The history of the Outlaw Oval Racing
Outlaws? Pirates? Bandits?
Outlaws has given a lot of drivers, both amateur and experienced, a chance to race again and most importantly have a bit of fun.
Fun... ah yes, we remember fun!
From Stock Car Racings beginnings in 1954 there was dissatisfaction with the way things where done - rogue drivers, renegade promoters and everything inbetween. It's no secret that the man that started it all was a bit of a 'wide boy' and saw stock cars as an 'act' like the ones he championed in his circus promotions. He paid his 'performers' a wage to perform, known as 'start money'.
Within two years there were many unscrupulous promoters, and even more unscrupulous drivers - some not even having an engine in their cars, who turned up, got their mate to push them round for a lap and collected the money! The bubble burst and the sport almost died. The people left where the enthusiasts that saw a future, rolled up their sleeves and got organised. But even then, in 1956, there where rumblings of discontent.... and they never went away.
The southern drivers wanted 'hot rods' - light and little armour. The northern boys favoured the 'tanks' that powered Belle Vue, Aycliffe, Newcastle and Wombwell, looking for a light and racy car to annihilate. A national drivers' committee (BSCDA), and a promoters' association, largely smoothed the waves and brought the two factions together - with the notable exceptions of Aycliffe and Newcastle who would have 'nowt to do with it' and blissfully carried on with their 'tanks' and local numbering. Lots of Board of Control (BoC) drivers raced at Aycliffe, sometimes under assumed names to keep them safe from BoC wrath - the very sort of control our heroes ( known at the time as 'pirates') were endeavouring to avoid.
The North East Formula 1 cars went their own way until 1966, when they registered with BriSCA and all was sweetness and light - maybe. However, the Formula 2 class 'invented' by Sid Farnon and Harry Twigg at Tamworth where a much more truculent bunch. Lots of Sunday afternoon racers with, in the main, little interest in travelling, raced for the local promoter and became a thorn in BriSCA's side.
The first shock to the system was a mass defection to Les Eaton's Spedeworth organisation. Les had a flair for promotion and some very nice tracks, with a strong local driver fan base.
The second somewhat lesser shock was the Mick Smith's Trackstar promotion that ran Kirkby and New Brighton, using their own version of F2" called 'Modstox'. These went from strength to strength, with some high profile names such as Doug Cronshaw, Pat Byrne and Wilf Blundell joining the ranks.
When Chick Woodrough gave up Boston Stadium, Mick Smith took that track as well, along with a good few 'redundant' BriSCA F2 drivers who overnight became Modstox drivers. Later, with the closure of the liverpool tracks, Pete Bains took over Boston. As Modstox were slowly dying, BriSCA F2 was expanding - due in no small part to Hartlepool promoter, Warren Taylor's fascination with the small cars and Gordon McDougall's having opened at Newtongrange Stadium in Scotland. BriSCA F2 became the only national Stock Car formula. That is not to say that there wasn't dissent in the camp, with pockets of resistance at Alwalton near Peterborough, Grimley in the Midlands, and Warton and Barrow in the North West.
Then the excrement really hit the cooling device when after a year or so of grumbling from both sides, BriSCA saw fit to ban Warren's younger brother, Russell Taylor (arguably one of the best F2 racers ever).
Warren threw a very predictable hissy fit, and took Hartlepool out of BriSCA. He opened Scunthorpe as his idea of how F2s should be...and he called this breakaway outfit the OUTLAWS.
Warren's Outlaws lasted some time, where entertaining and gave a lot of lads a chance to be competitive.
Eventually when Scunthorpe ceased to operate, the Outlaws were taken over by Stu Heppenstall and taken to Blyton in Lincolnshire. This too sadly faded from the scene, the Outlaws retreating in various formes to the Warton, Grimley and Standlake tracks, where they continued to race independently.
Being well aware of this sustained independent approach, and having reached the conclusion that in BriSCA F2 there was often more moaning than racing - when they where allowed to race at all of course - Edd Pannett and Daz Kitson started thinking. Those who know them well, will be aware that this tends to lead to interesting times...
Before too long, the thinking led to talking. Eventually, they decided to approach a few independent promoters, seeking to race outside BriSCA regulation at their tracks. Most protest movements are born from dissatisfaction, but need a consensus, and before too long, sufficient disgruntled F2 drivers had expressed an interest to convince our heroes that it was 'worth a go'.
A set of rules loosely based on current regulations were agreed, with sensible and affordable tyre rules that seem to satisfy most. Racing mainly on dirt tracks, with the option of tarmac racing at affiliated tracks, has resulted in a very successful first year.