|Rail Racing From England|
DÉJÀ VU – ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE VERY BEGINNING; HERE’S NEW RAIL RACING LAYOUT BUILT IN ENGLAND
ANOTHER VIEW OF RAIL RACING ACTION ON NEW TRACK LAYOUT BUILT IN ENGLAND
|NOT FAST, BUT A LOT OF FUN TO DRIVE|
|UNDERSIDE OF NEW RAIL RACE CAR BUILT FOR DEMO||
HAND-CARVED BUGATTI, MOUNTED ON SCRATCH-BUILT FRAM AND RACED ON FIRST RAIL RACE TRACK BUILT SINCE THE 1950’S
|SPECTATORS AS INTENSE AS PARTICIPANTS!|
A SECTION OF THE RAIL USED TO POWER CARS
|HAND-MADE RAIL RACE CARS DRIVING BY RACE STANDS AND MOLDED MECHANICS|
DÉJÀ VU – WAY BACK TO THE BEGINNING 2000 RAIL RACING FROM ENGLAND
From Don Siegel, our French Correspondent
Here’s a small feature for the newsletter. I don’t know if the members have been following the story, but in recent Scale Auto Racing News and Slotcar Bulletin, a Welshman by the name Jeff Davies announced a memorial event at the old Brooklands Race Track in England. It was to honor the invention of rail racing – the predecessor to slot racing.
Jeff, along with his son Richard and a buddy, Phil Barry, built a new 45-foot three-lane rail track - the first in almost 40 years! Brooklands, now an auto/ aviation museum, donated their Chequered Flag room. We spend August 20th playing rail racer!
Several of us, including me, built new cars for the event. Others took very old cars out of the bottom of their pit boxes. Charlie Fitzpatrick, the man behind Betta bodies made an appearance with his wife. He actually remembers racing rail racers back in the 50s! There was a scattering of other rail racers, and a number of enthusiasts from all over Britain, including some hot shots from the North London slot racing club. They also happen to be collectors and big enthusiasts of vintage racing.
It was a whole day of activities, with the rail track open for practice (and we needed lots of it just to get the cars running!) and some amicable 5 lap races with ‘human counters.’ (Couldn’t go much higher.)
FOUR-LANE "SLOT STOX"
There was also a 4-lane Ninco setup with the new go-carts. The portable track was called "slot Stox and would probably be most interesting for TOA members. As you can see in the photos, this layout is a small Tri-Oval, with a long chicane section. The cars were making laps in less than 3 seconds, even at reduced power, and this mades for some very exciting action! The cars used were strengthened Parma Womp Womps®. I think these have become standard for these demonstration type events. The organizers probably have more sophisticated dirt-track type racers for the more serious, experienced racers.
This is what the Brits call "stock racing" by the way - but with NASCAR becoming more and more popular over here I think they’re getting used to the new name.
These races were incredibly fun and certainly a crowd pleaser! They had a very professional set up too: arriving in the morning and getting the oval up and running very well in short order. The races ran very efficiently, using some cabalistic system with a grid and getting 33 racers through without any problems and into the two semi-finals. This system would well be worth looking at for U.S. commercial raceways. The track doesn’t take up much room and has guaranteed action. I think they turned down the voltage for novices like us. I can try to find the number of the organizer, Ian Rivett, if anybody is interested.
These cars were pretty standard, but the cars that came out for the rail event - well, just beautiful craftsmanship, all around. I think you can see that in the photos - especially that Bugatti 35, Number 14. The body was carved from Balsa and the lower black panels are actually the chassis side members! Just about all the cars were built to this quality, whether new or the old ones.
Things are up and down here. Our club seems to be doing well, but I get there very infrequently. Seem to spend a lot more time writing, collecting, working(!), and trying to improve my ping-pong!
That’s all for now. Take care.
(ED. NOTE: We have heard from Jeff Davies who sent us more on the story and several additional photographs which appear in this issue of the TOA Newsletter.)