How Big Is Rockingham Speedway? [Expert Guide!]

One of the most eagerly awaited fixtures in the UK each year is the Rockingham Festival. A celebration of motorsport and all things related, the Festival presents the unique opportunity to attend some of the world’s greatest events in the same place and at the same time. One of the highlights of the Festival is the big rock stadium that hosts some of the most famous motorsport races in the UK. But just how big is Rockingham stadium? Let’s find out.

The Grandest Motorsport Stadium

If there’s one place that typifies the spirit of the entire Rockingham Festival it’s the big rock stadium. Rising above the town like a phoenix, this 200-year-old athletics stadium has witnessed some of the greatest race teams and drivers in history compete for victory. For years, the venue has been the home of the British Motorcycle Club (BMC) and the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC). With a record 64,000 capacity, the stadium is often referred to as the “grandaddy of them all”. Even after two world wars and the introduction of motorised vehicles, the grand old stadium still hasn’t lost its allure for motorsport lovers and teams alike.

Located just 10 minutes from Northampton Train Station, the stadium is easily accessible, both by car and public transport. It’s a quick drive down the M1 and then onto the A45 to reach the entrance. Once inside, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking view of the entire stadium. From the outside, it looks rather austere and plain. However, let yourself get into the habit of looking at the amazing view rather than focusing on the bland appearance. The same goes for the rest of the stadium. Once you know where you’re going and have got used to the amazing sight of the entire race circuit laid out before you, it’s hard to look at the concrete and grey paint in a different light.

The Home Of Some Of The Greatest Motorsport Fights

The story of the big rock stadium begins in 1792, when a game of cricket took place at the Northampton Old Town Cricket Ground. It was during the game that one of the spectators allegedly shouted, “That’s a damned fine run, Harry”, after which a race was held between two teams. One of the spectators, William Harrison, built a track in his back garden in order to stage the race. The following year, a public meeting was called to establish a new club named after Harrison, who had died from a fever a few weeks previously. The Northampton Road Racing Club was formed and the first ever race was held on 30 October 1793, with the grandaddy of them all, the English Track Grand Prix, which would later be known as the World Championship for Drivers, being one of the highlights of the Festival. The first ever World Championship Grand Prix was won by Napier Brennan, who would later become the club’s first president.

The track would later be known as Harrison’s Folly and after the original stadium was destroyed by a fire in 1895, a new one was built on the same site. Renamed after William Harrison, the stadium continues to hold some of the greatest motorsport events in the UK and beyond. It’s been the venue for many historic moments. John Cobb won the first Tour de France motor cycle race in 1896, while in 1933 Jimmy Clark became the first driver to win the World Championship Grand Prix three times in a row. In recent years, the stadium has seen some of the most prominent Formula One drivers in history pull on the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) yellow jersey in the British Grand Prix. Naturally, all of this is organised by the Rockingham Festival, one of the biggest annual celebrations of motorsport and all things related in the UK. Every year, the organisers stage some incredible events that bring together some of the greatest names in motorsport history. It’s amazing to think that a 200-year-old structure still has so much life left in it.

More Than Just A Race Venue

Located in the middle of nowhere, Rockingham is definitely more than just a race venue. A celebration of motorcycling, the Festival offers something for everyone. There’s a concert stage where some of the biggest names in music perform, while others enjoy a range of motorsport-related activities. The English National Opera frequently stages opera in English with renowned international guest performers, and the Royal Shakespeare Company brings in world-class drama troupes. The town also hosts the Northampton Royal Horse Show, which sees competitors from all over the world show off their superb riding skills. The festival’s international motorcycle exhibition is the largest of its kind outside of Europe. If you happen to be there at the right time, the whole town comes alive with the sound of engines and gunfire. It doesn’t hurt that the rock music community generally promotes health and wellness either, adding to the town’s image as a place of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Record Crowds For Motorcycle Events

Each year, thousands of people flock to Rockingham to attend the Festival. This is mainly thanks to a number of annual motorsport events that are held there, including the aforementioned English Grand Prix and the Northampton 300, an annual gathering of classic and modern motorcyclists. Both events are usually sold out several months in advance. If you like bikes, the whole town comes to life with the sound of engines and revving motors during the season. The same goes for the likes of the Northampton 200, the largest gathering of motorcycle racers in Europe, or any other related events, such as car exhibitions and drag races. During the week, the town buzzes with activity, while on any one of the nearby hills, you’ll often see people cycling about, showing off their bikes or just getting them out for a spin.

How Does The Venue Seem To You?

It’s a difficult question to answer, as each person will have a different perspective. Like many old stadiums, the exterior of the venue is rather plain and unspectacular, while the inside is absolutely magnificent. The same goes for the whole town. On the plus side, the location is absolutely stunning, with scenic beauty abounding and the perfect backdrop for photography. There’s also a lot of green space surrounding the town, perfect for a picnic or a walk. If you’re driving, there are plenty of places to park, guaranteeing convenience. In terms of security, the town seems rather safe, with a lot of footpaths and cycle paths leading to the main streets, making it well-connected to surrounding towns and cities. Transport is easy, with train stations nearby and regular bus services to the airport. In short, Rockingham seems like a very promising place, both on paper and in reality. If you’re looking for a weekend away that’s both educational and inspirational, look no further.

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