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Brands Hatch: The Definitive History of Britain’s
Best-Loved Motor Racing Circuit

Brands Hatch: The Definitive History of Britain's Best-Loved Motor Racing Circuit Kent’s Brands Hatch
  has a history that dates
  back to 1926, when the
  former mushroom field
  was used by cyclists —
  the first set of wheels
  to use what was to
  become an international
  motor racing circuit...”

HAVING HAD A PASSION FOR MOTORSPORT since his teens, Chas Parker has written a book about one of the UK's Grand Prix venues Brands Hatch: The Definitive History of Britain's Best-Loved Motor Racing Circuit.

In his Foreword for the book, Bernie Ecclestone describes Brands Hatch as being a bit special for him — at 15, Bernie began his racing career there in motorbike scrambles meetings. Chas Parker also mentions fond memories of the racing circuit in his introduction. Brands Hatch was only about an hour's drive from his parents' home and, back in the Seventies, he spent many Sunday afternoons standing at Druids hairpin with a group of friends, enjoying the racing.

Nestling in a natural valley in the Kent countryside, Brands Hatch is Britain's best-loved racing circuit. The undulating track provides a real challenge for drivers; and unrivalled viewing for spectators.

A Motorsport mecca, Brands Hatch was once the busiest Motorsport venue in the world and has witnessed not only some of Britain's greatest Formula One and sports car races, but also numerous other international, national and club events.

Brands Hatch: The Definitive History of Britain's Best-Loved Motor Racing Circuit contains some wonderful historical photographs that include a cleverly-caught action image of Belgian E Thomas at the 1949 Moto Cross des Nations and a neat photograph of Graham Hill taking part in a charity go-kart race between the British Racing
Drivers' Club and the Lord's Taverners in 1960.

Colour photographs include aerial shots of the circuit and the great images that accompany exciting races — Hawaiian driver Danny Ongais driving a Parnelli VPJ6B when USAC's Indycars visited the circuit in 1978 is among the action shots; and also a moody image of Desiré Wilson in her red Wolf WR3. Desiré became the first woman ever to win an F1 race when she drove to victory in the Aurora event at Brands Hatch on 7 April, 1980.

Chas Parker extensively interviewed the people who worked, raced
and marshalled at Brands Hatch over the years. With an emphasis on the circuit and the people who helped to make it one of the world's greatest motor racing venues, Brands Hatch: The Definitive History of Britain's Best-Loved Motor Racing Circuit benefits from engaging text that is complemented by glorious archive photography.

Chas has detailed the breadth of racing that has taken place at the Kent circuit — including the early off-road motorcycling events, club racing, the Formula Ford and Formula 5000 racing that were both innovations of former Circuit Manager John Webb, truck racing, rally-cross and (of course!) international Formula One and sports car racing events.

The Brands Hatch story is a fascinating one, from the transition of the steeply-sloping mushroom field, first used by cyclists in 1926, through its growth as a motorcycle grass track and subsequent motor racing road course, to its heyday as a fully-fledged international Grand Prix circuit. Changes of ownership and a period of decline have been followed by the recent re-emergence of Brands Hatch as a majorsport venue and its important place in the 21st Century.

With contributions from riders and drivers who include Sir Stirling Moss, Nigel Mansell, John Surtees, Jody Scheckter and Johnny Herbert — and also the people who operated and ran the circuit, from John Webb through Nicola Foulston to current owner Jonathan Palmer — the story of each decade of the circuit's history is told; not only the great races that have taken place on the track but also the politics and the intrigue behind the scenes.

Brands Hatch: The Definitive History of Britain's Best-Loved Motor Racing Circuit is a book I would definitely buy for myself. Brands Hatch is close to my heart because it was one of the places I much enjoyed in my teens — I recall a pale orange Mini racing at Brands Hatch back in the late Sixties that I called the 'Smartie' Mini. Brands Hatch will continue to win friends and inspire people as long as there are people to enjoy the thrill of the race.

Brands Hatch: The Definitive History of Britain's Best-Loved Motor Racing Circuit by Chas Parker is out now in hardback and is available from all good bookshops at an RRP of £30.00. Foreword by Bernie Ecclestone. ISBN: 978 1 84425 334 0.

"I've always thought that Brands is one of those magical places and I think that this comprehensive account, packed as it is with fascinating illustrations, helps to capture some of that magic" — Bernie Ecclestone

Author Chris Parker began his working life in a different kind of field to the one that Brands Hatch started off as — the field of astronomy, eventually becoming press officer for the Royal Greenwich Observatory. He left the scientific community to pursue a writing career, particularly in the field of motor sport, for which he has had a passion since his teens. He has worked as a freelance sub-editor and occasional contributor on publications such as Autosport and Motorsport News for a number of years. He lives in Battle, East Sussex.