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Where can I run my tethered car?

The Retro Racing Club
 and the
Great Carlton Raceway

One of the greatest frustrations for tethered car enthusiasts has the lack of opportunity to run their cars in Britain. If you were a member of the BTCA and raced either a modern FEMA car or a more vintage model, then there were the European tracks, but for the collector, home builder and fun runner there was little opportunity, unless you were prepared to risk the compass circle at Old Warden, and its propensity for wrecking cars. It was something of a red-letter day then, when it was announced that the inaugural meeting of Peter Hill’s Great Carlton Raceway would be on 12th June 2011. Initially though, the track would only be open to members of the Retro Racing Club.

Oliver putting the 'Goer' on the line Oliver's 'school car' post run The 'lightweight' flying high

The Retro Racing Club holds a unique position, having been set up by Peter Hill in 1996 to ‘Encourage the building and running of tethered racing cars of the more traditional type.’ This was later extended to include vintage tethered hydroplanes as well. Peter started by publishing a regular newsletter, which he is still producing, and then expanded the club’s activities by offering numerous drawings, castings, and a variety of tyres to assist those interested in building or restoring cars.

Almost a 1066 Conquest Steve's 'Ollie's Rocket Racer' Running as it used to be

Conscious of the need for a facility to run cars, Peter built a track at his home, which became the regular venue for Retro Club members for fun competitions and thoroughly enjoyable ‘days out’. Apart from the couple of portable poles that were set up on car parks in the South West, the track at Souldrop was the only permanent facility available in this country. This was used extensively until the end of the 90s, when a move to Lincolnshire brought an end to the ‘Souldrop Speedway’ and the opportunity to run cars.

There were promises and hopes surrounding possible sites for new tracks which all come to nought and the BMCC portable track did offer some facility until that group imploded so spectacularly. The only prospect on the horizon was that Peter did intend to build a new track when time and money allowed. Eventually construction did start, but an unfortunate series of health problems and family tragedies meant that the track was not finished until 2010.

Dick Roberts' sidecar             Peter Hill's 1066 MRC Faster than a speeding bullet?

The track at Great Carlton is 7 laps to the ¼ mile and with the pouring of a wide apron during the 2013 season offers the ideal and unique opportunity to have a run with anything vintage or vintage style, as long as a certain degree of common sense is involved speedwise. Since the Retro Club has been in operation, members have build dozens of cars of amazing variety, as well as rescuing and restoring original models, and here is a chance to try them out.

Beautiful Cleveland air-car Steve Betney starts the 'proper' way Hugh Blowers' Cox offering

The regular meetings have shown that the track is a viable proposition, and lets hope it encourages more people to run what they have, and build a few more suitable cars. To this end, Peter has opened the meetings to interested people outside the Retro Club. There will obviously be a charge for non-members that Peter will refund if they subsequently join the Club. If you have an interest in tethered cars, especially being able to run them, then it is certainly worth joining the Retro Racing Club. The quarterly magazine has a mix of new and old material, and probably most useful, an extensive 'for sale' and 'wants' section, a facility that we are unable to offer on the website. For further details of the Club and the long list of available plans, both for cars and tethered hydroplanes, contact Peter Hill by the power of electronic communication at  arty.pole@gmail.com


2017 Track Days at Gt Carlton (revised)

30th April. 28th May. Sat 17th June. 16th July. 20th Aug. 3rd Sept. Sat 30th Sept.

Please check on the dates nearer the time before making a trip as events sometimes conspire to require changes.


A couple of Current projects.

The first of these cars  is based on what was going to be a Pitbox item, but in the meantime it has been sold on and a body added. The original chassis was built in the 1940s by the then owner's father and featured a most unusual clutch arrangement for the ED 'Penny slot' motor. The new ply and balsa body is in the style of 1930's Brooklands aero engined cars and has yet to have exhausts an other accessories added. The other car is very much a 'retro repro' with Retro Club Oliver castings and an Ian Russell 'Rustler' Oliver Jaguar reproduction motor. Tyres are modern 'Raylite' style with correct lettering that are produced to order in Hungary.

1940's chassis, gearbox and ED motor with new body

Reproduction Oliver

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