Simon's snapshots #19

Racing History

Classic saloons and casual observation, Oulton Park, August 14 1976

Apologies to both regular readers that there hasn’t been a Snapshot for a week or 10 – blame perpetual absence (Spanish Grand Prix, Nürburgring 24 Hours, Indy 500, special saloons at Brands Hatch – that kind of thing).

Returning to the plot, on first glance I assumed this shot must have been taken while standing trackside… but then I checked the date. I was 15, ineligible for accreditation and four years away from my first press pass, so I must have been in (or adjacent to) the Lodge Corner grandstand.

It’s a glimpse into a world very different from the one we know today. There’s hardly any run-off, stout sleepers are ‘protected’ by a wispy, single-tier guardrail (not in the best of condition, frankly) and there is no sign of debris fencing, which probably explains how I was able to take a photo from this angle. And the marshal (or possibly official observer) is dressed not in the preferred orange Proban of today but in civvies, right foot casually atop the sleepers as Andy Maclelland lurches by in his Austin A35.

The British Automobile Racing Club was in charge of a nine-race bill and winners included Derek Warwick (Hawke DL15, Brush Fusegear Formula Ford) and Stuart Graham (Chevrolet Camaro, Simoniz Special Saloons). The Classic Saloon Car Championship concluded proceedings and Gordon Bruce (Jaguar 2.4) took outright victory from Mike Bennion (Ford Zephyr). Anthony Raine (A35) won the class for tiddlers: my programme notes fail to mention what happened to the customarily competitive Maclelland, although he did set fastest lap.

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