20 years history
Our club was established at Hinckley leisure centre, in the projectile range on the top floor around the end of 1990/ beginning of 1991. .As always, identifying the original people involved with establishing any club is difficult, however, two people who were involved from the beginning were Wendy Hall and James Hall. James was in fact disabled, and his mother helped in establishing the club to allow him partake in a competitive hobby. James also created the original club logo. Some other people racing during this time are: Tim Gold, James Jewkes, Tim Grimley, David Warr, Maurice, Ryan and Garry Jeffs, Bruce and Felicity Turner, Terry Atkinson, Andy Pritchard, Tom and John Gardner, Mark Stevens. The tracks in the projectile range were laid out using rubber mats with the race counting being done using pen paper and stopwatch all of which seems to have been common practice at this time for most clubs. Types of cars raced included Rc10’s Tamiya group C, Tamiya Hornets, Thunder dragons, Schumacher procat’s Cougar 2’s Racing took place on Saturdays and race entry fees were £1.00……
1993 – Bruce Turner years;
Around 1993, Bruce turner assumed control of the club, as our first chairman. Bruce ran a local model shop, I believe called ‘Trackside Models’ and saw the opportunity of combining both his business and club activities. Bruce himself was a quite assertive character, whilst always having the best interests of the club at heart, was not always the easiest of people to get on with. That said, it was at this time that the first official club committee was formed, the club constitution was written and in fact the club as we now know was established. The enthusiastic committee continued to move the club forward joining by the BRCA and exploring different racing venues. The club had now introduced automated, computerised lap timing and the tracks were set up using old fire hoses filled with sand as donated by the local Fire service.
Around 1994, the club explored some outdoor venues, the first being Hinckley Cricket Club, this was quickly followed by the Three Potts pub venue. The Three Potts venue was a piece of ‘waste’ land adjacent to the pub car park which the club ‘developed’ into an off –road track for buggies, the site preparation did not always go as smoothly as you would think, – with some of the neighbours annoyed sufficiently to punch one club member whilst clearing the site before the club even started racing there. During this time, James hall left the club, being unable to race outdoors and following on from some interesting committee meetings surrounding the treasurer’s position! The Club was gaining in popularity and membership continued to increase, In order to expand the clubs profile, the club began to organise regional/MCCA meetings at local tourist attractions such as the Cadeby Steam show and Bosworth Water Park. To facilitate these events the club acquired the use of a flat bed trailer (for driver’s rostrum) and a small caravan (for race control) Garry Jeffs constructed a permanent outdoor rostrum, and was the main driving force behind these acquisitions and indeed the whole Jeffs family were totally involved with the continuing development of the club during this period The club began to venture further away from Hinckley, attending inter club meetings at Ashby/Bedworth (with sheep+ goats in the pits) Alcester, Holbeach, Broxtowe, Oxon, Brandon and Lincon – all on grass. Several ‘control, classes of racing were tried, one in particular was the Schumacher Wildcat, with the club bulk purchasing a number of cars from the manufacturers and the selected club members running them, the series failed due to poor car design allowing the chassis to flex and destroying the spur gear.
