27th April 2012
The BHR classic racing season started last month. Roy Maddox reckons there was a missed opportunity at Mallory...
British Historic Racing is part of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club and organises a series of race meetings during the year. In 2012 it will visit Mallory Park, Cadwell (twice), Snetterton, Lydden and Darley Moor.Austen Kear (Laverda 500) powers around Gerrards
I deliberately live close to Mallory Park so that when the opportunity arose to once again see older motorcycles racing at the Leicestershire track, I was at the front of the queue. Over 600,000 people reside in Leicestershire and it is estimated that 95% of England's population lives within a four hour drive of the venue - but the vast majority would have known nothing about the BHR event. The local newspapers carried no pre-publicity, the same for the radio and TV. Just imagine the impact of a news piece on local TV with a few warriors and their machines, stirring the memories of the viewers. Consider the influence of transmitted action shots with a TV reporter in a racing sidecar. But no, attendance is down to the faithful few who travel miles to support BHR events.Sarah Measures' Greeves 197 Sports is prepared for the first race
The meeting starts with practice and groups of riders circulate at varying speeds and accompanied by different sounds: the thudding roar of big singles, the rumble of twins and triples and the crackle of two-strokes from home and abroad. It is almost impossible to identify what is happening, because the excellent PA system at Mallory is not employed to inform spectators. A new season, new riders, new bikes, technical changes and improvements, riders changing class, new sponsors, new classes - It was all happening but the paying guests were none the wiser as the miles of wire and speakers lay silently dormant.Sarah Measures' Greeves 197 Sports is prepared for the first race
Once the racing started and someone found the 'on' switch for the PA system it became quite exciting; close racing on well-prepared machines which evoke the spirit of days gone by. The sound and smell of two wheel (and three) combat is such a satisfying experience for participants and spectators. It is an experience that should be shared, and not corralled for the few. The BHR group have a responsibility to promote the sport in a professional and effective way that is fit for purpose in the 21st century. After this Mallory experience I have to ask if they are meeting that responsibility.*Dave Matravers on his 1960 Matchless G50. Big bike: big rider
Mallory Park is a pleasant track with great vantage points for the spectators all around the track. Shaw's Hairpin which is just on the right as you enter the circuit by foot or vehicle is a great location for photography as the riders slow in this the tightest of corners. The Bus Stop and Devil's Elbow also offer great opportunities to capture fast action shots. Competitors always seem enthused and eager as they power towards the start finish straight. Easy viewing highlights the riders' machine control and the close racing that is often a factor. If you visit Mallory make your way to the paddock over the footbridge, in this area you will be able to observe up close the riders and historic machines from all eras that will compete for your pleasure and their satisfaction.An all-action queue at the Bus Stop. 81 Tony Quinn (Morgan Super Sports 1100) and 42 Steve Steveson plus Jono Borrington (BSA Broadstock)
If you have the chance to attend a race meeting at Mallory Park -- particularly historic racing -- then don't miss the opportunity. Mallory Park is situated in the heart of the Midlands in Leicestershire just off the A47 between Leicester and Hinckley and easily accessible from the M1, M69 or M6, at LE9 7QE.
Photos: Roy Maddox
*In fairness to the VMCC, we at RC have been very well informed about this season's BHR series, both prior and after the initial race. We were given the series dates in plenty of time to add them to our events calendar, and were provided with full results for the opening round. The VMCC are certainly issuing the information to the media: it is very much up to individual publications whether they choose to give it any coverage.
It's probably also worth mentioning that the VMCC host the UK's most successful and largest track-based celebration of classic motorcycles: the Festival of 1000 Bikes which takes place each summer… at Mallory Park circuit. There are hundreds of racing classics ridden - often by Past Masters and famous racers - and displayed at the FOTB, although the emphasis is on parades and demonstrations rather than outright competition in race rounds.
Festival of 1000 Bikes
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