History of the Classic Sports Car Club last updated 21/10/19
The Classic Sports Car Club has grown rapidly since 2001, becoming one of the most popular racing clubs in the UK. With an ever growing membership, ten of its own race series for cars of all ages as well as organising racing for other clubs the CSCC is a full time affair with permanent office, staff, vehicles and hundreds of loyal volunteers.
The Classic Sports Car Club (CSCC) was founded in 2001 by Richard Culverhouse and Richard Wos, when the opportunity arose to create a motor sports club after Richard Culverhouse left the Aston Martin Owners Club . Its aim was to support, protect and encourage the ‘grass roots’ aspect of Motorsport. A committee made of former and active racers helped to steer the club and continues to support the individual series and running of the years events.
When the club was set up it was initially run out of Richard’s spare room with help from Denise Woolley who worked with Richard Culverhouse in a different business. The Club gained MSA recognition in May 2002 whilst it was decided at the AGM that year to become a limited company. With initial assistance from the BRSCC the CSCC ran their first ever race meeting at Snetterton on 25th August 2003 alongside the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club; the CSCC has continued to organise racing for the JEC to this day.
With the advent of race meetings things started to become more hectic and Debbie Wilson-Smith joined the team. This came at the same time the ‘office’ moved from the bedroom to the lounge!
At the Historic Motor Sports Show in 2004 (now known as Race Retro International) the CSCC’s first race series ‘Swinging Sixties’ was promoted. With glamorous ladies and a then unique format for 60's cars, on 60 profile tyres, for 60 minutes. Their first race came at Croft on 17th April 2004 with a grid of 14 cars. Nowadays the Swinging Sixties has grown to enjoy full grids with cars split into 2 groups at most rounds to cater for the ever growing number of entries.
An early and passionate supporter of the CSCC was East Anglian based Club Steward Philip Wolfe-Parry who bought and paid for the clubs first Trophy for the Swinging Sixties and the Members Trophy. The members trophy is awarded annually to an individual(s) who best represents the spirit of the club. This Swinging Sixties trophy was re-named the Wolfe-Parry award and is now given annually to the winner of the Swinging Sixties race at Snetterton.
The following year came the clubs second series ‘Tin Tops’ which first ran at Mallory Park on 29th May 2005. A departure from what many would consider 'Classic' cars, the Tin Tops series has thrived and embraced the clubs philosophy of high driving standards. Tin Tops came about after Tony Rushforth approached Richard & Richard with a Mini only series, with the suggestion coming back about creating a series which could incorporate the Minis into. Tony developed the series, handing over to current driver representative Stuart Levers in 2010.
Debbie Wilson-Smith had worked with the club for 2 years, at which point the club was fortunate enough to welcome Ros Gunning onboard on the 12th of July 2005 after being interviewed in Richards living room! Ros continued to work in the office and was ‘Secretary of the Meeting’ at race events until the end of the 2015 season, before retiring in 2017. Ros's first meeting was at Oulton Park on Friday, 22nd July to run the CSCC one day meeting at Oulton Park on 23rd July. Ros shadowed Debbie at the meeting as it was her last; her family were there and they left immediately afterwards as they were emigrating to Canada.
The club was going from strength to strength with a move to rented office space in the centre of Trowbridge in 2005, taking on more space in the same building in late 2006. The premises was not perfect with steep stairs to negotiate when loading the club vehicles and parking issues.
Robert Williams began to Clerk for the club on a regular basis.
Sarah Hutchison took over Chairmanship of the club in late 2006 from Richard Wos who took on the role of Treasurer.
As the club continued to grow, the ‘Future Classics’ Series for 1970s and 1980s cars was introduced in 2006, first racing at Anglesey in June 2007.
The CSCC organised a trip to Daytona Speedway in Florida in November 2007 where many of its members took part in the Anglo-American Challenge races.
Robert Williams took on the role of Officials Co-ordinator, carefully building a team of CSCC officials and Marshals, many of whom still look after our race events to this day.
