Aylsham

Racer Mat is right on track for a successful season

Just Regional
May 1, 2024 3 mins read

Stock car racing arrived in the UK 70 years ago and a racer from Aylsham is one of the sport’s leading lights, writes JOHN LANDAMORE

Seventy years ago, a new sport arrived in this country, described at the time as “The Thrill Of The Century”.
It was Good Friday 1954, the venue was the New Cross stadium in London and the new sport was stock car racing.
Within just a few weeks, the new sport swept across the country with the racing taking place in front of huge crowds, so much so that some venues couldn’t cope with the number of spectators and promoters reluctantly had to turn people away.

Over the past 70 years, many different formulas have developed from the original sport but there is one formula that can trace it roots back to that first ever meeting in 1954 – Formula One Stock Cars. And racer Mat Newson, who hails from Aylsham, is regarded as one of the leading lights in the formula.

TOP RACER: Mat is pictured at Northampton in 2022 with the magnificent World Masters Trophy. Picture: ANT JENKINS PHOTOGRAPHY

Mat now lives in Little Barningham while his workshop where the car is prepared is at Banningham. Mat has also turned his hobby into a business where he builds cars for several fellow racers.

Indeed, the opening meeting of the season at Kings Lynn back in March saw eight Newson-built cars on track. You will also find cars created by Mat on the continent with Dutchman Nigel De Kock enjoying great success with his Norfolk-built car. If all that wasn’t enough, there is a fleet of hire cars available to drivers to hire and at the second meeting of the season at Northampton, the team had bookings for seven hire cars.

Formula One Stock Cars are the very pinnacle of the sport with cars costing in excess of £20,000. Meetings take place almost every weekend throughout the season and King’s Lynn is Mat’s local track, although there are long haul visits to Sheffield and Bradford throughout the season.
A night’s racing at Bradford usually sees the team on the road at 8am and not get back home until the early hours the following morning.

Unlike circuit racing were the fastest drivers start at the front, it’s the exact opposite in stock car racing and, being a superstar, Mat starts every race from the back of the grid. This means there are up to 30 cars between him and a race win.

This season is Mat’s 19th season in the F1’s although he had raced in junior formulas before then. To date Mat is still chasing one of the big titles in the sport although he is always there or there about. Second and third places in the World, European, British contests go back several seasons although he can lay claim to the World Masters in both 2006 and 2022.

Or course, Mat would be the first to acknowledge that none of what he has achieved would be possible without a great deal of help from his father and right-hand man Robin, known to almost everybody as Bugsie. On race days Crowie, Harry and Neal wield the spanners.

This season the World Championship is to be staged at Skegness and Mat is currently burning the midnight oil to build a new car. With customers’ cars to build and hire cars to be prepared for every meeting, it looks like a very busy 2024 for Mat Newson Racing.

 

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