Dave Mayo

Dave Mayo (1954-2022) passed away suddenly on Friday 11th February following a heart attack. He had recently retired from a career in the construction industry, and returned to club racing at Pinewood Raceway near Wokingham.  

His slot racing career started at Wigan MCRC when he was 15 years old (1969). He recalled much of his early racing life in an article that appeared in SCRN where he said he raced at Wigan until 1972, then the Dog & Gun in Ormskirk, where he got a lift there with then area 2 semi-ace Tommy Gaskell. He then raced at Bolton with Steve Bridle, Graham Walker, Mike Pollard, Derek Howell amongst others. Dave also had lots of success racing in Team Mutley with Steve Mutimer & Paul Lyon.  

In the mid 80’s Dave moved to Reading and joined the Reading club. During this time Dave became the Area 8 Delegate, and started to write ‘Pieces of 8’, and later short articles which were published in Autosport magazine.  

Dave joined the BSCRA council in 1989 as the Treasurer, as he always hated people making decisions which affected him without having a say.  

Upon leaving the role after 12 years of service, Dave said “the Treasurer is a job I have enjoyed, along with the position of influence provided by a seat on the Council. I  hope that I have used this influence wisely, and I  look back with a degree of satisfaction on the rule changes that I have proposed which have been implemented, and on those I did my utmost to defeat.”   

His commitments to running Pinewood, where they would run 3 or 4 race sessions each week together  with numerous functions, parties (kids & adults), Corporate do's,  now meant his  racing outside of club confines were limited to 24th BOC & the YTK.    

As much as Dave was involved with Pinewood, the step back from the Association was in no way a path to retirement.  While his own car preparation may have reduced, he was still able to help out others within the club in-between all the maintenance jobs within the premises.   

It also allowed Dave to spend more time at the Madejski Stadium watching Reading FC with his son Marc, who probably didn’t have as much enthusiasm for slot car racing as Dave did.  

Dave recalled one of his biggest and even greatest achievements of being a council member was in the late 80's when going head to head with Jim Huxley in a poky back office in the Community Centre in Coventry which housed Three Spires. Jim wanted to dump G12 motors in Saloon in favour of free motor choice - he lost. Dave also pushed through the 'marshalling after your own race rule' after seeing it work well in Area 8.  

Dave unfortunately was never a National or Main Grade champion, though he enjoyed participating at many National finals, and was instrumental in bringing the Nationals to Reading in 1989 and 1995. When recalling his best memories and career highlights he remembered fondly of racing twice in the Wonderland 24 hours in the early 70's with the Wigan club (Team Orange Blossom!); winning F1 at the Haydon Open of 1987 (which was his only outright win at that level); 3rd at The Worlds in Dordrecht in the Team Race with Keith Gibson in 1994; and gaining Premier status for the 1st time : 6th in the Overall Saloon & Sports finals in 1997 at Southport (the Great 8 year).  


Dave is survived by his wife Angela, daughter Caroline, and son Marc. Our deepest condolences go out to them at this sad time.  In lieu of flowers, a charitable donation to Guide Dogs for the Blind, is the family’s request - a charity which Dave regularly donated to and which was close to his heart.  

Keith Gibson

Rob Lees

With great sadness that we have to report that after a short battle with cancer, Rob Lees passed away in the late hours of Wednesday 7th October evening with Sonia by his side.

Robs slot racing story starts some 50 years as his Dick Smith recalls -

“In 1970 a little lad of around 11 years old turned up at the  Model Engineers Exhibition at the Seymour Hall in London. He stayed all day helping at the ERCA track being run by Tony Condon, Ian Fisher, Gerry Fitzsimons and me to promote our hobby, the Association and to attract new members. He turned up the next day as well. I think it might have been on the third day that we actually realised that he was back again. I had the free tickets for helpers so I asked him whether he had paid to get in every time he had come. "Oh yes" he said. I asked him whether he was going to come again. "Oh yes". So I gave him one of the few "All Days" ticket we had. He was Rob Lees and it turned out to be one of my better decisions.

He was not old enough at that time to join North London SME but did so as soon as he turned 13 years and brought with him three more of his friends, significantly boosting attendance at our club nights.

