Dukeries Motor Club was formed in 1954 with the aim of “promoting, encouraging and organizing motor sport”. It took its name from the area of rural North Nottinghamshire known as ‘The Dukeries’ which was once home to five Dukes. It is one of the regions leading motor clubs with a reputation for the organisation of its events. In the past the club has organized up to six rallies each year, but efforts nowadays are concentrated on three major events, the Dukeries Rally and the Donington Rally which both run at Donington Park, and the Flying Fortress Stages which runs on part of the Boughton Estate near Kettering.

The very first committee meeting for Dukeries Motor Club was held on Friday 24th September 1954 at the Swan Hotel, Mansfield. The following Officials and Committee members were elected:-

President – M Royce, Vice President – J E Flintham, Secretary – T McHugh,
Competition Secretary – F C Kynaston, Treasurer – W H McMahon.
Committee members – I Maclean, W Calladine, G Mills, G W Edwards, P Robinson, B Rose.

It was decided that subscriptions would be 7/6d [37.5p] and Mr F C Kynaston was to arrange affiliation to the ACU. The rules of the Club were to be drawn up by Mr Kynaston and W and J Draycott and these were duly adopted by the Committee on 9th December 1954. A few of the rules and objectives of the club were:-

a. To cultivate and encourage the use of motors of every description.
b. To act as a motorists aid in motoring matters, one member to another.
c. To assist in the defence of members interests so far as lies within the power and means of the club.

In January 1955 it was agreed to create a reduced subscription rate for ladies of 5s/0d. During February and March of that year the committee began the organisation of Fuel Economy Runs, Treasure Hunts and Night Navigational Trials. The first was a Treasure Hunt which took place on June 19th 1955. There was a three way tie for first place of Mr D Bend (Hillman Minx), Mr J S Fowkes (Simca Aronde) and Mr G W Edwards (Singer 9 Roadster). A grand total of £2-7s-0d was raised for club funds. There then followed a series of successful Scavenger Hunts in September and October and Dukeries Motor Club was born.

It was a fairly short lived as petrol rationing came into being and caused the Club to go into hibernation from February 1956 to May 1957. According to the minute book the Club was re-formed in May 1957 “with new Officers, a new Committee and a new spirit”. Unfortunately the minutes from May 1957 to Jan 1958 have gone missing but at the AGM held in May 1958, the then Chairman Mr John Taylor clearly states that “the resumption of activities was largely due to the efforts of Mr J E Flintham and Mr S Fowkes” A new constitution was accepted at the AGM when the main objectives of the Club were changed to:-

a. To bring together people who are interested in motoring activities.
b. To promote social and competitive events at regular intervals.

Membership subscriptions were raised to 10s/6d, with no mention of a reduced rate for ladies. It was during this time that a lot of the Clubs trophies were presented which are still in use today – the Kings Mill Trophy, Flintham Trophy, Henstock Trophy, Margaret Evans Challenge Bowl, Churchman Trophy and Maclean Trophy etc.

Events were being organised every month with “50% serious and 50% social”, running under such titles as the January Jaunt, the Spring Double, the Little Ladies Run, the June Social Safari and the Miniature Monte.

Over the next 6 months there are a lot of committee discussions about applying for affiliation to the RAC, and in November 1958 it was recorded that the Clubs application was to be considered by the RAC Competitions Committee once neighbouring clubs had been circulated for objections. The Secretary duly wrote back to the RAC and told them that the cheque which had been sent with the application would be cancelled and re-issued when affiliation was granted! This was actually passed in December 1958 and it was at this time that the Club also applied for membership of the fledgling East Midlands Association of Motor Clubs (EMAMC). This didn’t take so long to come through and was granted in February 1959.

It was in May 1959 that it was proposed that the October rally should be called the Dukeries Rally and the top award should be the Dukeries Trophy donated by Alderman J B Jenkins. The RAC were asked to observe the event as a Restricted status event and this was considered so important that the Committee themselves would organise it. Secretary of the Meeting was J E Flintham, Clerk of the Course D Henstock with S West and S Fowkes as Stewards. An observer was duly appointed by the RAC (Mr A Knowles from Notts Sports Car Club) and the event took place with 24 entries each paying 7/6d entry fee.

1st Mr A O Worthington/R Palmer
2nd J W Adams/G P Lennox
3rd D P Palmer (no mention of a co-driver!)

The event was subsequently upgraded to restricted status and the club have run the Dukeries Rally every year since then. (A full history of that event can be found on the Dukeries Rally website).

