Brooklands near Weybridge in Surrey went down in history as the world’s first banked motor racing circuit when construction finished in 1907, 17 months after the first circuit race of any kind was held near Melbourne, Australia.
It drove the growth of the British automotive industry, hosted some landmark events and earned itself a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts nationwide. However, when the Second World War broke out, the site was again given over to military production, it having been home to Vickers’ aircraft works since 1915.
Despite efforts to camouflage the complex, including planting trees on bits of the track, Luftwaffe bombs inflicted significant damage in 1940 as it sought to stop the supply of Hawker Hurricane fighters and Vickers Wellington bombers.
We visited after VE Day to assess the possibility of a return to racing. To our dismay, nearly a third of the shop was now sunken into the track and a large section of the banking after the Mountain circuit had been cut away. More huge steel buildings covered the finish and Railway straights, while flora had come through the concrete all over.
We were very doubtful of future racing there, and sadly so it proved.