1996 – Mallory Park / Tom Towers Boys Club
1996 saw a great opportunity for the club, moving its base to an established full sized motor racing venue – Mallory Park. The club had lengthy discussions with the circuit leaseholders which ultimately saw the club being assigned an area of ground adjacent to the main circuit entrance (just outside of the main circuit) to use as their outdoor racing facility. Racing continued indoors at the Leisure centre, but conditions were beginning to be a little cramped, at this time the club had attracted around 50+ members, making it one of the largest RC clubs in the midlands, therefore the proactive committee started to look for a suitable alternative – Tom Towers Boys club. So now the club had two excellent venues, Mallory park for outdoor/buggy racing and Tom Towers for indoor/carpet racing. (Appendix A)
The Outdoor racing continued successfully at Mallory whilst the indoor venue was being developed. It is at this time that the club purchased carpet for the indoor racing (racing on a polished wooden floor is not always easy) a move which in itself gave the club a great basis for its continuing development. Around 1998 the club began to explore some interesting developments at Tom Towers, mainly with the outdoor racing and soon a decision was taken to move away from Mallory Park. Bruce Turner left the club with Richard Hawcutt (‘sticky dicky’) taking over as chairman Overall the Tom Towers venue provided the club with an almost perfect base, giving the club an opportunity to race all through the year at one site. The club caravan (race control) was re sited to this venue. Richard Hawcutt leaves the club with the Chairman’s position being taken by Phil Keetley During 1999 the club introduced 1/8th off road gas cars as an addition to the 1/10th electric class, a move which would later lead to an acrimonious split within the club. Phil Keetley resigned from the chairman’s role, his position being taken by Mark Harding The race control caravan was destroyed by vandals; however, following from a plea in the local newspaper, the local Police force donated a portacabin for the club to use in place of the caravan. A portion of the Tom Towers estate was identified as an opportunity to build an Astroturf surfaced off road track, and the club duly went about setting up the site, laying 60 tonnes of hardcore and laying the Astroturf surface (purchased second hand from Wales?) Initially quite successful, the Astroturf area suffered fro maintenance issues. And was constantly in need of repair to the joints and also suffered from minor vandalism, the track was eventually taken up and the area became a car park. Mark Harding leaves the club with the Chairman’s position being taken by Simon Durrant .
2002 – The split
2002 saw what was to become a very interesting part of our club history. Racing continued at the boys club, both inside on carpet during the winter months and outside on the grass during summer. The main committee at this time had just introduced a 1/8th Gas buggy class and began to think that this was the direction that the club should be taking. Some of the membership thoughts somewhat differently and began to challenge the committee. It was at this time that the club were given the opportunity to move the outdoor venue to the Blaby Jet Ski centre on the outskirts of Leicester. The Jet Ski centre offered a permanent outdoor venue for the club and indeed the club was given the option of establishing a track in a very picturesque area with existing facilities such as public café and toilets and option to develop the race track as they saw fit.
The Jet Ski option effectively split the club into two parties, namely the ‘Gas racers’ who wished to expand the club into 1/8th racing as the primary class raced outdoors at the club, and the ‘Electric racers’ who wished for the club to stay as it had always been. The issue was resolved at the club AGM that year, when the current club chairman failed to be re elected and the rest of the committee resigned, choosing to go off together to form the Blaby RC club. Simon Durant took over as club Chairman, Chris Child became club secretary and Roger Cosgrove became club treasurer
Racing continued at the Boys club both inside and outside, but yet another problem was looming, this time with the custodians of the boys club. The Boys Club is a charitable organisation, being formed some years ago by Tom Towers, who had set up the club and steering committee, however, over the years, there had been many changes to the steering committee, 2002 saw yet another one of these changes. The new boys club committee had tasked themselves to lift the profile of their club, and decided to raise the rent paid by HRCCC, this in itself was no problem, as it was effectively one club assisting another, however, inter club relationships became a little strained so we made a club decision to look for another venue.
Simon Durant retired from the chairman’s position at the 2003 club AGM and David Tithecott took over The club continued to flourish, despite the split and the club infrastructure began to grow, In April 2003 with the club purchasing a new race control programme, new timing transponders, including around 120 ‘personal transponders’ originally to be loaned out to current club members, however, no records were kept of these transponder numbers so we were left with no personal transponders (lesson learnt!) It was David Tithecott who led the club to John Cleveland college, David had been actively searching for an alternative venue , and had come across the college, and set up a meeting on site for us to view a prospective race venue in the main college hall. Once on site we looked around at the field for outdoor racing, and stumbled across the sports hall. The decision was effectively taken there and then that this would make a perfect new home for the club, a near perfect sized hall to cater for indoor racing, and the opportunity of using a portion of the college field for outdoor electric buggy racing
Sep 2005 – John Cleveland College
The club moves to current location, John Cleveland College. A small group of club members equipped with a couple of vans moved the club equipment from Tom Towers to its new home at John Cleveland. The college had kindly supplied a portion of the sports hall equipment storage area for us to use for our own storage. Chris Child (master builder by profession) quickly formed our new storage facility, all equipment neatly stored and ready for use. The club 30’ container was also transferred from Tom Towers to John Cleveland therefore giving the club the opportunity to continue off road racing in the future. The original outdoor driver’s rostrum, as built by Garry Jeffs back in 1995 was dismantled and taken by David Warr as scrap.
