Birmingham Superprix - Britain's most controversial circuit?
1973-'74 - Crucial steps forward despite political difficulties
- David Page
- January 5, 2007
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In 1973 during the month of February, Martin Hone quietly set up a consortium to put forward the case of Birmingham road race to Parliament.
The change of government came in 1974 when Birmingham acquired a County Council above the City Council as another tier of the Government. In May, it was prompt that Kenneth Hardeman (then a Liberal Councillor) tried again. He put a motion to the City Council to set up a Committee and to consider the implications of a road race in the City Centre. He described the result:
“Sadly, it became political, I was then a member of the liberal minority party and when I arranged for documents to be circulated to each member for the Council meeting, there was violent objection from members of the two major opposition parties. These were the grounds that I should waste the Council’s time in preparing documents and who I to come up with ideas for motor races.”
It was unfortunately too true that the push for a Birmingham road race was becoming too political. Kenneth Hardeman went on to say that Martin Hone and Sir Stirling Moss witnessed this political argument from the public gallery of the Council chamber. The proposal was referred to the General Advisory Committee for full and detailed reports on the legal implications and requirements. Eventually, after much debate, the idea for a road race around the City gained all-party support. Then in October, the City Council voted in favour of the promotion of the new legislation by 65 votes to 29. It was a very crucial move and the momentum was kept going with The Motoring Festival and the Vintage & Veteran Car Run being hosted in central Birmingham.
In September Sir Stanley, the newly appointed West Midlands County Council, suggested that Parliament should be approached in order to obtain wide-ranging powers to enable a road race to happen through the city centre of Birmingham.
At the end of 1974, a draft West Midlands County Council Bill was drawn up and secured the necessary majority to take it to Parliament.