The weekend of July 22nd sees annual the Barry Sheene Road Races return to Scarborough’s Oliver’s mount. A range of bikes from several eras of racing take to the track for what promises to be a great weekend.
The final road race meeting of the year at the North Yorkshire circuit is the Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup. Details to follow once released by The Auto 66 Club.
Details to follow
The only advance tickets available are for the 4 major Road Race meetings at Oliver’s Mount. Advanced tickets are a weekend ticket only. No single day tickets can be sold in advance for a weekend meeting. Ticket bookings are handled by PMH Promotions Ltd. Paddock admission at Oliver’s Mount is only available to advance ticket…
Details to follow.
The only advance tickets available are for the 4 major Road Race meetings at Oliver’s Mount. Ticket bookings are handled by PMH Promotions Ltd. Paddock admission at Oliver’s Mount is only available to advance ticket holders. For those of you who miss the deadline for advance tickets you will be able to purchase admission tickets…
Cock O’ the North Continental Road Races Images courtesy of ATR photography. The only advance tickets available are for the 4 major Road Race meetings at Oliver’s Mount including the Cock O’The North. Ticket bookings are handled by PMH Promotions Ltd. You are advised to book early for the Cock O’The North as there…
I was shocked and saddened yesterday to hear that local racer and business owner, Ian Bell had died racing at The Isle of Man TT with his son Carl who, thankfully, is reported to be uninjured. Understandably the passing of the well-known and successful racer has resulted in heartfelt tributes from bikers and non bikers alike and I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere condolences to Carl, Trudi, his family, friends and the staff at his dealership.
I first met Ian when he came to pick me up after my first ever bike broke down in Cramlington just days after buying it off good old Ebay! I knew of Ian but had never met him and didn’t realise it was him that had come to pick me up. In my head a successful racer and dealership owner would be sat in his office next to a coffee machine dressed smartly but here he was in oily overalls wheeling my knackered old CBR into the back of his van. It was only after the journey when speaking to my dad that I realised it was Ian that had picked me up. If only I’d known who it was I’d have asked him all about his racing, sidecars and the TT but Instead it was him asking the questions, eager to find out about my “new bike” and how I was getting on as a new rider.
It only took that ten minute van ride to realise he was a friendly and genuine guy. A fact further reinforced a year later on a sunny Saturday morning when a planned days riding was in jeopardy due to a dodgy tyre valve. All the other bike shops were too busy but Ian said if I was able to ride it down he’d sort it. I hadn’t bought the bike from him, it wasn’t a Yamaha and I didn’t visit enough to be classed as a regular customer but he fixed it there and then and refused to take a penny for it. In an effort to say thanks I bought twenty quids worth of Go Pro mounts even though I didn’t need them; I still haven’t used all of them. The last time I properly spoke to Ian was last spring when I was toying with the idea of buying the new Tracer but still felt lured towards the speed, exhilaration and bum clenching thrills that sports bikes could offer which he said he could understand. Of course he could understand, he raced the TT!
My girlfriend and I loved watching Ian and Carl race around Oliver’s mount; their immaculately turned out outfit seemed to be on another level compared to everyone else’s. It’s an overused term but that thing really did look like it cornered as if it were on rails. At the last Spring Cup we watched as the father and son duo waited for the restart of a red flagged race, Ian chatting away to a Marshall for a good while and letting her sit in his sidecar. The fact she was easier on the eye than her bearded, beanie hat wearing brethren may have had something to do with her getting a try, but in my experience Ian was happy to chat away to anyone, bearded or not. As one customer brilliantly summed up in their tribute to him last night; “he made you feel like a friend, not a customer”
In no particular order, 10 reasons to visit Oliver’s Mount this weekend for the Spring Cup. If you’ve already been I apologise for preaching to the converted and if I’ve missed something then feel free to add it using the comments at the bottom.
Images by A.T.R Photography and Charles Robertson
1. The Closeness
Watching racing at other UK venues now pales in comparison since I visited Oliver’s Mount as you just can’t get as close to the action. This never felt truer than last weekend at Silverstone where I watched the BSB through twenty foot high mesh fences, thirty meters from the track. At Scarborough the only thing between you and the riders is a waist high wooden fence. I’m not exaggerating when I say that you can smell the oil and rubber of the bikes and feel the throb of their engines in your chest as the riders race past.
