New trix on track

Swindon Advertiser: Ben Underwood, seven, looks at some of the cars on show. Picture: STUART HARRISON Buy this photo » Ben Underwood, seven, looks at some of the cars on show. Picture: STUART HARRISON

MODEL enthusiasts crammed into the Oasis Leisure Centre yesterday for the 10th Scalextric Swap Meet, featuring hundreds of cars and tracks to buy and sell.

The event has been growing year on year, and has doubled in size since the first meet. Enthusiasts of all ages got a chance to browse a huge selection of models and race them on special tracks set up by the Four Lane Black Top slot car racing club, from Marlborough.

Robin Clark, 54, of the club, said: “We had three circuits running. There was the full scale quarter mile drag strip, and two others around the centre.

“We have been coming here for five years. It always seems to prove very popular, especially for the younger children. I discovered the club while I was coming to this swap meet.

“I started racing about six years ago, after a 10 or 15 year break. It is quite an eclectic mix in the club, with a huge range of car lovers.

“I always liked model motor racing, and while I could not afford to do it full scale, I loved it from an early age. It is incredible if you think how long this has been going on for, nearly 60 years. What other hobby or toy still has that appeal? It is quite amazing.

“We are spoilt for choice at this meet. It gives the kids something to do there, and it’s all about having fun.”

Geoffrey Mason, 63, from Bournemouth, had his own stall set up.

“This meet always has a great turn out, and it is always really competitive,” he said. “I would rate it as one of the best in the country.

“I have had cars since I was a kid, so they have been a part of my life for about 55 years. At that time it was a choice between these or trains, and these are more fun than trains because you can race them.

“I love motor racing in general, and now I find this more relaxing.

“I am now starting to build my own cars, because I had always planned to take more interest in them when I retired. I am semi-retired now, and my wife is also getting involved.

“I have 70 here to sell, and they range from between £10 and £25. At home my collection has gone past 400 so far.”

Robert Learmouth, of Priory Vale, has been organising the event for the last decade.

“It looks and feels more busy than previous years,” he said. “We are always very pleased with the amount of people we get through the doors.

“When we kicked this off we did not know how it was going to go. One of the big differences now is the size, because when I started off I had 35 stalls here. This year I have nearly double that with about 67 booked.”

Last year more than 400 people attended the event, and Robert said he thought it had been even busier this year.

“Some people come from four hours away to come and support the event,” he said.

“That really pleases me and shows how much the event has grown.

“The thing for us was to put on an event friendly for the masses. We have been going for 10 years now, and some of the kids who came to the very first meets now have stalls of their own. We had 200 through in the first half an hour, which is very encouraging.”

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