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29th June 2015


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Ramsgate Sprint Returns

Yes, you read that correctly. Not the Ramsey Sprint on the Isle of Man, but the historic Ramsgate Sprint in Kent. A number of unique classic motorcycles will be back in action this August...

For a dozen years in the 1950s and 60s, the Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club organised quarter-mile sprints along the Western Undercliff at Ramsgate on the Kent coast. These events attracted large crowds who came to see some of the giants of straight-line sport in the country get revved up in fine style. However, as their motorcycles became faster so speeds became too high on the slightly curved, sea-front course with its unforgiving cast-iron railings and limited shut-off area. So the Ramsgate sprint passed into history. At least, it did until now.

Over the weekend of 15th and 16th August 2015, and for the first time since 1968, the Undercliff will once again echo to the roar of highly-tuned race engines. A short course will give riders a chance to demonstrate bikes from the era, including a number of machines which were stars of the original events to evoke memories of times past. The chance to ride at this historic venue has been eagerly taken up by many riders, so spectators can expect to see a fine variety of sprint specials and high-performance classic motorcycles over the weekend.

Ramsgate Sprint Returns 2015

Among them, ‘Yellow Peril’ will return to Ramsgate. It’s seen here driven by its creator, Bill Bragg, with Chris Buckingham in the sidecar.

Ramsgate Sprint Returns 2015

Ossie Neal’s Scott 600 outfit will also be back in August, now driven by his daughter, Sheelagh.

Ramsgate Sprint Returns 2015

Back in the day riders like Fred Cooper on his 500 Triumph, nicknamed ‘Hermes’, had many successes at Ramsgate.

Ramsgate Sprint Returns 2015

J Richardson’s ‘Blue Streak’ BSA 650 completed the 1963 course in 15.23 seconds, emulating the rocket that apparently inspired its name.

Ramsgate Sprint Returns 2015

And for a long time, Arthur Breese was the best of those competing in the 500 class; indeed, his JAP was reckoned to be the fastest 500 in the country.

For the revival, further attractions will provide additional entertainment on the clifftop area above the course. These will include a static display of classic bikes, organised by the East Kent Classic Motorcycle Club, while Messham’s Wall of Death will hopefully keep its spectacular action contained within its own smaller arena.

The Ramsgate Revival is intended to be entertaining not be just for sprint enthusiasts but a broader audience, recreating the whole 1960s scene. There will be a funfair and performances from a top Elvis look-alike. The Revolvers, a Sixties revival band, will provide a sound track for the weekend.

The Revival has the enthusiastic support of the local council. Admission to everything except the Wall of Death will be free. Ramsgate is well signposted and the event is at CT11 0HE. There will be ample parking.

Classic Sprinters, on Now...

If you’d like to enter your historic bike for the demo, there may still be a few places available. See www.ramsgatesprintrevival.com


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