The return of racing to London’s Crystal Palace
By LJ Hutchins
Thursday, May 27th, 2010
Motorsport enthusiasts will get an opportunity to relive part of the golden age of racing this Bank Holiday weekend with an event celebrating a little-known former London racetrack.
For around half a century the grounds of Crystal Palace in south London, part of an extensive Victorian pleasure garden, were used as a racetrack. In pre-war days they featured motorcycles and, after the 1950s, cars took to the Crystal Palace Circuit.
The park also housed an early speedway track in the 1930s. Parts of the track layout still remain despite having fallen into disuse after 1972 and campaigners have worked for a decade to return racing to the area.
This weekend the circuit will come alive again thanks to Motorsport at the Palace – a two-day sprint event to be held on a purpose-built course in the Crystal Palace grounds which includes sections of the former track.
It will see classic and modern cars including Ferraris, Maseratis, Lotuses and many other notable marques battle it out for fastest lap of the day with a focus on the machines that raced there in the past.
Spectators will also be able to visit the paddock, chat to the drivers and mechanics, and see more than 180 rare and exotic vehicles on display including a 2010 Williams Formula One car, a current British Touring Car, and an AMD Volkswagen Golf.
Notable attendees will include Gordon Spice, Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams and Tony Crook who raced and won at the Palace in 1954. His race-winning Cooper-Bristol will be in action on both days of the competition.
Younger visitors will appreciate the chance to meet Roary the Racing Car, who’ll be making a special appearance on Sunday.
The Ancaster group will be providing a Nissan Dessert Raid simulator, in which guests can test their skills behind the wheel. Ancaster will also be giving visitors the chance to win either a Fiat 500 or a Nissan Micra.
Tickets are £10 for adults, with entrance free for children under 16. For more information, visit the event website here.