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Stock Car Diary

Over the years of Stock Car Racing in the UK we've seen some major, and not so major events, activities and lots of change. Here are just some of them in an easy to read diary format. Mainly Formula One "Senior Stockcar" stuff, but not exclusively. As this site has a "southern bias" I've also included key events in the facinating history of the conflict and rivalry between BriSCA and Spedeworth, thankfully now behind us.


The birth of the sport in the UK.

April 16 (Good Friday) - the first Stock Car Racing in the UK at New Cross Stadium, London. The cars racing at this first meeting were to develop into what we now know as BriSCA Formula One Stock Cars.

May 26 (Wednesday) - Bradford sees Stock Cars for the first time at the big Odsal track.

June 5 (Saturday) - Stock Cars are so popular in London that the bigger Harringay Stadium takes over from New Cross as the capital city's track.

June 16 (Wednesday) - The famous, and now much missed, Belle Vue (Hyde Road) track in Manchester stages its first Stock Car event. Belle Vue would become one of the finest venues for the sport until it's demise in 1987.


The first World Champion, Mac McDonnell from Dartford, is crowned at Harringay Stadium on 24th June. The second World Champion, Polish RAF Bomber Command veteran Jerzy Wojtowicz living in Sheffield, is crowned a few weeks later on 31st August at Belle Vue, Manchester! Draw your own conclusions!

Tanya Couch becomes the very first female final winner at the Arlington stockcar track, near Eastbourne.


National numbering for drivers is introduced.

The first promoters association is formed.


July - Drivers (now organised into the BSCDA - British Stock Car Drivers Association) and Promoters strike a deal excluding non-BSCDA drivers from racing. A "closed shop" agreement that remains to this day for BriSCA events.


From now on, the best drivers would start at the back of the grid! National grading of drivers and the introduction of roof colours was a major turning point for the sport.

Oxford driver Fred Mitchell is the first to put flashing lights on his roof. The first true "superstar".


The birth of Junior Stockcars. Originally seen as a training ground for new drivers, the first meetings take place at the Tamworth track. The existing 1954 formula become known as Senior Stockcars.

Les Eaton starts his promoting career at Aldershot. With Ron Amas, he runs weekly meetings for the Seniors before moving into Juniors big-time.


June 18 (Sunday) - The birth of Spedeworth? Amidst organisational chaos within the ranks of promoters, Les Eaton and Ron Amas failed to get a licence from the promoters association for their Junior Stockcar meeting at Arlington Stadium near Eastbourne. The meeting took place and Les Eaton subsequently went his own way, later forming Spedeworth International. The Spedeworth / "others" split would last until 1996.


For the first time the World Final for Senior Stockcars takes place on a tarmac track. The big race at Harringay is won by Doug Wardropper.

Doug visits South Africa over the winter and returns to the UK having won the South African "World" Championship.


Introduced this year, Senior Stockcar grades are based on points earned through the year. At the end of 1964 just forty points covered the top four.

Alan England (24), one of my favourite SCOTA/F1SCA drivers of later years, wins his first final at Harringay.


Current Senior Stockcar World Champion, Trevor Frost, leaves BriSCA to race for Spedeworth.

Lancashire lad Stuart Smith starts racing Senior Stockcar 391. Stu was to become one of the all time legends of the sport winning a whopping 498 finals in his 21 years of racing.


April 10 (Sunday) - from Grand Prix Formula One to Stockcar Formula One, Brands Hatch in Kent stages the first of many Senior Stockcar meetings.


It's official. From now on the big Senior Stockcars are called "Formula One" and the smaller Junior Stockcars are "Formula Two". Spedeworth call their F2 cars "Superstox".

The impressive start line grandstand is now a feature at the great Coventry track.

Formula One Stockcar drivers ex-World Champion Doug Wardropper and his superstar ex-British Champion son Alan move to the Spedeworth organisation.

Back to basic "Bangers" are introduced onto stockcar tracks in the UK to widespread public enthusiasm, especially in the south.


