Behind the wheel

Green Belt Motoring Club members take part in races around the UK
Green Belt Motoring Club members take part in races around the UK

Robert Taylor on the motoring club that’s racing ahead

Green Belt Motor Club (GBMC) was founded in 1965 by a group of friends who enjoyed doing Sunday afternoon car treasure hunts around the country lanes of Hertfordshire.

For many years it held weekly meetings at the Jolly Farmers in Enfield and then at Trent Park Golf Club in Oakwood. As GBMC expanded it soon moved on to higher levels of motorsport and, for about 20 years, its main event was the Mad Hatter Rally. This was a 120-mile nighttime road rally that was run on the back roads of sparsely-populated areas in East Anglia, around the Thetford Forest.

In more recent years the club has switched its attention to running special stages rallies – mainly on unsurfaced farm tracks and disused airfields. Many of GBMC’s competitors take part in this type of motorsport in their specially-modified cars. Quite often these are Ford Escorts, which are a very popular with rally competitors.

The club is now an active member of a consortium of East Anglia based motor clubs, which runs special stages rallies and other events. Recently it provided several key organisers for a national championship special stages rally that was held on the Snetterton motor racing circuit, near Norwich. Five of the 62 competitors in this rally were from GBMC – and one of them finished fourth overall and two were class winners.

Chris Deal, from Edmonton, is the club’s competitions secretary. He has competed as a co-driver for several years on the national rally section of the Wales Rally Great Britain – this country’s round of the World Rally Championship.

The club’s main event is a sprint racing meeting that it runs annually in July at North Weald Airfield near Epping in Essex. In events of this type there are numerous classes which cater for cars that range from road-going family saloons to single-seater racing cars. They all whizz around a series of high-speed runs on a one-and-a-half mile course.

In the field of motor racing GBMC’s chairman Malcom Wise, an Enfield resident, competes in a Ford Escort Cosworth in the Modified Saloon Car Championship, mainly at Brands Hatch Circuit in Kent. Last year he drove this 500-horsepower racing saloon car to one overall victory and five wins in his fiercely contested class.

The club also has a programme of social events which includes an annual dinner at which the winners of its 15 motorsport championships are presented with their trophies.

For more information about the Green Belt Motor Club:
Visit gbmc.org.uk