So this is 2010!
It looks like a busy year for me with more than a dozen events pencilled in so far, plenty of cars to build, some wooden body masters to make, an attic and garage conversion, 3 tracks to build, a 4-lane track acquired from Norwich club that needs a good permanent home, so a new clubroom is required for the local Manx club for that and their other 5 lane track too - and Slotcarmann the part-time business finally to be kick-started with a web-site. The idea is it will help pay for my hobby.
I have three threads running, "Tracks in the Irish Sea"; "Scratch-builds in the Irish Sea"; and "Race builds in the Irish Sea". The first and third one are self-explanatory, the middle one will be for the wooden bodies. I will leave most of the details relating to those topics for the dedicated threads, with just brief updates here.
Just in the middle of finalising my racing year and planning all the cars I will need - fortunately it looks like some will be able to do at least two events, which should help! I'll be popping up as far afield as Umbria, Abergavenny and Colchester, to name but a few, possibly even Bordeaux.
It all started at Christmas 1961 as an 8 year old with a Scalextric GP set with 2 Coopers, a figure of eight layout with the good old rubber track that was almost impossible to keep joined up all the way round. I progressed from there to the plastic Plexitrack (now known as Classic track) and with loads of additions including hillclimb turns, buildings, spectators and extra cars, then moved on to building slot car kits like Airfix, Revell and Riko.
Then I had a go at building a few of my own with glass fibre (Charlie Fitzpatrick's Classic bodies) or vac-formed bodies, sponge tyres, brass chassis and more powerful motors (Pitman 196B, Rikowhip etc). I became involved with the local club, but it was hard to compete when I was still at school and others were earning real money. So a new club was formed (The West Douglas Model Car Racing Club) which was basically my brother and I plus loads of our school friends. I think we had 15 or 16 members at its peak.
We took it in turns to race at each other's houses and had annual GP, Saloons and Sports/GT championships of about 5 or 6 rounds. We also did Sports GT team endurance event on a 4 lane layout, which was great fun. Two to a team, each car to run for half an hour on each lane, 5 minute break for repairs/comfort stops and change drivers every lane change. Lap scorers and marshals were the non-drivers. The team with the total highest laps won. Great fun, but as it was on the carpet, there were a few sore knees afterwards!
Then came Uni, a job and family from 1972, so slot cars were put on ice by the mid-70's, although I kept everything. I did buy my son an F1 set in the late 70's (the Mansell red 5 set with the black Lotus) and then interest tailed off again when my son was in his mid-teens. I kept most of my old non-Scalextric cars (in bits) and a couple of Scalextric ones (mostly in bits), but all my old track and buildings seemed to disappear over the years. I can't remember what happened now, maybe it was given away.
Then I bought the Le Mans set with the 2 Lolas in 2004 to give me something to so on winter's days when the grandkids were at our house. Somehow we soon seemed to have about a dozen cars....and more track. Funny how that happens! Some were Fly, some GB track, some Scalextric. It was becoming a bit of a problem having to set up and take down the track in the dining room every time the grandkids came to stay. Sometimes I even managed to leave if up for a few days extra - luckily we had a dining table in the kitchen as well.
So in Spring 2006 my wife was talking to me about it one day, when she suggested we have the attic converted, or if that wasn't possible, perhaps have an extra room built on to the rear of the bungalow. Her idea was to build a permanent track and then help me out creating the scenery, which we thought would be great, as she loved a project to get her teeth into and we'd be working on it together, although she wasn't much interested in the racing side itself.
But after returning from a Tenerife holiday in early June 2006, she was taken ill suddenly in late June and passed away shortly afterwards in mid-July. This was a huge shock of course and I threw myself into my work, with long hours, loads of stress, too many glasses of wine and trying to be two grandparents in one. The inevitable happened and over the Christmas period, I had a heart attack on 28 December and ended up in the cardiac unit for a few days.
So next it was a whole month off doing very little to start with, followed by a bit of gentle exercise and that is when I found E-bay and how easy it was to buy slot cars without leaving home! One thing led to another and soon there were over 400 cars by the summer of 2008. During my month off, I set up a temporary Scalextric track on 4 decorator's tables in the dining room, which is still there at present, almost 3 years on, until the attic is ready. Then I joined the Slot Forum and the rest is history...!
I became involved in organising the Mini Mille Miglia (held in July 2009) and entered about 7 other events in the UK in 2009 and am back building my own cars (or at least trying to), which has kept me busy travelling, given that I have to catch the ferry to the UK and clock up a few hundred miles each round trip.
And the attic conversion mooted by my wife 4 years ago is coming to fruition, so the permanent track will be built this Spring. Not sure yet when the official opening will be!
I'll be posting regular updates as things progress through the next few months and beyond.