A Scalextric fan has admitted driving 100 miles to fulfil his passions on the racing track.
John Watts, 70, travels from his home in St Leonards, East Sussex to East Worthing in West Sussex twice a month to take part in the East Worthing Scalextric Club.
Having attempted to set up groups in Hastings before, John’s options were either a group in Kent or the Worthing club. He chose the latter because the roads were better, and because the group had ‘a good atmosphere’.
And aside from the banter, he does the 100-mile round trip because he loves to win. He said: “Don’t let anyone tell you it is only a game and it is the taking part that counts.”
His father taught him to read with motor racing books featuring legends of the time. He said: “I could say Rudolf Caracciola and Tazio Nuvolari before I could say my own name.
“From then on, I wanted to be a racing driver but I could never afford it. But here, I am a racing driver.”
In recent years, John said his sisters ‘sat there in stunned silence’ when they discovered how serious his hobby was: “They think it is just for kids, but I have always been immature so it’s alright isn’t it.”
East Worthing Scalextric Club founder Terry Smith said it is not just for children: “First and foremost, it is a competition. It is run with proper timing equipment; it is proper motor racing in miniature.”
At the club, members bring their own cars to modify and race around a track built by Terry. The 61-year-old, who also performs in heavy metal band Dirty Shoes, was ‘overjoyed’ when he got his first Scalextric car aged 11 so he could emulate his favourite Formula One drivers on his bedroom floor.
And his passion for all things slot-car landed him a job at Gaugemaster in Ford, West Sussex, which also sells model railway equipment.
He said the attention to detail on the new cars has hugely improved, with better paintwork and more realistic interiors, including seatbelts.
The group meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. If you are as dedicated as John and would like to join the group, email firstname.lastname@example.org.