Leg­ends Hawk­stone

Take one leg­endary track, add some great rac­ers, slip in a round of the cur­rent twin­shock cham­pi­onship, add a pinch of sun­shine and en­joy!

Classic Dirtbike - - Sporting Action - Words and Pics John Mc­crink

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.

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Keep the power on or you’ll sink on land­ing.

Plenty of air time.

Themx­erat rest... ami­able, chatty.just wait­for the gate to drop.

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