Early Days at Curborough

By Ray Masters

I have been asked to write a few words about the early days of Curborough Sprint course.

Very kind, but I know there are many people better qualified than I to write on this subject, namely competitors who entered far more frequently and were much more successful than me. However, here are a few of my recollections from those days, now over 40 years ago.

The first Sprint meeting at Curborough was a closed meeting held for members of the organizing club viz Shenstone & District Car Club, in June 1963.

That Club had acquired a lease of the Course from the farmer who farmed the land following the sale of the Aerodrome. In September 63 the Shenstone Club organized a restricted Sprint meeting, the first meeting open to members of invited clubs, and I took part in that event.

I had decided I wanted to "go racing" in about 1961, having been friendly for some time with two guys who raced a supercharged single-seater MG-based car which they had built in l950. I acquired a 1936 MG PB Special which had a racing history in the hands of Ted Lund of Coppull, Lancashire. After completely rebuilding the car I joined the Vintage Sports Car Club and in 1963 entered first a Hillclimb and then the VSCC race meeting at Oulton Park. I had seen details of a Sprint at Curborough Farm as it was called in those early days and decided to enter the event in September 1963 not realizing at the time, I dont think, that it was the first "Open" meeting to which the NSCC was an invited club.

The layout of the course has not changed since those early days. What has changed, for the better are the general facilities. If I remember correctly, the only entrance to the paddock for cars was via the track; pedestrians walked across a narrow bridge of railway sleepers over the ditch to gain access. Now one can drive in along that pathway and the "new road" down to the start area has eliminated the need to drive down the track a great help in keeping a meeting flowing, Im sure.

Flooding of the low lying paddock after heavy rain was always a problem. Many times I have known it unwise to park too far off the paddock roadway otherwise the cars were likely to get bogged down.

From a personal point of view, Curborough has always been a favorite venue. As well as running the MG PB I competed with the above-mentioned single seater MG with supercharged Q- type engine. A timed run of 40.8 seconds in 1966 remained unbeaten for the up to 1000 cc' historic class for about 12 years, I believe.

Other competition cars such as an Envoy FJ, Ginetta G4 and modified MG Midget were all great fun to sprint at Curborough.

Looking up past programs for this article, I see that the entry fee for the VSCC Sprint in 1964 was 30/- (1.50) per car although in those days it was always a 1-lap Sprint whereas today often 2 laps are used a welcome improvement and better value for money as well!

I hope the above is of interest to the readers and we all hope, I am sure, that Curborough will continue to provide an excellent sprint venue for many years to come.