The Off Season Gallery starts again this week. Same pattern as last year with a mixture of all sorts.
We begin with a look at the early season visit to Yarmouth by the V8’s, a few pics of new/refurbed V8’s at Stoke, a handful from the F2’s at an April Cowdie & the F2 Qualifier and F1 Heritage meeting at Barford.
The origins of the stadium can be traced back to two professional gamblers who had made their money in stocks and shares. They decided to invest in a new venue at Yarmouth. The stadium was built on a field alongside a flapping track, which ran unlicensed and unregulated horse races and grass track speedway. Building work commenced in 1939, and the place was up and running for the grand opening on the 11 May 1940. On this particular day Germany invaded Belgium and the Netherlands resulting in Yarmouth being evacuated. The meeting still went ahead however, followed by weekly events until closure was necessary owing to the staff being called up for war service.
It reopened in 1946 and was run by the Norfolk Greyhound Racing Company. The adjacent field containing the flapping track was redeveloped and eventually became a heliport to service the gas platforms in the North Sea.
Speedway arrived in 1948 running until 1961. The team were known as the “Yarmouth Bloaters”, owing to the towns connection with the fishing industry. In 1963 Spedeworth brought stock car racing to the venue. 1969 saw a new 3000 seater raceview grandstand and restaurant opened.
In 1987 the track had a totalisator turnover of £1,000,000. In those days there were 3 meetings a week for the stock cars, a Sunday market, bingo nights and an amusement arcade for the kids.
2006 saw a new £2.5 million grandstand and 250 seater restaurant opened.
Greyhounds are definitely the main event here and as of 2018 are racing 3 times a week.
The stadium is immaculate and very well maintained and a pleasure to visit. It’s a shame an F.1 tarmac double header weekend with Ipswich has’nt materialised.
The April 1st meeting was the 3rd WQ for the V8’s and saw 15 cars in attendance. They raced to an all in format and race top 3’s were as follows:
Ht 1. 490, 1, 288.
Ht 2. 288, 1 ,490
Final 288, 490, 498
GN 187, 324, 131
Jon Brown 288 was top scorer coming 5th from the lap handicap.
Stoke Apr 8th
V8 WQ4 26 cars
Ht.1 409 in new car, 1, 288
Ht.2 491, 288, 490
Final 485, 117, 491
GN 491, 117, 64
Steve Thompson 485 was top scorer.
Cowdenbeath Apr 21st
A warm evening saw 22 F2’s in the pits.
Heat one had an opening lap crash between Liam Rennie(3) and Willie Lindsay(640) which resulted in both taking no further part in the meeting. The bright sunlight made it difficult for drivers down the home straight to see the yellow flags/lights, and Rennie hit the Lindsay car which was stranded on the track. Craig Wallace(16) took the victory. Steven Burgoyne(674) won Ht.2 and the Final from the “B” grade, and Wallace got the GN to finish a good night.
The Saloons were on the bill with Tommy Barnes(26) claiming the Final win but being taken out of the results later.
Barford Apr 29th
The entry of 20 F2’s for this QR is a disappointment, especially as this is the venue for the semi-finals later in the season.
Long distance travellers for this one were Matt Stoneman(127) and Steven Gilbert(542) both from the South West.
On a bright but cold afternoon Heat wins went to, Jack Cave(801) on his first visit & Chris Burgoyne(647).
19 of the 20 cars came out for the Final but the start was aborted after the star men were amongst the blues before the green had flown. Early yellows for John Hogg’s(92) errant wheel saw Charlie Whitfield(301) and Ollie Hertzog(787) trying to disengage themselves to no avail on the centre green. A second yellow within a lap for a 3 car blockage saw the star men ready to swoop on the restart with 647 into the lead which he maintained unchallenged to the end. Craig Wallace(16) and Luke Wrench(560) followed him across the line with 560 rounding out the day with the GN victory.
F1 Heritage cars were on the bill and gave a good show powering around this small oval. The superb Des Chandler car made its debut here.
A visit to Brisca’s most southerly outpost. The unique 5 cornered United Downs Raceway at St.Day for the Saloon’s English Championship and a look around a remarkable collection of one American family’s auto obsession.