Arena Essex honours pioneer of post-war motorsport Chick Woodroffe

Thurrock Gazette: Arena Essex will be busy on Sunday Arena Essex will be busy on Sunday

SPEEDWAY: ARENA Essex Raceway hosts one of its biggest annual events on Sunday when local motorsports enthusiasts remember the founding father of the sport in Thurrock.

The Chick Woodroffe Memorial Meeting starts at 1pm and will feature Rookie Micro Bangers, 4-man team racing plus Minisprints, Lightning Rods and Stock Rods.

What’s more the meeting - whose gates open at 10.30am - will boost teh coffers of Help for Heroes, and all armed forces with relevant ID receive free entry.

Arena Essex director Lesley Wootten stressed that the meeting still bore a great deal of connection with Chick, who died in December 2000, aged 75.

She said: “The meeting has always been very popular because of the connection with Chick.

This year one of the Micro banger teams, dubbed Chick's Chicks features members of the family behind the steering wheels. The team comprises Chick’s daughter Debbie Woodroffe as well as his grandaughter Remi Gay, alongside team mates Claire Jones and Stacey Ruskin.

Wootten said: “It’s fantastic that they are entering the team race - Chick would have lover it.”

“He was one of those characters in the sport who defined the era and led teams to compete in South Africa, the Caribbean and New Zealand to compete.”

But sargent major Chick Woodroffe (real name Roy) was in fact training to be a jockey when he was called up to fight and served much of his time in Egypt where his love of motorsport developed.

When he was demobbed he came to Thurrock and set up garages at London Roads, West Thurrock and at Southend Road in Grays.

But his love of racing everything from bikes to go-karts and especially stock cars meant that he was soon promoting races - first at Tilbury and then elsewhere in the borough. Sunday’s meeting has, so far, attracted plenty of entries Micro Banger Teams for the weekend: Chick's Chicks: Car number 1 Debbie Woodroffe; 409 Remi Gay; 177 Claire Jones; 732 Stacey Ruskin.

Beez's Neeze: 87 Tracey Warner; 427 Sharon Worthington; 839 Craig Waters; 940 Dave Numan dl.

Part Time Racing: 25 Paul Ring; 51 John Avery; 52 Micky Hamer; 342 Carl Davies.

Team Relentless: 95 Anton Martin; 928 Emerson Prime plus 2xTBA.

Essex Boys: 218 Simon Peters; 233 Lee Tompkins; 425 Richard Wellham; 426 John Barrett.

Vermins: 69 Brett Jackso; 424 Fred Webb; 506 Anthony Emson; TBA. Ratz Pack:10 Paul Whiteman; 69 Mark Carroll; 110 Matthew Young; 135 Jamie Batchelor.

Laindon Loons: 397 Billy Reeves; 414 Lee Busby; 498 Jay Curtis; 740 Paul Harrison.

The Rat Pack: 49 Billy King; 91 Dave Barwick; 929 Matt Lewis; 949 Nathan King.

Team Pinkish: 876 Ronnie Hammond; 910 Billy Slow; TBA. Team Oxo: 506 Danny Mitchell; 550 TJ Powers; Dwayne Powers; Kevin Powers.

Desert Rats: 197 Sean Chapman; 297 Paul Chapman; 497 Wayne Mills; 661 Aaron Harris.

Team Thatadoo: 377 Sam Watson; 585 Kevin Giles; 827 Terry Smith; 925 James Fewings.

Vange Destroyers: 71 Dennis Webb; 122 Christopher Webb; 421 Richard Webb; 971 Martin Jacobs.

No Wally: 59 Tom Greenstreet; 94 Grant Kilburn; 125 Jason Webb; 586 Jamie Webb.

Entry to the track at West Thurrock costs £14 for adults and £7 for children, concessions: £7.

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