Formula One Stockcars come to town in a big way with two meetings at Wembley Stadium. The big cars are joined by the Formula Twos.


Top London driver Les Suckling becomes (and remains to this day) the only BSCDA Chairman to carry through the wishes of the BSCDA Formula One membership and split with the BriSCA promoters following winter disagreements over money and fixtures. Les cuts a deal with non-BriSCA tracks for racing in 1975. Most drivers get cold feet when they realise that Les is serious and run back to the BriSCA tracks. Les resigns from the BSCDA and, with about thirty loyal drivers who stick by him, forms SCOTA (Stock Car Oval Track Association) Formula One. So begins a five year split for the Formula One Stock Cars, BriSCA/BSCDA on the one side and Spedeworth/SCOTA on the other.

UK Formula One Stockcars race for the first time at Baarlo in the Netherlands. On the 20th July, Pat Driscoll, Denis Driscoll and Rod Smith, all SCOTA drivers, do particularly well. Denis wins heat one and Pat takes the second and the final. They weren't the last SCOTA visitors that year to do well on the big track.

August - The BriSCA World Semi-Final at Leicester sees 51 Mo Smith at the wheel of Pat Driscoll's SCOTA car. Pat helped out after Mo was unable to race his own car and another loan car fell through.


BriSCA introduce a new grade, "Superstar". The top six drivers are obliged to sport flashing lights on their roofs, just like Fred Mitchell in 1959.


UK Formula One Stockcars race for their SCOTA World Final at Baarlo in the Netherlands. Driver Ian Ireland takes the very first World Final at the venue. From 1978, BriSCA takes over from SCOTA as the visiting organisation.

The 1971 World Formula Two Stockcar Champion and 1973, 1974 and 1975 World Formula One Stockcar World Champion Dave Chisholm joins the SCOTA organisation. Dave suffered a nasty crash in 1976 on the BriSCA tracks.


Change of management, change of name, same product. SCOTA becomes F1SCA (Formula 1 Stock Car Association).


The last season for unlimited capacity F1SCA cars. Increasing costs and decreasing drivers mean that something will have to give.


Sure enough, F1SCA cars are now "downsized" to a maximum engine capacity of 5 litres with the hope of decreasing costs and increasing drivers. The cars become known as F1SCA Formula 80.

With the demise of unlimited capacity F1SCA cars and the withdrawal of Spedeworth from the Hampshire circuit, BriSCA run a meeting for BSCDA Formula One drivers at Ringwood.


Two more meetings for the BriSCA cars at Ringwood, before the promoter cancelled the rest due to the big cars distructive powers!


Change of name, same product. F1SCA Formula 80 becomes Spedeworth Formula One. Although only a name, it's good to see Formula One Stockcars back on the Spedeworth fixture lists even though they are still only 5 litres. Confusion over the name follows for those not up on stockcar history! From the mid-1990's, following the arrival of the BriSCA variety of F1 in the south, the cars would become Spedeworth V8's.

A certain P Marsh (no relation) finishes the 1984 BriSCA Formula One season in 62nd place with 100 points, just 2290 points behind the points champion, Frankie Wainman.


December 7 (Sunday) - Stu Smith, "The Maestro", retires from racing BriSCA F1 at a great Testimonial meeting at Belle Vue.


November 14 - The very last meeting at Belle Vue (Hyde Road). Stu Smith comes out of retirement for this one meeting and wins the final.


Jane Bean becomes the second lady driver to win a BriSCA F1 stockcar final when she takes victory at Northampton on 15th April. It's 30 years since Tanya Couch won at Arlington.


Much to the disappointment of fans, silencers become mandatory on BriSCA Formula One Stock Cars. It's a backward step for the sport but necessary to keep Environmental Health types in work.


Essex girl Lisa Harter, becomes the first female ex Spedeworth Ministox driver to win a BriSCA F1 heat at Bradford's Odsal Stadium on 31st August. Lisa, in ministox number 88, and brother Daniel, in ministox number 188, raced for Spedeworth in the late 80's.

