Full Sutton

If I said to you Full Sutton you will probably picture a high security prison housing some of the worst criminals in the country. To those with an interest in the second world war they may know of it as a WW II airfield. But only very small number of people will be able to tell you about its very special place in motorsport history.

RAF Full Sutton was the last wartime airfield to be opened in Yorkshire in 1944 under Bomber Command, before being switched to RAF Transport, and then RAF Flying Training Command. During its relatively short World War II career, the airfield listed 95 Halifaxe’s as failing to return .The airfield was then placed on care and maintenance until 1959 when it became a US nuclear missile site, operating until 1963.

Halifax bombers were stationed at Full Sutton

The airfield was used as a race track for just one year, 1958, just before the nuclear missiles arrived. The northern quarter of the airfield and circuit were lost when the maximum security prison was built in 1987. The western quarter of the track has since been returned to agriculture.

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During 1958 the BRSCC organised four races on the airfields runways and perimeter roads. Jim Clark was among the competitors at the first event in a Scott-Wilson entered Porsche. The event in April suffered from snow and Clarke crashed. He then returned in a D-type which he had to drive from Scotland to the circuit, race and then drive the car back home as the teams trailer was unavailable. This race earned him a place in the record books as the first driver to lap a British circuit at an average speed of over 100 mph in a sports car. The circuit was Britain’s longest at 3.2 miles (5.1 km), but the races drew few crowds and the BRSCC switched to Rufforth Circuit the following year.

Lotus Climax dominated the sports car race. Le Mans style start at Full Sutton

Another Yorkshire born driver, Innes Ireland competed at the circuit in a 1460cc Climax powered Lotus Eleven.

One thought on “Full Sutton

  1. I seem to remember entering a sprint at Full Sutton in my Austin-Healey 3000 in 1963 or 1964. I managed to rip off most of the silencer and exhaust (not unusual for a big Healey). My girlfriend (now my wife of 56 years) drove home in the dusk, the flames lighting up the road and bursting ear drums as we passed by. As an aside the car caught fire in the Cromwell Road London en route to Earls Court Caravan Show a few months later. Insurance paid out for a rebuild. Happy days.

    Liked by 1 person

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