Which BARC?

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The Rockingham Oval scheduled to open in the Millennium Year has amused much interest, but some misconceptions. The proposed new USA-type oval has the backing of the BARC but it is a fallacy to imagine this very influential organisation ran races at Brooklands from 1907. Only the initials BARC apply to both the defunct Brooklands and the flourishing British Automobile Racing Clubs. The Brooklands ARC had its first meeting on December 12, 1906. Its President was Lord Lonsdale, its VP Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, the present Lord Montagu’s father.

The British ARC came into being when Brooklands closed after WW2. It had begun as the Cyclecar Club in 1912, for enthusiastic owners of these new substitutes for motorcycles. It flourished to such an extent it was renamed, after WW1, the Junior Car Club, to give it more status and cater for light cars as well as cyclecars. It was an influential organisation, holding some of Brooklands’ most important long-distance races. But it had no contrail of Brooklands racing, from 1907, or at any other time. After the war-enforced sale of the Brooklands track and the opening Goodwood, the JCC felt a further uplift in its title was justified and it became the British ARC at a meeting at which his Grace, the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, still in RAF uniform, presided in March 1946. But for the sake of historical accuracy, the second BARC had no control of Brooklands from 1907 to 1939.