Toy Stories (2009) s01e04 Episode Script


- [James] So you think computer games
are more exciting than old-fashioned toys?
Maybe you should think again.
(upbeat music)
With help of the Great British public,
it's time to liberate
them from the toy cupboard
supersize them and unleash
their true potential.
This week, Scalextric.
What happens when I bring
a whole town together
to rebuild a legendary
motor racing circuit
entirely out of plastic pieces.
You are here to race.
(audience cheering)
Come on Aston.
And who will win the race of the century?
The plucky locals,
Would you practice then?
- Every lunch hour
and every tea break.
- Yeah.
Or people who take it too seriously?
- I very much doubt they will keep up
with a Scalextric team.
- I didn't pass my driving test until 1980
but by the early 70s I
already owned several cars,
and they were real exotics
capable of terrifying performance
and because I was only
eight and I didn't really
know what I was doing.
I crashed them all the time, horribly.
Despite this, one of them survives
and here it is, my Mini Cooper.
All original, still a
runner, one careless owner.
No real car I've ever owned
was half as much fun as this one.
(piano music)
Scalextric is still with us
but somehow, and like a burnt out motor,
it has started to reek
faintly of past glory.
I take myself off to Surrey
to meet leading Scalextric
aficionado, Rob Smith.
Hoping that I won't be
lead to yet another loft.
Shall I de-shoe?
- Yes please we're
going up in to the loft.
- Ah, that's a sure sign that you
are a committed and serious
enthusiast of something.
- Yeah we had a loft
conversion to store everything.
- [James] As with many
men of a certain age,
Rob's attic is the place where
his eight year old self lives.
- Welcome to my lair.
- God.
How many cars have you got?
- There's about 3,000.
Right from '57 right through 'til,
well some arrived yesterday.
- Really?
You're a married man aren't you?
- I am.
- Does anybody ever say, "Haven't you got
"enough Scalextric now."?
- She does say that quite often.
She does say that quite
- And have you?
- Well no, obviously.
- [James] Rob is what's none in the trade
as a Scalextric nerd.
- Fred Francis in the late
50s, from Mini Models Limited,
took a range of tin models that he made
that were called Scalex and
put an electric motor in them.
And Scalex plus electric
became Scalextric.
- And that's why nobody
can pronounce it properly.
- Well they all do it the wrong way round
yes everyone says scalectrix.
- [James] Scalectrix.
This is all marvelous
but something is missing
from the converted roof space.
A race track, there isn't one.
So it's time to build one
and drive Scalextric cars
as their inventor intended.
Flat out.
And this leads me to a complaint.
There has always been one fundamental flaw
with a Scalextric set.
They were designed for
mum and dad's pocket,
not in accordance with the ambition of the
eight year old James May.
So you got your cars, you
got some fences and flags
and your hand controllers
but never enough track.
Now if you managed to blag some
more track for your birthday
you could build one of
the circuits in this book.
101 Circuits for Scalextric Drivers.
Here for example is Spa
and here is Brands Hatch.
They are perfect miniature representations
of real life racing tracks.
However there is one circuit missing
from that otherwise riveting volume.
Brooklands, the first
purpose-built motor racing
circuit in the world.
My ambition then is to rebuild
Brooklands in Scalextric.
Not here on the table
but at Brooklands itself.
Full size.
Today it is impossible to
drive a lap of Brooklands.
Only about half of the circuit survives
and it's interrupted by
a river, fences, roads,
houses and offices.
The famous clubhouse is
now just a sleepy museum.
These days of course
Brooklands is the sort of place
where people come for a cup of tea,
where you might find a classic car club
getting together to swap grommets.
And that's all absolutely smashing
but what it really lacks now
is the sense of excitement,
the surge of the crowd, the cheering,
the raw bellow of competition.
And we can put that back.
Allan Winn, curator of the museum
sits me down on a historic bench
and makes it clear just
how difficult it will be
to reopen Brooklands even in Scalextric.
I'd never seen this aerial picture before.
This was the tricky bit cause
it's just gone isn't it?
- Yeah there's nothing really left of it.
But we can trace it.
If you take an overlay like that.
- That's very pleasingly
old-school that Allan,
a piece of overhead projection sheet
with some felt-tip on it.
- Yeah.
- Anyone else would have done
a PowerPoint presentation.
- Ah well this is computer
graphic generated.
- No it isn't.
So that housing estate is
well, post-war obviously.
- Yeah, yeah 1970s.
- And that's, what is that building?
- That's Procter and
Gamble that's right on
the line of the track.
- Right.
- And then this is
Sony's building, Sony Hi-Fi and so forth
are sold just from there.
- I'm going to make it a basic principle
of our project now that we must follow
the original line of the circuit
even where it's disappeared
because otherwise we're
not being true to history.
So that means, yes we have
to go down the housing estate
and we will have to go through
the hair gel manufacturer
but that's what it takes.
- And you've got an office building here,
you got a multistory carpark here.
