Brooklands Finishing Straight back after 77 years
Cars crossed Brooklands’ newlyunearthed Finishing Straight for the first time since 1940 during a special ceremony last Saturday (17 June).
Some 120 vehicles, ranging from veterans to aero-engined behemoths – many of which originally raced at Brooklands – lined up for the official re-opening of the Finishing Straight, much of which was buried under an aircraft hangar built on the site in 1940. The hangar has been re-sited nearby as part of the £8.1m Heritage Lottery Fund, which aided the Brooklands Aircraft Factory and Racetrack Revival Project.
The Earl of March – whose grandfather, Freddie, won the 1930 Brooklands 500 in an Austin Seven and went on to open the Goodwood Circuit in 1948 – cut a ribbon to declare the Finishing Straight as being officially re-opened.
He says: ‘ To see Brooklands alive again and in such fine form is a wonderful thing. This is a momentous and special occasion. We shouldn’t forget that this was the first proper racetrack in the world and so we think of the inspiration it has given everybody around the world and what it’s done for the history of motorsport and the cars we love.
‘My grandfather was very much the black sheep of the family. He loved his aircraft and his motorcycle racing and he came here to race.’
The first car to take to the Straight was a 1907 Italia, similar to the car driven by Brooklands mentor, Mrs Ethel Locke King, at the original opening ceremony.
The re-opening ceremony formed part of this year’s Brooklands Double Twelve Motorsport Festival. Nick Larkin
Lord March declares the Finishing Straight officially re-opened. 1907 Italia – similar to a car that appeared at the original opening ceremony – was first on the newly re-opened track.