The magazine of the photo-essay
Jan/Feb 2022 issue
British Bangers Smeatharp Racecourse, Devon
A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine. Fabulous! Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film maker
by Ethan Bird
Devon, October 2021 Hidden away, in a remote part of Devon, is an old airfield. Its concrete runways played a significant role in World War II, when it was largely used by the Royal Air Force and the US military for anti submarine patrols. After its closure in 1948, the airfield laid dormant for almost 30 years. By the mid 1970s, the three main runways were still in tact. A small area began to be used for flying again and another area was utilised to create the now famous, Smeatharpe Race track. Smeatharpe has built up a huge following over the years. Every Sunday and bank holiday, breakdown trucks from all over the country decend on the small country lanes surrounding Smeatharpe, carrying crumpled, brightly coloured metal hulks chained to their backs. Most of the race cars look too wrecked the drive, but they, along with their highly skilled drivers, are to be the stars of the show once the racing begins. Spectators of all ages gather, surrounded by fast food caravans. Munching on burgers and sipping coffees or big plastic pints of lager, they wait for the chequered flag to drop… and they’re off - the car carcasses, spring into improbable life. What follows is an exhilarating cocktail of screaming noise, speed, choking exhaust fumes and crowds.
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