Bit of a challenge but you
should be able to do that.
This would be the first time since 1939
that it's actually been done.
- It'd be the first lap since 1939?
- Yeah.
- That's quite something isn't it.
- Yeah.
- Look at that.
That is an original and
completely unmolested bit
of the Brooklands banking.
It's very beautiful, very evocative.
It is in fact this bit here around this
long sweeping curve leading down
to the start finish straight.
And it will be the work
of minutes to go through
that with a strimmer and
lay our Scalextric track
all the way down here but then
we arrive at a problem, here.
Not the hedge actually
but beyond the hedge
is a housing estate built in 1994.
So I'm off to see the local
neighborhood watch people.
To warn them that some
people will be driving cars
in a rather hooligan-like
manner through here.
Staniland Drive was built smack on
the old Brooklands start finish straight
in fact the edges of
these house's front lawns
mark the edge of the original circuit.
I know, because I was a teenager once,
that driving across people's gardens
doesn't generally go down that well.
At least not without permission.
How do you feel about it
going through your garden?
- We're talking about the
front garden here aren't we
not the
- Front garden yes.
- Front garden yeah
that's fine.
- That's fine.
- There's a very neat little gap in
- Oh you're very welcome to.
- Yes and I'll be very
interested to help you
do that as well.
- You would?
- Yes.
- [James] Why's everyone
so nice around here?
- Oh see you have to be
nice to live around here.
- [James] Oh do you, is that a rule?
- Yeah that's a clause.
- [James] Encouraged by the willing
and compliant nature of the locals,
I next decide to tackle the council.
This dual-carriage way
cuts straight through
one of the fastest parts of the course.
The end of the original
banking where it was cut.
- [Council Official] That's correct yeah.
- It continues down there.
- Yes.
- The other side of the lawn.
So in order for this to be a continuous,
uninterrupted race circuit I'll need to
get across there with that.
- Yeah.
- Any objections?
- I have some slight worries about people
seeing it and stopping
and I have slight worries about
lorries sweeping it up.
- [James] There are so many obstacles
on this so-called racing circuit
that overcoming them all is
a job for a dedicated expert.
And the perfect man for the
job, or at least the cheapest,
is project manager Sim Oakley.
How are you?
- Very good.
- What do you think?
It's evocative isn't it?
- It's a nice place.
- If you listen very, very carefully
you can still hear the sound
of Diana Barnato Walker's Bentley
reverberating through the trees.
- I can't.
It's a lot steeper than I thought.
- [James] Problem number
one is the historic slope.
- It is very steep and
I can't imagine our car
is gonna stay on here at all.
- But I quite like the
idea for historical reasons
that we're up the banking
as we come around here.
- I think you're right.
- [James] Doing good.
So that's one decision made.
Our track will be built on the flat.
Problem number two will be the many fences
that break up the course.
Well that's it, we can't do it.
- It's not going to be
the world breaking track.
Oh not only that, look.
- Oh God.
- [Sim] There's a chasm.
- Some of the fences are
more than 14 feet high.
Well you're not going to over that.
That's 450 scale feet for those of you
with an interest in pointless arithmetic.
So obviously you can't
go up like that can you?
It needs to.
And then there are the water features
including a river, ah.
Can you do a jump?
Not to mention this load of old cob.
- If we were being true to form
we would go straight up this pond.
- And you've got to drive
from up here in fact.
(imitates motor noise)
- It would be great cause you'll see
as the cars go there'll be little ripples.
- [James] Yeah.
- [Sim] It would be great.
- But I like the jeopardy
of having to drive
from this bridge across the pond
knowing that if you get it wrong
your car goes in the
drink and is lost forever.
The final obstacle confronts
us in the HQ of a global
personal hygiene empire
and it is the most feared
of Scalextric perils.
We'd have to get up the stairs.
- Well we've got to get
up to that first floor.
- It's quite steep that.
- It is quite steep.
- It's a good challenge.
Just when it looks like
things can't get any harder.
Something else occurs to us about our
giant outdoor electric toy challenge.
What happens if it rains?
- Um.
- [James] While Sim
works on that little lot.
It's time for me to
recruit my driving teams.
I need two of 140 people each.
Each controller and
battery will only power
a small section of track.
So our race will be something of a relay.
One team, I've decided,
will be made up from
die-hard, trigger-happy
Scalextric enthusiasts.
Some of them are quite young
and treat Scalextric as
an intellectual exercise.
- I like going really fast and winning.
- I like getting new cars and everything.
- I like getting new
cars and destroying them.
- Do you know what I actually
expected when I came in here?
- Go on.
- I'll be brutally honest,
I expected a load of nerdy old blokes.
Going oh me tires are locked.
- Yeah we didn't let
nay of them come today,
we banned them today.
- Oh you have got them though.
- Yeah we've got them,
hidden away in the closet
but not today.
- [Announcer] Hello and oh we
go, it's carnage on zone one.
- [James] The children
are already pretty good
and have twitchy fingers.
