Arena Essex Raceway

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Arena Essex Raceway
Arena Essex Raceway.jpg
Arena Essex Raceway
Location Purfleet, Essex, England
Coordinates 51°29′39″N 0°16′58″E / 51.49417°N 0.28278°E / 51.49417; 0.28278Coordinates: 51°29′39″N 0°16′58″E / 51.49417°N 0.28278°E / 51.49417; 0.28278
Operator PRI
Opened 1ST May 1978
Major events Rods
Stock cars
Demolition derby
Length 0.252 km (0.156 mi)
Turns 4 Turns

Arena Essex Raceway is a stock car and speedway racing track located near Purfleet, Essex.[1] The Lakeside Shopping Centre was built alongside the venue.

The stadium[edit]

The Arena-Essex Raceway Complex was the idea of local businessman and racing driver, Chick Woodroffe. It was built in the remains of an old cement works overspill site. The new circuit was a quarter mile long with the first stock car race meeting held on 1 May 1978 which was infamously ruined by a heavy downpour. The track originally had a post and rope fence, which caused some colossal crashes and wrecks in the banger formula, and caught a few of the hot rods out. In the late 90's the track swapped the post and rope for an Armco barrier, catchfences were also put in place to protect spectators. Every September, the track hosts the oldest National World Final Championship. It's been running for over 40 years. Just over 40 cars, plus qualifiers from the wild card race, compete in the world final. 125 to 175 cars compete in the race meeting. The winner from the previous year starts the final in last place.

Banger Racing[edit]

Banger Racing is an event that takes place on Sunday afternoons and Bank holiday Mondays between second week of March to the first week of November. They race and crash into other drivers to smash up cars when they are racing. There are different types of banger meetings such as Rookie Bangers, 2L Bangers, National Bangers, Team Bangers, Big Van Bangers, Caravan Race and Unlimited Bangers. All cars are fitted with roll cages and a drivers door plate. The oldest car raced at Arena Essex Raceway is a 1928 Dodge Standard Six which started at the back in Firecracker XIII 2004. someone nearly got the car on the first turn but it got away until the driver lost it on turn four and hit a smashed car and was wrecked.

National Banger World Final[edit]

The PRI National Banger World Final is the longest running world final in banger racing. It was first staged at Arena Essex Raceway in 1980, at the time it served alternate years with the Crayford stadium until 1984, at which point the Arena circuit became the sole venue for the event. In the early years, the race was dominated, as was much of the PRI banger scene, by cars from the BMC stable. 13 of the first 15 PRI world finals were won by a BMC vehicle, most often in the form of an Austin Cambridge or Morris Oxford. However, as the sport progressed it was the Ford manufacturer which became extremely dominant, indeed the following 33 world finals have been won by either a Cortina (1984), Granada (1985-2008) or Mondeo (2009-2017.) The first PRI world final was also won by a Ford in the shape of a Consul, whilst the only other winner has come in the form of an FSO 125p in 1982.


1971 Kevin McAuley

1972 John McGirr

1973 Peter Miles

1974 Peter Miles

1975 Brain Boulton

1976 Brain Boulton

1977 John Govier

1978 Bill Smith

1979 Terry Betts

1980 Tony Wise

1981 John Govier

1982 Dave Sanderson

1983 John King

1984 Trevor Jones

1985 Les Mapp

1986 Tony Wade

1987 Steve Taylor

1988 Dennis Whiteman

1989 Steve Taylor

1990 Kevin Wilsher

1991 Steve Taylor

1992 Gray Sheldon

1993 Chris Whiteman

1994 Vince Wolf

1995 Ian Cadman

1996 Mark Boulden

1997 Alan Trickett

1998 John Harris

1999 Phil Hudson

2000 Richard Ahern

2001 Andrew Davies

2002 Brett Ellacott

2003 Andrew Davies

2004 Wayne Cotterill

2005 Matt Fuller

2006 Billy King

2007 Paul Whiteman

2008 Carl Overy

2009 Matt Fuller

2010 Lee Hughes

2011 Lee Hughes

2012 Billy King

2013 Jason Jackson

2014 Scott Cornish

2015 Georgie Lee

2016 Jason Jackson

2017 Adam Hitchcock


Firecracker was founded in 1991 and is still by far one of, if not the most popular event at Arena Essex.[citation needed] Firecracker (up until 2008) was a banger racing only meeting; the main attraction to this event is the specific car rulings in place which outlaws more 'common' bangers such as the Ford Granada. The meeting originally allowed all types of unlimited bangers to race (which was fairly popular), but when reason the ruling on banning specific cars from racing was enforced, the meeting took off in popularity. The banning on specific cars naturally made it 'THE' meeting for drivers to race their rare classics meeting is so special is that only unusual, rare, or expensive cars are allowed to enter. There is also a firework display at the end of the meeting. This event normally attracts a crowd of around ten thousand people. In 2008, due to banger numbers falling, stockcars were introduced as a support formula, in 2010 Reliant Robin's were swapped as the support formula, which proved a popular move.


Speedway was introduced in 1984. They were founded (as the Arena-Essex Hammers) by promoter Wally Mawdsley and stock car promoter Chick Woodroffe. The team were nicknamed the Hammers after the West Ham Hammers team that closed twelve years earlier.[2] The speedway team was renamed the Lakeside Hammers in 2007. The Hammers race at the Arena Essex Raceway on most Friday evenings between March and October and compete in the Elite League, often appearing in live Sky Sports meetings. The Elite League contains many of the sport's top international riders and the Hammers were crowned Knockout Cup champions in 2009.

May 2012 CAPT of the Lakeside Hammers Lee Richardson died in Poland after a very bad crash during the meeting. He was rush the A&E but died later at A&E. He was 33. 4 months later a big Memorial Meeting for Lee Richardson on 28 September 2012. On the Memorial Meeting selling T-shirts and other things was selling to rise money for his wife and 3 young boys. 6,000-7,000 people turned up for Lee's Memorial Meeting.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Bamford, R & Jarvis J.(2001). Homes of British Speedway. ISBN 0-7524-2210-3
  2. ^ Jacobs, Norman (2001). Speedway in London. ISBN 0-7524-2221-9