A rival to Snetterton cicruit

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Forgotten race track

Race circuits which have ceased to be used have historical fascination. A Motor Sport reader, Leigh Trevail, became interested in the one at Fersfield on the Norfolk-Sussex border. It has special interest as the circuit where Archie Scott Brown first raced. Mr Trevail’s research has divulged that a group of enthusiasts of the Eastern Counties MC who met in the Hamlyn House public bar decided that a proper race circuit was needed in their area, to follow the speed trials held at the RAF Benwaters aerodrome

What they found was the disused American air base at Fersfield, farmed by a Mr Groom under the landowner, the Duke of Norfolk. It was from there during the war that Joseph Kennedy, older brother of JFK, took off on the flight on which he was killed.

The club cleared debris to make a track with a lap of two miles, with a hairpin bend, two other corners and two long straights.

An opening race meeting, for club members only, took place on April 22 1951, followed by another on June 17 which included other clubs.

Unfortunately the RAC never approved of Fersfield’s safety arrangements and suggested that £10,000 should be spent on improvements. The last race meeting was held on October 17. After that the RAC favoured the new Snetterton circuit.

Those who raced at Fersfield are remembered as BBC commentator Robin Richards with his RBW Ford Ten Special, Ken Roses’s Lea-Francis, now in the NMM at Beaulieu, and various Connaughts. The place is now on private property, so should be respected as out of bounds. But other readers may recall this one-time circuit.

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