What must Thursday nights be like?
That's when the adults come out.
I've got a picture of
Thursday night in my mind
and it's a bit frightening.
- Most spend their time
with their head down
just in the car, just trying to get
that split second faster
to get that next position.
- What do you adjust
on the Scalextric car?
- Everything.
You can adjust gear ratio,
you can adjust tires
you can adjust the chassis,
you can adjust springs on.
Once you go to that level
they become possessed with it.
- [James] Are there any fights?
- No.
No people having tantrums
or representations to the marshals.
- Yes.
- Oh no this is hopeless.
- I was once told that
everybody who races a Scalextric
is basically a frustrated
Formula One racer.
- Yes, I think you're probably right.
- So.
- A lot of people who drive real cars
- Correct.
are like that, it's better
that they do it in there, than out here.
My other team would be made up
from people who live and
work around the old track.
People who absorb the
spirit of Brooklands daily.
I start at the head office
of the electronics company
that rhymes with boney.
Right hello everyone.
Now look, the world's
biggest Scalextric race
is going to pass, well
actually over your pond.
I've brought you a set.
I want you to put it up
and find out who the best drivers are
and then I need those names
and then they're gonna
become part of the team.
This is a large corporate organization
with allegedly excellent
administrative capabilities
but let's see eh.
- [Young Employee] Is that
oval or figure eight is it?
- [Old Male Employee] Eh
yeah, figure of eight,
bigger a loop on one side.
- Do you need to have a meeting
or a PowerPoint presentation
or something?
- [Employee] Always.
- Or do you think you
can just get on with it?
- [Employee] No that's
really tight, no, no look.
No straights on there just the corner.
- [James] They could always try looking
at the helpful diagram on the box lid
or perhaps that's just me being boring.
There are only 12
Scalextric track sections.
And there isn't one that's that shape
I promise you that.
Wrong, it's wrong, I can tell it's wrong.
You need the short straight there.
- [Employee] We like to play
with electronics every day
yet we can't set up one of these.
- [James] Very nice.
- [Employee] Oh well done boys.
- [James] Just setting up the track
has been like a corporate
team building event
and I'm worried that there
attitude isn't very modern.
- We're obviously not the greatest at it.
- Yeah, I don't think you should have
- I wouldn't vote us.
- women drivers actually.
- You can't say that.
- I'm not actually that
great, I was only good
at knocking other people off the track but
whatever it was good fun.
- We might need a few people
to put the cars back on.
- God knows how that lot ever managed
to produce something like a television.
(upbeat ukulele music)
Taking a break from driver training
I step outside to see
how Sim is getting on
with his low budget solution to crossing
the pond.
The most significant
obstacle on the track.
A pond that has been
dug right in the middle
of the old Brooklands circuit
and which we are obliged
under our own rules,
to cross with a Scalextric track.
And Sim here has been working
late in to the morning
on a solution that is both elegant
and more importantly very cheap.
Pipe insulation.
- [Sim] Polyurethane pipe insulation.
- [James] Does it actually float?
- It will float, this is
only cheap four mil ply.
- [James] Is it waterproof?
- It's not waterproof.
- [James] Well won't it just all swell up?
- It well, if it rains it'll swell up.
When it's in the lake,
in the pond I should say
it should be off the surface of the water.
- It should be.
How are we actually gonna
get it in to the pond?
- Um.
- It's v murky Sim.
- Bit murky?
- Very murky.
- [Sim] James you can swim can't you?
- Not very well actually.
Okay right send it in.
With car.
I think I've just found
Birkin's Blower Bentley.
- Is that it?
James we've run out of track.
- [James] Oh you are kidding?
- It's not a good start is it?
- How can you have run out of track?
You're supposed to have three miles.
- I know, it's not here yet.
- [James] Oh for God's sake.
It looks fantastic, it's slightly lacking
in one important detail though.
- [Sim] The track?
- Yes, seriously where is it?
- Good man.
Right stay put.
- It floated away when I wasn't looking.
- [Sim] Well you might
have to try hook it.
- But it's too deep.
(grand music)
- [Sim] Three, two, one.
- [James] Hang on, hang on.
It's drowned you idiot I wasn't ready.
- Oh no.
- [James] It does float
for about three seconds.
- [Sim] And then?
- If you got somebody in a very
fast boat the could get it.
- [Sim] How can you get so
much water that's ridiculous.
- What?
Oh look at that.
Somebody's put,
- There's holes in it.
- For Pete's sake.
You knew that had holes in it didn't you?
Right I'm going home.
Look at that I can make
the two jets of water
play upon in each other
in an artistic fashion.
So what have we learned from that?
Well the bridge floats
rather well actually
but the car doesn't.
If the car comes off on the bridge
it will sink in the pond
and be lost forever.
With the pond-crossing sort of sorted,
it's time to see how
our toy cars will cope
with the steep rounds
needed to scale the fences.
Rather well as it turns out.
how is he?
