September 23, 1972 – The last race at the Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace circuit, a motor racing circuit in Crystal Palace Park in south London, England, saw its final professional organized race on this day in 1972. Club events would continue through 1974 before the track officially closed.

The circuit opened in 1927 with a motorcycle race on May 21. The original one mile circuit primarily followed existing paths through the lake. The road surface was made of tarmac bends and hard packed gravel straightaways. At the end of 1936 track improvements begun, which increased the track’s length to two miles. The first London Grand Prix was held at the circuit on July 17, 1937 and was won by Prince Bira in his ERA R2B with an average speed of 56.5 MPH. Later that year, during the International Imperial Trophy meeting, also won by Bira, the BBC broadcast the first ever televised motor racing event.

The park was taken over by the Ministry of Defense during WWII and racing was put on hold until 1953, at which time the track was redesigned, shortening it to 1.4 miles. A variety of race typess continued to take place at the circuit, including sports cars, Formula Three, the London Trophy for Formula Two, and non-championship Formula One races. The last organized race took place The Crystal Palace on this day in 1972. Starting in 1997 occasional club races began to take place on parts of the track, but no mainstream racing is conducted there today.

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