// Racing

WiRa helps drive motor sports back to Crystal Palace

Originally built in Hyde Park, London, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851, and boasting 990,000 square feet of space, the Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and plate-glass structure which would have cost over 170m pounds (by today's money) to construct.

After the Exhibition it was re-homed to an area in South London which now carries the name of the Palace (and also shares it with a Premier League football club).

Disaster struck on a catastrophic level in 1936 when within hours the Palace was destroyed by fire, calling for over 80 fire engines and 400 firemen to attend - with the glow said to be visible across eight counties![2]

This was however far from any end for the historic landmarks' site, as the grounds were quickly building a reputation as the home for a whole new platform (to which interest was growing rapidly) ... Motor Sports!

Quite arguably the most important location within the historical roots of motor sports, 'Crystal Palace' ...

The Legendary Crystal Palace

...is referred to as one of the 'oldest motor sport venues in the world', staging its first motor race back in 1899(!) and playing host to 'some fantastic battles involving some of the sport's greatest names' [1] with racers such as Stirling Moss, James Hunt and Bernard Ecclestone.[4]

The BBC's first ever televised motor racing was broadcast from Crystal Palace, where the circuit played host to Formulas 1, 2 and 3.[3]

Unfortunately the circuit closed in 1972 after it was felt that driving through a London park at over a ton wasn't all that safe (referring to Jochen Rindt setting the first 100mph-average lap in 1970).[3]

Fast forward now to the 21st century and the annual 'Motorsport at the Palace' event allows members of the public to witness drivers from far and wide bringing their cars to shoot around the historic grounds at break-neck speed!

This isn't the only relationship to motor sports that Crystal Palace still promotes however - th ...

Annual 'Motorsport at the Palace'

...e real hidden gem here lays at the side of the National Sports Centre - a purpose-built outdoor RC car track which was originally constructed in the mid-1970s and has seen more action than a Jackie Chan movie.

Over recent years the track has unfortunately slipped away from the public eye, where it has sat overgrown and uncared for... until now.

The new top dog Mark Williamson has already started spinning cars in the right direction by re-opening the location and taking on new members (currently only 20 pounds until March 2020 where it will then increase to 40 pounds) allowing them to clock up as many race hours as they can fit into their schedule.

Mark has been racing cars for quite a few years now with Crystal Palace being his home ground, so when the opportunity presented itself for him to re-open the club he 'jumped at it' (luckily for us)!

Races are due to start back up on the 10th of November, so all engines are at full speed ...

The WiRa home track

... to get the track ready for launch. Nitro and petrol cars can only be used at the weekend in order to respect the neighbours, but electrics will be welcome throughout the week between 10am - 6pm.

Now, this is where the real magic comes into play...

Not only is the SELCRCC (South East London Community Radio Control Club) relaunching for conventional races, it has also become the first official home of Wireless Racer; potentially allowing thousands of gamers to trial test runs around the track, live, from anywhere in the world!


This gives the Crystal Palace circuit a status of 'Super Track' as it will be the first in history to embrace the future of eSports onto its grounds as part of a game-changing move (within a billion-dollar industry) that could see Marks' arena drifting into the history books next to it's larger counter-part.

Stay tuned-in and keep up to date wit ...

SELCRCC 'Top Dog' Mark Williamson

...h the progress by following the official SELCRCC community Facebook page, where you will receive notifications of availability to sign in and race LIVE at the new track.

SELCRCC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/247846562760896/

1- Motorsport at the Palace, 'Racing at the Palace'. Available Online at: https://motorsportatthepalace.co.uk/RacingAtPalace [Accessed 01/11/19].

2- London's Biggest Fire... Life: 34., 'The Crystal Palace will never be rebuilt'. Available Online at: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=PUEEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA34 [Accessed 01/11/19].

3- Car and Classic, 'Motorsport at the Palace'. Available Online at: https://carandclassic.co.uk/magazine/motorsport-at-the-palace-2019/ [Accessed 01/11/19].

4-Speed Hunters, 'Temple of Speed'. Available Onine at: http://speedhunters.com/2012/10/temple-of-speed-crystal-palace/ [Accessed 01/11/19].

-WHSC, 'Events at Crystal Palace'. Available Online at: https://whsc.co.uk/index.php/events/39-crystal-palace-london [Accessed 01/11/19].

- Motorsport Magazine, 'Crystal Palace'. Available Online at: https://motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/november-2000/74/crystal-palace [Accessed 01/11/19].

(all images are the copyright of their respective owners)

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