2. That Hairpin
The first corner of any race is always a spectacle with whole field piling in and fighting for position but the first corner at Oliver’s Mount is something else altogether. It’s not just a corner, it’s a hairpin, a proper one, a switchback. And what’s round the other side? Sheene’s Rise with it’s 1/9 gradient. It’s amazing and you can watch it all unfold from a few feet away.
Here’s what happens when it all goes tits up:
3. It’s a Free Workout
Because the 2.41 mile circuit winds its way up, down and around the mount you’ll need to do a fair bit of walking if you want to take in all of the vantage points. The main steps down from the car park are hard enough in your leathers but the dirt paths at the northern end of the track make the Travelators from the old TV show Gladiators look flat. Watching people scramble up and down these paths makes for good entertainment between the races.
4. The Ride There
The ride down from Newcastle is a ride of two halves that starts with a boring slog down the A19 but finishes with a blast across the North York Moors. The corners are long and sweeping which means the caravans and tractors that clog the roads are easily dealt with. Don’t get too carried away though, the police are well aware of the crowd that Oliver’s Mount draws and will often have at least one camera van out on race weekend. Scaling Reservoir and the Queen Margaret Road that runs between retail park and the mount are worth taking steady, if you get what I mean. Wink, wink.
5. The Commentator
Almost as impressive as the racing itself is the commentator’s ability to seemingly never stop talking throughout the weekend and you best learn to love it as it’s piped all across the circuit. It’s not always about the racing, sometimes not even about bikes but it’s nearly always entertaining. Personal highlight; when he asked Giacomo Agostini how many notches are on his bed post and if he ever tires of signing women’s breasts.
6. The Back Straight
It’s not straight and it’s barely wide enough to get two cars down it but that doesn’t seem to stop the riders screaming along it. You’ can’t see much of the straight as most of it’s hidden by hedges but using the fence to get a leg up seems to be the done thing to give you a fleeting glimpse or let you get a video.
7. Mental Sidecar Passengers
If you’ve never seen Sidecar racing then they alone are reason enough to make the journey to Olivers Mount. Watching the passengers move around the cars beggars belief and is good to watch at Hall Bends. These guys don’t just get their knees down; arses, shoulders and heads will often touch tarmac. Don’t believe me? Watch this:
8. It’s in Scarborough
Another thing that makes Oliver’s Mount stand out from other tracks is that it’s not found in the middle of nowhere but is walking distance from a popular tourist destination. Granted, few bikers are into donkey rides or sticks of rock but bear with me here. The sheer number of hotels mean that even on race weekend it’s easy to pick up a cheap but cheerful B and B and you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to pubs and food. For me nothing beats the East Coast Kitchen in the center which offers an American Diner inspired menu. Owner Andrew Porter is a classically trained chef (as well as a true gent) so while it may be burgers and hot dogs it’s done to a top notch standard but don’t just take my word for it, it’s voted Scarborough’s number one restaurant on Trip Advisor. After stuffing your face head to The Hole In The Wall Pub who normally show the American GP after the Spring Cup (though sadly not this year due to rescheduling). Still, it’s worth a visit as the staff and regulars are sound and they pull a good pint.
9. You Can Ride It Yourself
During race weekend the roads of the circuit are closed but by Monday they’re reopened and there’s nothing stopping you going for a lap of the course yourself (albeit no faster than 30mph). Only when you ride the course can you appreciate the steepness of Sheene’s Rise or the tightness of Mountainside Hairpin. While there Oliver’s Mount Restaurant found at the north eastern end of the mount is certainly worth a visit. Beside that is the War Memorial with stunning views of the town and out to sea.
10. Jefferies Jumps
If you want to see what massive balls look like then head to Jefferies Jump where riders and their machines become air born at speeds that’ll make your ride to the mount look snail like. You’ll know when you’ve found it because there’ll be rows of people lining the fences with cameras and phones to record the spectacle. But enough of my talking, this ten second clip will show you all you need to see.
Photos are courtesy of Alan Robinson and A.T.R. Photography. For more of his photos check out his Facebook Page by clicking here.