I think we could have the
makings of an Olympic sport here.
Piece of cake.
- [Sim] Oh, James.
- I though it'd have more legs.
Do you reckon it would go vertical?
Look at that.
- He's still got power.
- [James] So Sim's answer to the stairs
at the grooming products HQ
is actually a bit unnecessary
but it looks good.
- You ready?
- Yeah good, yeah.
- Inside track.
- Inside.
- Off you go.
Oh power-sliding.
- [James] This is magnificent.
- [Sim] Power-sliding all the way up.
- Look at that.
And down we go.
I'm now confident that
the Scalextric track
can be made to go around
the old Brooklands circuit.
The bigger question now is
can the community racing team
get the car around the track?
I'm meeting some more volunteers
back at the business park.
- [Volunteer Group] Hello.
- How are you?
- I'm very good.
- It's the basic figure of eight set, look
the picture of how to put
it together is on the front.
I'll put these together,
you put the set together.
- Where we starting?
- There.
- We need one,
two, three, you got a.
- so that's the start.
- That's the middle bit.
- Two corners, so you wanna
take one of those straights off.
- [James] As you'd expect of
purveyors of educational toys
it takes this lot just two
minutes to put the set together.
Unfortunately, none of them
has ever actually played
Scalextric before.
- [Girl] Go!
(Woman cheers)
- Oh.
- Dani you're rubbish.
- [James] Boldly, I risk being patronizing
with a handy hint.
Can I just suggest something?
You can squeeze it fully as long as you
lift your finger off
before you get to the bend,
so like that you see.
I managed to get away with that.
Though largely because
they weren't listening.
- Whoa.
- Will you practice though?
Seriously because
- Yes, absolutely.
- I said I wouldn't but I'm starting
to take it quite seriously.
- Every lunch hour and every tea break.
- Yeah.
I suppose it is the early learning center.
But this has got me thinking.
Scalextric driving is worthy
of some scientific analysis.
A better understanding
of how these cars behave
may be the key to keeping
them shiny side up.
Now Scalextric cars crash all the time
and simply not crashing
may be the key to winning.
But what actually happens
during a Scalextric crash?
With the help of Simon
here and his computer
and his very, very high speed camera
we can slow down a range of typical
high speed Scalextric accidents.
Normally this all happens far too quickly
but in slow motion we
can see what goes wrong
and learn from it
and so can my community racers.
Here it comes.
First, here's what happens
if you just barrel carelessly
in to the bend.
As you can see the rear wheel is lifting
and the car is in fact rolling over.
This is strangely fascinating.
- [Simon] Cause it's in a groove.
- [James] So I try a
slightly more intelligent
cornering technique.
Turning in, putting a
bit of power on there.
- [Simon] And this time,
the back comes out.
- [James] Oh yeah.
Without wishing to sound pretentious
I put the power down
slightly later in the bend
on the second one.
So obviously putting
the power down too early
tips it as well.
- [Simon] Makes it roll,
in the first instance.
And then it might.
- so that would suggest
slow in to the bends is a good technique.
- [Simon] And fast out.
- So one, like that with your finger,
could be enough to save the day.
What this proves possibly,
is that driving a Scalextric car
is more like driving a
real car than I thought.
Break before the bend,
accelerate through it.
So a bit of cornering
practice in a real car
will pay dividends when piloting
a scale model with one finger, probably.
This is the Mercedes Benz test track
which is inside the
old Brooklands circuit.
We're taking six of our community drivers
people who are going to be tackling
particularly difficult parts of the track
and sending them here for
a bit of driver training.
Then we'll get them to do
the same thing in Scalextric.
Tom from Bony is convinced
by my thinking on this.
- I'm definitely looking forward to today
although Scalextric is not my
strongest point at the moment.
I hope that will get better
over the course of the day.
- [James] But Clara reveals something
we didn't know about her.
- I'm very scared, I only passed
my test about two weeks ago
and I haven't been driving
since, so I haven't
driven since my test.
- [James] Driving tips
from the instructors
come thick and fast.
- And we'll release the parking brake,
it's just the lever
forward of your right knee.
That's it, that didn't
come up all the way.
That's perfect.
- Woo.
- That's it.
And straight on,
don't worry that's good.
- Oh my God.
- [James] And Tom isn't
doing brilliantly either.
- Right, left,
left, off gas.
Back on, back on and steer left.
- [James] While the locals seek an extra
10% out on the track, I'm back with Sim
seeing if I can get an
extra 10% out of the car.
And for this we're using a speed gun,
like the police use.
It's the first time anything like this
has been used for something constructive.
You ready?
- [Sim] Yep.
- Go.
Thank you.
13 miles an hour but
there's something else.
You see, Scalextric cars
these days are fitted
with magnets which help keep
them stuck down to the track.
They're a sort of magnetic down force
but like the aerodynamic
type it comes with a penalty.
It must increase drag because in physics
as I'm sure you know, you
don't get anything for nothing
so let's see how much difference it makes
if we take that out.
