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Resurrecting the Beveridge Race Track
By Ross Irving (FCT Curator) and Otto Neckel (visitor and guest blog writer)
It is always nice to hear that someone is inspired by what they find in a museum or art gallery, whether they took up painting again, went into the attic to retrieve the family photographs or started some research on their local area. It sounds cliché, but it really is the reason we spend all of that time and effort putting these displays together, in the hope that someone leaves with an inspired thought or feeling.
For the museum staff we don’t often get to hear about these inspirational visits, so you can imagine how delighted I was when someone took the time to contact me. I recently heard from a young visitor, Otto Neckel, who was inspired by a display on Beveridge Park racing track in Kirkcaldy. The Park hosted an annual event for the Scottish Road Races (organised by Kirkcaldy & District Motor Club) from 1948 until 1988. Cars and carts were raced here in the 1950s along with motorbikes until new regulations restricted the event to bikes and sidecars. A few weeks after his visit, Otto had created a fully working simulation of the track, with classic cars, realistic scenery and most importantly accurate layout and elevation. It really is fantastic, you can now get an idea of what it must have been like to race round the park (which was still a park!) with trees on both sides and some truly hair-raising bends. Click below to view the simulation on YouTube.
From our conversation and a new map we found of the track, Otto has made other changes to make it more historically accurate.
I wanted to know what had inspired Otto to create this simulation and how he went about it. So I asked him:
My family and I were going for a visit to the museum to see some tapestry and after we had a look, I decided to have a look round the rest of what the museum had to offer. While I was looking around, I found out that they used to race here at Beveridge Park. I've always had a passion for cars. Just loved everything about them, the noise, the looks, the feel of driving them, everything really. Has always been a dream of mine to race GT cars professionally, but since that's still a fair reach away, I've resorted to simulation racing. A few months after the museum visit, I started to really get into making tracks for games and as I was just messing around with the software (Bobs TrackBuilder) I remembered that time I read about the track in Kirkcaldy. Then I decided to make a project out of it, it would be my first track I spent proper time making, and letting the gaming community download and use themselves.
Apart from the displays in the museum, where did you find information on the park and the track?
It was definitely a struggle to make, as there was very few pictures of it in it's heyday, but I managed to find some detailed pictures from 2003, that someone took walking around the track, and so that was what I used as my template to create the scenery. As for the track itself, I used Google Earth to map and draw around the track and paste it into the software, and while doing that, also making sure the height and elevation changes were as true to real life as I could make them
Otto then told me all about the race simulation mod community and his first track going live:
With the amount of variety of games available today, and the sheer amount of community made mods, you can drive and race on, whatever you can imagine. So I've made my own computers to use these games on, to become a part of that huge community, and I love it! It took around 2 months to fully refine and optimize to run well on computers. When I first put it onto a modding website, everyone seemed to think it was fantastic for my first track. But they pointed out a few issues that could be fixed, so I went and tried what they suggested, and after a couple weeks, updated the track. And as of now, it has 417 downloads and everyone seems to be loving it!
Otto’s project has taken the video footage and information from the museum display and combined it with his own research and his passion for racing simulation. The result brings the Beveridge Park racetrack back to life for a whole new audience to appreciate. Good job!
Find out more about the project at http://www.nogripracing.com/details.php?filenr=42712 & http://www.drivingitalia.net/forum/index.php?app=downloads&showfile=7710