The Airfield Circuits of Great Britain & Northern Ireland
The Tracks, Gamston to Lulsgate
Aerial photos and details of Gamston, Goodwood, Gransden Lodge, Hullavington, Ibsley, Jurby, Keevil, Kirkistown, Leconfield, Linton-on-Ouse, Llandow and Lulsgate airfields and tracks.
Retford, Nottinghamshire | Track Length: 1.90 miles, 3.06 km ? | Track Used: 1950-51
RAF Gamston came into service in 1942, as a training base and a satellite to RAF Ossington. The airfield was closed after the Second World War, until 1953, when it was reopened as a satellite for nearby RAF Worksop. Since 1993, the site has been a small commercially owned airport used mainly for small private aircraft and several private flying schools.
It was used briefly as a race track in 1950 & 51, whilst it was unused as an RAF base. Two configurations of the track were used, but both have proved difficult to pin down. The published layouts look clear enough from the aerial photos, but the published track lengths do not match up. But since there are no obvious alternative layouts, I can only presume that the lap lengths are at fault.
Chichester, West Sussex | Track Length: 2.37 miles, 3.81 km | Direction: Clockwise | Track Used: 1948-Present
The airfield at Goodwood was originally called RAF Westhampnett, built as a relief landing ground for nearby RAF Tangmere. It was the base for two fighter squadrons during the Battle of Britain, and later used by two squadrons of USAAF fighters. After the war the airfield was returned to the Goodwood Estate, but is still in use today for light aircraft.
Motor racing began at Goodwood in 1948, and continued until 1966, when the owners baulked at installing chicanes, necessary to control the increased speeds of modern racing cars.
However, racing returned to the circuit in 1998, with The Goodwood Revival, a three day festival held each year for the types of cars and motorcycles that would have competed in the circuit's heyday. The festival is a showcase of wheel to wheel racing around the classic circuit, recreating the glory days of Goodwood Circuit, which once ranked alongside Silverstone as Britain's leading racing venue.
The track uses the perimeter roads of the old airfield, and because it is still in use there can be no doubt about it's layout. Shown here is the original circuit, without the later addition of the chicane at Paddock Bend.
Goodwood Revival 2018
Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire | Track Length: 2.23 miles, 3.59 km 1946 | Direction: Clockwise 1946, Anti Clockwise 1947 | Track Used: 1946-47
RAF Gransden Lodge opened in 1942 as an operational RAF Bomber Command station. At the end of 1945 the airfield was transferred to Transport Command but the last operational squadron was disbanded in February 1946. The RAF station closed in 1955, but is used today by a gliding club.
In 1946 the airfield was the site of what is claimed to be the first major postwar motor race in the UK. A different configuration of the circuit was used in 1947, and fortunately both layouts are still clearly visible from the aerial photos.
Gransden Lodge Aerial
Gransden Lodge 1947
Hullavington, Wiltshire | Track Length: 1.60 miles, 2.57 km | Track Used: 1990s-Present
RAF Hullavington opened in June 1937 and was predominately used for training purposes. It closed in 1992 when it was transferred to the British Army and renamed Buckley Barracks. The airfield continued as an RAF gliding operations base until 2016 when it was sold.
As a race track Hullavington hosted motor cycle racing throughout the 1990s, and continues today as a venue for track days.
Ibsley, Hampshire | Track Length: 2.00miles 3.22km | Direction: Clockwise | Track Used: 1951-54
RAF Ibsley was opened as an RAF fighter base in 1941. The airfield was initially a base for various RAF squadrons and was later used by the USAAF.
At the end of WWII, the land was handed back to its owner, Lord Normanton. The airfield was used as a racing track from 1951 to 1955, using two different configurations. The land was later returned to agricultural use, and sold in the early 1960s when the runways were dug up for aggregate. Later, the entire site was subject to excavation for the aggregate found beneath the surface, and the area was transformed into what is now known as Blashford Lakes.
Today, the site is totally unrecognisable as either an airfield, or a circuit. Fortunately, the control tower still remains as a landmark, and an old aerial photo of the area has allowed me to accurately map the layout of the tracks.
