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Special feature

How club racing proved resilient in 2023

There may have been a challenging economic climate over the past year, but an encouraging number of national series defied the gloom to grow their grids this season. Here is our annual deep dive into the health of the UK club racing scene

CCRC Combe Hot Hatch

CCRC Combe Hot Hatch

Ollie Read

Stubbornly high inflation, a squeeze on incomes and weak economic growth. The UK’s financial situation during 2023 does not exactly sound like the ideal conditions for motorsport to thrive. And yet, there have been encouraging signs of resilience in the club racing world, with some impressive entries over the past year.

Yes, it has not been easy for organisers and it is far from a successful picture across the board, but the fact that 65 of the 124 English/Welsh categories (52%) with comparable data to last year either grew their average number of starters or stayed the same versus their 2022 figure is pretty remarkable.

Like last season, 10 series again averaged over 35 cars per round, with the 750 Motor Club’s 116 Trophy leading the way for those not sometimes split over two separate grids with a super 44. Other top performers include the British Racing & Sports Car Club’s Clubsport Trophy and Swinging Sixties from the Classic Sports Car Club.

But, perhaps more encouraging are the overall averages for each of the major clubs. All of these either remained the same or increased and that is the clearest indication of how motorsport stood firm against the tricky economic winds. Three categories did have average grids of 10 cars or below, but these were very much the outliers.

Here we break down how each of the clubs performed – with the Irish, Northern Irish and Scottish series not included as these have a smaller pool of competitors to draw from – and it is far from all doom and gloom as per those financial headlines.

750 Motor Club

Once again the 750MC boasted the highest average grid size of the leading clubs, with Roadsports contributing an average of 38 cars per meeting

Photo by: Richard Styles

Once again the 750MC boasted the highest average grid size of the leading clubs, with Roadsports contributing an average of 38 cars per meeting

Largest average grid: 44 (116 Trophy)
Smallest average grid: 15 (Bikesports)
Biggest increase from 2022: Sports 1000 (+50%)
Biggest decline from 2022: Toyota MR2 (-24%)
Club average grid size: 26 (0%)

There is a recurring theme to Autosport’s club racing grid sizes feature over the past few years. The 750 Motor Club led the way in terms of average entries across an organiser’s full suite of categories in 2021 and 2022 – and it is now a hat-trick. Not that its competitions secretary Giles Groombridge is getting complacent.

“There’s no magic bullet,” he says. “The 116 Trophy was our biggest grid and it’s low cost, offers a good chunk of track time and a lot of cars are shared with two to four drivers over a weekend. It’s perfect for the current economic conditions.”

While the 116 Trophy and its new sister Sprint series – which is to get championship status next year – thrived, Groombridge says 2023 was still a difficult season as the harsh economic realities hit home. The 750MC’s focus on low-cost racing and stable rules helped, but it was still impacted by inflation.

"In F1000, a couple of teams shut up shop that were running quite a lot of cars and that did leave a few people sitting on the sidelines" Giles Groombridge

“What we saw was a slightly stronger start to the year than we anticipated and then things fell away at certain points,” he explains. “The general trend was the further away venues were a little bit less popular than they’ve been historically, which is because of the cost of travel and cost of hotels.”

Alongside the 116 Trophy, the very different Sports 1000 prototype machinery was also on the rise. The addition of a sub-class for the new MK Cup 200 cars assisted, but there were other factors behind its 50% increase.

“It was helped by some of the cars that had sat on the market for a while being bought by people who did the majority of the season,” adds Groombridge.

F1000 grids fell to an average of 18 cars, although the club is optimistic this will improve next year

Photo by: Richard Styles

F1000 grids fell to an average of 18 cars, although the club is optimistic this will improve next year

Also up significantly was the Campaign Against Living Miserably All Porsche Trophy, which attracted 28 cars on average.

“It’s not the only place to race a Boxster but it’s at a substantially lower price point and we give a home to older four-cylinder cars like 964s and 924s,” says Groombridge. “They’ve hit on a slightly unusual format with two 15-minute races and a 40-minute race but it’s a good chunk of track time that can be shared.”