- [Sim] Yep?
- Can you take the magnet out
and then send it down again?
- [Sim] Yep.
- Go.
13 miles an hour was the
mean speed with magnet.
14 miles an hour so let's call
it one mile an hour faster
which means over a distance
of 2.8 miles the car
without the magnets would be,
well faster.
Or would it?
Now this is the simplest
Scalextric circuit you can have.
It's just a circle and I have it rigged up
to a train set controller with a knob
so I can control the
power very accurately.
Here is our 911 with no magnet,
put it on the inside track.
Set it going, that's power number one,
six, right at six it's
just starting to come off.
there you go.
Number seven on the dial is
the fastest it can corner
Now we'll take our 911 with the magnets,
same track,
there it is up to seven already.
That doesn't come off
until I get it to 11.
So what you might gain on the straight
by removing the magnet
you'd lose on the bends
and bends are actually
where races are won.
The simple fact is that
this is about driving skill.
Nothing more.
Back at the test track my volunteers
are improving enormously.
- As soon as the car's
straight accelerate.
Okay well done.
- Ha ha we got it.
- Nearly.
- That's it keep steering, that's it,
(laughs) how did that feel?
- Oh my God.
- Now let's see how they
do on a Scalextric version
of the same test track.
So, consistent driving
and good time please, go.
Incredibly it has made a difference.
Now all they need to is pass
on this new found knowledge
to other 136 members
of the Brooklands team.
(record scratch)
The big day, in just six hours time
the two teams will join in
mortal motor sport combat
and Brooklands will once more resonate
to the sound of real racing
although it might be a bit tinny.
- Meet up over on to the
lawn please that'll be fine.
- Hundreds of locals have turned up
to help lay this record-breaking
two and three quarter mile track.
(audience cheering)
Thank you.
(audience clapping)
for 70 years people have come here
mainly to run their
fingers through the dust
of motor sport history.
But today, today is different.
Because you are here to race.
(audience cheering)
Whether you win or you lose
you people today here,
are guaranteed an entry
in that great, unfinished book
that is the history of
motor racing at Brooklands.
Make it a proud and bold one.
Carry on.
(audience cheer and applause)
Thank you.
Everyone's building the section of track
that's nearest to their home or office.
They'll also be responsible
for driving the team car
round that part of the course.
- If you look at the track today
I mean it's overgrown,
it's weeds, you can see
the concrete underneath it,
but to stick a track down on it
and to have kids playing on it
who've never even heard of Brooklands
I think is brilliant yeah, it's good.
- I think the big concern here is
how uneven this is.
Scalextric track doesn't
like that and we've got
nearly a mile just to lay here.
- [James] Clara and
the babes from Babywear
are seeing the old concrete road that runs
past their shop in a new
and more meaningful light.
- I guess it's kind of a historic event
cause at least then
they're doing more racing
rather than just leaving it to
- Overgrown.
- get overgrown with weeds.
- Okay you know where
you are on the map here.
As you know this is your section.
- [James] But Tom and
his fellow electronics
whizz-kids are getting nervous.
Their section is full of hazards.
- That is tricky look.
We gotta do, you've gotta
control the car round
the full circuit loop,
180, back again
and then round the roundabout again.
- Let's cross our fingers.
- [James] The experts are smelling blood.
- I'm a Scalextric enthusiast,
since I was a child.
We know the products and
we know the skills required
to race miniature cars
and I very much doubt they'll keep up
with a Scalextric team.
- [Child] Here you go, here's more track.
- [James] For the younger volunteers
Sim's achievements with
mild steel and sticky tape
are clearly an inspiration.
- When it goes through the
hole I think it will fall off.
- No Remi it won't fall
off, not in our section.
Our section it won't fall off.
- In their section it will.
- Yeah in their (laughs).
- [James] Over at the dual carriage way,
Simmy is ready to reveal
the sort of thinking
that once got him a job
on Scrapheap Challenge.
A removable section of track
that means the road won't
have to be closed all day.
- What we're doing here,
we've got this 12 meter
long section which we're
gonna lay the track on.
And then when the time comes
volunteers are gonna walk out
in to the middle of the road
when the traffic is stopped,
lay it down in the middle of the road.
The cars will go across
it, they'll pick it up
and take it away.
- Now, now.
- Alright go, go.
- [James] And we've had a bit
of luck with another road.
Sim has found a storm culvert
which means we might
be able to go under it
rather than across it.
- Does it not smell down there?
- Ahh.
What is it?
Oh God there's a dead fox in here.
- [Sim] Sorry I forgot
to tell you about that.
- Aw that's rank.
Have you got some sort of really fine
model makers two mil
ply so it can bend in to
a nice progressive curve?
- Yes.
- Well that's what we'll do then.
- I've got some four mil cheap stuff.
Coming in James.
- Release.
- [Sim] Almost genius.
- [James] That's about
right, that's lovely.
Send the car down.
- [Sim] Ready?
