an uneventful flight….the best kind.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday – May 25, 2016

 

 

It’s the U.K. baby!

We arrived into London at 4:30 p.m. local time. London is nine hours ahead of our Pacific time zone. That’s a great time to arrive into Europe. All we needed to do was stay up past dinner time and then get a good 8-10 hours, or even more, of sleep. We would be ready to go.

 

 

It did take us an hour to clear U.K. border control. I can’t remember it taking that long is a very long time. Normally we clear a country’s immigration area in 5-10 minutes.

 

 

walking stats

We were walking much of the time.

During this 14-day/13-night trip we will have just three days of rental car use. That makes this trip unusual as well. Normally I would have a rental car for every day of one of these trips.

 

 

I had chosen the Heathrow Hotel on Bath Road just outside the Heathrow airport. This would be an excellent choice for the first three days of the trip.

 

 

We could ride public buses to the hotel from the airport. When we wanted to go into downtown London we could ride the tube/underground (subway/metro) from the airport.

 

 

U.K. diet coke

Break out your wallet.

London is a very expensive place. It’s one of the most expensive cities in the world. We enjoyed a nice dinner after we had checked into the hotel. However, a Diet Coke was $6 U.S…..with no re-fills! Then we were off to bed.

 

 

Thursday – May 26, 2016

 

 

Jet-setting at its best.

We slept until 11 a.m. However we both got up in the middle of the night for 2-3 hours. At 11 a.m. London time we were starting our day in Europe at 2 a.m. Los Angeles time. Ah, the life of a jet setter!

 

 

london underground

What’s an “Oyster card”?

The plan was to spend the day and the night in London. We hopped on the free city bus to the airport. Then we purchased “Oyster cards” that would save us about 50% off the expensive one-way underground fares. The underground is pricey to ride. A one-way trip might be $6-7 U.S. per person. The Oyster cards would get that down to $3-4 per person.

 

 

Our first stop was a casual Italian lunch. Ca-ching! Our bill for that lunch was $55 U.S. I’m thinking we can save money if Carol doesn’t eat!

 

 

Broadway! London style.

Then it was over to the TKTS theatre ticket outlet. We really enjoy going to the live theatre. We’ve seen well over ten plays in London.

 

 

london theatre curious incident

We bought our tickets for both tonight and tomorrow night. Our choice for tonight was “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”. For tomorrow we’ll see the play “Sideways”.

 

 

Then we were off to the British Museum. Most London historical museums are free. Carol liked the place much more than me.

 

 

mcdonalds kiosk

McDonalds. Why?

Then we had a snack at McDonalds. We normally stop at a Mickey Ds once on a trip. I don’t recommend it for Americans traveling abroad. What adventure is there is doing what you do back home? However, I always like to checkout the menu to try something that isn’t available back home. What was that today? Electronic ordering! I completed our order from an electronic kiosk and even paid using my iPhone’s ApplePay feature. I was impressed with myself! Then we were off to do some food shipping at a local Whole Foods outlet.

 

 

Orchestra center.

Next up was the play. Our seats were in the center, row six. Think “50-yard line”. Not bad for half-priced tickets to a show that was completely sold out on the lower level. We couldn’t see how many patrons were sitting in the second and third decks (no, that’s not a theatre term)

 

 

The production was excellent. It was about an autistic teen-ager. If you like this type of live entertainment I recommend this play.

 

 

I meet a lot of interesting people.

We were out of the theatre at 10:30 p.m. We hopped on the underground and were back to the airport in 50 minutes. I spent most of ride talking to a fellow from Turkey. I would learn that he worked for Procter & Gamble for five years. I was able to get his perspective, as a Turkish native, on lots of topics from a foreigner’s (to me) point of view.

 

 

We could have stayed in London. However, that would have been a little more difficult with two weeks worth of luggage being hauled on the underground. We would bite the “50-minute” bullet” for a couple of days using the underground.

 

 

 

 

Friday, May 27, 2016

 

 

british flags london

Second day. Similar plan.

Again we slept in late. We were still getting used to the gigantic time change. Then it was the bus from the hotel to the airport and the underground into London. Our first stop was the St Pancras International train station.

 

 

We had time to make a dry run so next Tuesday’s train departure to Dusseldorf, Germany went well. This train station is huge. It was packed with travelers coming and going on this first day of a “bank holiday” weekend. We asked a lot of questions. When those were answered I figured we could navigate the train station without any undue delays when it really counted.