The club now had a nice new venue, race day attendances were consistent at around 40+ per week, so we decided to invest on the infrastructure again. Six rolls of Prima–felt GT carpet were bought, along with new, plastic track markings. Wheeled staging was sourced from the college making fine new indoor drivers rostrum, extra 240v power was supplied by the college, so we were now setup and ready for the future in our new venue.
As at this time, most of the cars raced indoors at the club were either Mardave or touring cars, the members asked the club to explore the opportunity of having a permanent outdoor on road facility. The committee went through several options for a permanent outdoor on road track, but all were deemed far too expensive. It was following on from this evaluation process that David Tithecott suggested a ‘joint’ venture with a local established on road club – Bedworth. Following discussions with the Bedworth Chairman, Bob Burr, it was agreed the HRCCC would effectively ‘hire’ the Bedworth facility on a number of Saturdays during the summer months and run our own club series. The numbers of racers was not particularly good at Bedworth, averaging between 15 and 30 (on a good day) and as always with outdoor racing was dependant on the weather. We stayed at Bedworth for two summers after which it was decided that the venture into sharing venues was not working well and finished following the 2007 summer series.
2007 saw the introduction of the Hinckley Mardave GP race. HRCCC has always had a very strong Mardave class following, and a part of the continuing process of lifting the club profile, we decided to run an annual on off meeting specifically for the 1/12th scale Mardave cars. The initial event in October 2007 attracted around 60+ entrants from all over the county (and Scotland) This event is now a firm part of the HRCCC calendar and continues to attract support from all over the country.
2008 sees the re introduction of off road racing to HRCCC, this time at our present John Cleveland College venue. Many of the club members have expressed their desire for the club to re introduce off road racing during the summer months. The club approached John Cleveland College and negotiated a portion of the college field for our use. A small sub committee for off road racing was formed, headed up by Dale Knight and Dean Gibbs so now the club was once again ‘back to its roots’ catering for both off road on grass and indoors on carpet at a great venue.
The AGM of 2008 saw David Tithecott retire from the role of Chairman and Dale Knight take over the challenge. Indoor racing continues weekly during the winter months, and the club tried to establish a Sunday race series, but with little success so the plans were scrapped. The Mardave GP continued to attract good numbers with over 70 drivers attending the 2008 event
In 2009, the club started a project to establish a purpose built outdoor venue at JCC. This started with the building of a drivers ‘platform’ and steps allowing access down the steep banking which forms two sides of the current off road facility. Once completed, this new development allowed the club to host a full BRCA off road regional event for the first time in a number of years.
So where are we now? 2010
The club presently enjoys what is perhaps its best position in its 20 year history. We have a really good relationship with our partners, John Cleveland College, which is allowing the club to flourish both with its indoor and outdoor racing activities. The club has an extremely committed group as its committee who are proactively developing the club for the benefit of our members. Sponsorship has been sourced from a major UK RC company and another major distributor, in order to assist club members with discounted racing tyres and personal sponsorship, and the club is working with these company’s to further assist the club members in the future
Indoor racing currently attracts up to 70 competitors each week, running to a tried and tested timetable of three heats of qualifying and two finals for all competitors (five races per meeting – great value) with perhaps most importantly, a high degree of super competitive racing undertaken by some of the top drivers in the UK. The Mardave GP returns in 2010 and will no doubt attract another great turnout from Mardave racers from across the country
Outdoors, we average around 30+ drivers, a number which will certainly increase this year with the great opportunity of two BRCA regional events to support 14 planned off road meetings. Development of the outdoor facility continues with a number of improvements planned for the infrastructure this year
We have purchased four RC cars and full electrics to offer newcomers to RC racing an opportunity to ‘try before you buy’. This option is proving to be very popular both for indoor and outdoor racing Club newsletter circa 1997.
Written by Roger Cosgrove on 3rd December 2010.