Back then he was a quiet, smallish lad but always there, always on time to marshal, always helping. A steady driver, anything but wild. At the time wild drivers tended to be called "Rock Apes". Rob was given the somewhat ironic nickname "Rocky", maybe by me who knows after all this time. Then he got bigger as boys tend to and grew into his nickname and then grew out of it as his standing in the slot racing world grew.

Sometimes we organise these events to attract new people to our hobby and wonder why we bother.

But then we find a diamond like Rob.”

Dick Smith

As an Association we  first saw Rob’s impressive management skills in action as Area Delegate for Area 6 in the 1980s.  Following a move from London to the west country he became one of the prime organisers of Bath club in the 1990s and then the Four Lane Blacktop club in Swindon.   He joined the BSCRA Council as Public Relations Officer and then was BSCRA Chairman from 2007 to 2010.     

Rob must take most of the credit for the  excellent 2007 and 2009 Nationals held at the Vodafone HQ in Newbury. The charity events he organised part of the  Nationals were by far the most successful the Association has been involved with.    Rob was race director for the ISRA World Champion hips when they came to the UK in 2008 .

At the end of the decade, Rob took the lead in negotiating a permanent home for the BSCRA track  with the Moto Arena business at Silverstone circuit.  On the way home from one of the meetings Rob told me he reckoned that business would only last 18 months so we’d better have a contingency plan to recover the Nats track.   As it turned out he was 3 weeks out with that prediction.

The big man will be much missed by everybody in slot racing , the Association ‘s condolences to all his family.

Chris Frost
9 October 2020

Charlie Fitzpatrick

We were saddened today to hear of the passing of Mr Betta – Charlie Fitzpatrick .

A friend for 50 years Dick Smith, remembers him thus :

With the sad passing of Charlie Fitzpatrick we have lost somebody who really was right there at the very beginning of our sport. He built the first really usable electric car racing circuit, a rail track for the Southport MEC, with Walkden Fisher and Colin Sinclair in 1955. This really lit the fuse for club racing in the UK which, being a canny Lancastrian and excellent model maker, Charlie quickly supported by founding his Classic glass fibre body concern in 1955. This was followed later by his Betta line of vac form bodies in the early ‘70’s, and there are some of us who can still remember the excitement of the smell of glass fibre resin on opening a parcel from Classic.

Although a man of few words, he moved with the times, developing his line of Betta vacuum formed bodies to meet the various demands of slot racers from recognisably scale, to out and out “handling”. There was a period when Charlie was the only supplier of bodies in the UK, and to describe him as one of the most important people in sustaining our sport over the years is no exaggeration.

Slot racing was not, however, his first enthusiasm, which could have been climbing or model aircraft. It was an honour carefully granted to be invited to view his collection of model aircraft engines, many of which had been obtained from Eastern Europe in the days of the “Iron Curtain” through the exchange of slot racing parts. So perhaps he even fostered the dominance of the Czechs!

He did have a quite dry sense of humour. After winning the Revival Rail Race at Brooklands in 2000 he was heard to remark :

”Now I remember why we switched to slot”

Charlie and his lovely wife Margaret were were presented with our trophy for long and excellent service to slot racing in 2015.

Everyone in our sport will miss him, and the Association offers its condolences to all his family.

Mark Witham
26 November 2017

Margaret Fitzpatrick

It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing of Margaret Fitzpatrick on 21st April 2017. She was one of the great stalwarts of the slot racing community having been an integral part of Betta and Classic since its formation about 60 years ago.

Margaret was, quite simply, lovely.

She was the effusive face and voice of Betta and Classic perfectly balancing Charlie’s more technical approach to their business.

Much of the pleasure of ordering bodies and parts from them was to talk to Margaret on the phone, especially if it was a clandestine call from work during a fraught day. Sending Margaret an e-mail was never an option.

She had the patience of a saint having to cope with a husband, a son and a son-in-law who were all slot racers as well as all those phone calls.

I’m sure we will all join in sending our Condolences to Charlie, Ian and all her family.

Ian Fitzpatrick gives the following funeral details:-

Service and cremation at Southport Crematorium Southport Rd, Scarisbrick, PR8 5JQ. Monday 8th May at 11.20am.

