Last Updated: 18/12/2020 19:17

The United Downs Raceway, St Day is situated to the south east of St Day, on the road between Crofthandy and Frogpool.

The site is sometimes referred to as the Blackman Site, noting its connection to Blackman Construction Ltd.

Originally there was a Kart circuit, which had opened in the early 1960s.  Stock Car racing was introduced in 1969, and the first ever race meeting took place on Sunday 24 August.

Trevor Redmond’s Autospeed promotion ran the Stock Car, Hot Rod and Banger racing at the United Downs Raceway through until 1980.  During that period, there was racing on Thursday evenings in 1976 and 1977, whilst the circuit’s most prominent fixture was the BriSCA F2 Grand National Championship was contested on 19 September 1976.

When the Cornish Stadium, St Austell closed in August 1987, the newly formed Monarch Promotions reintroduced Banger racing to the United Downs Raceway.

During the three seasons 1996 to 1998 inclusive, Monarch Promotions facilitated a small number of national Stock Car racing events as promoted by Autospeed, which included summer time racing on Tuesday evenings in 1996.

On New Year’s Day 2001 Autospeed resumed full control of the circuit, and embarked on a continued programme of improving the aesthetics of the site, by re-profiling the infield, replacement of the safety fence, and resurfacing of the bumpy track which had fallen into a state of disrepair.

In 2003, the World Championship qualifying round for BriSCA F2 Stock Cars has been boosted by sponsorship from Neil Truran Motorsport.  No other World Championship qualifying round in the UK boasts such an array of commemorative mementoes and wonderful prizes.  Throughout the years, the reigning World Champion has always been invited to race at the World Championship qualifying round at the United Downs Raceway, including Barry Goldin from Bolton in Lancashire, Gordon Moodie and George MacMillan Jnr from Scotland, Ian Thompson Jnr from Northern Ireland, Micky Brennan from Nelson in the north west of England and Mark Simpson from Skegness, Lincolnshire.

In 2004, the United Downs Raceway staged a round of the Florida Flyer series, where the winner of the competition won a flight to Florida.  The series gained great coverage in the Stock Car racing world, particularly the round at St Day on 1 August 2004, which featured a Scotsman (Graham Kelly), a Welshman (Chris Love), a Northern Irishman (Graham Fegan) and many Englishman.

For the start of the 2005 season, the ‘big bank’ was created; the reasons being threefold.  Firstly, this was to create a larger pit area; secondly to offer racegoers an unrivalled viewing opportunity; and thirdly to assist in creating a barrier to the noise of the racing.

On 3 July 2005, the United Downs Raceway staged its 100th BriSCA F2 Stock Car meeting, and more than 20 past and present drivers were in attendance to reflect on the nostalgia of the occasion.

In 2006, the Taiya Densham Shield was first raced for, in memory of the nine year old girl who lost her life to leukaemia.  The annual race has resulted in some charity fund raising and since 2006, an assortment of charities have benefitted from money raised on the day of the Taiya Densham Shield race, including Fal Fibro Friends and Little Harbour.

The feature event of 2009 came on 5 July, when 65 BriSCA F2 Stock Car drivers raced – the highest ever number in the history of the United Downs Raceway.  The event was a World Championship qualifying round which linked with a further round at the now defunct track at Retallack Park, St Columb two days later on the Tuesday evening, and on to Wednesday night’s World Championship qualifying round at Smeatharpe Stadium, near Honiton.  With scores of drivers and racegoers having travelled from various parts of the UK, the camp sites in Cornwall received an early summer season boost.

Since 2010, the annual Cornish Caravan Chaos race has been staged in conjunction with Handstand – The Appeal For Marshall Janson; the courageous Cornish youngster who had both his hands and both his legs amputated shortly after his first birthday (in December 2008), following an attack of Meningococcal Meningitis.  Each year, Marshall has attended the Cornish Caravan Chaos event, and presented the Marshall Janson Award shield to the race winner.

After ten years of an annual Bus and Coach racing event, Trucks and Lorries raced at the United Downs Raceway for the first time on 24 May 2015.  The incredible event even featured Steve Williams scoring a race win in a refuse lorry!  The annual Trucks and Lorries event is now one of the most popular at the circuit each year.

In 2017, the United Downs Raceway hosted the final of the £2000 Zetec Challenge for BriSCA F2 Stock Cars, which was the richest ever Stock Car meeting in Cornwall.

The 2019 season carried huge significance, as it marked 50 years since Stock Car racing first took place at the United Downs Raceway.  On Easter Sunday, race fans remembered and celebrated the enormous contribution made by Mike May of Monarch Promotions, with a special memorial meeting after Mike had passed away earlier in the year.  The circuit’s 200th BriSCA F2 Stock Car meeting was contested in the summer of 2019, and in August, it will finally played host to the World Championship Semi Finals meeting for BriSCA F2 Stock Cars.  After years and years of lobbying by promoters Autospeed, this highly prestigious event on the Stock Car racing calendar was allocated to Cornwall.  There had not been a World Championship Semi Final in the county since 1985.  Each of the 56 qualifiers for the two Semi Final races were presented with a stained glass style engine house as a memento for their efforts, in deference to the track’s location, situated as it is on the site of the Ale & Cakes mine – part of the wider World Heritage site.  Scottish ace Gordon Moodie and Cornish star Ben Borthwick were the winners of the respective Semi Final races.  This underlined the nationwide appeal of Stock Car racing, as members of the racing community from as far away as Arberlour in the north of Scotland converged on the Cornish venue.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic which forced the track to remain idle for four months in 2020, the second part of the season featured some outstanding race meetings, which attracted decent crowds considering the restrictive conditions, once more emphasising the huge appeal of the Raceway to local supporters and those from further afield who combined their visit with a stay in the region.



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