Take one legendary track, add some great racers, slip in a round of the current twinshock championship, add a pinch of sunshine and enjoy!
With green shoots thinking about appearing and temperatures almost starting to rise, thoughts again turn to that ‘Mecca of motocross’ Hawkstone Park... so what better time to look at last year’s going’s-on and think about 2018’s action to come. For the event over the August bank holiday weekend riders and spectators alike were greeted by glorious sunshine as they descended on one of the world’s most famous, exciting and truly demanding motocross circuits. They had all come to this iconic venue to celebrate motocross... or scrambling as it was once known. Ably promoted by Cumbria Twinshock Club and sponsored by Toughsheet and KAIS Suspension, the Festival of Legends comprised of races for the Frank Mercer Memorial Trophy and Round 6 of The National Twinshock Championship as well as The West Mids Evo Series. What makes the Hawkstone Park Festival of Legends so special is that it’s two whole days of pure nostalgia, both on and off the track. The place was oozing atmosphere due to the gathering of past masters of the sport who had come to race or to simply enjoy each other’s company and to reminisce about the era in which they became household names. ‘The Legends’ is aptly named given that the assembled array of stars included centre champions, TV scrambles champions, British champions and even world champions. Many would often remark that they couldn’t believe that they were being paid to do something they really loved. It really was a veritable ‘who’s who’ of motocross and the fans were treated to some probing and highly amusing interviews of the stars by Jack Burnicle. Jack was in his element in the company of guys like Neil Hudson and Badger Goss and on stage he used his vast experience to get the best out of Rob Hooper, Andy
Ainsworth, Pete Mathia, Alan Clough, Roger Harvey, Laurence Spence, Dave Watson, Paul Harrison, Terry Silvester, Mike Barnes, Billy Edwards, Roger Garret, Andy Nurden and the ‘Wigan Butcher’ himself Dick Clayton, who last year was the first ever winner of the Frank Mercer Memorial Trophy. Basking in the heat of the midday sun the enthusiastic crowd really lapped it up.
With the interviews completed it was time for what many people considered one of the highlights of the weekend, the past masters parade when the assembled stars took to the track.
Some of them hadn’t been on a bike for ages, decades even, but you wouldn’t have thought so as they ‘paraded’ around a freshly graded, shortened loop sporting grins as wide as the Hawkstone start straight.
It truly was a sight to behold and for many watching it was clearly quite poignant.
Throughout the two days of the event the combination of great weather and a brilliantly prepared track made for some really close and exciting racing in all classes. The public were kept informed of proceedings on track by commentator Rob Kinsey.
Many riders were seasoned Hawkstone veterans, others were riding the circuit for the first time and having to come to terms with the deep, loamy sand, the ‘bomb-hole’ and the infamous 1-in-3 Hawkstone Hill. The experts on the other hand made it look oh-soeasy. Either way, everyone was thrilled to be riding in the shadow of giants of the sport on such a historic circuit.
The woodlands around the old place fairly reverberated to a cacophony of noise created by buzzing 125s, ring-a-ding 250s, barking 400s and bellowing thumpers as the riders gave it their all in the sweltering heat cheered on heartily by thousands of appreciative fans. It was motocross heaven.
There were superb displays of skill and determination by riders in all the classes but the stand out performance over the piece came from Tynesider Barry Turnbull who blitzed the opposition in both the Evolution and Expert classes. The ‘Geordie Milkman’ was simply untouchable.
At the awards ceremony he received the Frank Mercer Memorial Trophy from Frank’s son Dougie and it was obviously a proud but emotional moment for him as he remembered his father who died last year.
Put quite simply, every competitor who took part was a winner given the effort they put in and the entertainment they provided for the crowds.
With a memorable Bank Holiday weekend of racing over everyone was ready for home. They had relished the thrills and excitement and the unique experience of The Hawkstone Festival of Legends and with the shadows lengthening both riders and spectators headed off with one certainty – they will be
back for more, a sentiment echoed by Roger Harvey “It’s just such a great gathering for everyone to come to and enjoy themselves. It’s my first time and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ll be coming again.”
An event of such magnitude requires an incredible amount of organisation and team effort and huge thanks are due to the hard-working members of the Cumbria Classic Club for staging such a spectacle for everyone to enjoy.
Not only did they provide a full twoday programme of racing but there was the excellent evening entertainment as well, including live music and a prize quiz, plus the superb hospitality marquee with it’s incredible array of photographs and memorabilia which brought back such great memories for the fans and stars alike.
So, now it’s on to the 2018 event.
Hard to believe these machines are nearly 40 years old.
It was sunny then...
Jackburnicle (right)chatsto Robhooper.
Rear suspension bottomed out, thepower is on...
Honda’s Crsare great lookingmachines.
Always something to do in thepaddock betweenraces.
Keep the power on or you’ll sink on landing.
Plenty of air time.
Themxerat rest... amiable, chatty.just waitfor the gate to drop.
Thepower sapping surfaceneeds a directapproach.
Tense at thestart
Racing is racing, whetherfor firstplace or 41st...