Much loved Northern circuit celebrates half a century of action.
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.