Scalextric sets are not just for Christmas, they are for life.
It is a mantra that a band of enthusiasts has held to as their slot car racing group goes from strength to strength.
The East Worthing Scalextric Club was formed earlier this year and now boasts a dozen members – but they want to increase their numbers further.
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, 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.
John Watts, 70, travels 100 miles from St Leonards in East Sussex to take part in the club. Why? Well aside from the banter, 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.”
To join the group, email firstname.lastname@example.org.