- [James] Yup.
Oh did you have to, oh God.
Right that works.
Over at the pond, Tom and his team
are still struggling to get
the floating bridge to work.
- I think the issue's
gonna be raising this up
cause otherwise we're
gonna have such an angle
that the car's gonna
fly off in to the water.
- Yeah we're gonna lose it in the lake.
- [James] At the 14 foot
fence, Sim reveals yet again
his mastery of mild steel bar stock.
- It's quite sunny.
- [Man] How's, that?
- [Volunteer] That's good.
- [Man] Marvelous.
- That looks very nice.
After just two hours,
three quarters of the track
and some cardboard are already in place.
Somebody's gonna go off there
and that's gonna take a
lot of retrieving isn't it?
Are they nettles?
- We thought you'd give
us a hand with that one.
- I'm gonna be over there.
No over there.
And we've even found a way
of getting across the river
by turning a sewage pipe in to part
of the Brooklands banking.
And hopefully as they keep
feeding it from this end
it will eventually
emerge at the other end.
There's a massive kink beyond you.
- At the other end there?
Yeah we've just got to
put it on to this side
of the pipes there.
- [James] Okay.
- Make sure it's on this side.
Sure you don't want a
chicane in the middle?
- Bloody positive.
- [Child] Done.
- You push these bits together.
We've done lots of it.
- [James] Over at the housing estate,
Scalextric is bringing people together
in the community.
- Any excuse for a street party down here
but it's quite nice to actually join
that end of the street
with this end of the street
cause that doesn't normally
happen an awful lot
but yeah it's great.
- Are you coming to help build the track?
- Come on then cause you
- come on.
get to play with it once it's built.
- Cause it's going over
your garden isn't it?
- Should we go build that track boys?
- Yeah!
- Yeah?
- Yeah!
- But inevitably a problem
that always emerges
when trying to go around
the piano or the sideboard
also reveals itself here.
A hundred times over.
This is a problem were gonna have a lot
because the sections of track are made
say along Staniland Drive,
along the banking that's fine.
But when you come to join them up
you end up needing an odd
piece like a quarter curve
or a short straight.
Now we could join this up here
but because the track
goes left and then right
we're simply going to recreate
that problem over there.
So this has turned in to a
massive geometric headache.
Should we give it a go anyway?
- [Man] Yeah.
- [Woman] Yeah.
- Right so you need to go that way a bit.
- James has moved the
problem 20 feet to the right.
Now we need to move,
all the track needs to
come this way, so we need everyone
to grab hold of bits of track
and that's gonna extend all the way down.
- Yeah.
- Yes!
- There you go.
- [James] Another unforeseen problem
is idiots learning to drive real cars.
- The driving school have driven over
the track that we laid this
morning at half past six
and damaged it
so, we've got to replace it.
- That was really hard work.
And that was a really lot of money.
- [James] As the volunteers
do a final pass of the track
I head off to the clubhouse
to meet former racing driver
and TV presenter Tiff Needell,
who has offered to be my roving reporter
at this historic event.
Tiff tell us what it means to you.
- So much really James, my father was here
as a spectator watching the
last ever Brooklands race
just over 70 years ago.
He used to do auto tests here,
this is where my own love
of motor sport was born.
- And did you ever imagine
you'd see another race here?
- No, this is what's so exciting actually,
a race at Brooklands again
after all those years.
Just means so much.
- You'll be telling us what happens,
I won't be able to see of course.
- Do you see any potential
hazards ahead of me
that I should be concentrating on,
any areas of danger?
- I think the areas of interest will be
the high fence, the pond,
the spiral ascent of doom.
- I don't remember a spiral
ascent of doom pre-war.
- No, no it wasn't.
It wasn't, but then there
wasn't the headquarters
of a popular soap distributor
in the middle of the track.
- Right, is there any
time limits on this event?
- Well we've got to finish
it before it gets dark.
Cause it's not lit.
- Good.
- [James] But back on the track
the glorious weekend weather
has cause a peculiar problem..
- We lay the track earlier in the morning
when there was nice cloud cover.
The sun's come out, the
track itself has got very hot
and along the length we've now got bumps
like this occurring.
This is something were going to
have to look at and hopefully
take sections out to make them right.
To bring this back down to level.
There's not much else
I can say I'm afraid.
- [James] The volunteers
now need to check the full
two and three quarter miles of track
to get rid of any other expansion hazards.
Finally, after just six hours
of pushing plastic pieces together,
the Brooklands circuit is linked up
for the first time since 1939.
Now the two teams are
under starters orders
and change in to their race wear.
The Scalextric enthusiasts are in silver.
I actually hold world record
for 24 hour slot car racing
over in America, so could
say I'm well practiced.
- [James] And the 140
terrified locals are in maroon.
- I feel really nervous and
excited at the same time.
- I'm just gonna speed
along and beat him, them.
- Excited.
- Nervous.
- And nervous.
- Cause it's probably gonna crash
cause we can't save the corners.
