Street Racing Returns To The UK

This past weekend, the Coventry MotoFest 2018 bore witness to history in the making. For the first time in 28 years, competitive urban road racing returned to UK streets.

Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, an MSA-timed sprint competition was held on a section of the Coventry ring road during the event, with British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) competitors jumping at the opportunity.

cov-motofest-2018-jordanbutters-speedhunters-3939

Before this, the last time we saw competitive urban motorsport on British roads was way back in 1990 when the legendary Birmingham Superprix took place just 30 miles down the road from this past weekend’s event. Hosted from 1986 through to 1990, the Superprix saw FIA Formula 3000 racing, as well as select BTCC and Formula Ford racing through the city streets, just inches from the crowd as thousands upon thousands flocked to watch the events. In fact, there could now well be a Superprix revival, with FIA Formula E in talks with Birmingham City Council to host a round in the city in the near future.

At this year’s Coventry MotoFest, it was Olly Clark in the blisteringly-quick Roger Clark Motorsport Gobstopper Subaru Impreza that took the victory in a varied field of competitors, with entrants ranging from Renault Clios to Caterhams, a classic Lotus Elan, to a modern-day BTCC Vauxhall Astra. The Gobstopper was consistently fast-paced all weekend, with the RCM team putting down a solid 69.78-second sprint to take the victory. The next closest was Duncan Cowper in his lightweight DAX Rush with a 73.50-second run.

cov-motofest-2018-jordanbutters-speedhunters-3920

As with all things in the modern day United Kingdom, making a momentous event like this happen wasn’t as straightforward as you might think, and overcoming red tape was the first hurdle. In fact, it took an act of Parliament to make the moment possible. In an amendment to the Road Traffic Act in 2017, a provision was made to allow city councils and the Motor Sports Association the powers to not only close city roads, but more importantly, suspend the Road Traffic Act and lift speed limits temporarily. Previously, motorsport events on public streets had to be approved by Parliament directly on a case-by-case basis, which took a huge amount of time and resources.

While this opened the doors for previous demo events to take place, it wasn’t until this past weekend that full race-pace competitive driving officially returned to UK city streets. With the precedent set, here’s hoping that we see more city councils embrace the idea of city-based motorsport events.

If you can’t get the people to come to the racetrack, bring the racetrack to the people. Keep an eye out for our full Coventry MotoFest 2018 gallery coming shortly…

Jordan Butters
Instagram: jordanbutters
jordan@speedhunters.com

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.

23 comments

by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest
1

Roger Clark's Gobstopper Mk.1 is all it matters to me. XD

2

This would be a great thing, and welcomed by a lot of motorsport fans, but I can see a lot of issues with noise complaints, seeing as we seemingly live in a country where noise days at tracks are cut because people buy houses near a track and then complain it's too noisy :|

3

The sort of people that live in the centre of Coventry aren't the sort of people that complain about things!

Author4
Jordan Butters

I believe the issue with racetracks and noise pollution is the frequency of the events throughout the year. Events like this could be the answer, as they take some of the pressure off racetracks and, even if you live close by, you can't really grumble at some noise over just one weekend.

5
Chris Colouryum

This falls into the same thing as city centre festivals - I believe if they get a certain amount of complaints and the council does noise pollution testing and it is over the healthy amount then they can enforce restrictions - but they won't stop it.

6
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

There should be more street circuit racing in the world!

7

The original Gobstopper is still my all time favourite time attack car. Are you guys planning a reveal feature for the long awaited Gobstopper III?

Author8
Jordan Butters

I'm certainly hoping to have the chance to shoot it – the RCM guys aren't rushing things though. It'll be done when it's done.

9

Yey. I really did enjoyed the last time.

10

Gutted I missed this, are there anymore like this planned? As Elonexx said, how is it that events like this can be hosted, when we're having purpose built tracks being crucified for excess noise, by people moving close to a race track?

Author11
Jordan Butters

I've answered below on Elonexx's comment but it's down to the frequency of the problem. This is a one-off annual event – if it happened 5/6 times per year I can see people complaining.

12

such a good event, well done to coventry for putting it on

13

Duncan's Dax Rush needs a feature!

14

This would be awesome here in the US, someone should make this happen

15
Speed Huntress

I can see some freshly covered potholes in these photos, I would assume the event paid organizers paid to have them filled in. If more events come along and invest money into the streets then why not.

16

Great event, I was there with my girlfriend - I've spotted us in one of the pictures! Both Gobstoppers out for the day, both particularly stunning, great photos.

17

My car approves of the opening shot, photo 3, photo 4, and photo 5.

18

What about Brighton Speed Trials? They have been held almost every year since 1905(?). Or is there some technicality on the public road it's held on?

Author19
Jordan Butters

My understanding is that Madeira Drive is private council-owned land rather than public road.

20

So glad to have made it on to Speedhunters! You guys are welcome anytime!
Back on next year, 1st and 2nd June 2019

21

Who makes the front bumper on the impreza?

22

I love this, Gobstopper I and organized Motorsports where people can see it for free.

Isn't the Irish Road Racing Championship held exclusively on public roads?

23
Jack Strathdee

Hints in the name there, Ireland isnt the UK


Interesting to see the video footage and no HANS for olly?

OFFICIAL SPEEDHUNTERS SUPPLIERS