HOWARD STRAWFORD HONOURED BY MSA
Howard Strawford, a Vice President of the BRSCC and a former Chairman, has been honoured with a ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award from the Motor Sport Association. The award is one of the highest accolades in UK motorsport and is given to those the MSA consider to have made outstanding contributions to the sport behind the scenes.
Strawford received his award at a dinner given in his honour at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, London last week. In typical self effacing style he said, “I wasn’t expecting it at all and am astonished to be given it. It’s the equivalent of the BAFTA’s and a great honour. They tell me it’s a thank you for the hard work we’ve put in to the sport over the years.”
Current BRSCC Chairman Bernard Cottrell said “On behalf of the Club I would like to congratulate Howard on an award he richly deserves. He has made a tremendous contribution to motorsport in the UK including many years of service to the BRSCC and the success of Castle Combe is testimony to his business acumen.”
Howard Strawford's first introduction to motor sport was in 1952 via the Welsh Motor Racing Club, which ran events at Fairwood. He had recently left school and started an apprenticeship working with his father in a café in Wales. One of the customers was a great enthusiast and talked him into volunteering to help lay the circuit out.
He soon started competing in sprints and hillclimbs, first in a Morgan 4/4. He took a blind date – Pat – to his first competitive event at Castel Farm and they have been together ever since. He started organising events with the Swansea Motor Club and later became chairman of the club.
He was a founder member of the Welsh Association of Motor Clubs and later became an RAC Steward, often at the Llandow circuit. Back in 1959, he had been instrumental in opening up motor sport at Llandow.
In 1967, his career took him to work in Bristol for Kraft Foods and he soon started visiting Castle Combe where he quickly became an RAC or club steward at race meetings.
By the end of the 1960s Howard was increasingly involved in the running of Castle Combe as competition secretary of the South Western Centre of the BRSCC. It seemed the days of racing at Castle Combe were coming to and end and 1971 was scheduled to be the final season. But Howard set about keeping the circuit open and eventually took control of the venue in 1975.
In the ensuing 35 years, Howard, Pat and their team have taken Castle Combe from a venue on the brink of closure with a turnover of £15,000 a year and employing one person part time to cut the grass to an operation which employs 20 people full time and in excess of 100 part time, with a turnover for the group of more than £1.5 million.
As well as working tirelessly to secure the future of Castle Combe, Howard has served the sport exceptionally over those years. He spent nearly two decades as chairman of the BRSCC and later created the highly successful Castle Combe Racing Club. He has also served on many committees as well as the Motorsport Safety Fund, of which he is still a Trustee.
He has made Castle Combe a race circuit in a park land setting and an outstanding venue for motor sport in the South West, enjoyed by tens of thousands of enthusiasts every season.