Ma7da Locost was another to enjoy a boost and Groombridge expects this to continue into an “exciting” 2024, when a number of Locost frontrunners are due to step up to the category. But, while these series enjoyed successful campaigns, 13 of the 750MC’s series had smaller grid sizes.

Some of the club’s traditionally strong divisions like its MR2s fell by almost a quarter, as did the MX-5 Cup – although Groombridge notes its numbers have been “variable” over the years. Single-seater offerings, Formula Vee and F1000, also suffered a drop in average grids, but Groombridge is optimistic these will improve in 2024.

“With Formula Vee, the number of registered drivers was very similar – we had over 50 registered drivers, they just did less,” he says. “In F1000, a couple of teams shut up shop that were running quite a lot of cars and that did leave a few people sitting on the sidelines. Over the course of the year, quite a lot of those cars have now been sold so we anticipate their numbers will bounce back.”

Overall, he concludes “we do see some green shoots of recovery” among the categories that struggled a little in 2023 and that bodes well for the club keeping its position at the top of the popularity stakes.

British Racing & Sports Car Club

Longer format racing proved popular for BRSCC, with Supersport Endurance retaining 30-car average grids

Photo by: Richard Styles

Longer format racing proved popular for BRSCC, with Supersport Endurance retaining 30-car average grids

Largest average grid: 39 (Clubsport Trophy)
Smallest average grid: 12 (National Formula Ford 1600)
Biggest increase from 2022: Zeo Sports Proto (+54%)
Biggest decline from 2022: National Formula Ford 1600 (-25%)
Club average grid size: 25 (0%)

The British Racing & Sports Car Club bucked the trend in 2022. While many other organisers faced a marked reduction in entries, its average grid size rose significantly. And, despite the continued tricky financial climate, it has been able to maintain its strong position in 2023, with only the 750 Motor Club boasting a higher portfolio-wide average.

“It’s been a tough year, not quite as buoyant as the previous year, but we have a positive general feeling,” says club chairman Peter Daly.

Endurance races have proven to be the BRSCC’s most popular, with the Clubsport Trophy topping the table on 39 cars and the longer, two-hour contests of the Supersport Endurance Cup also attracting a very healthy 30 in its first year with championship status. C1s declined a little but were still at an impressive 38, while the growth came from British GT – which defied the financial pressures to achieve a 20% increase.

"I wanted National Formula Ford to remain but we can’t have 75%-80% of club members paying entry fees that subsidise one championship" Peter Daly

“British GT’s got a good team that run it with SRO,” says Daly. “It’s done well because the format is very good and is supported by a live TV stream as well as some rounds on Sky F1. It’s one of the top domestic GT championships in the world.”

But the category Daly really picks out as having a successful year is Fiesta Junior. This has been on an upward trajectory since its 2019 strife when just three cars tackled the finale. A lot of hard work has boosted numbers and they climbed by over 50% in 2023 to an average of 23.

“Fiesta Junior is the jewel in the crown for us,” says Daly. “Only a few years ago we were being threatened with having the permit taken away. The work the BRSCC has done to engage with teams and potential drivers and the supply chain means it’s really turned a corner.”

National Formula Ford will not be held in 2024 following a marked decline in entries

Photo by: Richard Styles

National Formula Ford will not be held in 2024 following a marked decline in entries

Numbers of the next-generation Mk7 machines are growing ahead of next year being the last season for the old Mk6s. And the fact that the likes of Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award winner Joseph Loake are successful graduates demonstrate its value as a proving ground. But the rise in entries has brought new challenges.

“We’ve had one or two tiny accidents that have resulted in half a dozen cars not making it to the first corner,” admits Daly. “You have that in GTs and touring cars – it’s not a mark on the championship.”

On the flipside, there have also been some notable declines, with a 25% reduction in National Formula Ford 1600 drivers meaning the long-running championship will not be held in 2024.

“I wanted National Formula Ford to remain but we can’t have 75%-80% of club members paying entry fees that subsidise one championship,” says Daly.

