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Aycliffe Stadium

Aycliffe Stadium

Aycliffe Stadium was located in County Durham, on the southern edge of the Aycliffe Industrial Estate, which has Newton Aycliffe to the North and Aycliffe Village to the South. It was a short (370 yard) oval tarmac race track, which was used for stock car racing from the mid 1950’s until it was closed at the end of 1989. The most regular formula to appear at Aycliffe Stadium was BriSCA Formula 1, closely followed by the smaller BriSCA Formula 2 category. Banger racing and Demolition Derbies were also regularly held at Aycliffe, with the occasional demonstration visit from grasstrack formula and hot rods. The site was also used each year for the Towns Bonfire and Fireworks night.

For many Aycliffe is remembered as “the Action Track”. Aycliffe’s tight corners and its suspended steel rope fence, combined with BriSCA’s brand of contact racing regularly produced an action packed spectacle. For most of its history the Stadium was associated with the British Stock Car Association (BriSCA). The first BriSCA licensed race took place on July 10th 1966 and the final BriSCA event was held on the 19th of November 1989.

The track was originally a greyhound track during the 1940’s and in 1952 a speedway track was constructed using ash from Darlington Power Station. This track was used for speedway training. On Good Friday, April 16th , 1954 the first stock car race in Great Britain, took place in London at New Cross Stadium. The sport was an instant success and races took place all over the country. Until recently, it is widely believed that the first Stock Car meeting at Aycliffe took place in 1956 on the 7th of October. However, photographs from 1955 of a drivers presention evening at the North Briton Pub (in Aycliffe village) suggest that stock car racing had already taken place at Aycliffe in 1955. In 1957 Jimmy Wilkinson took over as the promotor at Aycliffe. He retained control of the Stadium until 1964, when he handed the role of promoter over to three regular Aycliffe drivers - Tony Neal (100), Ron 'Dixie' Dean (20), and Tom Geldard (154).

In 1966 the three driver / promotors brought Aycliffe Stadium into the BriSCA organisation. July 10th was the first licensed meeting. In 1975 Tony Neal emigrated, to New Zealand, leaving Tom, Ron and Cissy Dean to run Aycliffe. In the early 1970’s Aycliffe ran a local formula call Supercars, but by 1976 this formula had been replaced by regular F2 racing. At the end of 1985 Ron and Cissy Dean retired from promoting. Jimmy Wilkinson returned to the helm and promoted the stock car racing at Aycliffe until it is closed at the end of 1989 to make way for the expanding industrial estate.

BriSCA F1 Final Winners at Aycliffe

1966 - 11 Meetings - Ron Rogers 5, Ellis Ford 2, Tony Neal, Tom Geldard, Jimmy Young, Arthur Gibson

1967 - 17 Meetings - Tony Neal 7, Arthur Gibson 3, Ron Rogers 2, Ellis Ford, Ernie Dent, Earl Testo, Doug Cronshaw, Oliver Smith

1968 - 15 Meetings - Tony Neal 4, Tom Geldard 3, Ellis Ford, Arthur Gibson, Ernie Dent, Mike Holt, Bert Shipman, Chas Finnikin, Brian Wignall

1969 - 18 Meetings - Stuart Smith 6, Arthur Gibson 3, Jim Esau 2, Tony Neal, Tom Geldard, Jimmy Young, Oliver Smith, Doug Cronshaw, Bert Shipman, Warren Taylor

1970 - 16 Meetings - Stuart Smith 4, Jim Esau 2, Tony Neal, Arthur Gibson, Ernie Dent, Earl Testo, Doug Cronshaw, Bert Shipman, Pat Byrne, Willie Houseman, Derek Coleman, George Ansell

1971 - 14 Meetings - Stuart Smith 5, Tony Neal 3, Mike Holt 2, Jim Esau, Jim Donaldson, Willie Harrison, Brian Wignall

1972 - 15 Meetings - Stuart Smith 5, Doug Cronshaw 3, Tony Neal, Bert Shipman, Willie Harrison, Gordon Smith, Ray Watkins, Rod Falding, Gerald Taylor

1973 - 14 Meetings - Stuart Smith 8, Doug Cronshaw 3,Dave Fox, Alan Barker, Brian Wignall

1974 - 12 Meetings - Stuart Smith 4, John Hillam 3, Warren Taylor, Gordon Smith, Mike Close, Brian Wallace, Len Wolfenden

1975 - 11 Meetings - Stuart Smith 5, Doug Cronshaw 2, John Hillam 2, Willie Harrison, Gordon Smith

1976 - 13 Meetings - Stuart Smith 6, Mike Close 3, Doug Cronshaw, Willie Harrison, Frankie Wainman, Phil Hayhurst

1977 - 12 Meetings - Stuart Smith 7, Alan Barker 2, Mike Close, Willie Harrison, Frankie Wainman

1978 - 13 Meetings - Stuart Smith 7, Mike Close, Willie Harrison, Frankie Wainman, Gerald Taylor, Martin Farrar, Dave Hodgson

1979 - 12 Meetings - Stuart Smith 3, Len Wolfenden 2, Frankie Wainman 2, Brian Powles, Alan Barker, Mike Close, andy Stott

1980 - 12 Meetings - Mike Close 4, Willie Harrison 3, Stuart Smith 3, Frankie Wainman 2

1981 - 13 Meetings - Len Wolfenden 5, Stuart Smith 3, Mike Close 2, Andy Stott 2, Trevor Todd

1982 - 13 Meetings - John Toulson 5, Mike Close 4, Andy Stott 3, George Wilkins

1983 - 13 Meetings - Mike Close 3, John Lund 3, Andy Stott 2, Len Wolfenden 2, John Toulson, Dan Clarke

1984 - 11 Meetings - Frankie Wainman 3, Mike Close 2, Andy Stott 2, John Lund 2, John Toulson, Harry Smith

1985 - 11 Meetings - Mike Close 3, Len Wolfenden 3, Richard Ainsworth 2, Harry Smith, John Lund, Ray Tyldesley

1986 - 11 Meetings - John Lund 6, John Toulson 2, Mike Close, Arthur Gibson, Frankie Wainman

1987 - 11 Meetings - John Lund 8, Ray Tyldesley, Doug Cronshaw, John Toulson

1988 - 10 Meetings - John Toulson 5, Peter Falding 2, John Lund 2, Ray Tyldesley

1989 - 11 Meetings - Peter Falding 4, John Lund 4, John Toulson, David Toulson, Len Wolfenden

BriSCA F1 World Championship Semi Final Top 3 places at Aycliffe

1985 - Stuart Smith 1st, Harry Smith 2nd, Dave Berresford 3rd

1989 - Nigel Whorton 1st, Des Chandler 2nd, Les Mitchell 3rd

References:

The Aycliffe Project – Never Enough Stox website – Chris Rigg

Barney Reilly’s Stockcar – Johnnie Hoskins

BriSCA Formula One – the definitive history of UK Big League StockCar Racing 1954-2000 – Keith Barber and Malc Aylott

External links

External links - To YouTube Videos

External links - To Websites with Photos from Aycliffe

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