Legendary rocker Brian Johnson is to divulge in his secondary passion alongside his award winning career in AC/DC when he races a Mini Cooper at Croft Circuit this weekend.
Johnson, who finished 12th in the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona, has a massive thirst for motorsport of all shapes and sizes and that is why he is racing his own 1964 Mini Cooper in the Classic Touring Car races at the North East circuit he first visited in the 1960s.
“I was 17-and-a-half when I got my first car – a Ford Popular, sit-up-and-beg style and with only three gears,” he recalls. “That August, I was in my home village of Dunston near Gateshead with not much to do, when somebody said there was racing on at Croft – so on a rainy day and with just one windscreen wiper on this Popular, myself and two friends headed down there. We drove straight past the lady on the gate because we couldn’t afford to buy tickets…
“Having got my initial taste of live motor racing at Croft, I jumped at the chance to race at the Nostalgia Weekend. I was recently one of the drivers in a Porsche 911 that finished first-in-class and 20th overall at the Le Mans Classic, but it’ll be quite a departure from that car’s big fat tyres and rear wing to the little Mini I’ll be driving this weekend!
“As a circuit, Croft is a complete step into the unknown for me and I’ve been told it’s quite a challenge, so I’m fully expecting a big learning curve and to get my backside royally kicked by the Nostalgia regulars! Hopefully, the test day beforehand will help me to get up to some kind of speed ahead of the racing – it should be a fun weekend and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Indeed the arrival of Johnson coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the first meeting at Croft – a Daily Mirror Trophy Meeting on August 3rd 1964 – and this blast back to the past perfectly brings the sights of the age to the modern generation.
The event, which is now into it’s fifth year, is seeing as much action off track as there is on it and the appeal of bringing in such a big petrol head like Brian Johnson is enough to make anyones heart beat just a bit faster – especially Croft Circuit Manager Mike Cantelo. “Just when I didn’t think this year’s Nostalgia Weekend could possibly get any better, to receive a ‘phone call from Brian Johnson saying he plans to come along and compete was just incredible!” he enthused. “I was a bit star-struck, I must confess, and I reckon spectators will be more than a little in awe when they see a rock legend out on-track here at Croft this weekend.
“Brian is clearly a complete petrol-head, and I’m sure he will have a fantastic time not only racing his Mini in the Historic Touring Cars class, but also seeing some of the superb classic racing and non-racing machinery we’ll have here at the weekend. A tremendous addition to an already magnificent line-up!”
Tickets for Croft’s Nostalgia Weekend cost just £13 for Saturday entry, £18 for Sunday or £23 for a weekend pass and can be purchased on the gate. Accompanied children aged 15 and under go free. A full provisional racing timetable can be found at: http://www.croftcircuit.co.uk/timetables/nostalgia-2014.pdf