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Nostalgia: Tests of speed and precision provided thrills for the crowds

PUBLISHED: 14:18 06 May 2020

Eastern Counties Motor Club's Autotest outside Felixstowe Pier in 1970 Picture: JOHN KERR

Eastern Counties Motor Club's Autotest outside Felixstowe Pier in 1970 Picture: JOHN KERR

For competitors it was a gruelling day of precision driving, determined after months of practice to be masters of their machines and to get every manoeuvre spot-on.

Crowds on the seafront watch one of the Autotest stages at Felixstowe in 1976 Picture: JOHN KERRCrowds on the seafront watch one of the Autotest stages at Felixstowe in 1976 Picture: JOHN KERR

While for the public it was a chance to see quality drivers burning rubber, doing tight turns at speed, stops within inches of markers in fascinating cars – all against the clock.

The Felixstowe Autotest was a firm fixture in the resort’s annual calendar of events throughout the 1970s until the 1990s, run by the Eastern Counties Motor Club.

Drivers were tested on challenging courses over the years outside the Spa Pavilion, on Pier Bight, Micklegate Road, and Ranelagh and Landguard car parks. Some of the stages drew more spectators than others, and the drivers ended the afternoon with the eagerly-awaited results and a series of presentations.

What are your memories of the Autotest? Did you take part? Email judy.rimmer@archant.co.uk. To order copies of photos, visit www.eadt.co.uk/myphotos24, or call Diane Townsend on 01603 772449.

Driving around the obstacles during the auto test  Picture: JOHN KERRDriving around the obstacles during the auto test Picture: JOHN KERR

Cars of all shapes and sizes took on the auto test course in Felixstowe  Picture: ARCHANTCars of all shapes and sizes took on the auto test course in Felixstowe Picture: ARCHANT

The Felixstowe Autotests held by the Eastern Counties Motor Club on the seafront at Felixstowe attracted big crowds Picture: ARCHANTThe Felixstowe Autotests held by the Eastern Counties Motor Club on the seafront at Felixstowe attracted big crowds Picture: ARCHANT

A custom Frogeye Sprite ready to start the course at the 1973 Autotest Picture: ARCHANTA custom Frogeye Sprite ready to start the course at the 1973 Autotest Picture: ARCHANT

Watching the action as the cars race round the course by the Felixstowe seafront - 1973 before the sea wall was built Picture: ARCHANTWatching the action as the cars race round the course by the Felixstowe seafront - 1973 before the sea wall was built Picture: ARCHANT

A VW Beetle takes on the course on Pier Bight - one of the most popular settings at the Felixstowe Autotest - in 1973 Picture: ARCHANTA VW Beetle takes on the course on Pier Bight - one of the most popular settings at the Felixstowe Autotest - in 1973 Picture: ARCHANT

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