STILL COCK O’ THE NORTH

MOUNT 70 YEARS OF RAC­ING AT OLIVER’S The great and the good have been rac­ing on main­land Bri­tain’s only closed roads cir­cuit for 70 years – and in the eyes of many rid­ers and fans Scar­bor­ough’s roller­coaster track re­mains the finest in the coun­try Cont

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Stephen Dav­i­son ROAD RAC­ING REPORTER

When Guy Ma r t i n won his first Scar­bor­ough Gold Cup in 2003, the Duke of Ed­in­burgh turned up to present him with the fa­mous tro­phy.

Prince Philip was on of­fi­cial busi­ness as the pa­tron of the ACU and prob­a­bly knew noth­ing about Guy’s now-fa­mous spat with BSB of­fi­cials that had led to the Kirm­ing­ton racer swap­ping the short cir­cuits for the roads of Oliver’s Mount and Ire­land the pre­vi­ous year.

From that first ap­pear­ance at the Cock O’ the North meet­ing on a 600cc

Gold Cup, 2008. Crowds have been lin­ing the wooden fences of Oliver’s Mount for gen­er­a­tions, and Scar­bor­ough spe­cial­ist Guy Martin al­ways gives them rea­son to cheer

Suzuki in June 2002, the ap­pren­tice truck me­chanic fell in love with the 2.4mile Oliver’s Mount park­land cir­cuit. As Eng­land’s only closed pub­lic roads cir­cuit, the York­shire venue en­joys a spe­cial place in the hearts of thou­sands of rac­ers and fans as it en­joys its 70th an­niver­sary of bike rac­ing this sea­son.

Since the first meet­ing, in Septem­ber 1946 just a few months af­ter the end of WWII, Oliver’s Mount has been the scene of epic bat­tles be­tween some of the greats of the Bri­tish mo­tor­cy­cle sport down through the decades. In the 50s it was Ge­off Duke and John Sur­tees who thrilled tens of thou­sands of spectators who flocked to the sea­side town.

Weav­ing its way be­tween the huge oak and beech trees that cling to the steep slopes of the Mount, the cir­cuit is ex­tremely nar­row and lit­tered with tight hair­pins that make side­car rac­ing at Scar­bor­ough a heart-in-the-mouth spec­ta­cle. Through­out the 60s, the sea­side cir­cuit at­tracted Grand Prix stars like Bob Mcin­tyre, Mike Hail­wood, Gi­a­como Agos­tini and Jarno Saari­nen be­fore 70s he­roes Barry Sheene and Mick Grant fought out a se­ries of mas­sive du­els dur­ing what is re­garded as the York­shire venue’s finest era.

Never a fan of road rac­ing, Sheene re­tained a soft spot for Scar­bor­ough and 30 to 40,000 fans reg­u­larly lined the cir­cuit to watch him win his four Gold Cup races in 1973, ’74,’79 and ’84. To­day the climb from Mere Hair­pin is named Sheene’s Rise in hon­our of Bri­tain’s last premier class Grand Prix world cham­pion.

In more re­cent times TT leg­ends Joey and Robert Dun­lop, Steve His­lop, Carl Fog­a­rty, Phillip Mc­callen, Ian Lougher (the man with the most race wins at Scar­bor­ough), David Jef­feries, Ian Hutchin­son, Ryan Far­quhar and John Mcguin­ness have all placed their names on the win­ners’ tro­phies at Scar­bor­ough. But it is Guy Martin’s name that ap­pears more fre­quently than any oth­ers in the venue’s his­tory. Since win­ning that first Gold Cup race in 2003, the racer turned TV celebrity has dom­i­nated the event, claim­ing a record eight vic­to­ries in the Gold Cup race and re­tain­ing the out­right lap record of 83.898mph set on a Tyco Suzuki in 2013.

The Auto 66 Club, cel­e­brat­ing its 50th an­niver­sary this year, con­tin­ues to host four bike races a year at Oliver’s Mount un­der the ex­pe­ri­enced tute­lage of Peter Hil­l­aby. This at­mo­spheric and ac­ces­si­ble venue gives race fans a unique op­por­tu­nity to get up close and per­sonal with their rac­ing he­roes both on and off the track and April’s Spring Cup meet­ing, the Cock O’ the North races in June, July’s Barry Sheene Clas­sic event and the sea­son-clos­ing Gold Cup event in Septem­ber are per­ma­nent fix­tures on the road rac­ing cal­en­dar.

‘Guy Martin has dom­i­nated the event,

claim­ing a record eight vic­to­ries in the

Gold Cup race’

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