A capacity crowd of more than 7,000 from across the UK and Europe said an emotional farewell to The Arena-Essex Raceway – after 40 years of racing.

More than cars entertained the crowds with drivers coming from as far afield as Belgium and Holland to race at the annual firecracker meeting for unlimited cc Bangers.

Cars including limos, hearses and Rolls Royces raced.

The site is set to close amid plans for the redevelopment of Lakeside as a town, which could see thousands of new homes built.

Race regular Gordon Willis said: “As someone who has been attending the circuit for 31 of the 40 years, I know how much it will be missed. Many outside the world of short circuit motor racing don’t understand the close knit racing community where drivers can be fierce rivals on the track, and yet be sharing parts and helping each other in the pits. Where families see generations upon generations attending and taking part in the racing. Now my eight-year-old daughter also has her eyes set on racing in the future, but who knows where that could be in Essex now.”

Speculation as to the future of the stadium has again been fuelled by a comment made in the event programme. It read: “So what next? Well Arena-Essex is not likely to be built over due to the very reason why it was deemed suitable to have a racing circuit built on it in the first place. That much hasn’t changed. There may be racing here in the future, but Promotasport (PRI) will probably not be involved. The only thing I can say about that is to watch this space.”