Good­wood rain and shine


Clas­sic rac­ing mo­tor­cy­cles en­ter­tained crowds of Mo­togp pro­por­tions when they per­formed be­fore some 100,000 fans on each of the two days at the mas­sively pop­u­lar Good­wood Re­vival meet­ing in early Septem­ber. The bikes are a reg­u­lar and much ap­pre­ci­ated part of the mod­ern ret­ro­spec­tive and race each year, the win­ners be­ing awarded the Barry Sheene Tro­phy. The Sun­day race would have been on Barry’s 66th birth­day had he not passed away in 2003 at the age of 53. The Good­wood cir­cuit was a fix­ture of the Bri­tish mo­tor­sport scene through the 1950s and 1960s and, although the one and only mo­tor­cy­cle meet­ing was held there in 1950, the re­vival meet­ing’s bike races are for ma­chines from the whole pe­riod that the track was ac­tive. They al­ter­nate an­nu­ally be­tween the two decades and this year the two races over the week­end were staged for bikes of up to 1000cc that would have raced in the pe­riod up to 1954. Star-stud­ded en­try lists saw two-rider teams made up of a past or present ‘pro­fes­sional’ paired with an am­a­teur team­mate. In many cases those lines are blurred, es­pe­cially when older pro­fes­sion­als come up against to­day’s am­a­teurs who race reg­u­larly at the front in the clas­sic Lans­downe Series. The first of the week­end’s races was run in mon­soon con­di­tions and won at a 75.21mph av­er­age in the tor­ren­tial rain by smooth-rid­ing TT star of the 1980s, Char­lie Wil­liams and Mike Far­rall, the owner of the pair’s un­fea­si­bly rapid 1933 Rudge TT Replica. Sec­ond: Dun­can Fitch­ett and Sam Clews on a 1951 Nor­ton ahead of Ian Bain and Sam Bro­gan on a 1953 Manx. Clews, in­ci­den­tally, was re­plac­ing for­mer world cham­pion of the 1990s, Kevin Sch­wantz, who had elected not to ride in this event or ap­par­ently, in any fu­ture clas­sic races. Another Amer­i­can su­per­star on hand, and who did ride, was Fred­die Spencer, mul­ti­ple world cham­pion in the 1980s, when he was nick­named ‘Fast Fred­die’ by the fans. When he rides in clas­sic events these days, how­ever, he adopts the per­sona of ‘Steady Fred­die’ out of re­spect for the own­ers of the valu­able clas­sic bikes that he gets in­vited to ride…and, of course, his own life and limb. After all, the man has noth­ing to prove. Rid­ing the ac­tual Manx Nor­ton ‘Gar­den Gate’ model that won the 1952 Day­tona 200, Fred­die and rid­ing part­ner, Ju­lian Ide, fin­ished in mid­field in the wet Satur­day race but un­for­tu­nately DNF on the dry Sun­day. That Sun­day race in the sun­shine was won at 88.87mph by John Mcguin­ness, no doubt rev­el­ling in the wide-open spa­ces of Good­wood, as com­pared to the nor­mal public road con­fines of his Isle of Man rac­ing habi­tat. He was paired on a Nor­ton with Glen English and they also took fourth place at 75.50mph in the Satur­day rain. In that race they were less than a quar­ter of a sec­ond ahead of another cur­rent TT star on a Manx Nor­ton, Michael Dun­lop, who was part­nered with Michael Hose. An ag­gre­gate time of 45m 15.021s over the two events for Mcguin­ness and English, how­ever, meant that they took the week­end’s Com­bined Re­sult award. It was a close run thing, how­ever, as Dun­can Fitch­ett and Sam Clews’ time was 45m 41.007s and that of Char­lie Wil­liams and Mike Far­rall was 45m 53.291s. Fitch­ett and Clews had placed sec­ond in both races while Wil­liams and Far­rall were third in the dry race on Sun­day after win­ning in Satur­day’s storm.

John Mcguin­ness, who part­nered clas­sic ace Glen English, on his way to a hard fought Good­wood vic­tory.

Words: Bruce Cox Pho­to­graph: John Lakey

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