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Homepage. This page: The UK Hot Rod Championship sponsored by C&CC magazine in the early 1970s.

C&CC UK Hot Rod Championship, Hednesford 1971.

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Where have all the older cars gone? Most simply wore out and were scrapped, while others may have ended their days being embroiled in a road accident of some kind, before heading - yes - to the scrapyard. A few survived into an honourable retirement, some of which still appear on our roads from time to time. A good number of cars, not all that old at the time, instead of fading away into corroded obscurity after a lifetime of A-road commuting, were chosen for their tuneability, or maybe their rugged construction. These chosen machines may well have found themselves lined up on a starting grid at a banger race or, as here, taking part in a "Hot Rod" championship. Unlike cars used in banger racing, where the objective is to destroy the opposition and usually render your own car a mangled heap in the process, Hot Rod racing of the type that occurred at Hednesford Hills Raceway in Staffordshire on this day in the 1970s, did - in the main - encourage racing, rather than fender-bending for the sake of it, although there was plenty of bent metal as a result of a day's competition I'm sure.
This programme, from Easter Monday 1971, recalls a round of the UK Hot Rod Championship, sponsored by the legendary Car & Car Conversions motoring magazine ("Triple C" as it was often referred to). The cars used weren't collectable or hugely valuable at the time, they were just cars no longer in their first flush of youth, widely available, and easy to tune and fix, as the list given below demonstrates. The cover of the programme features a much-modified Ford Escort Mk1 driven by Ron Higgins, battling with a 105E Anglia.
Hednesford Raceway programme, 1971
I can be quite confident in stating that the "Figure-of-Eight race for Economy Cars" at the end of the day led to much of the field being dragged away by tow-trucks rather than under their own power. Funds raised by this particular race went towards providing equipment for a Birmingham hospital's Burns Unit.

Midget Racers.

A race specifically for Midget Cars, reminiscent of 1950's single-seat racing cars in appearance albeit scaled down somewhat, was an interesting inclusion, and in fact opened the meeting, the first of two races they'd compete in during the day.

Economy Cars.

The first (15-lap) race for "Economy Cars" featured a grid of cars that would have been very familiar to all the spectators at Hednesford in 1971. Sturdy Ford Zodiacs and Zephyrs were set to bang wheels with a Riley One-Point-Five, a trio of race-prepared Hillman Minxes, and three Standard Vanguards. None of these cars was particular sprightly, but the big Fords and the Vanguards in particular made up for their lack of high-speed handling, with tough-as-old-boots body strength. Handily, the first owner of this programme thought to jot down the results. In first place was Roger Titley of Shrewsbury, at the wheel of a Vanguard. Behind him over the line was car 119, David O'Brien from Birmingham in a Zodiac.
A second race for this class of car took place later in the day. Again, most of the cars entered were from Dagenham, although Roy Hackett of Salop bucked the trend and instead entered a lone Singer (presumably a Vogue). A Zephyr would take the laurels in this fifteen-lapper.

Stock and Mini-Imp Hot Rods.

Fords dominated the Stock and Mini-Imp Hot Rod race for "ungraded drivers". Two Escorts vied for victory against a flotilla of 105E Anglias (sixteen in all), and a lone 850cc Mini. The winner was Keith Fletcher in a 105E, ahead of Maurice Jones, Billy Hall, and Jim Smith, again in Anglias. There then followed a similar race but for A, B or C Grade drivers. Ford Anglias plus a couple of Escorts dominated the listing, although five Minis also took part.

Figure-Of-Eight race.

Ending the day's proceedings was the Figure-Of-Eight race. The organisers decided that a few choice words of instruction were advisable for this particular clash ...
"The aim of this race is to race against other competitors for the checkered flag and not to deliberately crash into other cars. On approaching the intersection, drivers must decide whether to make the crossing at full speed or slow down, so that crossing competitors leave a gap with which to clear the intersection. Drivers that slow down too much or even stop ("go chicken") may be disqualified. This also applies to any driver who, with all four wheels, intentionally crosses either of the white lines marked out on the edge of the intersection area."
"To be the spectacle intended, all drivers must continue racing the whole of the time the race is on. Narrow squeaks are the order of the day and not deliberate crashing."
"The contestants for this event will consist of drivers from the Economy Car Heats One and Two."

Velvelux - well, it was the 1970s.

Sprinkled throughout the programme are various advertisements for car suppliers and related trades. One is for "Velvelux" - or "The Hairy Look". I well remember a full-page colour ad for The Hairy Look in a copy of Autocar motoring magazine of the 1970s, featuring a Renault 16 with a "hairy" bonnet. This advert tells visitors to Hednesford Raceway that the Velvelux Mini was in attendance, along with representatives from the company, just in case you thought that applying Velvelux to your car's bodywork would impress (or shock) the neighbours.
Velvelux hairy look for cars

Win the Car & Car Conversions Mini.

The rear cover advertised a competition running in Car & Car Conversions at the time, in which their race-prepared Mini Clubman could be won. I wonder who won it?
Win a Mini car competition
Hednesford continues to be used to this day for hot rod, BRISCA and banger meets. I can't say that Demolition-Derby meets interest me much, and the classic car smash-ups are particularly irksome. I was once dragged along to just such a meet, many years ago, but it wasn't my thing. However, they've taken place for decades and are as much a part of motoring history as anything else, whether we personally like these gatherings or not.
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