The history of Arena Essex Raceway

Chick Woodroffe’s lifelong love affair with all things racing began with horses, starting his working life as an apprentice jockey for Dorothy Paget’s stables (home to Golden Miller who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup 5 times), then whilst a member of the REME’s based in the Middle East he took to motorbike scrambling, when he was demobbed he turned to karting where a chance meeting with the then famous Johnny Brise in the mid 50s led to the pair of them trading passions with Johnny moving into Karting and “Chick” taking to racing Stock Cars.

His love of stock car racing became his obsession racing both F1 and F2 Stock Cars for the next 20 years, heading the British team visiting the USA, South Africa and New Zealand to name just a few. Selling his petrol garages/workshops he risked everything to focus on his love of racing turning his attention to promoting; Promotasport Raceway International was born.

Running at various racetracks around the country over many years he focussed on promoting banger racing to encourage would be drivers by introducing a much simpler and cheaper race formula for all, tracks included Kings Lynn, Crayford, Point Clear, Thorrington Cross, Brands Hatch, Lydden Hill, Snetterton, Boston, Oxford, Rayleigh, always though on the lookout for land to build his own track, he saw the potential in the old cement works quarry pits; so began the birth of the Arena Essex Raceway.

The very 1st race meeting held at Arena Essex was also the very 1st Mayday Bank Holiday Monday in England, 1st May 1978.

Chick sadly passed away in December 2000, defying all odds by surviving 21 years after being given 6 months to live, his strength and passion driving him on.

Chick’s son took over the race promotion and along with Chick’s daughters and the dedicated wider Arena family continued the business for the next 18 years, somewhat fitting perhaps to bring it to a close in its 40th anniversary year.

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