On the surface, the chelming racecourse at Donnington in Hampshire looks like any other run-down farm track.
It’s not that it’s bad: the place is a mix of old barns and new construction, and has been home to a couple of major sporting events over the years.
And it’s not just Donnington.
There are plenty of run-downs around the country, and it’s also home to the world-famous Donington Park track, home to two of the greatest sporting events in the world.
But for decades, the track was considered a place of poverty.
And a lot of people didn’t like it, either.
The locals were afraid of the racetracks new inhabitants, who didn’t respect the rules, didn’t pay the entrance fee, and were known to attack cars with clubs.
The racecourse’s owners tried to make the place safe for spectators, but it wasn’t enough.
So in 1964, after a long, frustrating fight, a group of locals, including a young, ambitious young mechanic named Jack Tully, bought the land.
And they turned Donington into the place it is today.
Jack Tully bought the property at Donington from the owner, the old-time racetracker.
Now a small business, Jack has owned the racecourse since 1981, and is the head of the Donington Racetrack and Park Trust, a non-profit group that manages and protects the site.
Jack says it’s a sad day when the chelvins racetracking is being taken over by the city.
“It’s been a sad week for Donington,” he says.
“The racecourse is owned by the people who run it, and we’ve got a young kid who’s going to take over it now.”
I’m sad because it was a very good run-off track for a long time, and now the government is taking it over and taking the money out of it.
I’d like to see it preserved.
“So it’s really important to me that we preserve it for the community. “
It’s a really important site for Donners heritage and its history,” says Jack.
Jack is a very dedicated member of his community, so I’m really excited that he’s buying it back. “
I want the racers to know that I’m here, I’m a very loyal member of the community, and I’m trying to help out.”
Jack is a very dedicated member of his community, so I’m really excited that he’s buying it back.
“But it’s all very sad, because it’s been very important for Donnerys history and heritage, and that’s what it’s here for.”
When the new owners bought the site, the new residents were understandably worried.
They didn’t understand the new arrival’s behaviour, and the council had a lot to answer for when it came to a new set of rules.
“There were problems from the start,” says Donnerie-based property agent and former Donnery-based councillor Nick Pugh.
“They were quite rude, and some of the kids weren’t getting their registration papers on.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that the council got the hang of it and the people started to realise it was just a little bit silly.”
Nick says the problem with the new racetrackers owners came from the fact that they weren’t really familiar with the rules.
“There was an agreement that everyone would have to pay the entry fee, but they’d never actually met anyone in the track, so they weren, frankly, quite clueless,” he adds.
“The problem is that the rules are quite complex, and people are just really not prepared for it.”
You’d get to know a lot more about the rules by working at the track and talking to the track staff, than you would by visiting the track yourself.
“For many, the whole process of buying the site was a bit confusing.
The Donneries land is a piece of property that belonged to the county and was owned by Donners landholders for generations.
And the Donners property, and therefore the site itself, was being sold.
“We were trying to find out what was going on, and to make sure we were doing everything right.””
At first it was all very confused, because the local council was in charge of it,” says Nick.
“We were trying to find out what was going on, and to make sure we were doing everything right.”
And so, the first thing that came to Nick’s mind was, “What if the raceway is sold to a local company?”
And he was.
In a move that would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago, the local