 

 

Buckingham palace 3

Would we see the queen?

Next stop? Buckingham Palace. When one uses public transportation like we will be doing on this trip they will do a lot of walking. We averaged nearly six miles of walking for every day of the trip.

 

 

Too fancy for cargo shorts?

We had a hankerin’ for Indian (Asia) food. I could use my favorite food app, Yelp! to help us eat at a highly recommended place. We would also use Google Maps from my iPhone to give us walking directions.

 

 

london indian restaurant

Soon we found ourselves in a very upscale Indian restaurant. How upscale? The tab for lunch was $110 and that didn’t include any booze or dessert! I think that is the most I have ever paid for lunch while wearing cargo shorts. By the way, I never wore long pants a single time during the entire trip. We were not going to last long spending money like this. Luckily, we were leaving London soon.

 

 

harrods 3

Next up was a stop at London’s famous department store, Harrods. Remember I don’t trackchase like my fellow competitors. When I trackchase I don’t want to miss out on a single thing the local area has to offer. When it’s all said and done I really don’t want all of my remembrances of the hobby to be about going to one dirt track after another.  In some ways Harrods is like a big department store museum.  Don’t miss the bakery!!

 

 

Theatre time…and a glass of wine.

It was getting to be evening theatre time. We walked over to the St. James Theatre for the play “Sideways”.

 

 

We loved the movie when it got best picture award back in 2004. The theatre was small. We arrived early. We were early enough to have two glasses of the house red wine. Twenty-seven bucks. It was time to leave London!

 

 

We were out of theatre at 10:30 p.m. We would need to make a mad rush to the underground and then back to the airport to catch our public bus to the hotel. Those buses stop running at midnight. We made the last bus by the skin of our teeth. We got the very last bus just as it was pulling away. My iPhone app shows we had walked 6.47 miles today!

 

 

 

 

Saturday, March 28, 2016

 

 

eurocar sign

Time to get a rental car….with a steering wheel on the wrong side of the car!

Today our foreign country trackchasing starts! Yes, I’m ready. First, we had the hotel’s breakfast buffet. It wasn’t the best but would get us down the road.

 

 

I had reserved our rental car with Eurocar. Fortunately, their office was located within a block of the hotel. I could walk there and did.

 

 

Always searching for a small advantage.

My original car was reserved at 18 English pounds per day plus V.A.T. (value added tax) plus London tax. By the way one English pound is equal to about $1.45 U.S. That’s bad but not as bad as when one pound equaled about two U.S. dollars.

 

 

I would be getting a smaller car with a manual transmission. Of course it would be right side steer. We would be driving on the left side of the road. I’ve driven tens of thousands of miles (no exaggeration) in this manner. It’s not all that difficult. However, I do have to pay attention.

 

 

I would need to rent a GPS system for our travels. In the U.S. those go for about $15 a day. In the U.K. they might cost nearly twice that. In the U.S. I would use my iPhone as my GPS. However, my AT&T cell phone coverage doesn’t work in the U.K. It would take way too much data to power my iPhone’s GPS app for three days to make that option worthwhile.

 

 

How about a new rental car plan?

The Eurocar rental agent had a new plan for me. These folks are trained to “upsell”. Most of the time the stuff they are upselling isn’t worth it. You can decide if the upgrade I bought today was a good deal.

 

 

u.k. mercedes

The agent had a brand new Mercedes C220D he wanted to put me in. That would be fine but what about the price? He started by telling me that this car goes for about 100 pounds a day. I wasn’t sure that was true. Nevertheless, he offered the car to me for just 40 pounds a day. I countered at thirty pounds and he came back at thirty-five. We settled on thirty pounds a day for the car.

 

 

That meant I was paying 12 extra pounds or about 52 U.S. dollars (36 pounds) more than I had planned to pay for my three-day rental. However, I got some good stuff for that fifty bucks. What did I get?

 

 

First of all, I got a brand new Mercedes! The car had less than ten miles on it. We were the first people ever to rent the car obviously. The car came with an automatic transmission. It also had its own “SatNav” system. That meant I would not be renting a GPS unit.

 

 

Finally, the Mercedes came with a diesel engine. Diesel fuel and petrol (gas) are equal in price I the U.K. right now. No saving there. However, with fuel costing between $5.50-$6.50 U.S. per gallon in the U.K. we would saved money in fuel mileage from the diesel. We would end up getting 43 M.P.G. over 900 miles of driving. I thing the rental car upgrade was a very good deal.

