“Lotus on Track” or A short history of short circuits
Installment 1: Llandow
The Llandow circuit in Mid Glamorgan holds a special importance to the author and his connection with Lotus. The author grew up in South Wales, UK where there was limited tradition in Motor Sport, precision engineering and Motor Racing Circuits. South Wales was then relatively remote from the major circuits in England. It was beyond the author’s ability and finances to reach these.
However Llandow was approximately fifteen miles and could be cycled to. Along with a friend the author attended several events held in the mid to late 1960’s. The author was a school boy aged 14-17 at the time. The photographs included are those taken in the pits paddock with the limited equipment the author possessed. There was possibly a greater interest in the design and construction and relative technical merits than the actual racing and personalities involved.
However there is one local hero that is recalled. It is believed that a gentleman named Wilson owned a building business and lived on Brynterion Hill just outside Bridgend. He owned and raced the McLaren in the photographs and the author was privileged to be allowed to sit in this car. Epic battles of “David and Goliath “were fought out on the essentially oval track between the might McLaren and the smaller more agile Lotus, Elva and Lola cars. The Formula Libre racers were certainly entertaining and an introduction to the effiency of light weight.
These pictures capture a golden era of amateur motor racing in its best sense. It is worth noting how the track also attended such famous former racers then a generation old like the Aston Martin and the modifications that were inflicted to keep cars competitive. [Most of which have now been possible restored to pristine original condition]
The photographs confirm how relaxed and informal events were. Now sadly missed there was a great sense of mingling between cars, driver/ owner/mechanics. We would be very pleased to hear from those that participated or attended. Happy days.
Quoted at length from www.llandowracecircuit.com
“In the 1940’s Llandow was a Second World War Airfield home to Mk1 and 2 spitfires and part of the Canadian Air force.After being decommissioned by the Air Ministry in 1957 the site was offered for sale by auction in 1961. Jack Evans a local farmer with a vision for the future bought an 80 acre parcel which included stretches of runway, air raid shelters and retractable gun turrets. With help of the South Wales Automobile Club he linked the runways to form a 1 mile oval circuit; and Llandow Race Circuit was created. The circuit was opened in 1963 by Graham Hill and in its hay-days of the mid 1960’s and early 70’s attendance was 3-4000….. Roger Clark, Jody Schuter and Andy Rause cut their teeth here”.