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Preventing counterfeit parts in stock car racing

Spedeworth is a leading name in stock car racing, with a history dating back over 50 years, and has been responsible for many of the innovations in the sport during that time.

Spedeworth Motorsports – founded by Deane Wood in 2012 – is now the country’s biggest ‘short oval’ racing promoter. It operates events from purpose-built stadiums in Aldershot, Bury St Edmunds, Eastbourne, Ipswich and Great Yarmouth offering around 40 different classes ranging from Hot Rods, Stock Cars and Bangers to Junior Bangers and Ninja Karts.

The business also has a manufacturing arm, Spedeworth Fabrications, run by Deane’s son Billy Wood that builds vehicles for several different race classes. Vehicles are based on a standard car chassis – usually second hand or reclaimed – and customised using fibreglass panels make in the workshop.

Vehicle specifications are strictly controlled by the various industry bodies and Spedeworth is one of the few businesses authorised to create panels for these race classes. Since 2012 the rules have specified that each panel must be identifiable and registered. Therefore each now has an RFID tag built in that can prove its authenticity and trace it back to the individual manufacturer. The system helps to ensure safety and fair play.

“RFID tags are incorporated during the manufacturing process and are bonded in between the different layers of resin so would be almost impossible to remove without destroying the panel,” explains Billy.

“The tags help to ensure only authorised panels are used. Race officials at the track use hand-held scanners to read the tags and carry out regular spot checks on race days. If a vehicle is found to have unauthorised parts, it is not allowed to compete.”

The system not only helps ensure that vehicles comply with the strict standards, but also protects manufacturers. Fibreglass panels for a vehicle can cost around £30,000 to produce and manufacturers have their own custom designs which they may have spent years developing. RFID helps prevent their designs being copied and sold on by rogue operators.

Billy adds: “The RFID system using scanners and ‘chips’ has worked really well for us over the years. It is simple and effective. It proves that buyers are getting an authentic product that meets all the standards, helps ensure safety on the track and gives manufacturers like us peace of mind.”

Richard Harrison of CoreRFID says: “RFID is ideal for any business fabricating components that need to be identified and tracked. As Spedeworth’s experience shows, it can not only help maintain standards but also prevent the emergence of a counterfeit industry which is a real problem in many sectors.”