It has also been a difficult year for the BRSCC’s Mazda MX-5 championships amid MotorSport Vision Trackdays’ introduction of its rival Miata Trophy. “It diluted the market and had quite an effect on numbers – that was disappointing,” admits Daly.

Another previously popular championship starting to lose its shine is the Compact Cup, which has decreased from the mid-30s a few years ago to an average of 21. But Daly says thoughts have already turned to the future and how a newer car could eventually replace the ageing E36 Compact 318Tis.

And that is one of the key messages from the BRSCC – it is not merely standing still. It has attracted Ginetta’s championships to its roster for 2024, while its recent Driven By Racing event at Silverstone enabled prospective new drivers to sample cars and officials to be recruited, something in which the club is really leading the way.

Classic Sports Car Club

CSCC Tin Tops had average grids of 33 cars, second only to its Swinging Sixties category, marking an 18% increase

Photo by: Steve Jones

CSCC Tin Tops had average grids of 33 cars, second only to its Swinging Sixties category, marking an 18% increase

Largest average grid: 51 (Swinging Sixties)
Smallest average grid: 16 (Open Series)
Biggest increase from 2022: Open Series (+33%)
Biggest decline from 2022: Turbo Tin Tops (-22%)
Club average grid size: 24 (+9%)

A “mixed bag” is how Classic Sports Car Club director David Smitheram describes the organiser’s 2023. As it celebrated its 20th anniversary of hosting standalone events, the club continued to demonstrate its desire to break from the mould and enjoyed contrasting success. A uniquely early February start proved a hit, with almost 170 entrants braving the Silverstone cold, while its Anglesey 24-hour event did not attract quite so many.

“The event itself was brilliant,” says CSCC director Hugo Holder. “The marshals, drivers and officials loved it, but our bank balance didn’t love it!”

Therefore, the CSCC is adopting a “more conservative” approach for 2024 – although this does include entering the sphere of organising championships as Kumho BMW, MG Trophy, Jaguar Challenge and Midget & Sprite Challenge are all coming on board. One of the highlights from this year was the Brands Britannia event and plans are under way to further develop that.

"TCR cars and 911 Cup cars and Ginetta G55s and G50s [formerly] raced in New Millennium with a compromised set-up. The moment we introduced Slicks, a lot of them jumped ship" David Smitheram

“It went down really well and it’s going to come back bigger and better,” says Holder. “Next year we’re tailoring the racing to get a whole load of British cars racing on the same day.”

In terms of the CSCC’s categories, it was a strong year for Tin Tops while Turbo Tin Tops had a decline. Smitheram says part of the reason for this was the Puma Cup and RX-8 Trophy subclasses swapping to the Tin Tops fold and the Turbo category was hit by the BARC’s new Mini Challenge Clubsport contest. New Millennium also shrank, although Smitheram believes the success of the Slicks Series contributed to this.

“TCR cars and 911 Cup cars and Ginetta G55s and G50s [formerly] raced in New Millennium with a compromised set-up,” he says. “The moment we introduced Slicks, a lot of them jumped ship.”

Now with the Kumho BMW series set to boost the CSCC’s Bavarian contingent, it is hoped some of these drivers will also opt to race in New Millennium and make 2024 more successful across the board.

British Automobile Racing Club

The CNC Heads Sports & Saloons had a banner year with a 43% increase to 33-car average grids

Photo by: Steve Jones

The CNC Heads Sports & Saloons had a banner year with a 43% increase to 33-car average grids

Largest average grid: 38 (Classic Touring Cars: Pre-’66 & Pre-’83)
Smallest average grid: 12 (Kumho BMW)
Biggest increase from 2022: Porsche Sprint Challenge GB (+63%)
Biggest decline from 2022: Kumho BMW (-48%)
Club average grid size: 23 (0%)

Not many club championships reach their 40th anniversary, given how different categories fall in and out of favour. Fewer still have the same coordinator throughout those 40 years. But that is the case with the CNC Heads Sports & Saloons, which celebrated John Leck’s final year at the helm in style and was one of the British Automobile Racing Club’s success stories of 2023.

Entries did fall in 2022 but they were resurgent this year and its numbers grew by over 40% to an average of 33.

