A FAMILY’S dream of bringing Formula 1 stock car racing back to the North-East has been met with huge support.

Fans of the sport said Graeme Robson’s plan to build a new track near Darlington could not come quick enough following his wish to gage interest in whether one would be welcome.

The father-of-two, of Staindrop, County Durham, grew up with the adrenaline-fuelled sport in the 1980s and has passed his passion for it onto his children, Molly, 16 and Henry 12.

Along with his wife, Tracey, the family travel around the world to attend meetings but have always longed to see the BriSCA Formula 1 Stock Cars return to the region following the closure of tracks in Newton Aycliffe and Hartlepool in the late 80s and early 90s.

And following a report in The Northern Echo, there was overwhelming support for the plans.

Paul Archer, of Stockton, said he had been involved in the sport since he was 15. The 67-year-old said he was “devastated” when the tracks at Newton Aycliffe and Hartlepool shut and would love to see the F1 races return.

Anthony Brown added: “Fabulous idea! There are a shortage of tracks for Brisca F1s especially in the North-East. Being an ex F1 driver I would love to see the North-East back on the calendar, bring it in.”

Lesley Tate said: “All the top drivers loved Aycliffe. I grew up going to every meeting. Made life-long friends and travel hundreds of miles even now to watch the sport as does a large number from the North-East. Yes, we need it back.”

Meanwhile, Stephen Rouse said: “The return of Stock car racing to the North-East is something I have been desperately waiting for the last 28 years.

“My first taste of this sport came in 1979 at Aycliffe Stadium when I was four years old. As the cars were coming out onto track I saw an amazing looking yellow car appear from the pits. The bodywork looked like it had come from the batmobile and sitting on top of the red roof was a big wing with the superman logo on it. The car had the number 391 emblazoned on it and the name 'SuperStu' As soon I saw this car I was hooked and I became a life-long fan of the man behind the wheel Stuart Smith. My sister however took a liking to one of his biggest rivals no. 212 Frankie 'smiler' Wainman meaning there was always plenty of arguing about who was the best, echoing the on-track rivalry of the drivers.”

He added: “My Mam and Dad would take us to every meeting at Aycliffe and Hartlepool as well as trips further afield to places like Bradford, Manchester and Coventry, but it was our local tracks that hold the best memories for me.”

Mr Robson, 39, said plans were afoot to launch a track near Darlington and landowners of the earmarked site had given their full backing.

“The phone never stopped ringing after the article ran which is fantastic,” he said. “We have even had responses from people as far as Holland and all over the country.”

And although he’s still keeping tight-lipped on where the track could be, he said the team would now be approaching businesses and the general public.

Mrs Robson added: “The response has been absolutely amazing, it’s blown us away. The messages of support show how much this really means to a lot of people."

“We uploaded a survey to our Facebook page Bring Brisca F1’s Back to the North East on Friday at approximately 8am. By 10.30am today [Monday] it shows that we have had 923 responses all 100 per cent behind having a race track in Darlington.”

The family are now looking at how to develop their plans and present it to Darlington Borough Council.

  • Mr Robson said anyone who wanted to share their views can contact him on 07711590289.

Would you like to see stock car racing back in the region?

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