With growth comes the need to support its members with staff, recruiting Hugo Holder in February 2008, Hugo had recent experience racing with the CSCC in Tin Tops and Swinging Sixties. Richard Culverhouse was also planning long-term for his future retirement by recruiting Hugo. Also starting in 2008 Lorna Elliott (Lorna '1') joined the club in May as a self-employed book-keeper having been recommended by her friend Ros Gunning. Lorna continues on a part time basis to this day.
Sarah introduced the new club logo that we still use, reinforcing the 'classic' part of the clubs name.
Tony Rushforth became Chairman, taking over from Sarah in 2008. The first CSCC test day begun during this year on the original Snetterton layout, this pre-season event has continued every year since. The first dedicated club vehicle, a 2008 Citroen Picasso, was leased to transport awards, equipment and staff to the race meetings and shows.
Sports vs. Saloons races became a regular feature at CSCC meetings, attracting interest from drivers of Seven type cars (Caterhams). Peter French approached the club to see if it would start a race series for Sevens, the club offered them a home within the Sports vs Saloon series promising that if numbers grew sufficiently they would start a dedicated series.
Numbers of Sevens had increased through 2008 and the ‘Magnificent Sevens’ series started in 2009 with support from Peter French who became driver representative. The first stand alone race at Snetterton in April that year led to continued growth, large grids and from 2013 the occasional need to split grids into two, group 1 for lower powered Sevens, group 2 for the bigger-engined machines. The search started in 2009 for new, larger, rented premises. Treasurer Richard Wos calculated costs could be saved by buying the premises and moved from Trowbridge to Corsham, Wiltshire, where we operate from today. 1 Masons Wharf, Corsham was a brand new building with storage for records and the club vehicles as well as office space and dedicated parking. Hugo Holder introduced the change from traditional membership databases to bespoke motor club software 'RevUp' by Prosolve, a big improvement.
A second trip to the legendary Daytona Speedway came at the end of the 2009 season, giving many members the racing experience of a lifetime.
The role of President of the Classic Sports Car Club was offered to (and accepted by) Jem Marsh in 2010, all the way through to his sad passing in early 2015. Ros Gunning had worked with Jem and his wife Lyn for some years before Ros had joined the CSCC. Jem was best known as the founder of Marcos Cars, producing a variety of sports cars from 1959 through to 2002. Marcos Cars sporting heritage is well known, with success at all levels of Motorsport that continues to this day with cars in the hands of keen privateer racers. Jem and his wife Lyn lived in the South West close to the CSCC office, keeping in touch and taking an active interest in the CSCCs evolution and success.
In a move that saved the club money it purchased a used 2002 MG ZT-T V6 as a course car, having it wrapped in a CSCC logo design.
The Magnificent Sevens series received sponsorship from jewellers 'Gold Arts' for that season and every year since, with some superb watches being awarded as prizes in that time.
2010 saw the next series started, continuing what was become a trend of creating a new series every season. Returning to its classic racing car roots the ‘Classic K’ series for pre 1966 cars running to FIA Appendix K was introduced, running for two seasons, before a gap of two years before a successful re-introduction in 2014 after renewed demand.
Discussion between then club treasurer Richard Wos and long term committee member Mark Barton at an early season show started the idea of reviving the Special Saloons and Modsports era, whose cars had not had a home to race for decades. A free of charge test and exhibition day in June 2011 proved hugely popular, bringing cars out of garages that hadn't turned a wheel for 20 or 30 years.
With an ever increasing workload in the office came the need to recruit a part time staff member to assist Ros in processing race entries and card payments as well as managing the clubs archive. Lorna Chadwick (Lorna 2) immediately made a difference from early 2011 with her MOD background helping to bring order to the increasing paperwork and archives! The Citroen was returned at the end of its 3 year lease to be replaced with a smart new 2011 VW Touran 1.2TSI.
A 'Presidents Cup' race was run for Marcos cars at Castle Combe in April 2011 in honour of Club President, Jem Marsh, the founder of Marcos Cars.
The ‘Mallory Revival’ meeting in August 2011 featured three 'Modsports and Super Saloons Revival Challenge' races to the pleasure of both drivers and thousands of racing fans. The success of these races led the club to start a series of races for the Special Saloons from 2012. Initially represented by Andy Wilson, with Ricky Parker-Morris taking on the role from 2014 when the series name changed to become the 'Special Saloons and Modsports'.
