These pages will be built up to a potted history of the sport and will include links to other sites where similar races take place.
The history of pedalcar races can be traced back to the time that American Scouts were staging their first Soap Box Derby, it occurred to Haydn Dimmock, then editor of ‘The Scout’ magazine, that a similar event might be arranged in Britain. However, whereas the American Soapbox car was simply a streamlined shell for coasting downhill, his idea was to make the British version a real test of skill not only in driving but also in designing and constructing a vehicle to be pedal-driven.
The first Soap Box Derby (later to be sponsored and called the Unipart National Scoutcar Races) in Britain was held in 1939 and the idea so caught the imagination of the British Racing Drivers Club that it arranged for the two semifinals to be held on recognised motor racing tracks at the Crystal Palace and Donington Park during scheduled race meetings. The Finals that year took place on the world famous Brooklands Track and were a huge success.
With the coming of war, the event could not be continued and it was not until 1950 that it was resumed. It was dropped for 1957 because there were many other big occasions in celebration of Scouting’s Jubilee that year. However, it was once more in the calendar for 1959 when a large crowd watched an exciting race programme in The Forest, Nottingham.
Various races continued around the country and eventually a group of friends decided that they wanted more races and having outgrown Scouts set up the fledgling BFPCR to run a series of races in a championship around the uk
During the 1980’s the sport had evolved into as series of 4 24 hour races at various locations around the country. 1 each in the North, South, East and West.
The top half dozen cars from each of these races were then invited to a “final” 24 hour race which we believe took place in Milton Keynes.
By the early 1990’s this had come to an end and the season comprised around 4 – 6 races including 24 hour events at Scunthorpe and Bolton, a sprint event at Wolverhampton and, also at Wolverhampton, a weekend event which comprised various “trials” followed by an endurance race which was nominally 5 hours but usually ended up about 3 because it came after the BHPC had cleared the circuit, not something that happened with any great urgency even then…
Due to a combination of education cuts, the decline of the manufacturing industry and associated reduction in Apprentice Schemes, and the growing need to take a more modern approach to the wellbeing of both the competitors and the public in general the events decline such that by 1996 the sport was down to 4 events – 2 of which took place on a car park in Rugby…
Matters came to a head in 1997 with the cancellation of the National Championships at very short notice and the unwillingness of the management of the sport to take any initiative to increase participation.
However, over the winter of 1997 – 1998 a new committee was formed, new events were organised and what could be described as the 1st race weekend of the “modern era” took place over March 28th – 29th at the Transport Research Laboratory test track, near Wokingham.
Since then the championship has evolved into 7 or 8 rounds held at mostly Kart tracks around the country, usually starting at Wombwell and ending at Curbough, with the prestige 24Hr race held in June at Shenington.
The usual Championship format is as follows, but it can vary due to track availability
Round 1 – March/April – Sprints – Wombwell
Round 2 – April/May – 6Hr Race – Bruntingthorpe
Round 3 – June/July 24 Hr Race – Shenington
Round 5 – Sept – Sprints – Blackbushe
Round 6 – Sept – 100 Mile – Blackbushe
Round 7 – Sept/Oct 7Hr Race – Curbough
Links to related sites
- National Scoutcars http://scoutcarraces.com/
- National Scoutcars History http://www.scoutcars.org.uk/index.php?page=histroy
- Ringwood GP http://www.britishpedalcargrandprix.org/