Family flowers only. Any donations to Dementia UK. All are welcome.

Following the service the family would like you to join them at the Richmond pub for refreshments. Please message if you are able to attend so we can estimate numbers

Best regards Ian

Chas Keeling

With great sadness I have to report Chas Keeling died on Wednesday 1st June 2016 having been taken ill the previous day.

So many of us will remember Chas as a friend we see at slot racing meetings. Indeed he’s been there since the beginning from the first slot racing Nats in 1964 (where he was second in concours)  through his second place in the Sports car final in 1966 and he’s been at most Nats since including the 2016 event a few weeks ago. Through his SCD business Chas has been making chassis, controllers, tyres, motor cans, jigs .... and supplying slot racers since the 1960s. Chas was always a keen racer right up to racing at the BSL in Scotland a few days before he passed away.  The high point must have been second in the Sports car final in 1966 at Bradford   See the BSCRA facebook page for more stories from those who remember him.

The funeral was on Friday 17th June at 2pm at St Paul’s C of E Church, Bradford Road, Birkenshaw, Bradford

Dick Birtles

Dick Birtles passed away  in February 2016.

Dick was one of the most successful racers from the north- west area in the late 1960s and early 1970s the high point was winning the National Sports/GT champion in 1970.  He will be remembered as one of teh ral characters of British racing.

Steve Walker

Steve Walker passed away overnight on 8/9 August 2014.  Sadly he lost his battle with cancer at the age of just 59.

His record in National level racing was unrivalled on his retirement from Nationals racing in 1981.  From his first Nationals win in 1976, he won at least one National championship every year till 1981 when he won all 3 classes and won the BOC for the 3rd year running - the first time either had been achieved.  His cars were beautifully built, winning the constructors championship in 4 of those years.  Also very impressive was his winning the Scalextric National championship  in 1978.    See the BSCRA facebook page for more stories from those who remember racing with him.

Ken Wallis

It was sad to hear that Ken Wallis passed away in 1st September 2013 at the age of 97.  Ken is best known for his work on Autogyros, and you can read more about this in his obituary on the Wallis Autogyros site.  It is perhaps less well known that Ken was a slot racing pioneer. Ken kept his scratch built slot cars from 1942 (see more details).  Slot racers will be interested to see this video of Ken with these 1942 cars and what may well be the worlds oldest surviving scratch built slot car track in action.

Ronnie Spencer

Sadly Ronnie Spencer, one of the old slot racers of the Hammersmith and Tottenham days who also visited many of the small tracks around the country has passed away and been laid to rest. Ronnie, who had just got back into slot racing, was a well respected racer in the early days winning many big races and open meetings.

We plan to run a Retro race, Tottenham rules, in memory of Ronnie on January 24th 2014 at Millstream Raceway to be rerun annually.

All welcome and if any one has any idea's would like to here from you. Mickey Graves (c/o info@slotcarfun.com)

Derek Cooper

It was sad to hear Derek Cooper passed away.

His early days in slot racing might be best remembered for his Nationals wins in 1972 and 1985, plus the 1969 Club Team Championship as part of the Leicester team.   Those who were there could hardly have missed the flamboyant cloak and hat, plus of course the violin case for a car box.  Those of us who knew him better will remember how much fun we had, and how important a part of that Derek was.

More recently Derek has been one of the keenest retro racers both in the UK and abroad, and one of the major UK dealers retro slot car parts.   His enthusiasm and good humour was just as infectious in that branch of the slot racing hobby as it had been in ECRA / BSCRA racing in  his earlier years.

Recently he was diagnosed with illness, he fought the illness with good humour but sadly passed away on 13th July 2013.

Our thought are with his family.

The funeral was on Friday 26th July at 3pm at the Nuneaton Crematorium.

© Copyright British Slot Car Racing Association 1999- 2020 ,  All rights reserved

From Slot Car Racing News
Aug/Sept 1999 issue

From Slot Car Racing News
Nov/Dec 1999 issue

Gone but not Forgotten

© Copyright British Slot Car Racing Association 1999 -2022 All rights reserved