The Club organised two ‘Classic Sports Car Club Elan 50’ races to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Lotus Elan. These ran on the GP circuit at Brands Hatch during the Lotus festival on August 18th/19th 2012 and at Donington Park on 15th/16th September 2012. That same year the club started the Deutsche Marque series for post 90’s German Marque cars which ran for one year. A third club vehicle was added to the fleet, a used 2008 Vauxhall Vectra SRi, used as a medical responder car at some circuits and staffed by Richard Sneader until 2015 when Carol Ann Gosbee took over. Having our own medical car saves considerable costs.
2013 was a special year for the club as it was the 10th Anniversary of the club organising its own race events. A new 10th anniversary logo, printed mugs, hog roast at Donington, curry night and double header races when visiting Pembrey for the first time and other small features marked this important anniversary. David Smitheram started in January 2013 as a general assistant after interviews in late 2012, working on improving the clubs communications with its members by introducing new style programmes and newsletters, Twitter and Facebook pages and working to increase visibility with the press. Club co-founder Richard Culverhouse announced he would retire at the end of the 2013 season.
'Deutsche Marque' evolved into 'Modern Classics' for cars up to the end of 1999 (cars of any nationality) and instantly proved popular, well promoted by driver representative Andy Yeomans who made full use of social media and forums to spread the good word of the club.
The long awaited online race entry system went live in time for the third meeting of the season in 2013 at Brands Hatch and proved immediately popular with as many as 50% of the membership choosing to book their races this way, with that percentage increasing as the years have passed. The clubs website and e-mail service had long been run by volunteer committee member and Future Classics driver representative Nigel Gibbins. The need for more frequent updates and pressing work and family commitments led to Nigel building the new website structure before passing this over to David to fill and maintain. The end of the year saw the first Dinner Dance organised by social secretary Lisa Selby, Lisa also designs many of the clubs printed advertisements. Guest speaker Steve Rider proved to be a hit.
The Dunlop Puma Cup for near standard Ford Puma 1.7 and the Dunlop Production Cup for Porsche started racing with the CSCC in 2014, new series run by co-ordinator Chris Clark with backing from various sources including EMC. The Porsche series attracted few entries, whilst the Dunlop Puma grew steadily, with the CSCC still organising racing for this series.
With a mixture of ages of cars now racing with the 'Classic' Sports Car Club the office received some calls from spectators who were expecting to see only older cars on the timetables. Other phone calls occasionally came in thinking that we offer concours/club runs/hire cars for weddings! David suggested that the committee consider adding a strapline to the existing logo to better illustrate what the club does. Suggestions were made with the vote taken in favour of Hugos choice of 'Motorsport For Cars Of All Ages'.
Richard Wos re-introduced the Classic K series for pre 1966 cars running to FIA Appendix K. With a sensible approach to scrutineering being taken the level of interest and grids were strong throughout the season.
July 2014 once again saw the Special Saloons and Modsports take the limelight at a time when Mallory Park experienced a change of ownership after a closure of many months following noise issues. A coup for the CSCC who put on the only car race meeting in 2011 (at short notice) during the regular racing season. Full grids with reserves saw the largest numbers of these amazing machines racing together for decades, with crowd numbers again in the thousands.
The VW Touran came to the end of its finance period and was purchased outright by the club.
David Smitheram became a Director of the club in July 2014 joining Hugo Holder and Richard Wos.
Continued enquiries from competitors with newer vehicles than we could otherwise accept in Modern Classics led the club to put on two trial races for post year 2000 cars at Donington Park in August 2014 and Snetterton in October 2014. These races dubbed 'New Millennium' attracted modest entries in the high teens, but certainly attracted attention with many enquiries confirming they would bring cars out the following season if we put on a full series.
The end of 2014 saw a number of key personnel changes with the planned retirement of chairman Richard Culverhouse who had spent his last season helping in race admin. Experienced racer and CSCC committee member John Hammersley was voted in as Chairman at the end of 2014, John's first race with the CSCC was in 2008. Co-founder, treasurer, director and strategist Richard Wos also stepped down at the end of the season as did Andy Yeomans from the committee.