 

 

sore butts

Sores butts and backs.

However, I must tell you I have not ridden in such an uncomfortable car in recent memory if ever. I’m not sure if it was the right side steer idea or not. That has never bothered me in the past. Even Carol said sitting in the passenger seat was uncomfortable.

 

 

 

Rockingham Motor Speedway – Rockingham, United Kingdom

 

 

rockingham racers uk

Let’s go trackchasing.

Our first track of trip would be the Rockingham Motor Speedway. Here’s what Wikipedia had to say about the U.K.’s Rockingham.

 

 

Rockingham Motor Speedway is a modern motorsport venue in the United Kingdom and Europe’s fastest racing circuit hosting corporate driving days, driver training, conferencing & exhibitions, vehicle manufacturing events, track days, testing, driving experiences and motorsport. It is also the only intermediate oval in the UK and unique in its quadrilateral shape.

 

rockingham oval 

The Oval Circuit

The 1.48 mile American-style banked oval circuit is 18.3 metres wide and has a maximum bank angle of 7 degrees and comprises four very distinct corners. Rockingham’s oval is unique in the UK and one of only two speedways in Europe. The oval circuit can also be converted to a road course layout for events by positioning temporary chicanes and curves both on the main area and apron of the circuit.

 

 

The International Super Sportscar Circuit (ISSC)

The ISSC is 1.94 miles long and between 18.3 and 11 metres wide, with a maximum bank angle of 7 degrees at turn 1. Rockingham’s International Super Sportscar Circuit is used by the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship as well as for most other car race events. The circuit combines long straights, sweeping high-speed bends (including the infamous Turn 1 and Gracelands) with a lower speed, highly technical infield layout. Average lap speeds around the circuit range from 1m 24s in the BTCC to 1m 12s in British F3.

 

 

History

Construction of Rockingham started late in 1999, with the opening meeting planned for May 2001.

Rockingham Motor Speedway was constructed on a British Steel works brown field site as a banked oval with the intention of bringing the American oval racing across the Atlantic for the first time. The opportunity was taken to use the infield for further circuits.

After almost ten years of planning and 23 months of construction work, Rockingham opened for business on Monday 15 January 2001. It was formally opened by the Queen on 26 May 2001.

 

 

Really? Really?

Today’s admission price was on the steep side for an amateur road racing event. Often times in the U.S. there is no charge for this type of racing. Today a ticket was 16 pounds or about $27 U.S. The U.K. is expensive!

 

 

This was a typical sports car race. They would be using the infield road course at Rockingham. They rarely race on their big NASCAR-like oval any more. Later in the day I ran into Philip Bond. He used to own and promote the tracks at Birmingham, Hednesford and Northhampton. He told me they made a temporary smaller oval track at Rockingham back in the 90s. It might have been a one-time event.

 

 

rockingham paddock

We could go anywhere we wanted.

One of the best benefits of a race event like this is fans have a complete run of place. We made the most of it. We explored every nook and cranny of the Rockingham Motor Speedway. I suggest you view my video and photo album from Rockingham. You’ll feel like you were there.

 

 

Jake…. not from State Farm.

During our visit I met Jake who was broadcasting for “Down Force” radio. He knew who I was before I was finished introducing myself. We will likely get together in the future for a trackchasing interview.

 

 

We completed our tour of paddock and garage area. We watched some of the racing from the infield and some from the massive grandstands. Rockingham is sort of a “white elephant” in the United Kingdom.

 

 

We ended up seeing four of the six feature events for the day. The weather was in the mid-60s with some cloud cover. It was comfortable watching the afternoon racing.

 

 

 

King’s Lynn (Adrian Flux Arena) – King’s Lynn, United Kingdom

 

 

2000 ri

King’s Lynn I’m back!

I had first visited this track back in 2000. That trip spanned three weekends. On the first weekend of the trip I participated in my first ever race as a driver. That was the MOST fun!!! Carol joined me on the second weekend for a visit to the famous Cowdenbeath Racewall in Scotland. On the third weekend King’s Lynn was one of the tracks I visited. For the life of me I can’t remember what caused me to be in the U.K. for three weekends with Carol only being with me on the middle weekend. Of course that was sixteen years ago and nearly 1,800 tracks ago.

 

 

King's Lynn program

A nice touch.

I had been in contact with Mark Paulson from King’s Lynn. Mark suggested I do an interview for the track’s program. U.K. racing programs are high quality. Mark told me that King’s Lynn had won an award for their racing program from last year. Most U.S. racetracks no longer offer a program. Therefore I doubt there are any awards for the best one.

