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Stock Car Racing at Cross in Hand

Race fans who witnessed Stock Car Racing at the great Cross in Hand track were fortunate indeed. Formula One Stock Cars never ever raced at Cross in Hand. But for anyone with more than a passing interest in the oval race sport, the little track in the Sussex countryside not far from Heathfield was a jewel. At Cross in Hand the sun always shone, the racing was always intense and the crowds always good and enthusiastic.

Far away from BriSCA land, Spedeworth promoted their branch of the sport at the circuit in the late 60's and early 70's. Main formulae meant Superstox, Stock Cars (laterly known as Saloon Stox), Hot Rods (before the National prefix was added) and Grand Prix Midgets.

Two of the lucky ones to see racing here were Mike Andrew who took some photos at the 1970 Spedeweekend and Neil Thomson who was probably at the same event. Many thanks to Mike and Neil for sending the following photos to me. Neil's photos were taken on his Kodak Brownie camera on 120 roll film, a far cry from today's digital gadgets. We're not too sure on what date this Spedeweekend took place, so if anyone can help with this or any more information or pictures of this legendary circuit, please contact me.

There can be few local fans who, like me, drive past the site to the north A267 without being transported back in time.

Cross in Hand 1970
Stock Car Racing 1970, Spedeworth style, meant plenty of ironed up MG Magnets (MA)

Cross in Hand 1970
Just three wires.. and no catch fence ! (MA)

Cross in Hand 1970
Hot Rods. The heady days of rocket propelled Anglias under a cloudless sky. (MA)

Cross in Hand
Superstox ready to race. Biffo Sweeney heads this group of Star Men. (NT)

Cross in Hand
Top Stock Car man, Aubrey "Foxy" Dance (NT)

Cross in Hand
Hot Rods. The great George Polley on a parade lap. (NT)

In 2007, parts of the great circuit remain. Chris Hill did some research in March and writes

"My curiousity got the better of me in the end and I did in fact venture over to Cross-in-Hand on Saturday morning. When I got there I parked up in the health club car park and I initially couldn't see a way to get down to where the track is. I followed a clear trail marked on the multimap aerial printout that I had but that took me round the back of the health club and almost onto some farmers' land. A builder spotted me and said 'alright mate?' so on the off chance I said 'yes thanks, I don't suppose you know how to get down to the old raceway?' He pointed me down a narrow path in the woods. A short walk and I eventually found it. As you'd expect it is very overgrown, infact part of the front stretch and the first turn is completely unrecognizable, the only thing that makes the race track still stand out is the curb that separated the infield from the race track. A patch of the concrete down the bottom has fallen into a ditch that has formed over the years. It seems like a dumping ground down there now, there was an old trailer down there, how they got that down there I'll never know, the wreck of an old burnt out car, a bathtub, office chairs and lots more."

Many thanks to Chris who has also written about Cross in Hand on the oval racing forum.

Chris took quite a few pictures when he visited in March 2007, two of which you can see below.

Cross in Hand 2007
The most intact part of the raceway in 2007, middle of turns 3 and 4 (clockwise) looking back down the hill towards the back straight . (CH)

Cross in Hand 2007
Looking up the hill round the last turn. (CH)

By December 2008 the old track was being cleaned up. Matt Farren went down to the Cross in Hand track and found the area cleared of trees. Matt took some photos, one of which is shown below. The photo is a real memory-jogger for those of us who can remember cars tearing around this great venue. Matt goes on to report that, sadly, it's unlikely that racing will take place in the near future on the track.

Cross in Hand 2008
A fine view from the pits end of the track. (MF)

Read more about Cross In Hand here

This page last updated: 5th January 2009. Peter Marsh. Mail me autumnView@yahoo.com.

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