A constitutional change was needed when it was realised that the club rules were outdated and the limited company articles of association did not perfectly match and needed modernisation. An extraordinary general meeting was called with the vote being passed that gives the directors responsibility for running the club, taking advice and guidance from the committee. The updated rules allowed the club to accept 16 year old racing members and accept modern methods of electronic communication.
The office was becoming ever more busy through the season and at race meetings, despite modern technology saving time. We were outgrowing the office space, so the original builders, father and son Frank and Will Di Claudio built a new mezzanine floor, extending the small meeting room into a larger office room, completing the build that summer.
2015, a new year and the eighth series for the CSCC with the New Millennium receiving a full calendar of dates, looked after by driver representative Toby Harris after consultation with Andy Yeomans.
A new sponsor for the Future Classics series 'Advantage Motorsport' brought in funds for the club, driver of the day award and offers for the members.
GT and Touring car racer and team manager Mike Jordan was made President of the Club in 2015 following the sad passing of Jem Marsh who had been our club president since 2010.
2015 was the final season for Ros Gunning as Secretary of the Meeting. After so many race seasons Ros understandably wanted to enjoy more time to travel during the summer with her family. Ros continues her work in the office, in charge of membership. Hannah joined the team in 2015 in preparation to take on the Secretary of the Meeting role for 2016.
Record grids at the first three meetings of the year with almost 400 drivers at each meeting!
The CSCC continued with its popular annual June pilgrimage to Belgium; in addition to 6 races for its own series the club organised two races for the AR Motorsport Morgan Challenge at the popular Spa Francorchamps Summer Classic. With over 50 Morgans racing on track together this was a new record for the marque, coinciding with the Morgan Challenge 30th birthday.
The season ended with a night race meeting at Brands Hatch with the Saturday producing superb racing but the Sunday being lost to afternoon fog, almost unheard of in the history of the circuit.
The year had been a successful one for the club, paying off its mortgage in full at 1 Masons Wharf and treating the downstairs floor to a new covering along with storage shelving. The trusty MG course car was retired (sold on ebay!) and purchasing in a used 62 plate Mercedes Vito van, needed for the ever growing amount of equipment brought to the circuits, particularly Spa.
The years dinner dance saw us giving a new award, the Barry Carpenter Memorial Trophy, given annually to a non-driver worthy of recognition. Barry was a former driver with us and other clubs, after he passed away his good friend David Edge on behalf of Barry Carpenters widow donated money to the club to purchase the beautiful trophy.
2016 saw the introduction of the clubs ninth race series, with immediate sponsorship too. The CSCC Meteor Suspension Open Series has just 3 main rules: No single seaters, No sports racers and No slick tyres (or racing wets). The series came about after David Smitheram built a list over two years from people who made enquiries to race with the club but had cars that didn't quite fit anywhere else. The occasional Sports v Saloons races the club put on were popular but not announced very far in advance. The series now attracts many of our existing drivers who use the race as fun or extra practice as well as drivers with cars that have non standard bodywork or engine types.
Long term CSCC tyre support Adams & Page came on board as sponsor to the Swinging Sixties series, initially attracted to the announcement that the club was having its first ever televised meeting at Thruxton.
David and Hugo were very proud to receive on behalf of the club a Motorsport Days Annual Award. 6500 subscribers were invited to vote in various categories, with the CSCC winning the UK Clubman Championship Of The Year highlighting the large grids and "competitive, fair and affordable racing". In addition Ros Gunning was awarded the Motorsport Days Unsung Hero Of The Year. "Polite, friendly and efficient and doesn't seek the limelight" said one voter. Other CSCC drivers and teams were also award winners, a great result.
By April 2016 world renowned brake manufacturer Mintex announced they would sponsor the Classic K series for the season, bringing trackside brake advice to all members, through distributor Questmead.
For the first time since a special Mallory Park edition in 2011 the race programmes are full colour, displaying David Stallards photographs superbly.
