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Commercial Raceway in Manchester in late 1960s

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I've also posted this in the Slot Archaeology thread but it may stand more chance of being seen, by Northern slot racers of a certain age, here.

I remember visiting a commercial raceway somewhere in Manchester in the late 1960s - probably the summer of 1968. I can't remember much about the venue, other than that it was in one of the less chic arrondissements of Cottonopolis, possibly Ancoats or Shude Hill. I think there was just one track, almost certainly an AMF Blue King, because I remember the useless steering wheel and gas pedal combo - and the fact that you needed to have a jack plug on your controller not a 3 pin plug.

So - does anyone else remember this Northern bastion of commercial slottery? If so, can you shed any more light on where it was and how long it lasted?

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The raceway in Broughton, Salford opened in June 1967 and was known as "Manchester Model Raceways". It was built in the old dance hall above the Rialto cinema and had 3 tracks, a 65ft lap 8 lane novice track, a 120ft lap 8 lane intermediate track and a 240ft lap "super track" which had a 72 degree banked corner at the end of a 45ft straight! The tracks were designed and built by me and Brian Badger, both of us ex Ashton under Lyne and Slots Incorporated club racers, with assistance from several carpenters, with the electrics and lap counters supplied and fitted by Harrison Bros from Southport.
The tracks were built to comply with the then ECRA rules and were constructed from 3/4" RB plywood, money no object at the time! Brian and I were contracted to build all 3 tracks and we started work on them in January 1967. At the same time whilst building the 3 tracks we were asked to design and fit out the old Whisky a Go Go casino in the basement below the raceway which we managed to do (somehow), and that opened in May 1967 as the Whisky a Go Go Disco, a month before the raceway opened. I seem to remember working some stupid hours to get jobs done - 80 to 90 hours a week sometimes. not helped by several interuptions from DJ's Dave Lee Travis and Jimmy Saville. The official opening of the raceway was covered by the Manchester Evening News and then later had some air-time on Granada TV.
It was a shame that the raceway closed so soon, the owners wanted a quick return on their investment and when that didn't happen, they pulled the plug on it, owing a lot of money to a lot of people, including me and Brian.

Hope this throws some light on Manchester's slot car past.

While I'm on here I might as well mention a new club, the North Wales Slot Car Club (NWSCC), at Rhuddlan, near Rhyl. I have returned to slot car racing after a long, long lay-off, thanks to meeting some like-minded people here in North Wales.
We're hoping to put on some open meetings and a round of the BSL in the near future. NWSCC's track was Bolton's 95ft track and was purchased from them last November. It has been refurbished with the drivers rostrum re-sited (for those that know the Bolton track) opposite it's original position.

Chris Rigby
Slots Inc.
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Hi David,

The tracks didn't have steering wheels. I think they were only fitted to AMF built tracks, like the one at Hammersmith. The 3 tracks at Salford were wired to comply with ECRA rules and were fitted with the usual 2 amp sockets. I'm not sure when Manchester Model Raceways closed, probably 1969 or 1970. I had had enough of involvement with slot racing, thanks to the proprietors of Manchester Model Raceways! I think a ECRA affiliated club (don't know the name) was resident there for a while and they used the intermediate track for club nights and open meetings. There is a photo of the 240ft track in the September 1967 issue of Models Cars magazine. I think it was the longest 8 lane track in the country at the time.

Chris R
Hi Eddie,

No. I didn't keep in touch with Badger or any of the Ashton members. I met Badger on a train bound for London sometime in the early 70's but I haven't seen or heard of him since. There are several names from the past I would like to hear from, if they want to hear from me that is! Former Ashton and Slots Incorporated members such as Keith Edwards, Gerry Ball, Robin Whitmarsh, Bill Green, Eddie Brawn, Eric Johnson, Jack Slinger to name but a few. Of course I realise as time passes, one or two may have gone on to that great slot car racing club in the sky!

Chris R
Hi Tony,

Unfortunately Manchester Model Raceways was never given the right sort of backing by the owners and they were only interested in making a "quick buck". They were not slot car enthusiasts and lacked the necessary enthusiasm. It was always doomed to failure.
Yes, the Auto Union is running again but much slower than when it was last raced, 46 years ago. It still has it's Fyffes stickers, although they're somewhat faded! The motor needs re-magnetising as it is lacking in the umph department. I managed to get some replacement Cox mag rear wheels with tyres but the tyres are very hard and need changing for something with grip. I couldn't find a replacement for the missing VIP guide so I have had to modify a jet flag to fit. I will take some pics next time I'm down at the club and post them.

Chris R
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