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BBC World Service | Learning English | Beyond the Postcard - Brooklands
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Learning English - Beyond the Postcard
  Brooklands audio

The old racetrack
Brooklands was very important to the history of motor racing, not only in Great Britain, but also the world. The text is about the Brooklands racetrack and a particularly famous car

The text has words missing. Listen to the text then choose the correct words for each gap from the selections on the right.

  Brooklands Section of the old racetrack
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Brooklands, begun in 1907, was the first purpose-built motor-racing ...(1)... in the world. That may not seem much to us now; but never before had cars been able to race without worrying about ...(2)... or farm carts or animals suddenly ...(3)... on to the road. And even then it had one feature which remained distinctive all its life (until motor racing ended there in 1939), the banking.

About half of the banking that formed one end of the circuit still exists today - and makes very clear that this was not a racetrack for faint-hearted drivers. The height of the banking is some 29 feet (about 9 metres), the ...(4)... is so steep that it is difficult to walk up it, and the surface was never particularly smooth. Yet cars used to drive around it at well over 100 miles per hour (160 kph). It was a common occurrence for all of a car’s wheels to be off the ground at the same time.
Napier Railton at BrooklandsNapier Railton today The car in the photographs is the Napier Railton. It ...(5)... the lap record at Brooklands: 143 miles per hour (230 kph), which it set in 1935 around the 3.25 mile (5.2 km) circuit. The Railton was designed and built at Brooklands, and fittingly it has recently returned there.

It was, and is, an extraordinary vehicle, being fitted with a 24-litre 12-cylinder engine, the Napier Lion, that was in fact ...(6)... for aeroplanes. The car, and its owner-driver John Cobb, broke 47 world speed and endurance records in the years 1933-37. And the car still works. It is taken out and driven at Brooklands several times a year.

Links for more information
Brooklands Museum
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