The Right Crowd

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current comparisons between Brooklands and road-racing give rise to the question of how the popularity of the track compared with that of artificial road courses elsewhere in England. Obviously, more spectators would watch real road racing on the Continent — up to 300,000 at a German Grand Prix at the old Nürburgring — but how did Brooklands compare with other British circuits?

Figures are difficult to obtain, but the biggest attendance at pre-war Donington Park is quoted at 12,000-15,000 by the time of the 1937 Empire Trophy race (won by Mays’ 1100cc ERA), rising to 30,000 for that year’s TT. The arrival of the German Grand Prix teams in October produced a crowd of between 38,000 and 40,000, and so fabulous was the racing which resulted that a claimed 60,000 came to watch Nuvolari’s Auto-Union win the 1938 Donington GP.

How does this compare with Brooklands? It seems that at the very first meeting in 1907, before the Track was properly organised, 13,600 spectators turned up in 500 cars and horse-drawn carriages. The 1921 200-Mile Race, aimed at “economy” motorists at a time when the country was recovering from the war, attracted 6630 onlookers. But in later years the Bank Holiday meetings would bring 30,000 and more people, and presumably for the big long-distance events this figure would have been substantially exceeded.

It is only natural that post-war race attendance figures have soared, with increased television publicity and growing interest in all forms of motoring — from a desire to own a vintage car to wanting to get into racing with a 500cc car at all costs. So it can be readily understood how the British Grand Prix at Silverstone rakes in more than 100,000, and this year’s Birmingham Superprix 120,000 people over two days.

However, when the enormous post-war improvement in transport facilities of all kinds is taken into account, together with the fact that Birmingham’s circuit is in the very centre of a great industrial complex, perhaps old Brooklands was not quite as isolated as some would like us to believe. WB