Ford's Boreham days at an end

Ford's Boreham days at an endFrom General Article [ 13/12/2003 ].
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Staff at Ford's historic motorsport operation at Britain's Boreham Airfield, Essex are relocating to the company's nearby Dunton Engineering Centre, in a move to consolidate motorsport activities in one site under the leadership of Ford Team RS director, Jost Capito. The move is part of Ford of Europe's strengthening of its links between motorsport and performance road cars. All Ford Team RS staff based at Boreham will be relocated to Dunton, while the eight acres currently occupied at the Boreham site will be vacated for sale. Motorsport activities will continue in the new home at Dunton ... and with this the curtain comes down on a golden era for the Essex town.

For a larger picture of this stunning shot, click here.

Boreham is one of the most evocative names in rallying, having been home to various Ford motorsport operations since 1963. Several generations of the all-conquering Ford Escort world rally cars were built at Boreham, driven to thousands of victories worldwide by rally legends including Roger Clark (pictured above), Hannu Mikkola (pictured left on the Scottish Rally of 1978) and Bjorn Waldegard and powering Ari Vatanen to take both WRC drivers' and manufacturers' championship titles.

Ford's current FIA World Rally Championship challenge continues to be spearheaded by the Cumbria-based M-Sport team, which has successfully handled Ford's 'works' world rally programme since 1997 and was recently confirmed to carry the Ford challenge into the 2004 season.

Ford Team RS director, Jost Capito said: "Boreham has played a large part in our motorsport heritage and some connected to the sport of rallying may see this as the end of an era, but I believe having the whole team together at our high-tech Dunton Engineering Centre will strengthen our commitment to all our motorsport activities and a single location for Ford Team RS motorsport and performance car activities will start a new era."

The only other Ford operation currently based at Boreham is Ford Fleet Test, which administers a quality and dependability test vehicle fleet. This will also relocate to Dunton, to join the rest of the Product Verification and Testing Organisation.

Boreham was first developed as a grass surface airfield by the RAF in 1941 and taken over by the USAAF in 1943, as a base for World War Two operations. It later became prominent as a motor racing venue and hosted the 1952 International Festival of Motorsport, which attracted 50,000 spectators. Ford first acquired the site in 1952 for tarmac and off-road testing, with Ford Motorsport taking over the facility from 1963.