“They took an interesting decision to reduce entry fees,” says BARC group chief executive Ben Taylor. “Not by much – about 15-20% – and they were rewarded by a huge surge in numbers.

“John has done an amazing job for so many years and it’s nice for him to bow out with everything looking rosy. It gives a lot of people a chance to go racing in whatever car they’ve got and there’s something in that.”

Like many clubs, the BARC entered the season with some trepidation amid the wider economic situation but Taylor was encouraged by how well entries generally held up.

“It’s still been really successful just not as golden as the last couple of years,” he says. “We didn’t expect that post-COVID bounce to continue forever.” That sentiment is reflected by the fact grid numbers for five championships remained exactly the same on average this year.

A 33% decline year-on-year for Britcar Trophy was disappointing for BARC

Photo by: Steve Jones

A 33% decline year-on-year for Britcar Trophy was disappointing for BARC

One of the notable changes for 2023 was the arrival of the suite of manufacturer-backed Caterham series joining the club’s portfolio. Entries for these were broadly the same, although there was an encouraging increase for the top-tier Seven UK category.

“I think it’s been a really positive first year and everyone at the club has enjoyed having Caterham Motorsport with us,” says Taylor.

Other highlights included a successful Classic Touring Car Racing Club season capped off by the Super Touring Power event, while Junior Saloons entries hit record levels.

"It’s the end of an era with Kumho BMW. Trevor Ford has done an amazing job with that championship for many, many years and it shows how important the person organising is" Ben Taylor

But for all the positive stories, inevitably there were some championships that struggled a little more. Britcar’s attempts to launch a prototype series proved fruitless, while both its British Endurance Championship and Britcar Trophy divisions suffered grid size declines of around 30%.

“I think it’s been a really difficult year for those big investment [series] for teams and cars,” says Taylor. “If everyone’s costs are going up by 20% and you’re spending £1000, 20% is £200. But, if you’re spending £100,000, then 20% is £20,000 and it’s difficult for people to find the money.”

Track Attack numbers also fell sharply but a rebrand for next year and the introduction of the Scirocco Storm Challenge subclass are set to provide a boost and Taylor is confident of a good year in 2024.

Meanwhile, another long-serving championship coordinator is also departing the scene. Trevor Ford has been at the forefront of the Kumho BMW category for decades but is now standing down and the series is off to the Classic Sports Car Club after numbers fell this year without the Minis that previously joined the fray.

“It’s the end of an era with Kumho BMW,” says Taylor. “Trevor Ford has done an amazing job with that championship for many, many years and it shows how important the person organising is.”

MotorSport Vision Racing

MSVR's Track Day series held firm and were consistently among its strongest offerings

Photo by: Mick Walker

MSVR's Track Day series held firm and were consistently among its strongest offerings

Largest average grid: 35 (EnduroKa)
Smallest average grid: 14 (GB4)
Biggest increase from 2022: Ferrari Challenge UK (+31%)
Biggest decline from 2022: GT Cup (-28%)
Club average grid size: 21 (0%)

It was the MotorSport Vision Trackdays-organised categories that once again led the way among MotorSport Vision Racing’s portfolio as these series continue to offer a low-cost route for new competitors into the sport. EnduroKa, Trackday Championship and Trackday Trophy all averaged well over 30 cars this season, while the new-for-2023 Mazda MX-5 based Miata Trophy proved to be more of a hit than the Turismo X contest it effectively replaced.

“MSVT Racing do a great job with their championships and series,” says MSVR competitions manager Joe East. “There’s nothing radically different in their approach – they just focus on getting the basics of series promotion right.

“The customer service element is particularly important, and they do this extremely well, listening to feedback from teams and competitors, and acting on anything they think will improve the overall experience for those involved.”

And the MSVT cluster is set to expand next year with a new Clio Cup GB series being launched for the very latest version of the French hatchback.

Away from the MSVT categories, there were other hits for MSVR this year. The combining of the SR3s and SR1s into one Radical Cup UK grid seemed to work well, while Bernie’s V8s was one of the notable improvers bolstered by additional Corvette entries as organisers celebrated 60 years of the legendary cars.

