A collection of programmes

Whistlin' Jack Smith >> 2015 >> A collection of programmes

To keep wifey happy I must adhere to a simple ruleÖ..do whatever she needs me to do. I joke, life is pretty easy with her but I know she would appreciate me decorating the rooms I said I would before embarking on a year of racing and car tinkering.

At the end of last year I splashed the cash on new carpets and sofas, the house is looking nice and Iím moving onto updating my den/ my study/ the spare room. This has a cupboard with a huge collection of oval racing memorabilia, probably too much for one person to have, 17 boxes in fact. Iím not ever sure why I collected so many pieces of paper! Once completed this room will look the nuts, however I get easily distracted when I see something old that Iíve not looked through for some time. I thought however it wouldnít be fair to have these hidden away where Iím the only one with access to them.

Some pieces I couldnít put a value against them, my Ricky Hunn signed 1994 World Final programme being one of them. Others I would sell if the right price came along Ė get in contact if you want anything listed here.

Over time I will continuously update this page with different programmes, Iíll start with the second meeting attended which was the first time I saw Hot Rod racing.

BP night at Wimbledon 1988
Added to WJS 15.05.15

What do I remember of the night? Not much, I kind of remember green bangers for the BP race but that might have something to do with them being a little bit different and running for several years. The programme shown is not the original one purchased by my dad on the day as that was hacked to pieces for my scrapbook. Years later I hunted down a copy of this one and found one with all the results inside for the National Hot Rods, Saloon Stock Cars and Bangers. It isnít in mint condition and I think Iím more interested in the information contained within that stimulates a memory rather than having crisp bright white pages. I think a programme with results filled in is more valuable than one without.

BP Championship 1988 result
1. Andy Harris
2. George Polley
3. Reg Gange
4. Dick Hillard
5. Phil White
6. Keith Newman
7. Andrew Dance
8. Tony Allard

The programme from Spedeworth of the late 1980ís carried on like this for several years and looking back in now it seems that the modern programme has dropped in quality. Driver grades were shown, points can be seen, the alignment of columns isnít messy and pictures were larger. Jim Gregory must have spent a lot time writing these over the years and Iím not the only one who is grateful to his efforts.

Hednesford 30.03.64
Added to WJS 26.10.15

The second programme to look at is my oldest programme and this comes from 1964 Ė a long time before I was born but a worthwhile mention as it comes in the second year of Hot Rod racing.

Head towards the back and thereís a page of best lap times; the sport has evolved over 50 years and even with the addition of mandatory transponder best times are emitted from the printed word now; you wouldnít believe how many times I get messages asking what are the best times for certain tracks.

The Senior Stock Cars (which later became Brisca F1) were far quicker than the Hot Rods and the record was held between Ellis Ford and Jumbo Tustin at 16.6s Ė that was over 50 years ago and they were averaging 54mph! The Hot Rods were in fact only marginally quicker than the production cars. The best single lap was from Martin Morris at 20.2s, that the Ken Deakin was also classed as having a lap time of 23.7s on 15th April 1963 Ė the day of the first Hot Rod meeting.

Hot Rods at this point had 3 classes: Stock Hot Rods, Mini Hot Rods and Modified Hot Rods Ė it was expected numbers would grow and they would compete in their own classes rather than competing as one. In reality they morphed into one class before cheaper introduction classes were brought in underneath.

Due to the sport of oval racing being bigger and watched by more people the revenue generated was greater and more money could be paid back to the drivers. The grand final for the Hot Rods paid out £50, estimated to be £950 in 2015; to give a bit more perspective into that cost there were race ready for sale built by Meadway Spares ranging from £50 to £170 listed in said programme. The top 12 finishers in the final would also receive monies. There was appearance money and travelling expenses for those travelling greater than 20 miles. Rules and regulations were laid down by the Midland Hot Rod Club that provided a racing membership and a social membership. Although no grading was shown they were assessed based upon two practice meetings in March.

The programme itself has something quite good listing the make and engine of the car, something that probably wouldnít work in National Hot Rods nowadays but for the likes of Stock Rods would be interesting to see as they have several different models being used. There are some interesting names within this programme, 131 Doug Warner being one of them who is shown on the front cover in a car more akin to a Stock Car, a car that replicated was recently and hopefully will be on show at the Best in Britain. Other familiar names are 00 Martin Morris who the 1964 National points ahead of 18 Bill Kay.

Wimbledon 25.11.01
Added to WJS 07.11.15

My collection features many from the Best in Britain and you can look back in time and find some classic years. Iíve plumped for 2001 as I think the sport was going through a buoyant phase.

Starting with National Hot Rods the field was split into four heats and a graded final for the top 24 drivers. I really liked this period of National Hot Rods as there was a huge variety of cars and much more drivers. Aided by this meeting being a qualifying round there was 30 drivers in attendance and at the previous round there was 42 at Hednesford, I would assume that is a record since 1990 (when qualifying became a year-long campaign rather a few at the start of the year).

For the statisticians out there they will read that Chris Kew stepped off the front row to take the title but most will remember the event for Andy Steward forcing Shane Brereton into the posts. There has been a few occasions where drivers have been penalised for physical violence or post flag ramming but I canít think of a time in the modern era where a driver was punished so heavily for contact whilst racing. Entering the meeting Andy Steward was leading the points, come the end he was down to 9th and banned up till the World Final that he didnít qualify for in 2002. The closeness of points is something that hasnít changed over time, by the end of Round 8 Mark Willis lead Malcolm Blackman by just one point followed by Neil Stimson, Colin Gomm and Jock Burgoyne.

Dave Longhurst was busy racing in both Hot Rod classes. For the 2L Hot Rods the heats were in graded order and from the very back of a 28 car grid he won the second heat, those kind of drives donít come around very often, but neither do driverís like Dave Ė five top 3 finishes in one evening is pretty impressive. From the 2L Hot Rods racing McLaird, Spiers, Burrows, Pagden and Pepper have all stepped up to Nationals at a later point.

As noted above it wasnít just Hot Rods that were on a high but other classes were also doing well, there was 47 Superstox programmed including a certain Deane Wood who was superstar graded; the other contact racing was the 1300 Stock Cars who in their Starlet phase was something special to watch. Wimbledon as a stadium back then was much better to view as you could get to the bends to see the action rather than the current situation of being squeezed into the home straight that in 2001 was the back straight.

The next installation of the Best of Britain has two meetings for seven different classes, a souvenir programme is in production and something that will definitely enhance my collection.

Production team Text: Paul Ballard (last updated 26.10.15)
Layout: Paul Ballard

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