Two Tracks For The Price Of One...


Back To Defunct Stock Car Tracks



Gordon Willis recalls....

 "There were 2 tracks at Iwade. They were literally 500 yards apart. The location was just down the road from the Swale Halt railway station.  The tracks did run alternate Sundays, but sometimes they clashed." 

 "One was run by PRI which was a pillar & rope style track. This closed in the early 80's & was later used for boot fairs. The gates to the circuit can still be seen on Old Ferry Road Iwade. I remember my father taking me to the PRI track at Iwade in the mid 70's. This was a lot better track to race on "

"The other circuit, run by Swale Motor Racing Club was a bit of a nightmare for spectators to see the racing. This was due to it being on marshland that was constantly on the move. The circuit had a lot of problems with flooding & so a large hole was dug out on one of the corners. I remember us canceling the first 3 meetings of 93 season due to the waterlogged conditions. The circuit also had an old double-decker bus at one stage as a lap scorers/commentary box. This was sadly burnt down in the late 80's."

"The circuit was a dirt banked oval of about 300 yards on an old army camp & a disused gun turret stood between the pits & race control. This ran from 1977 to 1995. I was PR at Swale Motor racing club at Iwade from 1992 to 1994 . The track held the annual Southern Open banger championships every June. It was a favourite of The Surrey Street Squad (who raced a legendary ZIL at the 1992 meeting complete with bombproof floor & armour plating), The Metal Wreckers & Bobbing Boys, to name but a few. Local lad Gary Pilcher was driver to beat there & won the championship on countless occasions. The track raced Bangers up to 2 litre (expect from Southern Open), hot rods, saloon stocks & Juniors (11 to 16 year olds - in non contact). The stocks became Formula 1300 in 1994 (a limited contacted formula) after the numbers dwindled. This was our early idea at rookie bangers." 
"The track had its heyday in the late 80's & was run by Roger Thompsett from 1977 to 1993. When Paul Jefferies took control assisted by myself, Bob Lambley & Colin Brooks. The track hit hard times in 1993 & numbers dwindled dramatically. I quit in July 1994, Colin & Bob in Oct that year. Paul Jefferies didnt re-open the track in 1995, but a few other drivers tried some unsucessful meetings there that year. The track is now over grown & the original stands which came from a BMX track can still be seen under the weeds. I won the official championships there in 1993 & it still holds a lot of lovely memories. I last went there for a look around in 2003 & wrote, "where cars once raced at break-neck speeds now only rabbits run".
"The track did suffer a tragedy in 1984 When banger driver Rod Claydon was killed in a freak racing accident there. A memorial meeting was held every year after that & was the most hotly contested championship in the racing calender. The track commentator was John 'The Mouth Of The south' Clancy. With The track being on the edge of the Swale Marshes it was a nightmare to maintain & often got very rutted after just a few races. Drivers would often say they had to fight the track before they fought other drivers."
"Some drivers moved to the Coombe Valley Circuit at Dover when it closed & saw Sean Winchester become only the 2nd driver to win championships both at Coombe Valley & Swale.  Swale drivers were seen as tough hard hitters."


The PRI  track with the Sheppey crossing visible in the background (photo Stephen Passingham)


 PRI banger 136 Stephen Passingham in the PRI track's pits 

 (photo Stephen Passingham)



Gordon Willis took the top two photos in 2003 , seven years after racing had ceased.




The SWALE Track

In 2011 he returned and took  the rest - and this video tour of the track



Photos  & Video below  courtesy of Gordon Willis 



Starters Rostrum 2011

Start Straight 2011

Pit Bend 2011

Pickle Bend Entry 2011


Pickle Bens Exit 2011

Looking back at Claydon Corner 2011