Lewis Car Club has been in existence since 1973 when it was formed to promote motorsport and motoring in general in the Western Isles. It was setup by a group of young men, one of whom is still an active and keen club member – Malcolm Macleod (Kiwi).
Early Club events included an Autocross Championship on Barvas Machair, Hillclimbs at Bennadrove, and Autotests at Stornoway Airport, Marybank and Arnish.
In the early 1990s, Lewis Car Club organised a number of Navigational Road Rallies and loose surface Autotests at its newly acquired Lochs Road gravel circuit. These events were very successful throughout the 90s. During this time Lewis Car Club ran Banger Racing, or demolition derbys, which always bring back good memories and great stories to car club members of that era.
In 1999, the Club (in partnership with the Stornoway Trust, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Bardon Hebrides) developed its Lochs Road site. The site was let out to a newly formed company who worked to develop a Karting/ Motorsport Centre – a premier 650m by 6m outdoor karting circuit with ancillary driver training facilities. In 2001, Lewis Car Club was incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee and Registered Scottish Charity.
In 2007, Lewis Car Club organised a Motorsport Day which consisted of a Karting Grand Prix, Minimoto Races, a Show & Shine, and Supercar Rides.
The Supercar Rides were the first time road cars had used the tight and twisty Karting circuit in anger and they proved a huge success. A Ferrari F430, a Jaguar XK150, and various Porsches ferried paying passengers around the circuit with proceeds going to Bethesda Nursing Home & Hospice and the Alpha Project.
In June 2008, the first organised Quarter Mile Drag Race at Stornoway Airport raised £6,200 for Bethesda Nursing Home and Hospice.
Then in August 2008, Lewis Car Club organised the first Bethesda Rally Hebrides, the first ever Closed Stage Rally in the Western Isles. A total of ten Scottish Championship cars and drivers participated, including the late great 2008 Scottish Rally Champion, Jimmy Girvan, and cars ranged from the ex Carlos Sainz Impreza 555 to a Metro 6R4 and a selection of Mk2 Escorts. Stages were run through the stunning grounds of Lews Castle and over the Lewis Karting Centre circuit. A total of £10,000 (before expenses) was raised for Bethesda Nursing Home and Hospice.
The Club has organised the prestigious Hebrides Rally every August since. The rally has grown in size in terms of stage miles and entrants, and has raised in excess of £80,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support (Western Isles) and we are delighted to have Macmillan working alongside us for our rally. It has now grown to a 30-car untimed Seven Stage rally.
In 2009 the Club imported a National Hot Rod Association spec Drag Timing System from Portatree of Massachusetts, USA, and organised a Quarter Mile Drag Race using this equipment. The race took place at Stornoway Airport by kind permission of Highlands & Islands Airports Limited and a total of £5,500 was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support Western Isles.
Lewis Car Club, in partnership with Highlands and islands Airports (HIAL), has run two ‘Run What Ya Brung Drag Race’ events every year since with great success. This year we attracted two high performance Drag Cars, Colin Millar AKA The Flyin Fyfer in his 1400bhp Ford Anglia, and Jim Fairbairn in his 32’ Ford coupe. Colin's car ran the quarter mile in 9 seconds and reached a speed of nearly 150mph.
There is an Autosolo and Autotest Championship with regular events, bringing affordable motorsport to the Western Isles. We aim to hold at least one Autotest/ Motortest every month.
Another great team-building event Lewis Car Club organises is a Production Car Endurance Race. These events use a standard road car with a few minor safety features, then up to ten teams circle the track for four hours with the winning team being the one who clocks up the most miles.
As all the money for these events is pledged to the receiving charities, Lewis Car Club takes nothing from it for themselves; none of our Committee or members get paid, or receive any benefit from holding or being a part of the local events.
These events bring many mainland competitors and the supporting teams to the island, as well as a large number of spectators, all requiring accommodation and in turn helping tourism in Lewis.
Find Lewis Car Club on Facebook and online at www.lewiscarclub.com