WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF MALLORY PARK?
"Mallory Park" is sited in what were once the grounds of the 200 acre ancient estate once owned by the Noel family. Mallory Park started its life in the 1940’s as a Pony Trotting track. This was achieved by draining some marshy and clearing a small strip of Kirkby Wood. Many more mature trees had been felled at an earlier time, in accordance with the directions of the "War Agricultural Committee" as part of the war effort.
An oval grass track was completed in 1948. This was 1660 yd in length and had a start line and Stewards Box. It was not long before the "Kirkby Mallory Racing Association" ended when its parent company "The Pony Turf Club" was declared bankrupt.
Its next reincarnation came as a motorcycle scrambling venue, when The Leicester Query Club then rented the track. The track was very successful during this period holding of the National Grass Track Racing Championships from 1951.
In 1955 the Estate was purchased by Mr. Clive Wormleighton. He was a local builder who had built up his business in the Earl Shilton area. He began laying down a tarmac racing circuit in order to realise his dream of bringing car and motor cycle racing to the site. The very first races took place in 1956. A large crowd of 2 of over 20,000 people attended the grand Opening event on 13th May 1956. This event saw 248 riders taking part in various events, with a George Salter setting the first lap record of 84.08 miles per hour on a Norton motorcycle.
Many famous racing stars competed at Mallory Park, indeed John Surtees raced here with his father Jack in his early career. Jack had been a successful racer at Mallory when it was a grass track. John went on to be very successful on two and four wheels. He is commemorated by one of the famous Mallory Statues at the front gates of the Circuit.
Other famous riders and drivers who competed at Mallory Park were Bob McIntyre who won the first "Race of the Year" Competition in 1959. The following year Mike Hailwood won with a new lap record of 89 miles per hour. Mike Hailwood is also commemorated with a Statue at the front gate.
Clive Wormleighton added to the Circuit with a new clubhouse on the site of the old Hall. It was at this time that the lakes were formed by adding the sluice gate across the Brook.
Clive Wormleighton sold Mallory Park in 1963 to Grovewood Securities. Grovewood already owned Oulton Park, Snetterton, and the Brands Hatch racing circuits. Grovewood formed the Mallory Park Circuit Ltd. Further developments took place to raise the standard of the track and make it a better spectator venue. Crowds grew and in 1962 50,000 people watched the Post TT International Motor Cycle meeting, when Mike Hailwood won with an average speed of 91.70 miles per hour. Mallory was now established as a significant motor racing circuit. This lead the Daily Mail to sponsor the "Race of the Year "and the "Sidecar Race of the Year" in 1964.
The events put on at Mallory Park were becoming increasingly diversified with Bay City Rollers concerts, Radio One Fun-days and a wide range of motor racing events.
Mallory Park has seen some of motor racing’s greats compete there. John Surtees returned to Mallory to win on both 2 and 4 wheels. The great Giacomo Agostini was beaten by local legend John Cooper in the Race of the Year. Agostini was World Champion at this time so it was a great success for Cooper.
Through the 1970s attendances started to fall and it became clear that closure was a possibility in October 1982. In February 1983 Grovewood Estates agreed to sell the Estate to Titan Properties Ltd. Titan and their owner Chris Meek ensured the future of racing. This was particularly poignant as Chris Meek had been a very successful single seat car racer. Chris raced many times at Mallory, even holding the lap record there on a couple of occasions.
Titan Properties then leased Mallory Park Circuit to the Overend family. The Overend’s formed Mallory Park Motorsports Limited and grew the status and popularity of the circuit until they sold it on 12th January 2005 to British Automobile Racing Club Limited (BARC).