The WRDA was formed in late 1981. The late 70s’ and early 80s’ were a bleak time for Welsh racing. At the time there were only 2 venues for on track action, Llandow circuit and Pontypool Park Hillclimb. Without being unfair to both venues, even by the standards of the day, they could best be described as prosaic. However both held a fascination in the eyes of the public and there is a fund of funny stories associated with them both. In 1977 Tom Pryce, a driver who inspired many with his exploits in Formula One racing, died in the South African Grand Prix, and shortly afterwards Llandow lost it’s track license. Ponytpool lasted until 1980, and then sadly that too closed. This seemed to be the death knell for Welsh racing, all the National Clubs had departed back to their bases in England, and the only regional centre had closed. When reviewing the past 25 years you should consider the early days BW (before the WRDA). There was Llandow, & Pontypool. Llandow was a place so awful that Alvin Powell tried to improve it by attacking it with his Mini. The Mini lost! Also on one occasion a driver had to be evacuated to hospital with 3rd degree burns to his vital parts, inflicted while balancing over an overfull chemical toilet! Not nice. Also at Pontypool the Hillclimb event had to be suspended to allow the Pontypool Front Row to do their training run. Well who wants to argue with Three 20 stone front row forwards! So basically Welsh racing was a music-hall joke. Even sadder was the fact that one of Wales greatest drivers Tom Pryce, never had a track in Wales worthy of his name, in his own life-time. Instead the only time he was able to compete in Wales was on an Eypnt Rally in a Lancia Stratos. Unfortunately he was like a fish out of water and crashed on the first stage. Basically, as Alvin can testify, the general attitude at the time was based on the 2 Rs, Rallying and Rugby. Something needed to be done, and the rest is history. I myself feel fortunate that when I went around trying to drum up support for the WRDA, people like Alvin Powell, Ken Davies, Tim Davies, and others, they agreed to sign up and support the project. Founder member and current secretary Robert Allender recalls the origins of the WRDA. "I was convinced that a new initiative was needed and I approached other drivers of the day with a view to setting up a new club, which would work towards finding new venues in Wales. Luckily I found that there were many drivers and marshals who felt the same and we banded together to form the WRDA in September 1981. The first task was to drum up support for the concept that as England, Scotland & Ireland all had race-tracks, there should be at least one Welsh venue. I approached the Sports Council for Wales and spoke to Roger Eady who agreed to help. Later that year Roger contacted us as Llanelli Borough Council had purchased the then derelict Pembrey airfield. The airfield had been used as a chicken farm by Ross Chickens, but had been abandoned and derelict chicken sheds littered the site. We were invited to approach Llanelli Borough Council and put forward a case for establishing a racing circuit on the site. Fortunately we were able to convince them, and the rest is history."
More info: http://www.wrda.co.uk
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