2017 took the club to Silverstone's International layout, operating from the 'Wing' for the first time, visiting Croft after a ten year absence and finishing the season with exciting night races at Brands Hatch. At the end of 2017 the club announced its tenth race series 'Turbo Tin Tops' with headline sponsor the Motorsports School. After years of David Smitheram trying to bring this iconic name back to motor racing, Wendy Wools agreed to sponsor the Special Saloons and Modsports Series, 40 years since it first took on championship sponsorship.
2018 was another successful year for the club. Its Silverstone meeting, again on the International Circuit, saw the 408 entries, a record for the Classic Sports Car Club. It was also the meeting that also saw its newest series, the Motorsports School Turbo Tin Tops Series, first stand-alone race. For forced induction front-wheel drive cars, the future of the hot hatch market, it featured one of the most contemporary grids of tin tops in UK club motorsport.
The club also made its tenth annual visit to the Spa-Summer Classic, arranging three capacity grids for Classic, Interseries & Seven-type cars for its members. Again, the trip to Spa was a highlight of the season for the club and its members alike.
The venerable Vauxhall Vectra medical response car was put out to pasture, replaced with an Audi A3 V6, wrapped by New Millennium Series sponsor RSV Graphics. The Club also hired the expertise of videographer Marc Peters to produce highlight videos of CSCC meetings, and the scribing prowess of John Aston to produce delightful and anecdote-filled race meeting reports, both published on the CSCC’s website and social media channels.
The club also made its first visit to France, with a meeting at the former Grand Prix venue of Magny-Cours for the CSCC Open Series. This was the first time the club organised two continental European meetings in one season for over ten years.
2019 saw a new member of staff join the team full-time in the office in January. After four years of volunteering in race administration at the CSCC’s race meetings, Arron Groombridge was employed as the clubs Assistant; co-ordinating marshals and officials, as well as helping to write the clubs magazine Classic Lines and Programmes and creating content for other publications.
Mike Heath also became Chief Clerk of the Course for the CSCC’s events, after longstanding Chief Robert Williams handed over the role following Mike’s number of years as his deputy.
As the 2019 motorsport season ‘began’, with the Autosport International Show in January, the CSCC were proud to accept the 2018 Racing Club of the Year award from Downforce Radio and The Spirit of Racing with Jaguar award from the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club.
The CSCC agreed to sponsor the British Motorsport Marshal Club in 2019, our contribution helping the BMMC to supply overalls to marshals at a 100% discount for the first time in their history. It was just part of a number of ways the CSCC showed its appreciation for the volunteers trackside. Thanks to our series sponsors, the club was able to arrange a prize raffle at every one of its meetings, including BTCC VIP tickets, vouchers and merchandise from CSCC sponsors, and Prodrive & Aston Martin factory tours. The CSCC also opened up its members discount directory to marshals who had volunteered at its events.
2019 also saw the introduction of the clubs own, bigger and brighter Code 60 Flags. The only club to utilise Code 60, these new flags purchased by the club were in response to our members request to make them more visible.
Announced in 2018, the CSCC’s 2019 season opener at Snetterton saw the debut race for the clubs latest initiative, the RX-8 Trophy. A class for road legal Mazda RX-8 231 models, the regulations are written to keep the Mazda RX-8 231 in a near showroom, road legal specification, with changes to safety equipment, brake pads, tyres and a few reliability enhancements. With a build time measured in hours, at very low cost, it was launched to provide the perfect way into motorsport for those wanting to experience a performance, rear wheel drive sports car on a budget.
The Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens Series celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2019 and it became the latest series to race on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit. In a fitting tribute in this anniversary year, the competitors staged an absolute thriller of a race, 46 cars taking the start, with the top three covered by just 0.221 seconds at the flag.
2019 has also been the year where the Special Saloons & Modsports Series visited Mondello Park in Ireland, the first time these cars have raced at the circuit in the modern era. And following on from Magny-Cours in 2018, CSCC members had separate grids for modern and classic cars at another historic French former Grand Prix venue, Dijon-Prenois.
From its humble beginnings the Classic Sports Car Club has grown since to become one of the top motor sports clubs in the country. There are still many members that competed in the first Swinging Sixties race who are still competing now; such is the popularity and comradeship of belonging to the CSCC. The club now organise racing for ten of their own series, as well as organising races for invited club championships and series.