- May the best man, team, win.
Yes and the same.
(audience cheering)
- Well it's an absolutely glorious day
here at Brooklands for
the first motor race
around the entire circuit
for just over 70 years.
The sun is blazing out
of a perfect blue sky,
adding to the white heat of competition
that is being experienced
down here at track level
on the historic member's banking.
The cars are in position on the start line
some minor final
adjustments and preparations
are being made by the teams.
The crowd are in very good cheer.
(crowd cheers)
and the tension and excitement
here are positively palpable.
I'm going to hand over now
to our roving reporter Tiff Needell,
Tiff can you hear me, what's
happening where you are?
- Well I'm sitting at the
first real big hazard,
the Becher's Brook if
you like, of the course,
where the cars come zooming
through this carpark
then come over this huge, high fence.
Whether they stay on the track
or not remains to be seen.
- And we're using 1920s technology
to cover the race today,
we have a photograph of
the Brooklands circuit
in it's heyday when it was complete.
Our checkpoints and significant
obstacles are marked.
My glamorous assistant Helen here will be
moving the two model cars around
in response to information
coming in through her ear,
so that I know how the race is going.
This is surely going to be
the greatest motor race I've never seen.
Finally the cars are ready to go.
A maroon Aston Martin for the locals.
A silver McLaren Mercedes
for the Scalextric nerds.
The batteries are attached
and the track goes live.
It's time to race the
biggest Scalextric circuit
the world has ever seen.
A record breaking 2.75 miles,
if it works.
- [Crowd] Ten, nine,
- Yes, and they're off!
This is fantastic.
Come on Aston.
- Go, go, go.
- [James] Amazingly the Brooklands locals
soon begin to draw ahead.
That is spectacular, the Aston
has streaked in to the lead
but for how long who knows.
The red mist of motor racing has descended
on the community team,
as the car enters each controllers section
the takeover is near seamless.
They give it the berries across the bridge
and their lead increases.
The Scalextric experts have
stalled on a straight bit
and it's not clear why.
Turns out to be nothing more than a lump
of historic kak on the pickups.
- [Woman] Oh, there it goes.
Right through your legs.
- [James] Tiff the news
is the McLaren Mercedes
is on the move again and
approaching the river crossing.
The Scalextric geeks use all their skill
to try and close the gap.
And they're in luck because
further down the course
the Brooklands car suddenly
comes off the track.
(intense music)
And when they put it back on, it's dead.
- Hopefully yet they'll
not catch up with us.
- [James] The experts are making up grand
but then suddenly one
of their team goes weak
and helps the locals out.
- [Woman] Geek, what's wrong with it?
- I think it's cause of dust on the track
that's caused the problem.
- [James] The Brooklands team's mishap
could cost them dear.
The nerds are closing the gap fast.
- Come on.
Yes, yes, yes, yes, go, go.
- Come on.
- [James] 30 feet between
the cars apparently Tiff.
A quarter of the way round the track
and the Scalextric experts
finally pass the Brooklands car.
But the Brooklands team
put their fingers down
and regain the lead.
Well they're swapping places all the way
along the railway straight.
Then the Scalextric team
overtake once again.
- James, James, James,
James, the experts car
is very fast coming up to the big fence.
Now it's the silver Mercedes in the lead
coming over the big, and over it
and it's cleared it.
It's raring off now
towards the Byfleet banking
with a very healthy lead.
As the Brooklands is coming over the top
of the big fence right now,
here it comes up the ramp, keep going,
keep going, no it's stopped.
The driver is up, it's
edging, it's edging,
it's over the top, it's over the top.
Over the top.
The Brooklands Aston has
cleared the big fence.
- Aston has cleared the high fence.
But is a hundred yards
behind the Mercedes.
- We're just running to
the end of the carpark,
there's one more high fence James
they have to clear.
And yes the Aston just got it,
they're now both out of the carparks.
Both cars are on the Byfleet banking.
- The St.Johns Ambulance have reported
that both cars are in section seven
and approaching the road crossing.
It's the most reliable
piece of information
we've had relayed to us all day.
Which suggests this is a very good place
to have a heart attack or a baby.
The cars are now half way round the track
and the road has been closed
so Sim's electric flyover
can swing in to action.
The Scalextric experts
speed across the road
without a problem.
(crowd cheering)
But Sim's mobile track section loses power
when the Brooklands
team is halfway across.
I'm afraid this is terrible
news it's stuck on the road,
if it doesn't move when
the road is reopened
it will be flattened.
A small section of
track has to be replaced
before they can speed on their way.
- That's go, go, go.
(crowd cheer)
- [James] The Brooklands
team draws extra power
from the cheering crowd.
They don't just catch up,
they storm in to the lead.
- Oh it's absolutely,
it's going faster than
I can run at the moment.
The Brooklands Aston is nearing the end
of the Byfleet banking.
I'm a bit worried the children
might run onto the track.
I'm running out of breath.