 

 

Randy King's Lynn program

Mark asked me a series of questions in advance of my coming to the U.K. I sent back my answers. For the most part they went with my verbatim opinions of the trackchasing hobby.

 

 

Again, admission to the U.K. tracks is not for the financially unprepared. Adult admission was 18 pounds (about $27 U.S.). We paid the senior rate of sixteen pounds.

 

 

This was going to be entertaining. It was going to be fun.

I knew this racing would be fun. They were having my three most favorite U.K. racing classes. Those are the BriSCA F1 stock cars, 2L saloon cars and Jr. bangers. Actually the unlimited bangers are my favorite banger class. The juniors don’t do much hitting.

 

 

Of course admission to a U.K. track includes the full ability to tour the pit area. When that is taken into consideration $27 U.S. isn’t all that bad. An average adult admission to a “normal” U.S. race program is about $10-12 U.S. However, a pit pass might run you $25-30 U.S.

 

 

We paid an extra pound to sit in the grandstands. Here they had plastic bucket seats. I would say that nine oval tracks out of ten in the U.K. don’t have any grandstands whatsoever. If you’re a U.S. racing fan you will probably find that hard to believe. U.K. fans watch from their cars, bring their own chairs or stand.

 

 

Really? A fire hazard?

I’ve been told that these tracks don’t have wooden grandstands because it’s a fire hazard. That sounds like a bogus reason to me. I don’t see any U.K. tracks putting up aluminum grandstands either.

 

 

I was given a copy of the racing program for free. Then toward the end of the evening we bought six more copies at a pound a piece. I appreciated everyone who gave us such a nice discount. They will be souvenirs we will keep forever and give to close relatives and friends.

 

 

Junior Wainman

Junior Wainman.

My all-time favorite foreign driver is Frankie Wainman Jr. I’ve never met him. Frankly, I couldn’t even recognize him if I saw him in the pits.

 

 

Nevertheless, if you go on my website at www.randylewis.org and click on my “favorite drivers” tab you can read about Frankie. Here’s the link if you want to see that post on my site now. Remember my website is a huge series of dropdown menus and links. You can go everywhere with those.

 

 

Randy’s All-Time Favorite Drivers

 

 

 

Frankie Wainman Jr. aka Junior Wainman is the son of a former world champion F1 stock car driver in the U.K. Frankie’s dad is retired now. However, Frankie Wainman Jr. Jr. (yes, Jr. Jr.) is racing now in F1. Junior Wainman is in the #515 and his son, Jr. Jr., runs the #555. Carol couldn’t quite get past the idea that Junior Wainman’s son is known as “Jr. Jr.”.

 

 

king's Lynn saloon cars

U.K. racing does so many things well.

Please, please, please do not miss my video from King’s Lynn. It was our favorite track of the trip. I absolutely love U.K. racing. Why?

 

 

The start the fast guys in the back

 

They race in the rain

 

They have very few yellow flags

 

The announcers and starters are well above average

 

They allow fans in the pits at no extra charge

 

 

Negatives?

They provide a very entertaining program. There are a couple of negatives. In my business career we called negatives “improvement opportunities”.

 

 

That “no grandstand” idea isn’t all that comfortable. I’m not a big fan of the concessions either. The hamburger truly does NOT taste like any other hamburger I’ve ever had.

 

 

randy w paul huggett

Old friends from the U.K.

Tonight I would run into a couple of old friends I had not seen in a very long time. The first was Paul Huggett. Paul used to be the editor of an excellent racing magazine in the U.K. called, “Short Circuit”. Sadly, like most racing print publications it no longer exists. Paul and I have sat together at a couple of tracks in the past. He does the announcing down at Eastbourne. Paul was up in the King’s Lynn area on a family holiday. Paul, great seeing you.

 

 

As we were leaving the track, after the F1 stock car finale, Philip Bond came up to say hello. Philip used to own and promote the tracks at Birmingham, Hednesford and Northhampton. Philip knows several of the promoters in the U.S. He has attended the annual promoter’s meetings. It was fun talking to Mr. Bond. He reminded us the promoter’s job is to bring people into the track and not simply open the gates and hope they show up. Well said, Mr. Philip Bond.

 

 

 

 

Sunday, March 29, 2006

 

 

More trackchasing over the English countryside.