Jurby, Isle of Man | Track Used: 1988?-Present
Opened in 1939, RAF Jurby fulfilled a range of purposes through the Second World War, and beyond. It was an armament training station, an air observer school, a bombing & gunnery school, and an air navigation & bombing school. In addition RAF Jurby also played host to five operational fighter squadrons, defending the industrialised regions of north west England, Northern Ireland and central Scotland. The station was closed in 1963
Jurby Airfield circuit has hosted motor cycle, kart, and drag racing and apparently continues to do so. Beyond that I can't tell you much more. The track has several configurations.
Keevil, Wiltshire | Track Length: 2.00 miles, 3.22 km | Direction: Clockwise | Track Used: 1977-2001?
RAF Keevil was opened in 1942, and was built on a site previously earmarked in the mid 1930s. Initially the airfield was used to assemble and fly out Spitfires, after the dispersal of production following air raids in 1940 on the Spitfire production plants near Southampton. For the rest of the war Keevil had various uses, including troop carrier and freight operations by the USAAF, and RAF troop glider operations as part of the Normandy invasion of France. 1947 marked the end of Keevil as a fully operational airfield, though it is still maintained for military use, and used for training purposes to this day.
Details of racing at Keevil and the track configurations used are sketchy. But the circuit has certainly been used for motor cycle races from the late 70s, through to the early 2000s, and is currently still used for track days.
Portavogie, County Down | Track Length: 2.00 miles, 3.22 km | Direction: Clockwise | Track Used: 1953-Present
RAF Kirkistown opened in 1941 as a satellite of RAF Ballyhalbert, which opened just a month before. In 1945 Ballyhalbert transferred to the Admiralty and became a Royal Naval Air Station commissioned as HMS Corncrake, and Kirkistown quickly followed suit as HMS Corncrake II.
Kirkistown Motor Racing Circuit was opened in 1953, and continues to this day, hosting karting, rallying, rallycross, motorcycle and supermoto, and currently claiming to be the fastest circuit in Ireland. The track is well established, and clearly visible in aerial photographs. But the original layout did not have the chicane on the main straight, as I've shown below.
Leconfield, East Riding of Yorkshire | Track Length: 2.1 miles, 3.38 km | Direction: Clockwise | Track Used: 1958
RAF Leconfield opened in 1936 as part of RAF Bomber Command. Aircraft from the station were the first of the war to fly over Germany, dropping propaganda leaflets. The airfield was passed onto Fighter Command in 1939. After the war the station became a dispersal base for V bombers, and a training base. Leconfield was transferred to the Army in 1977, and renamed as Normandy Barracks. It became the home of the Army School of Mechanical Transport and is said to be the second largest residential driving school in the world.
The racing circuit at Leconfield was operated by the Auto 66 club, and the track was known as Carnaby Two, but that is the only information I have.
Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire | Track Length: 1.70 miles, 2.74 km | Track Used: 1960-61
RAF Linton-on-Ouse opened in 1937 as a bomber airfield. After the war it became a Fighter Command station, and in 1957 became a flying training school. The station is scheduled to close in 2020.
The airfield circuit was used in 1960 and 1961, whilst the base was still operational. The 1960 meeting was held in torrential rain, and the 1961 meeting was marred by the death of a flag marshal. Drivers Tony Hodgetts and Garth Nicholls then started a safety campaign which resulted in flag marshals standing face to face rather than back to back, a system used to this day.
Llandow, Vale of Glamorgan | Track Length: 0.90 miles, 1.45 km | Track Used: 1968-83 & 2000-Present
RAF Llandow was opened in 1940 and was used throughout it's life for the storage and despatch of RAF aircraft. It was also used as a training and transport base until it's closure in 1957.
The airfield circuit was used between 1968 and 1983 for car and motorcycle racing, and after resurfacing work, has been used for track days since 2001.
Lulsgate Bottom, North Somerset | Track Length: 2.10 miles 3.38 km| Track Used: 1949-50
RAF Broadfield Down was built in 1941, and unusually, the first aircraft to land was a Luftwaffe Ju 88, after its crew had been deceived by RAF electronic countermeasures which retransmitted a signal from a Luftwaffe homing beacon. In 1942 the airfield was renamed RAF Lulsgate Bottom, and became primarily a training base, until it's closure in 1946.
The airfield was used as a race track in 1949 and 1950 by the Bristol Motor Cycle and Light Car Club. The circuit mainly hosted sports car events, however a Formula III race featured in both years.
The airfield went on to become Bristol Lulsgate Airport, and finally Bristol International Airport, the ninth busiest in the UK.