Sunday, 12 June 2011

Croft Race Track

Croft Aerodrome near Darlington opened in 1941 as an RAF Bomber Command station. In 1948 the first races took place at Croft (known as Neasham). The Darlington & District Motor Club ran a few Motor Racing meetings at Croft during the 1940/50’s.

However, Croft only became a more major venue when in 1962 Bruce Ropner and fellow enthusiasts bought half the venue at public auction. £40,000 was spent laying a new surface for the new Croft Autodrome race track. Croft Autodrome was 1.75 miles long and roughly triangular in shape and went in a clockwise direction. Famous corners on the track included Tower, Barcroft, Sunny, Spa and the Railway straight. The track was completed in 1964 and was tried for the first time by John Cooper and John Sear in July of that year. The first meeting for cars and bikes was held on August Bank Holiday, Monday 3rd August 1964.

The track became an important venue for motorcycle racing with clubs such as the North East Motor Cycle Racing Club and the Batley Club organising events. The track closed in 1981, as the surface had started to degrade. Straight after the finish of the fianl motorcycle race held at Croft diggers were brought onto the track to start pulling it up – to make it clear there would be no more racing there. However a new Croft circuit re-opened in the mid 1990’s with much superior facilities.

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