We were out of our Holiday Inn Express by noon. By the way we would spend one night on the plane. Then three nights in a London based hotel. The next two nights were out in the English countryside. We stopped for one more night in London. Then we were off to Dusseldorf, Germany for three nights in nearby Essen. Finally, we would spend three nights in trackchasing country #71 before returning to our modest seaside cottage in San Clemente, California.

 

 

Human error.

Today’s first track of the day was the Trent Raceway. We were less than an hour away. However, “human error” reared its ugly head. I put the post code of TOMORROW’S track into our GPS. When I realized my error we had wasted about an hour. OMG.

 

 

wrong lane

Don’t get distracted when you’re driving on the wrong side of the road.

I pulled over to the side of the road to think things over. Then I made a U-turn toward the Trent Raceway. There was just one problem and it was a big one.

 

 

I was in the “American” lane. An oncoming car was in the U.K. lane. The American lane and the U.K. lane are one and the same. It was my only “driving on the wrong side of the road” mistake of the entire trip. I had been momentarily distracted by my GPS mistake. Fortunately, I swerved at the last minute to avoid an early termination to this trip. Whew!

 

 

 

Trent Raceway – Burton on Trent, United Kingdom

 

 

trent raceway racin

Family owned and operated.

We arrived at the Trent Raceway a little bit behind schedule. Trent is a very rural family owned track. Admission was eight English pounds but as “people of age” we were admitted for four pounds. That was a nice saving for experienced people.

 

 

Trent raceway young driver

The track was a small dirt oval less than 400 meters in length. They were racing low-dollar, O.K., low-pound stock cars powered by four-cylinder engines. They also had a mini class for young drivers.

 

 

trent raceway pit area

There was no P.A. system. We walked around the pit area getting photos of most of the racers. We even spent some time in an over the road trailer. It had been converted into a makeshift viewing area.

 

 

With no P.A. system we didn’t know which class or what types of racing we were watching for sure. I spent some time talking with the locals. One fan told me the Trent Raceway had been located in “two or three” locations over the past 40 years or so. They were all in the same general area.

 

 

trent raceway food

Yummy.

The highlight of the day was the track’s concession stand. They made us some fresh ham, egg and cheese sandwiches on the most delicious fresh bread. I smothered my sandwich in sriracha sauce to spice things up.

 

 

Carol w trent raceway owner

 

This was rural, laid-back, low-dollar family racing. It reminded me of the thousands of small tracks that have come and gone since WWII. When we had seen our fill we headed on down the long and dusty trackchasing trail.

 

 

 

Mallory Park – Kirby Mallory, United Kingdom

 

 

mallory park sign

A long history.

It was a shortish one-hour drive over to Mallory Park. Mallory Park is another in a long list of British road courses that has a link to the military. It’s also been around for a very long time. Here are some interesting facts about Mallory Park provided by Wikipedia.

 

 

mallory park tower

Mallory Park is a motor racing circuit situated in the village of Kirby Mallory, just off the A47, between Leicester and Hinckley, in central England. Originally used for grass-track until 1955, a new, basically oval hard-surfaced course was constructed for 1956, with a later extension forming a loop with a hairpin bend.

 

 

With the car circuit measuring only 1.35 miles (2.173 km) it is amongst the shortest permanent race circuits in the UK. However, chicanes introduced to reduce speeds in motorcycle events mean that the Superbike Circuit is now slightly longer, at 1.41 miles (2.269 km). Shorter UK circuits are Lydden Hill, Brands Hatch Indy circuit, Scotland’s Knockhill and Silverstone’s diminutive Stowe circuit.

 

 

mallory park racing 3

1980s and onwards

Enter a very determined lady, Edwina Overend, who was the competitions secretary of the Midlands Centre of the British Racing and Sports Car Club (BRSCC). As the time passed and the 1982 season drew to its close, the expected cessation of racing at Mallory loomed large and various time wasters had come and gone, Overend approached Chris Meek with a view to his purchasing the estate.

 

 

Meek was a well-known racing driver and businessman who effected the purchase late in 1982, and reopened the circuit on 29 May 1983, the first race of the new era being organised by the 750 Motor Club. There was no interruption to the programme and Mallory went from strength to strength, apart from a hiccup from in December 1985 when the local borough council served a Noise Nuisance Order which restricted use of the circuit to 40 days a year. On Sundays there is an absolute curfew and no racing engines must be run after 6 pm.

