Motorsport Explorer

Over 800 Historic Locations to Discover and Visit in the British Isles

by Julian Hunt

I first heard about this book some months before its publication. At last, I thought, a book that will tell me the locations of those many trials hills I had read about in books by C.A.N. May and others. On opening the book I found that it only covered speed event locations. I was not disappointed with the content however.

The author had scoured many magazines and books, and noted down every location from the earliest days where  speed events were held. He then gives the location and dates between which it was in use, a précis of the events, and the road layout. Some of the venues are of course still  in use today.

The entries are laid out by county and, provided you have a basic knowledge of UK geography, are easy to find although an Index would have been helpful. Years ago this reviewer earned his living photographing club motor sport so I tested the book with some of the places I used to visit that are no longer used for speed events. I found them all, such as Little Rissington (sprint), Great Auclum (hill climb), Harleyford (hill climb), Brunton (hill climb), North Weald (sprint), Debden (race circuit), Stapleford (hill climb), Blandford Camp (hill climb and race circuit), Firle (hill climb), Bodiam (hill climb) and Valence School (hill climb).

Not every entry mentioned in the text has an accompanying photograph, but many do and these have been carefully chosen. In the main the author has selected cars typical of the period and also some very unusual ones. For example, Ramsgate speed trials features a Watlington Greenwood Special; Weston Super Mare Speed trials has Clive Lones in the Tiger Kitten; Merston Airfield sprint course has George Hartwell in the Monaco 500;  from earlier years Sutton Bank features Eddie Hall in the Aston Martin “Bunny” and in 1923 W.W.B room-Hall in a Silver Ghost on Laindon Two Church Hill.

Appendix 2 gives details of proposed speed event courses that never materialized. This makes fascinating reading and includes The Wash Speedway proposed in 1929 and backed by some well-known people.

I enjoyed this book very much and will certainly be diving into it on a regular basis. Had it had not been so bulky, I would have recommended keeping it in the glove compartment.


Copyright 2013, Michael E. Ware (

Motorsport Explorer:
Over 800 Historic Locations to Discover and Visit in the British Isles
by Julian Hunt
Haynes, 2012
448 pages, many illustrations mostly b/w, hardcover
List Price: $56.95/£35
ISBN-13: 978-1844256341

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