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Homepage. This page: An original spectator's programme from this BWMC event, held in the Autumn of 1954.

Road race held at Brough airfield in 1954.

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The date of this race meeting was 3rd October 1954, and it was organised by the Blackburn Welfare Motor Club of Brough, East Yorkshire. Costing one shilling, this programme described the two- and four-wheel races that were due to take place that day. The cover features an advertisement for Brown's (Witham) Limited of Hull, a specialist in all the popular British motorcycles of the day, including those produced by BSA, Norton, and Excelsior. They also stocked Watsonian and Nicholson sidecars. The rear outer cover (not shown) advertised Jordan's of Story Street in Hull, a dealer in new and used machines.
A peek inside the front cover reveals a similar full-page ad, this time for Shearsmith's of York, another retailer of fine British bikes including Velocette, AJS, DOT and Sunbeam.
Cover of the race programme
The meeting was held to the rules laid down by both the RAC and the ACU, and ably supported by marshalls provided by the Blackburn Welfare MC, the Eboracum MCC, and the Half-Litre Car Club. Thanks was also given to the management of Blackburn and General Aircraft Ltd, owners of the airfield which - for the day - was being turned over to the healthy pastime of motor-racing.

Race schedule.

While this was predominantly a motorcycle and sidecar racing meeting, there were events being held for drivers of 500cc racing cars, a category that was enjoying notable popularity at the time. The list of entrants due to compete in the 500cc races reads as follows:
  • P. Robinson - Cooper 500.
  • W. Howard - Cooper 499.
  • R.T. Spreckley - Cooper 497.
  • C. Allison - Cooper 499.
  • M.C. Kearon - Cooper 497.
  • A.B. Bell - MB MG 500.
  • H.G. Monk - MB MG 500.
  • R.W. Messenger - IOTA 497.
  • E.H.L. Thornton - Cooper 497.
  • W.L. Grose - Grose 500.
  • A.A. Butler - Staride/Norton 500.
  • H. Phillipson - Staride/Norton 497.
  • C.M. Gresham - Cooper 500.
  • B.A. Manning - JAP 499.
  • W.Y. Lawrence - Cooper 500.
  • N. Sanderson - Staride 500.
  • C.L. Graham - Cooper/Special 497.
  • D. Parker - Kieft 497.
  • W.G. Harris - Flather/Special 500.
  • W. Hirons - Cooper JAP 498.
  • E.A. Demot - Cooper 499.
  • T. Leigh - Cooper/Norton 497.
  • S. Bloor - Cooper 499.
  • J. Higham - Kieft 499.
  • R.S. Robson - Cooper 500.
  • J. Russell - Cooper 500.
The races were set to commence at 12.30pm, commencing with the 200cc to 250cc motorcycle event, in which machines by the likes of Moto Guzzi, Velocette, Triumph and Rudge were entered. There then followed three Heats in the 350cc event, with Douglas, BSA, Norton and Velocette to name just a few, well represented. It was then the turn of the Half-Litre racing cars to take to the Brough aerodrome's temporary circuit, the cars spread over two separate Heats. The winner in Heat 1, receiving the 5 first prize money, was car number 18 - D. Parker in his Kieft, while in Heat 2 of the 500cc race, car number 23 (S. Bloor) took the laurels.
With the four-wheeled action over for the timebeing, it was the turn of the sidecar racers to entertain the spectators, with 15 entrants listed as taking part. The vast majority of entrants enjoyed Norton power, although mixed in were lone examples of Matchless, Rudge, and the Lockwood Special of K.L. Lockwood.
Larger capacity machines took to the 1.17 mile track in Event 5 (the East Yorks. Airfield Championship), ranging from 350cc to 1000cc in capacity. The winner in Heat 1 was P. Ferbrache on his Hartley-Ariel 499cc, ahead of E. Houseley on his 498cc Matchless. Heat 2 winner was F.M. Fox, on a 499cc Norton, while in Heat 3 T.S. Shepherd on a 500c Norton took the chequered flag. Another Norton, in the hands of P.Davey, triumphed in Heat 4 of the 350cc to 1000cc event. First prize in each Heat was thirty shillings - or 1.50 in new money.
It was then the turn of the 500cc racing cars to form up on the starting grid, battling for the Final prize of 20 - Parker in his Kieft taking the spoils. This was followed by the Final of the 350cc m/cycle class, then a handicap event - over two Heats - for the cars once again. Motorcycles of 300cc to 1000cc, then the sidecars, and the 500cc cars drew the day's proceedings to a close.

Brough Aerodrome.

This aerodrome track saw some exciting battles over the years, and it would witness the first race win for Stirling Moss in 1948, behind the wheel of a 500cc Cooper JAP, of the type that would have appeared at this 1954 meeting. Although many club races took place here, the site was more used to the roar of Blackburn aircraft taking off and landing from its runway, than the roar of unsilenced 500cc motorcycles and cars. Seaplanes were tested from the airfield during WW1, while later it hosted a flight training school. The Blackburn Beverley transport aircraft was also built here, as was the Buccaneer jet aircraft. Under the ownership of British Aerospace, Harriers would go into production at this facility, and later Hawks.

The racing circuit.

I'd be interested to find out more about the races that took place at this circuit, and when it last hosted a race meeting. The illustration below, included in the programme, gives an indication of the layout. The paddock area was at the top of the drawing.
Diagram of the racing track at Brough
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