 

 

Mallory Park has hosted all major motor racing formulae to be contested in post-war England – European Formula Two Championship, British Formula One Series, Group 7 sport cars, European Formula 5000, British Formula Three Championship and British Saloon Car Championship. In the 1981 programme the name of Damon Hill appears as one of the ‘Ams’ in the Yamaha RD350 Pro-Am series.

 

 

Annually in October, The Festival of Sidecars takes place. No solo machines compete, but sidecars of all categories are entered, including three-wheelers such as those made by the Morgan Motor Company.

 

 

From the mid-1990s, the BRSCC promoted EuroCars, V6 and V8 saloon-outline cars which had graduated from the stock car circuits. At Mallory Park, they ran anticlockwise on the oval circuit.

 

 

mallory park paddock

Finally a financial break.

They were not charging admission when we arrived. We walked all over this beautiful layout. They have a large lake in the center of the track. We saw the last three feature events from every conceivable angle at Mallory Park. Do not miss the photos and video of these great looking race cars.

 

 

Farm church b&B

It’s B&B time.

Following our visit to this historic road course it was a one-hour drive over to our English bed & breakfast hotel. I was not a big fan of the SatNav in our Mercedes. It didn’t give me enough lead-time to make the proper turns. I’ll bet we drove through 2,000 “roundabout” intersections if we drove through one. I wish we could have stayed in more B&Bs. I’m a bigger fan than Carol. Our B&B location was quaint but not over the top like some places we have stayed. Don’t miss the pix.

 

 

British pub eating.

We hadn’t eaten is a real British pub yet. The B&B owner recommended one just up the road. We would need to drive down a one-lane road with six foot high grasses on each side for more than a mile. This is rural living. I’m glad we didn’t encounter any traffic going the other way.

 

 

british pub food

There we had appetizers, traditional British food, steak, peas, mushrooms, chips (fries) and the like with a pint of ale. We even had two desserts, the apple crumble with custard and ice cream and a chocolate brownie concoction. When we got back to our B&B, which was built in 1780, it was still light out. We walked around the neighborhood of this small town. They had a beautiful old church but the town wasn’t big enough to have any stores. It is exactly this type of activity which makes foreign trackchasing so much fun.

 

 

 

 

Monday, March 30, 2016

 

 

Breakfast at Farm church B&b

B&Bs are a great experience.

We were the last guests out of our B&B this morning. Of course, breakfast is always included at a B&B. That’s why they call it a bed & breakfast operation! B&Bs are “ma and pa” operations. Ours today was a simple man and wife couple. They had only owned the business for one year. I sensed the lady of the house might not be in this for the long run. It can be a lot of work.

 

 

The house we stayed in had five rooms to rent. There were a couple of breakfast choices including the “full” English breakfast. That normally includes sausage (bangers), bacon, fried eggs, tomato, mushrooms and potato. Our breakfast today also included “black pudding.

 

 

black pudding

Black pudding?

After our hostess explained what was in black pudding (lower left) I pushed it over toward Carol. She eats everything just not much of anything. That’s why she is in the best shape of any trackchaser (either sex) in the hobby. She liked the black pudding. She said I would like the black pudding. I didn’t believe her!

 

 

It was noteworthy that our host was married to an Olympic medal winner for the U.K. from the 1984 Olympics. The event was the javelin. Carol and I were corporate hosts to the 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles. We sat with the CEOs of the biggest retail and wholesale companies in the U.S.

 

 

 

 

Crudgington Raceway – Crudgington, United Kingdom

 

 

Crudgington pits 2

Autograss racing.

This morning’s trackchasing activity would begin with an autograss track. The venue was just 5.5 miles from our B&B. Racing started at 11:30 a.m. on this bank holiday Monday.

 

 

Autograss racing is unique. The U.S. doesn’t really have anything like it. In most cases autograss racing is held in a farmer’s pasture! In the more sophisticated situations, like today, the track is permanent but still in a farmer’s field.

 

 

crudgington autograss pits c

I’ve seen autograss racing where the track starts in a field of grass. After the first few races the oval configuration has worn out the grass and a dirt oval is born. I have raced myself about ten times. My first ever racing opportunity came in Tirley, United Kingdom at an autograss track.

 

 

My first track….as a racer.

I had met the track promoters in advance of the racing as is often my practice. They asked me if I had ever raced? Then they asked if they could come up with a car for me to drive would I drive it in a real race? Of course I would. The pit area was scoured for a driving uniform big enough to fit me. There aren’t all that many 6’3” men in England. I drove a Ford Fiesta to an eighth place finish in a field of ten. My driving career was born. In my last driving outing in Utah I ended up winning the four-car mini-modified feature event. Check out the video from that escapade. Here’s the link:

 

 

randy millard county

Millard County Raceway….the experience of a lifetime

 

 

Not a lot of waste with autograss racing.

