It’s not all about four wheels at Goodwood’s showpiece event however the cars tend to dominate but explore a little further and you will find a lot more than the fantastic Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy. Although originally called the Lennox Cup, this two rider, two race event, run over the weekend was re named following Sheene’s passing in 2003. The famous number 7 showed he could still mix it with the best winning his final UK event in 02 on a Manx Norton, just holding off Wayne Gardner by 0.1 of a second riding a Matchless G50. The pilots may have changed over a decade later but the bikes certainly have not and the racing was as exciting as ever with Sunday’s race offering drama from start to finish. Saturday saw an all Norton podium with Jeremy McWilliams and Duncan Fitchett taking victory from Brogan /Bain and Rutter with Russell.
Just 24 hours later they all took to the 2.4 mile circuit again with pole position man Fitchett taking an early lead then handing over to McWilliams. Second place Mike Edwards handed the Matchless over to James Haydon after such a quick in-lap and changeover they gain the lead; then and an epic battle began. McWilliams Norton was tied to Haydon’s G50 by the smallest piece of string and over the final few laps the gasps and cheers from the huge crowd could be clearly heard over the roar of the big single cylinder motors. With just over two minutes to go Haydon went into the lead and ran so close to the chicane the painted banner attached itself to his knee and had to be disposed of on the start finish straight. At the start of the final lap McWilliams snatched the lead back but then Haydon lunged under the Norton on the approach to the chicane and the pair exited almost together; Haydon was able to cross the line with just half a bikes length lead. A fantastic race with the Rutter/Russell pairing taking the final podium spot on their Norton and the whole field were treated to rapturous applause from the enthusiastic crowd.
Away from the racing, rather too discreetly, I located a fantastic collection of vintage gold including the Philadelphia built Ace. Founded by William G Henderson who sold his own name brand to Excelsior in 1917 was known for his machines being the fastest and lightest of their day. The area also displayed one of the original Henderson’s and if by coincidence a superb Indian, the marque that would take over the production of Ace Motorcycles in 1927.
The strangest bike on show was the 1925 BAC Pacer V twin OHV packing an amazing 2400cc and capable of 100mph. Used for cycle racing in velodromes these machines offered a draft for the cyclist who endeavoured to get as dangerously close as possible making the sport extremely popular across parts of Europe. Accidents were common for the cyclist, often falling under the wheels of a following Pacer and although the event continues today (known as the Keirin) the days of the monster engines have long passed into history.
Finally, a biker that brings a smile to every face, the legend that is George Shuttleworth Speed Demon. A tribute to George Formby and the 1935 film ‘No Limit’ where a Wigan chimney sweep builds his own bike to take on the Isle of Man TT. So yes, whilst the Revival favours our four wheeled friends there is always something for the two wheeled troupe to enjoy; looking forward to 2016 already.