Searching for Ardmore History
Another great read has just arrived in my letterbox in the Feb/March Classic Driver and it prompts me to contact you as someone who may be able to point me in the right direction for information.
Do you know of any definitive book/document/article which has been written about the NZIGP era at Ardmore??
Research online has not elicited anything of substance.
My interest stems from growing up at Alfriston and working at Ardmore for the GP, erecting grandstands and fences etc in 1955, 56 & 57, starting at the age of 15. Whilst I know a bit of the history from a local perspective, it is only in my senior years that ‘history’ seems to be of greater interest and it would be nice to put it all together if possible.
For example: how or why was the RNZAF involved with the GP Association? I recall the RNZAF delivering the marshals scooters from Whites of Newmarket. The vehicle used was a long articulated cab and trailer unit which I subsequently found out to be called ‘The Queen Mary’ in air-force terms where it carried repaired flight control surfaces and wings. There are many more questions like this.
The hay bales around the track I must have handled three times each before we got them home. The farm my parents share-milked on had the contract to cut and bale the hay on Ardmore. I believe it was sold to the GP Association for one shilling per bale and bought back – those surviving – for sixpence. I do recall working after the Grand Prix to rebale those broken ones.
One everlasting memory of the time was the size of the piston in the V16 BRM when I came across it in a hangar at Ardmore, with the left head off, for a reason I can’t remember but the sound I’ll never forget.
My last working year there was for the 1957 Grand Prix when Ken Wharton was killed when the Ferrari Monza flipped right in front of me. I subsequently did some repair work on the car/engine during my first year as an apprentice with TEAL as I was then resident across the road – in St John’s College – from where I was boarding in Meadowbank.
Alfriston turned out a bunch of us who subsequently became involved with ‘speed’ – Rod Coppins (a cousin whom you featured a while ago) and Ray Stone who was a mechanic for many speeders of the era and also Groomsman at our wedding many years ago.
Enough rambling. If you could answer the above question I would be grateful. If you can’t then it may be a good time to arm twist some historian before we take the history with us! Neville Hay
PS Every committee and club I am involved with has the same issue as set out in your editorial – you are not alone but that is no help. TH I have never seen a comprehensive history of Ardmore’s racing history; do any of our readers know if this has been recorded at all?