Rock singer set to rev up the volume at Croft Nostalgia Weekend
- Rock great Brian Johnson to race Mini at popular retro-flavoured motoring festival
- Return to his roots for AC/DC front man, who first witnessed motor racing at Croft in mid-1960s
- Fifth Croft Nostalgia Weekend revving up to be best yet
As if there were not already enough compelling reasons to visit Croft Circuit’s Nostalgia Weekend (2-3 August) with its irresistible blend of fast cars, wheel-to-wheel racing, vintage music and dress and fabulous funfair, a special guest is now set to rev anticipation into overdrive.
Legendary AC/DC front man Brian Johnson is a late addition to the sparkling Nostalgia Weekend line-up. The man famous for such rock anthems as ‘Highway to Hell’, ‘Back in Black’, ‘Hells Bells’ and ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ will take to the circuit in the Historic Touring Cars class behind the wheel of a 1964 Mini Cooper that he purchased late last year after driving it in his television series ‘CARS THAT ROCK WITH BRIAN JOHNSON’.
A self-confessed ‘car nut’ whose first experience of high-octane action came at Croft when he went to watch an MG race at the North Yorkshire venue in the mid-1960s, the Florida-based Englishman – originally from Tyne and Wear – has been competing in historic events in the United States and Europe for the past couple of decades.
Brian has appeared as the ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’ on cult BBC motoring show ‘Top Gear’ and sat top of the leaderboard for most of 2013. He also competed in the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona – finishing an eminently respectable 12th in the Daytona Prototype class in a Riley-BMW – and Silverstone Classic Celebrity Challenge.
In 2009, Johnson released automotive autobiography ‘Rockers and Rollers’, which includes a section on Croft. Having played a formative role in his motor sport intoxication, the singer admits it will be enjoyable to finally make his competitive bow at the North East’s premier circuit.
“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.”
Johnson continues to keep very busy and is hard at work recording a new album, preparing for an upcoming world tour and shooting a second series of his ‘CARS THAT ROCK’ TV documentary for Discovery’s Quest channel. Croft circuit manager Mike Cantelo revealed his delight that the rock icon has made the time to fit the well-attended Nostalgia Weekend into his packed schedule.
“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.