Jason Holden, Spedeworth Formula One superstar driver and another ex Spedeworth Ministox driver, figures in the BriSCA Formula One points in 1992. Jason is probably the first and only driver who raced at both Spedeworth and BriSCA tracks in the same season, and got away with it! Not only that, he raced both types of Formula One! Could this be the start of a softening of feelings between the warring factions?


The annual winter fallout between BriSCA Formula One drivers and promoters results in a drivers strike! At one stage it looked as if the drivers would run their own meetings at Ringwood. Alas, this didn't happen once the warring parties made up in their time honoured tradition (1975 excepted!).


Essex girl Lisa Harter, becomes the first female ex Spedeworth Ministox driver to win a BriSCA F1 final at Coventry on 6th August. After Tanya Couch and Jane Bean, Lisa is the third lady final winner in the history of the sport.


April 7 - Easter Sunday and the BriSCA Formula One Stock Cars race at Wimbledon Stadium for the first time. Most remarkable is that the joint promoters are BriSCA and Spedeworth. At long last an end to a 35 years old conflict between these organisations.


May 21 - For the very first time the BriSCA variety of Formula One Stockcars race at the Arena Essex track situated east of London. Winner is Paul Harrison (2).


June 17 - Arena Essex sees the return of BriSCA F1. Winner this time is Frankie Wainman Junior (515).


April 21 - An early season visit to Arena Essex this year. Originally on the fixture list was Arena in the afternoon and Wimbledon in the evening. Alas, this great BriSCA F1 double-header never saw the light of day. Victor at Arena, for the second year running was 515, Frankie Wainman Junior.
May - At long last, Jason Holden (38) gets to paint the roof of his BriSCA Formula One car the same colour as his old Spedeworth F1... RED! Well done Jason.


April 27 - The annual visit of BriSCA F1 to Arena Essex proves fruitful for local white top 231 Mark Peters who not only wins the final, but his two heats and Grand National!
July 11, 12, 13 - An historic Stock Car display is included at the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed. Over 100,000 race fans take a look.
September 13 - As a precursor to a full meeting in 2004, Alan England, Simon Brooke and Nick Smith took their cars down to Lydden Hill for three demo races. Good reports from both sides of the fence.


Stock Car Racing is 50! Yes, in Golden Jubilee year, watch out for exciting fixtures celebrating this impressive milestone.
Lack of available dates result in no Lydden Hill on the fixture list. Lack of interest does the same for Ringwood, but new(ish) tracks for F1, Bristol, Yarmouth and Ipswich get Golden Jubilee dates.
April 18 - A wet day for the visit of BriSCA F1 to Arena Essex. Frankie Wainman Junior (515) comes out top of the 26 cars present.
June 25, 26 and 27 - Following the successful static event last year, historic stockcars take to the Goodwood Hill at the Festival of Speed. Jason Holden joins them in his current FWJ built car.


Disappointment for the the southern based fan, no visit by the BriSCA F1's to Arena Essex this year.


April 15 - For the first time since 1974 BriSCA F2 Stock Cars race in London and it is on, for the first time ever, the Spedeworth tarmac at Wimbledon.
The early season OFFICIAL BIG NEWS is that the 2008 BriSCA F1 World Final will take place at Wimbledon! It isn't long, however, before the plans are put on hold and the venue for the big day changed to Ipswich.
Big treat for BriSCA F1 fans is the screening of Coventry meetings on terrestrial television. Although the big cars have been seen on TV before, most notibly in the 1970's, this is the first time they have their very own show with race coverage, interviews and features. Unfortunately after the first two meetings of the season, the coverage on TV channel Five is cancelled.


End of an era? No more BriSCA Formula One at Wimbledon. With the switch of the World Final to Ipswich, one can only wonder how well this great event would have looked on the London track had original plans been carried forward.

This page last updated: 8th October 2008. Peter Marsh. Mail me autumnView@yahoo.com.

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