Other significant happenings in 1959 were that Stan West proposed that the League tables for events should be split between a Rally League and a Social League. This was agreed and so the Dukeries MC Rally Championship came into being. And last but not least, our former President and one of our Vice Presidents Gordon and Iris Kellett joined Dukeries Motor Club. There cannot be anyone else who has such a marvellous record of loyalty and service to our Club.

From September 1960 a series of Gymkhanas were held at Broomhill Grange, and throughout the 1960s various club based events continued to be organised and supported on a regular basis. These included autocross, gymkhanas, social rallies, night rallies, road safety events, driving tests, 12 car rallies as well as a Summer Dance and annual Dinner Dance.

In January 1967 John Nuttall suggested there was a shortage of rallies available for club members and proposed joining another Regional Association. This was agreed and an application was made to join the Association of North East Midland Motor Clubs (ANEMMC). This was submitted to the ANEMMC Secretary Dick Newsum, and on March 21st 1967 Dukeries Motor Club was accepted into the Association.

The continued membership of the EMAMC was proving very fruitful and after having come second in 1964 and 1965 the club finally won the EMAMC Rally Championship for the first time in 1966. This success has continued with the club having won the championship on many subsequent occasions.

In June 1971 the club were accepted into the Association of Northern Motor Clubs. (ANCC)

During July 1974 the first serious discussions took place about making the Club a Limited Company. This was to give protection to the members of the Committee who would have been held personally responsible for any debts the Club may have incurred. This change was co-ordinated by Harold White and Dukeries Motor Club Ltd came into being on 5th June 1975 along with a new constitution which is still in use today.

Club membership rose to over 300 by 1969 but in the late 70s this started to gradually reduce. In the early 1980s the Club was still running monthly treasure hunts, 2 road rallies – the Mini Monte and YSTRA, the Summer Stages and Winter Stages single venue rallies and 2 multi venue stage rallies – the National Dukeries Rally and the Premier Stages. The late 80s saw a gradual reduction in club membership and also in the number of events promoted by the Club. Night Rallies became more unpopular with the general public (although there has been resurgence in the last few years) and the last road events put on by Dukeries Motor Club were in the mid 1980s.

1987 was the year of a remarkable chain of coincidences. The BTRDA decided to introduce a BTRDA Clubmans Stage Rally Championship and Howard Wilcock became the BTRDA Championship Liaison Officer. The Dukeries Rally was selected as a round of this championship, and then the BTRDA Rallies Committee decided that the main award for the Championship should be the superb Graham Lepley Trophy which was first presented to BTRDA in 1975 by one of our most successful Dukeries competitors. This was then followed by the inaugural championship being won by longstanding Dukeries members Brian Bell and Ray Chapman, followed the next year by Bob Morley and Geoff Moss.

The club has a very long association with the Rally of Great Britain (the UK round of the World Rally Championship) and on every occasion when the event visited the East Midlands the club took a leading role with first Gordon Kellett and later Howard Wilcock being very involved in the organisation of the event as Regional Organisers. In 1985 when the event started and finished in Nottingham, club members ran Spectator Special Stages on the Saturday (Clumber 1), Monday (Clipstone) and Wednesday (Clumber 2) of the event. Over the years Dukeries members have run many stages on the Rally of Great Britain including Clipstone, Blidworth, Clumber Park, Chatsworth, Silverstone, the Super Special in Cardiff Docks and even the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, and several members continue to be very involved with the event.

The club were awarded the accolade of MSA Motor Club of the Year 2003 partly in recognition of the encouragement and support that the club gives to its members who compete or marshal on a wide range of rallies throughout the UK.

Many Dukeries members past and present are active competitors and their efforts over the years have meant that the club has won both the East Midlands and the North East Midlands Rally Championships on numerous occasions. The club also runs its own popular Rally Championship with end of season trophies and valuable prizes.

For more than 40 years Dukeries Motor Club have organised very successful special stage rallies in the Nottinghamshire forests but this came to an end in 2014 when it became clear that it was no longer practical to run competitive stages in such open and popular public forests. However the club have built up a successful relationship with Donington Park which has now become the venue for the Dukeries Rally and the Donington Rally. We also organise a single venue stage rally on part of the Boughton Estate near Kettering.

Club membership of around 130 to 150 has been fairly consistent for the last 20 years and is still healthy in comparison with many other clubs.

Many Dukeries members also assist other motor clubs by marshalling on a wide range of motor sport events throughout the year.

The club continues to be affiliated to the MSA (Motor Sports Association) which is the governing body of motor sport in the UK and is a member of five Regional Motor Sport Associations; EMAMC, ANEMMC, AEMC, AWMMC and ANCC.

To be continued…

Originally written by Val Moss with some later additions