A BRIEF HISTORY OF SSRC
The roots of the Southend Slot Racing Club can be traced back to what some say was the golden era of slot car racing in the 1960s.|
A group of friends regularly raced at ‘The Model Racing and Drag Centre’ in Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff-on-Sea from it’s opening in August 1966 and at ‘Wonderland Raceway’ on Eastern Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea from late 1967 into the early 1970’s.
In those days there were weekly club nights, three and six hour open meetings with the super fast 1/24 scale anglewinders with their hot Mura motors as well as bright orange and blue sponge tyres soaked in oil of wintergreen for phenomenal grip.
Eventually, the escalating costs drove them away and this group of six friends set up a club using a permanent 4-lane Airfix track in a member’s house where scratchbuilt F1 cars were raced from 1971 to 1974. These cars all ran with Betta vac form shells with piano wire chassis.
Work pressures and life in general caused the club to disband for a while.
During 1994 a series of articles written by Steve Carter in the NSCC journal about starting up a club triggered a re-launch of the club. By the end of 1996 the Southend Slot Racing Club was re-launched, a search for a church hall was started, computerised race control sorted out, adverts were placed in model shop windows around Southend. (Do you remember model shops? There were five in the town in those days...)
The emphasis continued to be on low cost classes from Scalextric, Ninco and SCX. A regular newsletter was produced with updates of the rules, racing results, news of special events, and the occasional inter club challenge with the Viking Club in Kent or the Dunton Club (at Fords research and development centre near Basildon). By 1999, the club was producing a full colour 12-page monthly club magazine called Slotracer and in 2000 the club had its first website, some members were building retro scratchbuilt cars. There was a lot of ‘kit-bashing’ of classic sports and GT bodyshells to mount on Ninco Classic chassis and people were making their own resin shells and silicone tyres and the membership had grown to about 16.
As well as the NSCC swapmeets, club members started going in a group to various toy fairs around the country, travelling as far as Paris in the search for kit bashing items and original 1960s slot cars. Several members raced in France on Davic digital tracks.
Sadly the club was shutdown again in 2003. Five of the newer members restarted the club from scratch only re-using the name, secured some quite rustic premises at Baron's Hall in Bowers Gifford (where we still are) built a Ninco track (now replaced with a wooden one) and went racing.