WIGAN & DISTRICT MOTOR CLUB HISTORY.
The formation of Wigan & District Motor Club came as a result of a chance conversation between two petrol heads in the local Firestone tyre depot, Wallgate, Wigan in 1972. Up until that moment in time George Thewlis and Steve Lee were complete strangers but their common interest prompted them to fill a void for local like-minded people. They formed Wigan & District Motor Club, and the rest, as the saying goes, is history!
Soon to join them at their fortnightly meetings in Wigan’s Market Tavern was Alan Bibby who has served as Club Secretary for a very long time, whilst George Thewlis still acts as Club Steward.
By 1976 the Club were confident that they had sufficient members to organise its’ first road rally and a local construction company was persuaded to sponsor the event. The inaugural Allen Group Trophy Rally took place in the lanes of North Cheshire and ran again in 1977 but the club then switched it’s attentions towards running its own stage rally.
Situated on the southern periphery of Wigan’s boundary, Haydock Park Racecourse, with its vast array of car parks and private roads, was an obvious venue. Local Peugeot dealers Westmorland Motors sponsored the Club’s first event there in November 1982 and six months later the Motaquip Trophy Rally was staged at the same location. Unfortunately the racecourse management then pulled the plug on such events so it meant the club had to search out another venue.
It wasn’t long before Cark Airfield in Flookburgh, Cumbria, was identified by a club member Dave Morgan who had a caravan on the adjacent caravan park and in December 1983 the club ran their first stage rally at the South Cumbrian venue, something that continued up until 1999 when the site was sold to the local caravan leisure park.
During this time the club had approached the local Kart Circuit management with a view to introducing stage rallying to the venue. Alan Bibby did a deal to purchase a quantity of Armco barriers from the proposed race circuit at Flookburgh which didn’t materialise and to get them installed at The Three Sisters Kart Track in Wigan, a move that enabled the circuit to be used for both car and motorcycle events having previously been restricted to karts.
The club’s first stage rally was held at the Three Sisters Race Circuit in 1989 and they’ve held stage events at the venue every year since. The Club holds two stage rallies at Three Sisters, The Cetus Stages in May and The Adgespeed Stages in October.
The club is also the driving force behind “The 6R4.com Three Sisters Rally Challenge”. The Challenge, which was devised in memory of club stalwart Walter Jenkins who died in 2006, the Challenge is co-promoted with Blackpool South Shore Motor club who host The Roskirk Stages at the Three Sisters Circuit.
Wigan & District Motor Club has come along way from its humble beginnings when a handful of motorsport enthusiasts met every other week at a town centre public house. The club celebrated forty years of organising motor sport in October 2012.
Alan Bibby and George Thewlis are two of the club’s longest-serving members along with Tony Lynch, Mike King & Dave Hind, long serving committee members, Mike has filled the role of Membership Secretary since 1990. Nowadays the Club boasts in excess of 100 members and many are regular attendees at club meetings that are held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month in the conservatory at The Red Lion, Lowton. See the web site for more info. www.wiganmotorclub.org.uk
Club members are actively involved in stage rallying, sprints, rallycross, hillclimbs and marshalling. More recently an increasing number of members have been building new cars with the intention of competing in events. Members have been successful in regional championships, such as those organised by the ANWCC, ANCC, AWMMC and SD34MSG, members have also made their mark competing in National and International events.