Following on from The Goodwood 73rd Members Meeting our next date in the racing diary was the Jersey International Motoring Festival and what a great weekend we had.
After the Second World War there were no motor racing circuits in operation in Britain, and no venue for the British Grand Prix, which had been held at Brooklands and had fallen into disrepair having been bombed by the Germans. So a street circuit in Jersey was chosen to be used for Grand Prix races and some of the top drivers of the time were attracted to race the 3.2 mile circuit along Victoria Avenue.
The first race was held in 1947, two years after the island was liberated from German occupation. The drivers who took part included Britain’s Reg Parnell, who won in a Maserati, and the legendary French driver Louis Chiron. Cars included a range of Maseratis from Italy and ERAs from England, as well as Delages and a Bugatti.
The race was held again in 1948, 1949 and 1950 to equal success but by 1952 the Grand Prix cars were becoming too fast for the circuit and a sports car race was held instead. This was to be Jersey’s last road race and, although there has been talk of reviving the event in some format over the following 50-plus years, it was never really a realistic proposition given the speed of modern-day racing cars who would have to race on a circuit where traffic is today restricted to 40 mph, and 30 mph in some sections.
In contrast, Ian Stewart’s average winning speed in 1952 was nearly 90mph and fastest laps approaching 100mph were recorded in 1948-1950. (Source: theislandwiki Click the link for more history.)
The organizers of the Jersey International Motoring Festival have always tried to instill the spirit of the Road Race in the Festival and this year was no exception. The Festival weekend started on the Thursday evening with Kart Race Sprints followed by on Friday evening the Moonlight Sprint, along Victoria Avenue.
Saturday and Sunday were action packed days for Motorsport fans and the weather added to the occasion. There were Hillclimbs at Westmount, Kart & Bike Races and Classic and Vintage cars on display. Motor Trade stands, Scenic Car Tours, Top Gear Experience Simulators, along with demonstrations from the trials display team, Inch Perfect and Street Bike Freestyle stunt riding from Mattie Griffin. New Forest Healeys had a strong presence and a large collection of fascinating Cars from Police Car UK.
Here are a few highlights of the weekend for all you car and motorcycle enthusiasts.
The event is promoted and organised by The Classic and Vintage Motor Racing Club of Jersey Ltd and sponsored by Rubis.