Cyclecars (virtually four-wheeled powered cycles) provided the real enthusiasts motoring of those days, and the group decided there and then to form the Cyclecar Club.
The Hut Hotel was demolished in 1978 to make way for the old Portsmouth Road improvements, but the little acorns sown that day sprang into the mighty oak that is today's British Automobile Racing Club.
The Cycle Car Club was soon to become the Junior Car Club, racing at Brooklands and elsewhere in Britain, organising foreign tours and generally looking after the interests of the enthusiast. Brooklands was to play a big part in the BARC's childhood and adolescence, as the JCC was destined to merge with the Brooklands Automobile Racing Club to become the modern day British Automobile Racing Club.
The BARC's past is mile-stoned with all the great races at Brooklands, Donington, the Goodwood Formula One and Formula Two meetings, the British Grand Prix at Aintree and Crystal Palace.
Brooklands was its first home, Goodwood its second and, since 1968, Thruxton its third. Housed in its headquarters at Thruxton the BARC now oversees race meetings at all the major circuits in the country and now runs the British Touring Car Championship events. In addition the club officiates at the highly-successful Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival Race meetings.
In addition, national race meetings are run throughout the country alongside sprint and hill climb championships in the hands of the successful network of local centres.
The current South Eastern Centre has developed from the amalgamation of a number of regional centres over the years. The original South Eastern Centre was formed in 1955. In 1958 a centre was formed in Surrey as the Leatherhead group, and four years later in 1962 another group formed the North Thames Centre. The London and Home Counties Centre was formed in 1977 incorporating these three groups.
The London and Home Counties Centre proved very successful and grew substantially to the extent that in the early 2000s the decision was made to revert to the South Eastern Centre name. This would better reflect the activities that were being organised from Lydden Circuit in Kent, to Goodwood in Sussex and Silverstone in Northamptonshire.
Over the years the Centre has been involved in organising a wide range of activities including rallies, autocross, rallycross, 2CV Cross as well as sprints, hillclimbs and of course many race meetings. In 2003 the Centre was a prime mover in bring the 2CV 24 hour race to this country from Ireland.
Nowadays the centre runs its own race meeting at Lydden Hill and buys grid slots from other clubs. The three racing championships all feature at some high profile meetings, particularly at Brands Hatch. Over the years the one abiding feature of the centre has been to offer value for money motorsport. This is still true today and it is pleasing to note that there are currently over 250 centre members.
8th-9th April 2017
QMS, TinTops and Intermarque