I saw a splendid programme on BBC2 the other day. In his series, ‘Toy Stories’, James May is playing with old toys like Airfix and Meccano in an epic way. Last week, he revived the famous Brooklands motor racing circuit, opened in 1907 and closed in 1939.
Malcolm Campbell (see my previous posts) was a regular racer at Brooklands:
It wasn’t just cars. Britain’s aviation industry arguably started here with the pioneering work of A. V. Roe and others. Roe’s company went on to make Avro aircraft elsewhere, including the famous ‘Vulcan’ bomber…
…and our Vickers ‘Vimy’, used by Alcock and Brown in their first flight across the Atlantic, was built at Brooklands:
After the war, the site became a huge aircraft factory for Vickers and then British Aerospace (lots of Concorde was made here), and the old racing circuit was carved up, chopped off, built on and generally made into a non-circuit. Explore it on Google Maps.
How did May revive such a relic? With the aid of hundreds of helpers, he laid three miles of Scalextric track round the route of the old circuit (flying over fences and factories, diving under roads and ditches, floating across ponds and cutting across housing estates) and, once built, pitted two tiny cars against each other in a nail-biting race to the finish. Top stuff!