Friday, 30 July 2010

LONG TRACK RACING at KENDAL 1972

There was a time when Continental style Long Track Racing looked like it might actually take off in the UK. Various venues were used during the 1970s and 80s including the Pony Trotting tracks at Chasewater in Staffordshire, Haldon near Exeter and Ammanford in Wales. There was also a purpose built circuit at Motherwell in Scotland and the famous Auto 66 Club used York Stadium at Green Hammerton during the early 80s, but one of the more obscure events was held at Kendal in the early 1970s.

The Westmorland Motor Club managed to secure the use of the Pony Trotting track at the Westmorland County Showground for a solitary long track meeting on April 23rd 1972. How they managed to convince the agricultural show committee to let a bunch of 500cc motorcycles loose on their sacred circuit has never been divulged, but the club secretary at the time, Percy Duff, reckons that it was "most exciting event ever held by the club".

The meeting attracted some great names from the North... Chris and Geoff Pusey, Peter Collins, Dave Baybutt, Cyril Jones, Mike Beaumont, Maurice Wilson, Brian Havelock and Tom Owen all took part, but the bikes totally destroyed the crushed limestone track, spreading it all over the showground! The show committee were horrified and vowed to never let motorcycles on the track again... not that it did them much good as the showground was eventually sold for the dreaded "redevelopment" and is now buried under a supermarket.

The qualifiers from the 30 heats were...

Peter Collins; Hagon/JAP - 15pts.
Cyril Jones; Elstar/JAP - 13
Dave Baybutt; Cole Elstar - 12
Doug Brankley; Hagon/JAP - 11
Chris Pusey; CPS - 11
Brian Havelock; Maxmade Jawa - 11
Mike Fishwick; Jawa - 10
Graham Peel; Hagon -10
Ken Raw; Comet - 10
Mike Beaumont; Comet - 9
Tom Owen; Hagon - 9
Maurice Wilson; FROG - 7
Geoff Pusey; CPS - 7

Semi-Final 1: 1st. Baybutt; 2nd. Brankley; 3rd. Fishwick.
Semi-Final 2: 1st. Collins; 2nd. C.Pusey; 3rd. Beaumont.

Final: Collins, C.Pusey, Baybutt, Fishwick, Beaumont (Brankley DNF). 

The meeting itself was a huge success, and after 30 qualifying heats and 2 semi-finals, Peter Collins finally emerged victorious following a ferocious battle with Chris Pusey in the final. These rare photographs were taken by Percy Duffs late wife, Margaret and form part of the Westmorland clubs' photographic archive.

Peter Collins on a Hagon/JAP... the winner of the Kendal Long Track meeting.

Chris Pusey finished 2nd on his JAP powered CPS (Chris Pusey Special).

Brian Havelock (24B) on the outside of Maurice Wilson (11).
Maurice is riding his own Jawa engined FROG (For Racing On Grass) machine.

The Final Battle. Chris Pusey (24) kicking up a limestone roost as Peter Collins (20) closes in to pass on the inside.
The Fleetwood & District MCC organised another Long Track style meeting a few months later at Fluke Hall near Pilling, Lancashire. It was actually more of a beach race as the circuit was laid out on Preesall Sands. The winner of this meeting, held on August 19th was Tom Owen, who was never beaten all day.

5 comments:

  1. BCB, hello! Thanks for the kind words regarding my blogs. I thought Keep Turning Left was the best speedway/bike blog on the go, but MotoFreako is every bit as good. Genuine enthusiasm, not just for speedway, but it's many variations and other forms of two wheel sport.

    Cheers!

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  2. Brilliant Blogg!
    I am looking for photos or film of the Baybutt brothers. I am restoring 2 of their bikes. Dave's BSA is easy but the Vixen is a nightmare. The only photos are from early to mid 60's MCN.
    jeff.warwick@talktalk.net

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  3. the photo above says b.havelock on the outside of g.isherwood . this is incorrect the inside rider is undoubtably my dad Maurice Wilson on his 500 frog

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the update... Is this Scott? The information was taken directly from Margaret Duff's photo album, which Percy let me see a few years ago. I will correct the caption now....

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  4. no this is ian maurices son thanks for update .I believe that their is a video of some of the racing out there but never been able to find it !!!! that would be brilliant to see.

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Whitehaven, Cumbria, United Kingdom
Disenchanted City Boy who rode out of the fast lane and into the back lanes! Life on Two Wheels is so much fun.