Brooklands Hill Test
6th September 1992 - Vintage MCC
Covered, as it is, by housing developments, business parks and at least one retail park, there isn't much left, nowadays, of the old Brooklands Racing Circuit, down in Surrey, between West Byfleet and Weybridge, with its iconic banked curve. Even less of the airfield used by the aircraft factories that were once very much part of the site. Nowadays, the hangers are used to hold the exhibits of the aircraft museum and there is a collection of sheds that hold many old motorcycles.
Did Phil the Spill fly in to this visit? No, this is a model.
Parts of the old pit structures have been rebuilt alongside the straight by the Clubhouse, and these have been seen on TV in quite a few period dramas, Poirot and Downton Abbey, to name but two. It amuses me that the TV shows occasionally use the banking in their dramas, but aren't allowed to clean or repair the track to its original condition, so you often see cracks with plants growing out of them between the racing vehicles. They also can't let the cars/bikes go too fast as the track ends abruptly just around the corner.
Echoes of thunder and a whiff of hot metal.
The Clubhouse itself contains much memorabilia from the racing and flying days, including a room dedicated to the well-known Aviatrix, Barbara Cartland, (yes, THAT one). The land beyond the curve was part of a Nature Reserve connected to the Brooklands College, which I visited as part of a primary school trip many years previously, (it may have still been in use back then), not realising the importance of the structure around which we were searching for creepy-crawlies. A recent addition is one of the prototype Concordes and the London Bus Museum but, as that wasn't built at the time of this visit, I have no information about it.
The Vintage MCC are obviously welcomed there, and there is a bit of a sloped road nearby to the Clubhouse, which people use to test their machines against each other. Needless to say, this slope wouldn't prove very difficult for most modern machines, but some of these bikes seem to need a fair bit of work before attempting the climb. Even then, not all of them made it to the top. After the incline, the return route took in part of the remaining banking, which spectators were allowed to inspect. We didn't spend that much time looking at it ourselves, as there were frequent showers about.
We paid a brief visit to the aircraft museum section before heading home.
Phil Drackley - Phil the Spill