Autograss racing normally includes ten classes or more. Races are short at about five laps each. The number of competitors in each race is small. Most races have 4-7 cars. Each car and driver will run 3-4 races during the course of the day. There are rarely yellow flags. When one race finishes the next usually begins, with a land rush start, in less than a minute. It’s a very fast paced show.

 

 

crudgington pits 33

Today’s general admission ticket was ten English pounds. That price included a free program. The weather was in the mid-60s without rain. Our ticket price included full admission to the pit area. Despite being in a farmer’s field, yes we had to watch where we walked, they had a P.A. system, concession trailer, ambulance and ice cream truck on hand. I would estimate we saw 25 races beginning in the morning. Don’t miss the video and photo album. You’ll see photos from a large number of the competitors.

 

 

 

Belle Vue Stadium – Manchester, United Kingdom

 

 

belle vue stadium sign

I was returning to Belle Vue.

The second half of our late morning/late afternoon trackchasing double would be a two-hour drive to the north. I had first been to the Belle Vue Stadium with Allan Brown back in 2004. Belle Vue was the last track we saw on that trip and my 699th lifetime track to see. A few days later I would see track #700 with Rick Young and Will White sitting beside me.

 

 

This was a first time visit for Carol to Belle Vue. This was the last track we would see on this, my tenth trackchasing trip to the United Kingdom. Carol would net six new tracks in the U.K. and me four. That’s not bad considering the U.K. was simply a warm-up act for our getting to my 71st trackchasing country later in the trip.

 

 

belle vue crowd

This track gets a large crowd.

The Belle Vue Stadium is in the middle of Manchester. When we arrived the place was packed with spectator cars. We had to park across the street in the parking lot of a huge movie complex.

 

 

Belle Vue had just about every kind of spectator seating option you can imagine. Lots of folks stand. At one end of the track is a terraced concrete viewing area. In the U.S. fans would be sitting on the concrete steps. However, here most people stand or sit in chairs they brought for that purpose.

 

 

Belle Vue indoor seating

 

Greyhound racing?

However, the most comfortable seating area is actually indoors. The Belle Vue Stadium is also home to greyhound dog racing. The indoor grandstand features nearly 100 tables where fans can sit, relax and enjoy food and drink. We sat indoors most of the time.

 

 

belle vue pit area

Keep your eyes open.

We also took a stroll around the entire pit area at this facility. Men, women and children are allowed into the pits all for the price of their general admission ticket. Belle Vue has one of the busiest pit areas I’ve seen anywhere. You definitely have to keep your eyes open so as not to get run over.

 

 

Today’s main attraction was the BriSCA F1 stock cars. We had seen this group of couple of nights ago at King’s Lynn. Also on the card were the BriSCA F2 stock cars, some minis for the youth class and a banger class that didn’t really bang. I enjoyed all of the U.K. racing on this trip as I always do. However, we didn’t get to see any really good banger racing.

 

 

belle vue brisca f1

Headliners.

The BriSCA F1 stock cars are the headline division everywhere they go. Think World of Outlaws sprint cars in that regard. However, the U.K. does it better in most respects.

 

 

Belle vue racing f1 stock cars st

First they handicap the field. The F1 stockers race with wings. The color of the wings signals to the fans the handicapping position of the drivers. The “white grade” starts up front followed by yellow, blue, rad and the national champion. The heats and features follow the same handicapping system. The fast cars start about a half lap behind in each race. The fast cars almost always make it through the pack of 20-25 cars. That doesn’t happen in the U.S.

 

 

If a car or cars spin out they don’t throw a yellow unless the track is blocked or someone appears to be hurt. In the U.S. is a car gets “loose” they might stop the race with a yellow flag. Of course, the U.K. races in the rain, their starters and announcers put on a great show for the fans. All in all, a very entertaining program. Today’s announcer also gave me a nice “trackchaser mention”. Do NOT miss the video.

 

 

No luck for Junior today.

My favorite driver, Junior Wainman aka Frankie Wainman Jr. dropped out of his heat race, won the consolation event and then dropped out of the finale. I also noted that the car that caused a yellow flag was sent to the pits for that race. The world champion’s car would not start after a red flag and he was DQed. They were very strict about these rules. Nobody complained.

