Speed Trials

sportscarThese pictures taken in the late 50s show three race prepped sportscars (including what appear to be a Lotus Mk XI, a TR2 or TR3 and a Jaguar C Type*) dashing around Mancetter quarry!! Not a common sight in most quarries but seen here because the high quality granite-like stone Diorite quarried at Mancetter is ideal for racetracks. This, together with the fact that the brother of one of the quarry shareholders ran Silverstone racetrack, meant that speed trials were held here.









It is highly likely that the trials were held at Mancetter because the event organisers were looking for somewhere that was not flat (Silverstone was very flat) that they could hold Hillclimbs.  A Hillclimb is an event where cars are dispatched singly up a steep hill, timed against the clock. They have been run since the earliest days of the motor car, and still continue to this day.  A quarry with a metalled surface (the diorite) would have been very unusual at this time so Mancetter was an ideal location.




In the late 1940's (& 50's when these pictures were taken), many venues that had been used for motorsport before the war were lost due to occupation by the military.  Clubs were desperately looking for new venues in order to satisfy the demand for excitement that many people sought, to shake off the austerity and controls of wartime, particularly once petrol rationing was lifted.






*The Historic Environment Record would like to thank John Harden, Chairman of the Liverpool Motor Club, and Mr Edmund Nankivell for identifying the cars in these photographs and providing us with additional information.