Fancy taking your own classic bike on track or watching past masters in action? Famous racers mix with clubman chasers at circuits across the UK this summer…
There are a wide variety of racing weekends throughout the season where an array of old bikes compete in series organised by the CRMC, VMCC and other racing clubs (check the Events Diary for details of who’s racing where). However, if you prefer to get a feel for riding your classic on track instead of outright racing, then non-competitive track days are popping up throughout the calendar. There’s just time to enter your bike for most of the track sessions – plus each event offers a huge range of other activities to keep you occupied if you’d rather spectate instead of ride.
The Unapproachable Norton: June 19th/20th 2009
The Aintree Sprint: June 28th 2009
The Festival of 1000 Bikes: July 11th/12th 2009
Beezumph 18: August 14th/15th 2009
Norton Club Celebration
The premier event of the Norton Owners’ Club Golden Jubilee is almost upon us: the ‘Unapproachable Norton’ event takes place on Friday June 19th at Donington Park with further activities over the weekend. An impressive selection of Norton machines should set your heart beating faster, from the 1903 Energette, through the rebuilt Rem Fowler 1907 TT winner all the way to the 2009 Norton rotary racer fresh from its TT debut. Spanning the years between these will be a wide range of production models, flat tankers, prototypes, unique machines from the National Motorcycle Museum, together with many race and road specials.
To accompany the bikes will be Norton ‘royalty’ from the golden era, riding and/or talking Nortons including Michael Dunlop, Peter Williams, Les Archer, Keith Heckles, Rex Butcher, Norman White, Mick Hemmings and Colin Seeley, with Dave Croxford, John Cooper, Paul Dunstall and more.
There will also be a dedicated display area for unusual Norton-based machines – so if you have a Norvin, Noriel or NorBSA and would like to display it then do contact the club. If you’re looking for Norton spares then Norvil will be on site with a stand; contact them in advance if you’d like to order parts to collect on the day (email norton@norvil motorcycle.co.uk).
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The NOC have gone the extra mile to pile on the entertainment, which includes the chance to win a ride around the circuit in the Rust Racing rotary-engined sidecar outfit, track sessions and arena demonstrations, kids’ amusements, celebration party on Friday night plus classic racing over the weekend with the CRMC and Norton Day on the Saturday. There may still be time to squeeze in a few final entries if you’re quick. Bikes take to the track from around midday each day; admission prices vary depending on what’s happening at the circuit each day. It certainly pays to prebook!
Straight on to Aintree
The quarter-mile Aintree Sprint offers an excellent opportunity to see wot it’ll do, mister, without having to deal with too many convoluted corners. This historic Liverpool circuit may be more famous these days for hosting horse races, but it used to be home to the British Grand Prix in the 1950s where riders like Mike Hailwood, John Surtees and Tommy Robb battled for victory. The start/finish straight from the old circuit still exists and the Aintree Sprint invites all motorcyclists the chance to ride this historic track, battling against the clock and their machinery in a quarter-mile sprint.
Run as a joint venture between the VMCC (North-West section) and the Mersey MCC, the Aintree Sprint offers a day of varied entertainment where spectators and competitors can see everything from Vincent Black Shadows to turbo Suzuki Hayabusas right through to sidecars and scooters blasting down the course. There are sprint classes to suit every type and age of machinery, and day memberships for the club and sprinting licenses are available.
Other attractions include displays of vintage, classic, modern machinery and race bikes, among them a Randy Mamola Suzuki RG500 and a Christian Sarron Yamaha TZ350. A mobile dyno service will be available to reveal your bike’s true horsepower and a variety of trade stands and the annual autojumble could reveal those much sought-after spare parts. Special guest speakers, specialist manufacturers, repairers and club members will be on hand to offer technical tips and advice. You can even hire a Vincent HRD tour or plan a motorcycle holiday on the day.
The venue opens at 9.30am and sprinting begins at 11.30am. Competitors pay £48 for four sprints on the course; spectators pay £5 (under 16s free).
Festival of 1000 Bikes (and more)
This is the giant track event of the summer; just reading the details will make you dizzy. The core of the weekend features the opportunity to ride your classic around the Mallory Park circuit, but when you’re not on track there’s an enormous amount of other entertainment to keep you occupied including a parade of past masters to make your eyes water. Carl Fogarty will make a rare track appearance, plus Michael Dunlop, Jim Redman on a works CR750 Honda, Phil Read, Sammy Miller on his ‘Lowboy’ prototype, plus Steve Spray, Trevor Nation, Titch Allen, Mick Grant, Piero Laverda, John Cooper, Ian Simpson and Terry Rymer on the National Motorcycle Museum’s rotary Norton racers and a host of other top-notch riders. Among the awesome machines on display will be 18 four-cylinder racing Hondas, and the majority of bikes and sprint machines will be on static display throughout the weekend in the paddock.
Track sessions, in which anyone can ride their own solo or outfit, will take place over both days of the event. Roadgoing bikes take to the track on the Saturday while racing bikes ride on the Sunday. There will be a pre-65 Trial on the Saturday and a Grasstrack demo on the Sunday, and entries for both are welcome. The Sunday also features two Sprint demos along the start/finish straight, promising ‘alcohol burning, tyre smoking and ear shattering action.’
Additional attractions include the avenue of clubs featuring classic bikes from around the world, trade and autojumble stalls, an entertainment marquee with real ale and live music, plus a range of refreshments, fireworks display camping and more. Track sessions start from £30; spectator tickets are discounted in bought in advance.
Triples in Lincolnshire
For the 18th time, the TR3OC’s Beezumph Rally returns to Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire for two full days of action in August. Tickets are selling fast with places in the most popular classes for track participants already filling up. British, European and American bikes are welcome to take part on the Friday, with pre-83 British bikes only on the Saturday.
Beezumph always attracts a great selection of super-star names and this year is no exception with the likes of Tony Jefferies, Paul Smart, Percy Tait, Ron Chandler, Tommy Robb, Peter Williams, and Steve Jolly already confirmed. The club also recognises the part played by all the members of the race teams and say they are delighted to welcome Les Williams, Arthur Jakeman, Steve Brown, Bill Fannon, Fred Swift and Ron Barrett to Cadwell Park. Another guest this year will be Triumph Hurricane designer Craig Vetter, who is coming to Beezumph for his third visit. This year for the first time in the UK, the Vetter 3 prototype Hurricane and the Bonneville TT, also designed by Craig, will be on show.
The National Motorcycle Museum will have the three Triumph Rob North racers ridden by Ray Pickrell, Paul Smart and Gene Romero on show, and the London Motorcycle Museum will have their own marquee with the TR3OC’s own P1 prototype Trident (as featured in RC54 in fact) amongst the exhibits.
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On Friday night there will be a presentation of ‘Professor’ George Pooley’s specials in the main marquee. Saturday night features the bike line up and prize presentation followed by the Hog Roast, band and bar. Day tickets which cover entrance and camping for both days are only £10 in advance (£15 on the gate).
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