Slot car racing to the max My school's slot car club and Wonderland Raceway
From Keith 20-02-2020 (18:00:20)
The Early 1970's
1969 - 1975
Apart from my first Scalextric set, which I only had for short while, I had no had any interest in slot cars until in 1969 I got a "new school" and maths teacher. My school got a new building on a new site, although the old school building was still to be used, and a new name. I was now at Cecil Jones High School but still in the old building. There was also an influx of new teachers along with the increase of pupils. One of these news teachers was our maths teacher who had an interest in slot cars. He has a couple of wooden track, one a hill climb, and decided to start a slot car club as an after school activity.I can't remember much about the original track but it was a basic layout , which was good for most of us. Most of use used the club cars which were VIP F1 cars. I found it quite good fun and then I got a chance to have my own car. The teacher was after some Meccano, which I had but wasn't using, to build a new lap counter. The offer was for a Revell car kit in exchange for the Meccano and I got my first car a Revell Mercedes 300SL.
The tracks lap counter was built using a system of Meccano bars, rods, leavers and cogs. The counting was done by someone simply pulling on a cord as a car crossed the line, one person per lane.For the following Easter Monday, 1n 1970, the standard track at Wonderland Raceways was hired for the afternoon and was my introduction to Wonderland. By now I had acquired a couple more slot cars and I managed to "kill" one of these that afternoon. I had a Scalextric Ford GT, but don't ask which colour it was. The Ford wasn't the fasted car being used and I was pushing hard on the track at the front of the picture below, What you can't see here is that as you came of the climb just by the bridge there was a short straight then another steep climb leading in to a sharp 90 Deg right hand turn then another climb goining in to a lefthand 180 deg hairpin and the steep down to a left hand bens and back on to the front straight seen in the picture. You can just about see this in the second picture. Anyway pressing hard I left it to late to brake going up the just out of sight climb and the car took off at the top of the climb and came down on the track border on the inside of the decent on the other side. This brock one of the motor mounting brackets on the body.
The other car was a Tamiya Lotus 30 1/24th scale kit and was bought when I visited the Hamlet Court Road shop, in Westcliff, with some friends. For some reason this was the only time I went to the Hamlet Court road center and never used or even saw the track.
Having discovered Wonderland I also discovered slot car parts and vac formed bodies and with in a short while the Revell chassis was wearing a vac Ford Capri body..
I also bought some Scalextric track but sold this and bought some Airfix track as this allowed me to test my cars with deeper guide without catching on the Classic tracks bars in the slot. I also bought some Airfix cars and converted so kits.
The Matra was a High Speed car while the BRM was a kit built Clubman Special and the chassis ended up under the Mercedes. The Mini was a standard car with the full plastic underpan, while the Porsche was a standard High Speed car. The Ford was a converted kit, I also converted a Airfix 917 kit.
During 1972 or '73 I had a few Friday night races on the banked track. I had bought a 1/24th scale brass chassis, probably a Champion, This was run with a representation of a Cam-Am car with big plastic side wings stapled to the body both sides. As I could never afford the "good" gear I stopped after a few weeks.
During the 1973/74 school year I bought a Parma Womp Womp and this helped me to come second in the school club champion ship. There was three classes on the main Wednesday evening, 1/32nd scale enclosed wheel cars, 1/32nd scale open wheel cars and 1/24th scale. Once I bought the Parma I started to win most races in the 1/32nd scale enclosed car class but the other two classes where a bit of a lottery. I like a lot of people was using a Scalextric car with a powersledge and due to a lack of track power anyone could win in the 1/24th scale. There was also Monday evening racing and this was an open even and I was using the Airfix Clubman Special chassis with the Mercedes body and was doing well as a lot the other racers used the club cars.
My final year at school was 1975 and I was determined to win the school championship.
My cars for this final school year for the first term were the Parma Womp Womp chassis now sporting a red vac Porsche 917K body for the Main closed body class, I was now using the Clubman Special Mercedes in the open wheel class and in the 1/24th scale class I had built a special car for it. For the open Monday class, which was three races each on the three lane track, I now had a AJ's Winwagon Porsche 917/10, I went for this car as the body is quite flexible as could take all the knocks you would get on a Monday, as a lot of the races weren't club members or proper racers, and was quite fast.
The special 1/24th scale car turned out to be a stroke of genius. The chassis was a 1/24th scale version of the Parma Womp Womp steel chassis and I had taken the motor out to use in something else. I replaced the missing motor with a standard 16D type motor which was quite low powered and I now had the slowest 1/24th scale car. However we all now the story of the tortoise and the hare and this was the case here. The track was supplied from, I believe, a single power supply with separate thermal overload trip switches for each lane and these only ever cut in with the 1/24th scale cars, which is why I said above that the race result as a lottery. At some point at least once if not more the cars would start to slow down and then the cutouts would start to trip and you had to wait until they reset themselves. You also had to try and avoid the hinge were the track folded on the outside of the main straight. My car with it's low power motor would slow down a bit but never tripped the power and as the chassis was a bit narrow it was easy to avoid the hinge. Therefore I would end up winning every race.
At the end of the first term I was in second place just behind the leader, he was only really doing better than me in the open wheeled class.
For the second term I made a new car for the open wheel class, I bought another Womp Womp and cut the side pans of the chassis. I then bought a Lotus Turbine vac body and fitted it to the chassis with tape and was sure this would be a class winner. To make things even easier the boy who was winning left the school before the second term started. The Lotus was indeed the class of the field and I won every race with it and had a very clear lead in that class as I did in the 1/24th class. Although I was picking up nearly maximum points in the classed body class so were other people, as this was the main race class. The Monday night racing was still a bit of a lottery as although I had by far the quickest car you could get bumped of quite a bit and the marshalling could be a bit slow at times. By the end of the second term I was leading but not by much.
For the final term I was still using the same cars but I took a bit of a rise to start with and fitted a more powerful motor in the 917 Womp Womp. With a few more people having left over the Easter holidays things got a little easier and I finally won the school slot car championship.
Above is the AJ's car as used on the Monday evenings. The Ford GT40 body used on the "special" 1/24th scale car but with a different chassis, which I believe is from the Tamiya Lotus 30. The car i Was using in 1/24th scale before the Ford GT40 "special". The style of body I used on the open wheel Womp Womp chassis. The shield awarded for winning the championship.