British Racing Greens

The Airfield Circuits of Great Britain & Northern Ireland

4th September 2003 | Formula One: Made In Britain By Clive Couldwell

Airfield Race Circuits

Other ex-airfields used as circuits include Castle Coombe (Wiltshire), Croft Autodrome (Darlington), Llandow (south Glamorgan), Rufforth (Yorkshire), Snetterton (Norfolk), Thruxton and Eastney (Hampshire), Stapleford (Essex), Stavenon and Fairford (Gloucestershire), Brough (Yorkshire) and Greenham Common (Berkshire).

These and a host of other defunct sites around the country became thriving centres for club racing and the associated engineering firms that kept the cars in working order. The circuits became a melting pot of drivers, technicians and businessmen, all of whom had their own ideas about how to improve the cars and expand the sport.

This in turn created a culture of invention and private entrepreneurship that used basic car components to create highly agile and fast racing cars. This cross-fertilisation gave motorsport in Britain the start it needed to challenge the dominant racing teams in mainland Europe.

The structure of the 'businesses' that grew up in club racing was unusual, probably unique to Britain. They'd created their own network: outfits built their cars by sourcing the most desirable engines, brakes, suspensions and transmissions from wherever they could, and in the period just after the war British club constructors had a number of proprietary engines to choose from, such as Coventry Climax, Bristol, Ford, ERA, MG-Morris and Lea Francis. This 'network' characteristic of the British constrictors of the 1950s and 1960s, so different from the more established European Grand Prix teams of the time, irritated the founder and boss of Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari, so much that he described them pejoratively as "garagistes".

Thruxton

Scalextric track plan of Thruxton circuit

Size 4.95 x 3.08m, 16.25 x 10.10ft

Track
C82043
C820516
C82028
C82001
C82361
C823520
C82062
C82781
C82075

Goodwood

Scalextric track plan of Goodwood circuit

Size 3.37 x 2.84m, 11.06 x 9.31ft

Track
C82046
C820516
C82001
C82356
C82068
C82071

10th April 1944 | Reg Miles Biography

The Gunners

Rear Gunner

It was cold, it was apparently dangerous, and if you worried about not getting back, you probably wouldn't. Those that were frightened all the time were the real heroes, most of us just did it and were glad to be doing something to save our civilisation. Not that we ever knew just how bad things were or what a terrible bunch the leaders of the enemy were.

Yes I was a bit frightened on our first operation, but the ones that I always felt sorry for were the gunners. The pilot and engineer could see what was happening but were also very busy. The navigator and wireless operator were shut up in their places with little to see, but were also busy. The bomb aimer was in all probability stretched out full length looking at the sights below waiting to do his bit, and telling us what he could see to help us avoid others and ensure we got where we were supposed to go.

But the gunners isolated in their turrets had only themselves to talk to, and fear can become a self promoting thing. Being busy kept me from being too frightened to do my job properly.

Snetterton

Scalextric track plan of Snetterton circuit

Size 3.90 x 3.98m, 12.80 x 13.04ft

Track
C82044
C820523
C82023
C82001
C82361
C82358
C82065
C82072

Castle Combe

Scalextric track plan of Castle Combe circuit

Size 4.79 x 3.42m, 15.71 x 11.23ft

Track
C82042
C820524
C82361
C82358
C82065
C82071

14th January 2016 | Nine Thousand Miles of Concrete - Airfield Raesearch Group

Nine Thousand Miles of Concrete

On 31 August 1945, the journal 'The Aeroplane' published an article on the construction of airfields in Britain. The article described the UK as "one vast aircraft carrier anchored off the north-west coast of Europe".

The Aeroplane article estimated that the AMDGW had spent £600 m in the first five years of war - the total area of concrete laid in runways, perimeter tracks and aircraft dispersal points was around 160 million square yards. Sir Archibald Sinclair had, in Parliament, compared this area with a 9,000-mile-long, 30-feet-wide road from London to Peking. The weight of the stone aggregate required to manufacture this large expanse of concrete, exclusive of the weight of cement, was in the region of 30m tons, or sufficient to fill a convoy of average-sized lorries stretching one-and-a-half times around the world at the Equator. Also, one million prefabricated buildings were erected to provide workshop, technical, training and accommodation facilities

In 1935 airfields occupied an estimated 37,000 acres, of which 25,000 were held for service use and 12,000 for civil use. By 1940 service airfields alone accounted for 105,000 acres.

During the conflict a further 255,000 acres were requisitioned, bringing the total held by the various service departments in 1945 to 360,000 acres, representing an area a bit larger than the whole of Bedfordshire. In 1945 there were over 30,000 acres of service airfields in Lincolnshire alone, which was more than the whole of the UK just ten years later.

During the six years of war about 175 million square yards of concrete, tarmacadam, or other hard surfacing were laid in paved runways and connecting tracks.

A typical bomber station would need 22 miles of underground and 30 miles of overhead wiring for its lighting equipment - this produced a total of 12,000 miles of overhead cabling, using half-a-million support poles, plus 9,000 miles of trenching for the buried wiring.

Kirkistown

Scalextric track plan of Kirkistown circuit

Size 4.07 x 1.46m, 13.34 x 4.79ft

Track
C82043
C820514
C82024
C82002
C82356
C82341
C82065
C82072

Debden

Scalextric track plan of Debden circuit
Track
C82046
C820517
C82001
C82361
C82358
C82062
C82071

Size 4.01 x 1.98m, 13.16 x 6.49ft

Catterick

Scalextric track plan of Catterick circuit
Track
C82046
C820525
C82024
C82361
C82358
C82067
C82074

Size 6.21 x 2.38m, 20.38 x 7.79ft