30-second board

Racing action fires up at the Crystal Palace

As restoration of the park seems to have finally put paid to any further motorised competition there, we celebrate here the Crystal Palace circuit, London’s racetrack.

Writing in the inaugural meeting programme for April 1937, Richard Seaman — newly recruited to Mercedes-Benz-laments the disadvantage to British drivers of road racing being banned, and praises the new track as “a condensed version of continental courses and in all effects a road circuit”. There is also an organisers’ apology about the unfinished state of the track, thanks to a bad winter and the Palace fire.

For the big race, the Coronation Trophy, the field was headed by ERAs, with Raymond Mays and Pat Fairfield favourites to carry off the bronze statue of a wind-blown nude female throwing a spear.

The programme’s cover shows the complete Crystal Palace, which had burnt down five months before. By the time of the second programme, August 1938, the artwork shows only one of the towers, the only parts which had survived the fire.