“Everyone at MSVR really enjoys working with the [coordinating] Chodosh family – Bernie, Simeon and Adam,” says East.

GT Cup's grids again were thinner this year, with an average of 21 cars after a 28% year-on-year reduction

Photo by: Gary Hawkins

GT Cup's grids again were thinner this year, with an average of 21 cars after a 28% year-on-year reduction

“They are pure racers who put so much time and effort into the series. Their goal is very simple – to provide like-minded people with a platform to be able to race hard and fair, then come together in-between sessions to socialise. Clever membership extras like bespoke artwork and T-shirts add further value, as well as catering and film nights in the paddock at some events, so I’m really not surprised about their success this season.”

Yet, some of the other MSVR stalwarts struggled. For example, the GT Cup suffered a second consecutive year where its numbers declined by over 20%. However, East believes the “cost of living effect seems to have had a bigger impact” on higher-level series like the GT Cup and highlights other contributing factors.

For all the success of the likes of MSVT, MSVR’s overall average remains one of the lowest of all the clubs due to the fact that six of its grids generally have 15 or fewer cars

“A shortage of replacement parts due to supply chain problems meant GT Cup was losing cars to damage and mechanical issues unnecessarily, which is frustrating for all involved,” he adds.

But for all the success of the likes of MSVT, MSVR’s overall average remains one of the lowest of all the clubs due to the fact that six of its grids generally have 15 or fewer cars. Although the amalgamation of Z Cars and Production GTI has helped, and United Formula Ford 1600 is set to be boosted by National FF1600 being axed, Porsche Club GB is also looking at ways to encourage more historic cars into the Open & 911 Challenge field to help justify standalone grids.

Castle Combe Racing Club

CCRC's Hot Hatch series saw a modest reduction but was again its most popular category

Photo by: Ollie Read

CCRC's Hot Hatch series saw a modest reduction but was again its most popular category

Largest average grid: 26 (Combe Hot Hatch)
Smallest average grid: 14 (Combe GT)
Biggest increase from 2022: Combe Saloons (+29%)
Biggest decline from 2022: Combe Hot Hatch (-10%)
Club average grid size: 20 (+5%)

One of the many key factors in determining the success of a club is whether it listens to its members and implements ideas they suggest. The Castle Combe Racing Club certainly prides itself on doing just this and is hoping a competitor-inspired decision to switch its Hot Hatch category from a series to a championship next year will prove fruitful.

It has long been the best performing of the Combe portfolio, although – for a second consecutive season – Hot Hatch has suffered a modest decline. But despite its popularity, CCRC chairman Ken Davies says the club is constantly listening to what competitors say.

“Lots of email exchanges swap around through the year and it’s about giving the customers what they want,” he says. “Hot Hatch converting to a championship was very much a customer-led decision based on a straw poll and about 75% were in favour of it becoming a championship.”

While Hot Hatch numbers were down slightly, the Saloons were up by nearly a third as organisers attempt to return the category to its former glory days. Much attention was also given to the GT contest and this did enjoy a 27% rise, although overall entries remain small with an average of just 14.

“If everybody who raced with us all entered one meeting, we would have about 30 competitors!” says Davies. “We’ve been looking at the regulations over the last couple of weeks. You can be puritanical but, because we’re a single-venue championship, we have to be a bit more of a broader church and have got to consider silhouettes and faster saloons as part of the GT family so we spread the net further. There’s a lot of cars out there in garages and we need to tease them out of the woodwork.”

Should these aims be achieved, then it would be another step forward for the club, which is also celebrating its Autumn Classic event winning an RAC award.

Historic Sports Car Club

HSCC's Historic F3 enjoyed a boom with a 47% increase to an average car count of 22

Photo by: Gary Hawkins

HSCC's Historic F3 enjoyed a boom with a 47% increase to an average car count of 22

Largest average grid: 30 (Formula Junior)
Smallest average grid: 9 (Historic Modsports & Special Saloons)
Biggest increase from 2022: Historic Formula 3 (+47%)
Biggest decline from 2022: Guards Trophy (-26%)
Club average grid size: 20 (+5%)

Unlike last year, when its grid sizes table was a sea of red, there are some encouraging green figures of growth among the Historic Sports Car Club’s portfolio this season.