 

 

U.K. Welcome Center Ireland

Give me a Welcome Break or give me nothing at all.

Following the F1 finale we headed for the exits. Along the way we stopped for a snack at a U.K. Welcome Break. I love these places located along the countries motorways. They are like mini-shopping centers.

 

 

We drove our Eurocar Mercedes rental car some 900 miles in three days. We stopped for gas twice. We used about a tank and a quarter in getting 43 M.P.G. with our diesel-powered automobile.

 

 

gas spill

My second “biggish” mistake of the trip.

In our second and final fuel stop I knew we would only need about 15 liters. It was dark when we stopped. I was fueling the car and looking around…waiting for the fuel meter to click signaling the car’s tank was full. I’ve done this a million times as I am sure you have.

 

 

It was at this point that a young man passing by alerted me to a disturbing result. The fuel meter had not “clicked” the fuel off when the tank was fill. In point of fact the young man was telling me that $6.50 diesel fuel was now pouring onto the ground and onto my black and red Nikes! Had he not come past at that moment I might have pumped 100 gallons of diesel fuel onto the grounds of the filling station. Wow! That was weird.

 

 

I was expecting heavy traffic on the three-hour drive back to London. Remember this was Monday of the bank holiday weekend. I figured folks would all be returning late for a work day tomorrow. That’s how I would do it. Nope. The traffic almost seemed lighter than usual.

 

 

We sometimes keep late hours.

Tonight we were staying at an Ibis Hotel on Bath Road near the airport. We checked in at nearly 1 a.m. The plan was for me to return the rental car tonight so I wouldn’t have to hassle with it tomorrow morning.

 

 

The Eurocar office was about 2.5 miles from our hotel. By the time I got to the office they were closed. I dropped the car and walked the 2.5-miles back to the hotel in the dark along some streets that scared me just a bit. I kept looking over my shoulder but didn’t see anyone until the very end.

 

 

blood pressure 2

Blood pressure alert.

Remember it’s now 2 a.m. the streets are desolate and it’s just me. That was until a jogger snuck up behind me. I didn’t notice his presence until he was just six feet away. It did scare the living s#$t out of me!

 

 

I didn’t get to bed until nearly 3 a.m. Our wakeup call for tomorrow will come at 6:45 a.m. It was a late night but a fun ending to the U.K. portion of our trip. Stay tuned for our adventure to trackchasing country #71.

 

 

 

 

 

U.K.-flag

United Kingdom

I have now seen 63 tracks in the U.K. I am a huge fan of racing here. How do I know that? I’ve traveled to the United Kingdom ten separate times to see the racing. Any questions?

 

 

 

Thanks for reading about my trackchasing,

 

Randy Lewis

World’s #1 Trackchaser

Peoria Old Timers Racing Club (P.O.R.C.) Hall of Fame Member

U.K. sayings: Legless: totally, completely hammered.

 

 

 

 

QUICK FACTS

 

 

 

LIFETIME TRACKCHASER COMPARISONS 

The three most important trackchasing comparisons to me are:

 

Total lifetime tracks seen

Total “trackchasing countries” seen

Lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

 

Total Lifetime Tracks

There are no trackchasers currently within 525 tracks of my lifetime total. Don’t blame me.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 2,223

 

 

world 399

Total Trackchasing Countries

There are no trackchasers currently within 10 countries of my lifetime total.

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 70

 

 

 

Current lifetime National Geographic Diversity results

 

  1. Randy Lewis, San Clemente, California – 4.47

 

 

 

That’s all folks! Official end of the RLR – Randy Lewis Racing Trackchaser Report

 

 

Click on the link below to see the video production from the racing action today.

 

Rockingham Motor Speedway

 

Adrian Flux Arena (King’s Lynn)

 

Trent Raceway

 

Mallory Park

 

Crudgington Raceway

 

Belle Vue Stadium 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the link below for a photo album from today’s trackchasing day.  You can view the album slide by slide or click on the “slide show” icon for a self-guided tour of today’s trackchasing adventure.

rockingham racer 

Rockingham Motor Speedway – photo album

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king's Lynn saloon cars

Adrian Flux Arena (King’s Lynn) – photo album

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trent raceway pits 3

Trent Raceway – photo album

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mallory park racing

Mallory Park – photo album

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crudgington lady

Crudgington Raceway – photo album

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belle vue stadium interiort

Belle Vue Stadium – photo album

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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