Brooklands Campbell circuit: Fiftieth anniversary
Road and track
Fifty years ago, on May 1, 1937, the Campbell Road Circuit opened at Brooklands, allowing road-type racing events within the confines of the banked track. Sir Malcolm Campbell, the holder of the Land Speed Record, was one of the instigators, and gave his name to the proiect.
The pits and starting area were on a new straight, parallel with the existing Finishing Straight, and the circuit cut through the Members Hill to join the banked track. It utilised the Members Banking and part of the Railway Straight, before turning Ieft to wind across the Brooklands infield, across the Finishing Straight and rejoin the new pit area.
The inaugural race, the Campbell Trophy, was over 100 laps of the 2.26-mile circuit. With £250 to the winner, an impressive field of 22 cars took part in the massed start. Winner was “B Bira” driving Prince Chula’s 8CM Mascrati at an average of 69.06mph ahead of Teddy Rayson in a Maserati, Anthony Powys-Libbs’ Monza Alfa-Romeo and Dennis Scribbans’ ERA. These were the only drivers to complete the 100 laps, six cars being “flagged-off” and the rest retiring.
The Campbell Road Circuit was in regular use until August 1939 for long-distance races as well as short handicap events, and proved very popular with drivers. Parts of the circuit still remain within the Brooklands Museum Heritage Site. The accompanying photographs were taken by RH Fuller except where otherwise indicated. DSJ