9. June 2010 09:36
Despite having some quite serious traffic problems London does love cars, you only need to wander around some of the swankier parts of town on a summers evening or a Friday afternoon to see a whole bunch of super cool cars. London is also home to a great modified car scene, being home to the legendary Chelsea Cruise. What it lacks though is motorsport, the nearest venue is Brands Hatch out in Kent, this has not always been the case, once upon a time there was racing within the borders of London, at Crystal Palace.
The Crystal Palace circuit is steeped in history, from the mighty ERAs running in the London Grand Prix, through the BBC's first ever televised motorsport event, surviving the second world war and into the sixties hosting saloon car and Formula Two races. Speeds kept rising at the track and in 1972 it was decided that international motorsport had become unsafe, leaving club level racing at the venue. Eventually in 1974 Crystal Palace racing circuit closed its doors to motorsport.
Despite the destruction of large parts of the old circuit some people didn't want to let the legacy die and have at various times since the closure of the track been able to arrange sprints to be run in the park. With the success of Goodwood, along with other similar events, it seems that the UK is having a bit of a renaissance of its love affair with motorsport, something that may have given some weight to Sevenoaks and District Motorclub’s bid to get another sprint running at Crystal Palace. With the support of Bromley council the club was able to get the required permissions and turned part of the park, complete with sections of the old circuit, into a sprinting venue once again. Set for the long weekend at the end of May, fingers were crossed for a diverse entry list and fine weather.
Sevenoaks & District Motor Club are certainly to be commended on the effort they've put in to get the events back at the park, the range and quality of the cars over the two days was fantastic, with something for everyone from pre-war open wheeled cars through to modern electric speed machines. The locals came out in force and the commentators did a great job of balancing the petrolhead talk with the need to explain what was going on. The paddock in the trees felt like a grotto of great cars, with everything being easy to get to and enough space around it all for some nice photographs. The range of car club stands was also a welcome addition and something I can see getting more and more popular if the event becomes a regular calendar date.
Highlights of the two days for me are many and varied, meeting up with a whole bunch of people was certainly great, some of those somewhat unexpected. My dad trying to work out where he and my mum used to stand when they saw the racing in the sixties was a cool connection to the track's past. The frighteningly fast but terrifyingly silent Tesla contrasted with the rolling burnouts of the big V8 Corvette and really showed off the diversity of the event.
For our 400+ photos from Sprint you can check out our Flickr :
There were also a number of videos from the event including this one :
Or just search Youtube for more
If you've got some 3D glasses you can also check out this fun set of 3D photographs, it is just like being there :
Also check out the Sevenoaks and District Motor Club website for more information.
Make sure you add May 29th and 30th to your calendar for next year and get yourself to the Palace.