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Much loved North­ern cir­cuit cel­e­brates half a cen­tury of ac­tion.

Classics Monthly - - Contents - www.croft­cir­cuit.co.uk www.rich­mond­shire­mu­seum.org.uk

Cel­e­bra­tions all round, as Croft Cir­cuit chalks up fifty years in use.

The North York­shire venue re­cently marked its half-cen­tury at the Croft Nostal­gia Week­end on 2-3 Au­gust – fit­tingly, ex­actly fifty years on from the date of the in­au­gu­ral Daily Mir­ror Trophy Meet­ing in 1964. Mo­tor sport fans can also take a trip down mem­ory lane at Rich­mond­shire Mu­seum un­til the end of Oc­to­ber, with a spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion and col­lec­tion of mem­o­ra­bilia ded­i­cated to the fifty years of Croft.

“Rich­mond­shire Mu­seum is very pleased to have the op­por­tu­nity to put on this ex­hi­bi­tion to com­mem­o­rate fifty years of Croft Au­to­drome and Cir­cuit,” re­marked John Cul­pan, chair­man of the Rich­mond­based mu­seum.“

“What a mag­nif­i­cent way to mark the 50th an­niver­sary of mo­tor rac­ing at Croft,” echoed cir­cuit man­ager Mike Cantelo. “We are im­mensely proud of Croft’s his­tory over the years, and ex­tremely ex­cited about what the fu­ture holds.”

Cir­cuit rac­ing at Croft orig­i­nally came about in a round­about fash­ion. At the be­gin­ning of the Sec­ond World War, an air­field named RAF Croft – also known as Croft Aero­drome – was built on the site now oc­cu­pied by the cir­cuit.

Dur­ing the late 1940s and early 1950s, Dar­ling­ton & Dis­trict Mo­tor Club held mo­tor race meet­ings at the air­field us­ing run­ways and perime­ter roads.

In April 1962, the Air Min­istry of­fered two-thirds of the aero­drome for sale at pub­lic auc­tion and a con­sor­tium of mo­tor sport en­thu­si­asts led by Bruce Rop­ner pur­chased 160 acres of the site, in­clud­ing the run­ways and a third of the perime­ter roads.

The Daily Mir­ror Trophy Meet­ing revved pro­ceed­ings into life and through­out the 1960s and 1970s the Au­to­drome con­tin­ued to be de­vel­oped for club, na­tional and in­ter­na­tion­al­level race meet­ings.

In 1997, Croft un­der­went another sig­nif­i­cant re­de­vel­op­ment – in­clud­ing ma­jor re­vi­sion of the cir­cuit lay­out, as well as the cre­ation of a new race con­trol, pit area and spec­ta­tor fa­cil­i­ties – spawn­ing the mod­ern in­ter­na­tional cir­cuit that can be seen to­day.

Now op­er­ated by the Bri­tish Au­to­mo­bile Rac­ing Club ( BARC), Croft an­nu­ally wel­comes the hugely popular Dun­lop MSA Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship as well as the retro-flavoured Nostal­gia Week­end and Bri­tish Ral­ly­cross Cham­pi­onship.

5.7-litre Chevro­let Ca­maro com­peted in the His­toric

Road Sports class. Rocker Brian John­son raced a Mini at the re­cent Nostal­gia Week­end.

The nostal­gia el­e­ment also ex­tended to off-track ac­tiv­i­ties.

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