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Birmingham Superprix - Britain's most controversial circuit?
1970 - First steps into the proposed Birmingham road race:
The first Birmingham Motoring Festival



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There was a quiet period since 1966 but things were still happening as there were some numerous informal discussions. It was realised that it was not a popular issue amongst the city’s aldermen and all party political support for a road race. So it seemed impossible for a road race to happen.

But Martin Hone never gave up and continued to lobby in the motorsport community and gained supporters such as Sir Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart etc. Also he gained more support from some political pockets in the Birmingham City Council.

He had his idea of a road race going around in his head for some years and was given a much-needed boost when the chairman of the Entertainment Sub Committee, councillor John Silk thought up of a theme for a festival that would occur in the autumn in 1970. Martin Hone had an idea to boost his campaign for a road race by proposing a motoring pageant. The Committee approached him and was asked to advise and assist in the running of the first Birmingham Motoring Festival. Martin Hone was then appointed as the Festival Liaison Officer to run the first ever Birmingham Motoring Festival.

The Birmingham Motoring Festival ran for twenty days opening on the 24th August with a Vintage/Veteran Car run. This was following by a daily cavalcade of various cars around the city centre streets, using a different theme every day. The Motoring Festival was brought to a close with a parade of grand prix racing cars led by one of Martin Hone’s supporters for a road race, Sir Stirling Moss driving a Lotus 18 followed by street entertainers and various floats.

David Prophet’s McLaren leads the others along Colmore Row.
This road is not in the proposal put before Birmingham corporation.

A Motoring Festival ball, attended by Victor Turton the Lord Mayor and some of the famous drivers of the day concluded the evening. The Festival was hailed as a great success and attracted many visitors. The dream of so many people especially Peter Barwell and Martin Hone, the first ever road race on mainland Britain, was surely on the way to becoming a reality.

At the winding-up meeting of the Festival the possibility of an actual race was discussed between Martin Hone and Peter Barwell at some length. There was a private vendetta over who had the idea of a Birmingham road race and it is hard to tell but on the face of it this hardly mattered one jot; the important thing was that everyone seemed very much in favour, particularly John Silk.