In relation to the history of Chasewater and it’s ill-fated trotting track, I was contacted recently by a lovely lady – Sue McMillan – who spent time in the area with her family when she was younger, and whose father Brian Wibberley was behind the trotting track as a venue for a time. Brian also owned the service station on the A5 at Newtown that latterly became Hoofbeats, then The Terrace, and is now once again Hoofbeats.
I attach a few images I have of the harness racing at Chasewater. Dad (Brian Wibberley) hadn’t moved to Brownhills when these were taken. It was the late 70’s. He loved harness racing and had a passion to renovate the race track and get it back as a harness racing track (which he achieved).
Dad sold cars in Burton on Trent, and he got Opel to sponsor a night at the track – we filled the stand… I have pictures of me as a 10 year old girl presenting flowers to “distinguished” guests (who they are I have no idea) but I was told they were important and to behave!
So Dad put on the race night which was a great success… It was shortly after that, that he bought the transport café and opened the pumps – I sold petrol there throughout my teens along with a growing amount of weekly veg!
Everyone stopped for petrol and a bag of spuds. The café was then renovated and Hoofbeats opened.
Dad always had his love of Harness Racing and I have pictures of American cars on the forecourt along side sulky’s all of which he had imported from America. It was called Hoofbeats after the American magazine Hoofbeats.
Dad died on the last day of his first financial year. Geoff purchased the restaurant and traded as The Terrace – the rest you probably know.
The new Hoofbeats want my pictures to mount a collage of Dad and Anslow Super Star (Dad’s best horse and favourite horse) to remember Dad for what he did for Mr Chance (new owners dad and Granddad) in raising money for his bypass operation in the very early 80’s.
We’ve covered the trotting track a lot here over the years, and again, many folk have fond memories of working or visiting the trotting Stadium I had thought was a sole project of Oscar Johnson.
Thanks to Sue for some wonderful, evocative and remarkable images of something I once thought we’d never get much history of – the trotting track. That it’s history was intertwined with that of Hoofbeats is an interesting and engaging twist. Thank you for your generosity.
The BBC archive have previously published a short Nationwide TV clip from 1971 about the opening of the Chasewater Trotting Track which makes an odd claim about stadiium capacity but is actually local history gold. I feature it below..
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