It's going at fantastic speed.
The expert's car is way
back in the distance now.
400, 500 yards behind
as the Brooklands Aston heads
towards the next crossing.
- [James] The cars are now
three quarters of the way
round the course but they
still face some of the
most difficult obstacles.
Can the Brooklands team
maintain their position?
This is absolutely gripping everybody.
Tiff Needell is now heading
for a Pimm's and a sausage
from a barbecue on Staniland Drive.
He can hardly contain himself.
What's happening Tiff?
- Well it's getting very tense
down here at Staniland Drive,
here are the drivers ready.
How do you know when
your car's gonna appear?
- We hear screaming and shouting.
- We believe you're in the
lead but it's neck and neck.
- Yeah apparently.
- There is some screaming
and shouting coming.
- [James] The Brooklands
team are still in the lead
as they take Sim's off cut sewage pipe
through the hedge at full chat.
- Come on Brooklands.
And there it is, oh!
They're through.
Oh it's off again.
It keeps on crashing,
she's going too fast.
James I have the leaders.
I have the leaders
and it is the red, the
Brooklands Aston Martin
it's soaring up Staniland Drive.
We haven't even seen the Mercedes yet.
But the Aston Martin
is absolutely roaring.
- Yes the Brooklands Aston
is going up the Drive
it's miles ahead, it's
going through the garden.
(crowd cheering)
Fantastic driving there
from the local residents
of the 90s built housing estate.
The Scalextric experts are in hot pursuit
and threatening to regain the lead.
But the Brooklands team
are keeping a committed,
collective finger on the trigger.
They may have picked up a
leaf from Staniland Drive
but they make short
work of dead fox tunnel.
But brilliant driving from the experts
is closing the gap and they roar past
the corpse of Basil
Brush just seconds later.
- Well James just in
the van now going from
Staniland Drive over to the lake to see
if the Aston Martin can get
across this next big obstacle.
- [James] It's now up to Tom and his team
to get the car safely across silicon pond.
- And there is the
Brooklands Aston Martin.
No, it's stopped in the
middle of the pond James!
We're at the pond and the Aston Martin
has stopped right in
the middle of the pond.
- Oh no the Brooklands
Aston Martin is halfway
across the pond, it
hasn't fallen in the pond
but it's come out of it's slot.
(crowd groaning)
Meanwhile the nerds are
getting ever closer.
It's a critical point in the race.
The plywood and pipe insulation bridge
could be the point where
Brooklands lose the lead.
- Come on, get in the water.
Get in the water.
- Cheers off you go.
- Alright, lower the boat.
- The team are manning the rubber boat to
row out and put it back in position.
- Well done, the movement of the water
literally made the car go again.
Heroic from the Brooklands
people, heroic stuff.
This is people power, people power guiding
the Aston Martin forwards.
- [James] Still the experts rein in
the maroon Aston Martin of local hope.
While the Brooklands team drive hard
towards the final obstacle,
the spiral ascent of doom
up to the executive floor
of the soap dispenser.
- It's going up the spiral
James, it's going up the spiral.
Fantastic I'm seeing it, it is brilliant.
It's spiraling upwards.
Go Brooklands, go!
Go Brooklands.
It's cleared the spiral.
- [James] The Scalextric
experts are just seconds behind
as they enter the shampoo
spiral it's anybody's race.
But then with less than
a quarter of a mile to go
everything goes strangely quiet.
Tiff the action is very
unclear from this end
I'm not sure what's
happening, can you inform me?
Tiff's radio battery has run out.
All I know is that the
cars were neck and neck.
Any reports?
And all I can do is wait and see which one
comes round the final corner in the lead.
- Here it comes now.
- At last, a lone car
appears on the home stretch.
And I can hardly believe it.
It's the Aston.
Here it comes everybody.
It's a victory for the community.
(crowd cheering)
It's a world record.
(crowd clapping)
(crowd cheering)
Record-breaking, community racing groups,
Aston Martin DB9.
- So glad we actually did it
and actually went all the way around.
- [James] Any crashes?
- No.
- Crashes?
- Came off once.
- Once, that's okay.
And moments later, the nerds also complete
the longest Scalextric track
the world has ever seen.
Hoves into view and streaks
down the finishing straight.
Looking gorgeous here.
(crowd cheering and clapping)
- [Man] World record.
(crowd cheering)
- Superb, even has bits of
undergrowth stuck in it.
Do we have a world record?
- You do have a world record.
You have indeed smashed
the previous world record
by something like 1.4 miles.
It is officially a Guinness
World Record, well done.
- Thank you very much.
Thanks for your help.
Fantastic work.
(crowd cheering)
- [James] The old banking
can rest easy tonight.
For 70 years it was
believed that Brooklands
had seen it's last race
but a few hundred people,
thousands of pieces of track
and two very small toy cars
have shown that the spirit
of Brooklands is alive and well.
And it was that spirit that
drove the locals to victory.
They were never going to lose.
(upbeat music)
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