Its single-seater offerings performed well, with Classic Formula Ford 1600 up considerably, but the most notable improver was Historic F3. This mustered just 15 cars on average in 2022 but some massive grids – including 31 at Brands Hatch – helped boost its numbers by almost 50% this season as momentum builds ahead of next year’s 60th anniversary of the beginning of the one-litre F3 era.

“We’ve seen the difference a major anniversary coming up can have and I do think the work the One-Litre F3 Historic Racing Association is doing will sustain that [growth],” says HSCC CEO Andy Dee-Crowne.

"The GT market is saturated with places to go and we’ve got very fast cars in that series, which can put people off" Andy Dee-Crowne

Yet, in contrast, there were some reductions among the club’s sportscar and tin-top offerings, including for Guards Trophy and the Road Sports divisions.

“You get these peaks and troughs, and different series and championships have different events that are parochial to them and spark interest,” says Dee-Crowne. “Guards is an interesting one because there’s a mix of GTs and sports-racers. The GT market is saturated with places to go and we’ve got very fast cars in that series, which can put people off.”

He says regulations will be reviewed for 2024 by new championship chair Nick Thompson to try to tempt back some of the GT machinery. Among the other changes for next year, the Derek Bell Trophy name is back for the revamped former Aurora series that caters for higher-powered single-seaters – and Dee-Crowne is cautiously optimistic that some of the Antipodean F5000 beasts will make a return having largely stayed away since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, a new Touring Car Legends series is being introduced that is focused upon the Group 2 and Group A cars of the 1970s/80s as the HSCC looks to further reduce the amount of red next year.

Equipe Classic Racing & MG Car Club

Equipe Libre enjoyed average grids of 30 cars, a 20% increase on 2022

Photo by: Mick Walker

Equipe Libre enjoyed average grids of 30 cars, a 20% increase on 2022

Largest average grid: 30 (Equipe GTS and Equipe Libre)
Smallest average grid: 16 (MG Trophy)
Biggest increase from 2022: Equipe Libre (+20%)
Biggest decline from 2022: Equipe GTS (-21%)
Club average grid size: 16 (0%)

It was another year of growth for Equipe Classic Racing this season as it continues to expand, having first moved into organising events in 2022. Alongside its own categories, it also administered the MG Car Club portfolio this year after the club closed its competition department.

“MGCC were very loyal to us and we spoke to the chairman and did a huge amount of work for them,” explains Equipe partner Rob Cull. “It was something we felt was good to do.”

With MGCC subsequently completely ending its circuit racing involvement at the end of the year, two of the series – MG Cup and BCV8s – will now permanently join the Equipe stable. Among its regular contests, Equipe Libre was the star performer this year, averaging 30 cars, and Cull feels its policy of not allowing pro drivers has contributed to this success.

“We believe there’s plenty of places for pro drivers to go and race but, if you’ve got a car – whether it’s a Cobra, Elan, E-type – you can come in and have friendly racing and not get lapped five times,” he says. “We’ve got some fantastic cars in it and it’s a privilege to race with them.”

Equipe 70s entries, however, remained modest, although Cull believes several calendar clashes did not help. “We had 61 separate individuals race with us this year and it shows that we have support for it,” he says. Meanwhile, it is hoped a move to rolling starts for its 50s division will help boost its numbers.

“We’re finding a lot of those 50s cars are struggling to get off the line without breaking – the [Cooper] Monacos and [Elva] Bobtails have got fragile gearboxes,” explains Cull, who says some drivers had previously started from the pits to avoid the destructive launches.

Equipe is also expanding its horizons in other ways for 2024 with a first move into single-seaters. It is launching a new category for Formula 2 and FAtlantic machinery, and interest is already building ahead of another notable season for the fledgling club.

