Edwards’ Brooklands Speedway Track is currently in store at the museum but parts of it have been brought out and are on display, giving an opportunity to assess the work required to preserve this unique ride.
It is similar to the Dodgems in appearance, but there are a number of differences, mainly that riders race against each other rather than crash into them.
It was introduced in the late 1930s – often known as the Brooklands Speedway, aspiring to the famous Surrey race track of the same name. It was pitched at younger patrons with notices stating: “Drive your own sports car!”
Robert Edwards ordered the ride in 1937 from Orton, Sons and Spooner of Burton on Trent at a cost of £1,050 without cars.
The track is 80 feet in length by 40 feet and originally had a fleet of ten miniature racing cars. The decoration on the ride is classic art deco style, probably by Sid Howell, who also painted the Chariot Racer.
A new set of racing cars were built for the track in 1964 by Supercar of Warwick, but they only saw a season’s use before the ride was packed away at Edwards’ depot in Swindon at the end of that year.
It has not been built up since, but has been stored in its original packing trucks. Preliminary inspection of the wooden components suggest that much of the ride is still in very good condition, but there will be considerable work to ensure that the electrical parts meet modern standards.