Cirencester Car Club
In 1948 Jim Loveday and Bill Stallworthy were founder members of the Cirencester Motorcycle Club. They were instrumental in getting racing going at Chedworth Aerodrome for bikes and they held several races there in the period 1948-50. Amongst the famous riders who competed were the late George Brown on his Vincent machine.
In 1950 Sir David Gamble chaired a committee, which formed the present Cirencester Car Club and incorporated the Motorcycle Club. Other founder members were Bill Stallworthy, Don Heaven (Bridges Garage), Gordon Philips (son of the late S J Philips of Kemble), Herbert Franklin, John Lampitt, Tony Broxton (Cirencester Garages) and B Nelson.
The first major event was a 400 mile rally, which went to Aberystwyth and Chester before returning to Cirencester and this was in 1953. Over the next few years the Club concentrated on this annual rally and auto-tests (a driving test against time). The late Jim Loveday and the late Phil Smith competed in a Ford Zephyr in these rallies.
During the sixties several members drove auto-cross cars and were very successful. Charlie Todd of Oaksey was amongst those, driving an XK150, Alan Shaw in an MG Midget, Lou Roper in a Triumph Vitesse. This culminated in the Club running the Players’ Number Six Auto-Cross series of races for a number of years.
During the 1970s Lord Bathurst invited the Club to run stage rallies in the Cirencester Park. These were sponsored by Arkell’s Brewery and were a great success with the top national drivers competing. This was followed by the RAC asking the Club to organise a major stage on the International RAC Rally. Also in the seventies the Club ran many fine sprint meetings at Wroughton Aerodrome near Swindon and gained a reputation for good events. Included in these were the Cirbat Road Rally organised with the Bath Motor Club and production car trials.
Some of the members, led by Jim Loveday, became involved in circuit racing and competed at national level for quite some years. Amongst these were David Huck, Chris Merrick and Bunny Lees-Smith.
Race marshalling and organisation was a strong interest, led by Don Lawrence and Paul Lawrence who were stalwarts of the club at the time.
In the eighties and nineties, stage rallies were run each year at Down Ampney and Kemble attracting entries from all over the country, with some of the finest drivers in the land competing in these championship events. In 1987, the Club was permitted the use of South Cerney Airfield and returned to running major sprint events.
In 1989 the Club supported Martin Saunders in his attempt at the Lombard RAC Rally, co-driving for London’s Barry Sugondo in a GRP A Toyota Corolla. This was the first time a Club member had represented the Club at world championship level, a feat he has since repeated some nine times.
In the nineties the Club continued to run occasional stage rallies at Kemble Airfield and Down Ampney venues, as well as sprints at the re-opened Wroughton Airfield and South Cerney.
In 2002 the Club celebrated its 50th anniversary with a grand day at the Royal Agricultural College and an Anniversary Run in the Cotswolds, attended by many former members.
Into the 21st century and the Club continues with its grass roots motorsports events: 12 car navigational events, summer series driving tests, treasure hunts, scatters, touring assemblies, economy runs and social events, with members competing at all levels and most disciplines.
2004 saw Cirencester Car Club Ltd promote its first Touring Assembly and Economy Run. The event was very well received by participants who enjoyed a scenic tour through many of the traffic-free roads that are to be found in the Cotswolds, once clear of the main highways. In the intervening years, the Corinium Run has grown to become one of the most popular events in the Scenic Tours calendar, and the most successful continuously run event for the club.
In 2010 the club resurrected its special stages rally run at Down Ampney Airfield, now called the Corinium Stages, this has now been run successfully to this day.