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July 2, 2023

Northampton Double Decker Bus Racing, 1982

Between 1958 and 2007, the BBC ran a sports program titled Grandstand. Rival channel ITV decided to get its own sports program, titled World of Sports from 1965 to 1985. Part of the programming involved racing sports that were uncommon with the British audience at the time, such as ice speedway – a form of motorcycle racing on frozen surfaces – and NASCAR stock car racing.

In 1982, an interesting race was a part of the line-up. Double decker bus racing, as you can see here:

The buses are Diamler Fleetlines from the N series (or N registration from 1975) and were operated by Transport for London (TfL). The race was held in Northampton, England. The event was hosted by Dickie Davis and the commentators were from the stock car racing staff and were Nigel King, Ron Pickering, or Frank Bough.

Six double-decker buses, each with a driver and co-driver, were entered to complete a six-lap circuit around the town. Despite the evident dangers, the drivers remained unwavering and focused on winning. Some drivers even resorted to unorthodox tactics such as spraying other drivers with water hoses to gain an unfair advantage.

After much competition and anticipation, Terry Tellyn emerged victorious driving a bus owned by the local radio station ‘Northants Radio.’ He was able to steer his way expertly around the circuit without any major collisions to earn the top prize.

The 1982 double-decker bus race in Northampton remains a unique and unforgettable event to this day. It captured the town’s sense of fun and humor, while offering a thrilling competition for all who took part.


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