Video: Stars of Snetterton celebrate circuit’s 60th anniversary
Yesterday (Thursday 27 October) marked 60 years since the very first race event at Snetterton, when Oliver Sear recognised the potential of the former WWII airfield and invited the Aston Martin Owners Club to organise the inaugural meeting. In celebration, venue owner MSV hosted a special evening in Tyrrells restaurant for key figures associated with the history of the circuit, including Jack Sears, the first British Touring Car Champion who lived on a farm in nearby Thetford, Jim Russell, the founder of the world’s first race school, and former Team Lotus F1 driver John Miles.
Other notable attendees included Ralph Firman, founder of legendary racing car manufacturer Van Diemen, which was based at Snetterton, and Tony Dron, former BTCC runner-up and winner of the 1983 Willhire 24 Hour Race at Snetterton.
Following a welcome from Jonathan Palmer the guests enjoyed dinner and a visual presentation from Snetterton expert and renowned motorsport artist Andrew Kitson. Ian Titchmarsh also interviewed many of the racing celebrities who shared their own fond memories of the Norfolk track.
Ian Flux, who has enjoyed a prolific career in motorsport including several campaigns in the British Touring Car Championship, said: “I think JP and the team have done an absolutely wonderful job. I came here with Rover in 1986 to do a track test and the boss at Rover said that this is a complete mess and we’re never coming here again! I only wish they could come back and see how this place has been transformed.”
The HSCC’s Grahame White said: “What a brilliant evening. It’s just amazing looking at the photos and films here and all the names that were there around then (the 1960s). I was probably clerk of the course and in a position to tell off drivers like Emerson Fittipaldi and Jim Clark and so on and when you think about that now it’s quite amazing!
“I have to say thank you to Jonathan Palmer because he has improved the circuits tremendously and we’re getting superb grids for historic events; people really enjoying coming to these circuits and often comment on how different they are now.
“We’ve revised the Snetterton Three Hours here and that’s become pretty popular and it’s a natural place to have it. We will hopefully continue to do so for many years to come.”
Jonathan Palmer, Chief Executive of circuit owner MSV, said during the evening: “Just running through all the images and all the background reminds us how much history has been created here at Snetterton, how many famous names have raced here and how much heritage this place has. I feel quite privileged to be the custodian of this circuit, and you can be assured that we will continue to nurture it as best we can and improve it even more.
“We really have got a wonderful sport and I think Snetterton is better than ever for us to enjoy now.”