25 years of Wiscombe 5-Clubs

By the late 1980’s, early 1990’s the situation had reached such a state that the Five Clubs began to show its first, and so far only, creak in the structure. The representatives of two of the Five Clubs said their respective clubs were unwilling to accept the behaviour displayed by championship contenders any more, and called on the organising committee to withdraw from the British Championship. Through much discussion, and production of evidence projecting a critical loss of finance, to say nothing of possible withdrawal of the date by Wiscombe Ltd., we managed to paper over the cracks, for the time being.

In 1996 we had another setback when Haldon MC ceased to exist, thus reducing the number of clubs to four. Although this reduced the number of potential organisers, Haldon’s contribution had fallen as the club went into decline, so the impact was not as bad as it might have been. We therefore decided against looking for another club to fill the vacancy, and to continue with our original format and title. So the ‘5-Clubs Wiscombe’ carried on serenely until 1997 when, after a particularly acrimonious British Championship meeting, things came to head.

There had been adverse comment for some years from the top echelon of competitors, about the general state of Wiscombe, with a number of prominent drivers boycotting both 5-Clubs’ and Woolbridge’s British Championship rounds there. Those that didn’t go so far as to join the boycott were pressing for the removal of Wiscombe from the British Championship scene.

To combat the declining entry levels, both organisations, whilst maintaining the unconventional one day championship format, were forced to introduce classes for Road cars to supplement the entry lists and prevent wholesale loss of revenue and resultant crises.

It was not altogether surprising therefore that the ‘elite’ were listened to, and from 1998 the 5-Clubs would be excluded from British Championship. This was not totally ‘5-Clubs’ fault, but the 1997 kerfuffle was our downfall and we were caught in the crossfire.

So came 1998, with a serious rethink on the set up and how to fill the vacant day. We decided to keep ASWMC on the Saturday and search for an alternative championship for Sunday. There were several possibilities, from which we chose that of the CCC/BARC, which had proved so successful at our Castle Combe Sprint. We also picked up the Caterham Graduates, a spin off from the very successful Caterham Scholarship, again via Castle Combe contacts. The result was two successful days. Sunday was a bit short on numbers, but it wasn’t far below the levels achieved in the latter days of British rounds.