Vintage Sports-Car Club

Peter Greenfield's Alfetta entertained at Silverstone

Photo by: Mick Walker

Peter Greenfield's Alfetta entertained at Silverstone

Sadly, the Vintage Sports-Car Club’s 2023 season was shrouded in tragedy. Roger Twelvetrees’ fatal accident at the club’s popular August Mallory Park meeting was another reminder of the dark side of the sport, although the way competitors rallied around to support his family in the aftermath has been pleasing.

“Roger’s certainly going to be missed in the wider motorsport community,” says club secretary Tania Brown. “Given it was a tragic event, it’s been wonderful how the club and wider community have come together. Roger’s son William has been absolutely fantastic and really appreciated the warmth from the club around him.”

Prior to that point, the VSCC had enjoyed a successful season with some great entries, particularly at its Silverstone ‘Spring Start’ event, where Peter Greenfield’s Alfa Romeo 158 ‘Alfetta’ was among the stars.

“The Alfetta will warm even the most hardened of hearts,” says Brown. “That was quite something – it’s fair to say a lot of people were like excited children when that was going round! We had a number of ERAs there as well, including a couple that hadn’t been out with us before.”

A team format was also adopted for the VSCC’s races at the Oulton Park Gold Cup, which helped bring people together

With next year marking 90 years since ERAs began racing – as well as the club’s own 90th birthday – it is hoped that even more will be persuaded to join the fray. Other highlights from this year include a bevy of Frazer Nashes at Cadwell Park – with the spectacular sight of them rising over The Mountain – and the Light Car Race at Donington Park. A team format was also adopted for the VSCC’s races at the Oulton Park Gold Cup, which helped bring people together.

“It was a wonderful atmosphere and fab racing – people were talking to people they wouldn’t usually speak to,” says Brown as the teams were based on qualifying with slower and faster cars paired up.

Attention has now turned to special plans for next year, with more details to be revealed in due course, while the VSCC continuing to beat the drum for sustainable fuel is an important future direction for the sport. And, at the same time, Twelvetrees and his family remain in the club’s thoughts.

Others

The HRDC's Gerry Marshal for Group 1 cars was again a hit with average grids of 32 cars

Photo by: Mick Walker

The HRDC's Gerry Marshal for Group 1 cars was again a hit with average grids of 32 cars

Largest average grid: 41 (Monoposto)
Smallest average grid: 10 (Welsh Sports & Saloons)
Biggest increase from 2022: HRDC Jack Sears Trophy (+34%)
Biggest decline from 2022: Welsh Sports & Saloons (-38%)

Alongside the big players, there are also a plethora of smaller organisers that add further diversity to the UK racing scene. And one of the most successful of these smaller clubs has to be the Historic Racing Drivers Club, as evidenced by the numbers for its season-closer.

“We had 128 entries for three races at Silverstone GP in October,” says founder Julius Thurgood. It is a seriously impressive figure and proves the HRDC is doing something right.

“We try to not run two-day meetings and refuse to have championships,” explains Thurgood about the keys to the success. “It means you can dip in and out and, secondly, the attitude is focused on the social aspect of it and people behave better.”

Its newest offering, the Gerry Marshall Trophy for Group 1 tin-tops, continues to go from strength to strength and averaged an impressive 32 cars in just its first full year.

“It’s a little bit more accessible,” says Thurgood. “The way we’re running it with the Willhire class for production cars gives people the chance to come in. Group 1 cars are not cheap, they’re proper racing cars, whereas production cars you can do it yourself. Also the liveries – we’re very keen the cars are running period colours – fire people’s imagination up and that’s a good thing when you’re trying to build a series.”

Another popular organiser is the Mini 7 Racing Club, which again delivered some enormous grids this year as it had the chance to shine on the British Touring Car-supporting stage. Fifties Sports Car Racing also enjoyed a boost in entries this season and Monoposto proved as strong as ever.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, it was a tough campaign for Welsh Sports & Saloons – which averaged just 10 cars – and the new Racing Hondas category struggled, but introducing free entries via sponsor Tegiwa is set to help it thrive next year.

Mini Miglias boasted a 9% increase to average grids of 25 cars

Photo by: Gary Hawkins

Mini Miglias boasted a 9% increase to average grids of 25 cars

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