brianaw

14 Apr 2016 166 views
 
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photoblog image Darley Moor Classic Races - Part 1 4/6

Darley Moor Classic Races - Part 1 4/6

NORTON’S REIGNED SUPREME

These two beautiful old Norton racing machines were standing in the paddock. Number 46 is a 1956 350cc.Manx Norton and number 69 is 1939 500cc.Norton ES2.

 

ME AND MOTORBIKE RACING

My interest and involvement in motorcycle racing goes back to the first meeting I ever attended on 3rd.September, 1961 at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk. From there on in I was hooked and have been ever since. I have never had the wish to race myself but have had several friends who did, one of whom I am still in regular contact with, we having known each other since we were boy choristers in our local church choir. I have never taken a driving test for bikes but have, over the years, had 3 small capacity machines and a scooter I got rid of about 4 years ago.

 

Between 1968 and 1982 I commentated at exactly 100 meetings, most of them road racing, but also Motocross and grass track racing also. Among the many circuits I commentated at was Snetterton 83 times, Brands Hatch 3 times and also Silverstone and Lydden Hill. I also attended the races in the Isle of Man 11 times and in 1966 travelled to the Grand Prix in both Holland (Assen) and Belgium (Spa), and several times in the 70's.was part of the starting grid crew at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. These days most of my spectating is done from my armchair watching television but we are actually only a short drive away from 3 of the countries circuits, especially Donnington Park, just 15 minutes at the most.

 

I hardly dare say this but even after all these years I have yet to find any sport that I personally find as exciting as motorsport, preferably with 2 or 3 wheels rather than 4, and that includes any sport involving the use of a ball except for Snooker, a sport I was never very good at myself.

 

Darley Moor Classic Races - Part 1 4/6

NORTON’S REIGNED SUPREME

These two beautiful old Norton racing machines were standing in the paddock. Number 46 is a 1956 350cc.Manx Norton and number 69 is 1939 500cc.Norton ES2.

 

ME AND MOTORBIKE RACING

My interest and involvement in motorcycle racing goes back to the first meeting I ever attended on 3rd.September, 1961 at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk. From there on in I was hooked and have been ever since. I have never had the wish to race myself but have had several friends who did, one of whom I am still in regular contact with, we having known each other since we were boy choristers in our local church choir. I have never taken a driving test for bikes but have, over the years, had 3 small capacity machines and a scooter I got rid of about 4 years ago.

 

Between 1968 and 1982 I commentated at exactly 100 meetings, most of them road racing, but also Motocross and grass track racing also. Among the many circuits I commentated at was Snetterton 83 times, Brands Hatch 3 times and also Silverstone and Lydden Hill. I also attended the races in the Isle of Man 11 times and in 1966 travelled to the Grand Prix in both Holland (Assen) and Belgium (Spa), and several times in the 70's.was part of the starting grid crew at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. These days most of my spectating is done from my armchair watching television but we are actually only a short drive away from 3 of the countries circuits, especially Donnington Park, just 15 minutes at the most.

 

I hardly dare say this but even after all these years I have yet to find any sport that I personally find as exciting as motorsport, preferably with 2 or 3 wheels rather than 4, and that includes any sport involving the use of a ball except for Snooker, a sport I was never very good at myself.

 

comments (14)

  • Ray
  • United States
  • 14 Apr 2016, 00:41
Fine pictures of these Brit thoroughbreds, Brian.

I enjoyed reading your bio, too.

I have had a motor-cycle licence since I was 17 years old....my interest has always been in touring and commuting.
Brian Walbey: Thanks Ray. I used the bikes I've had for commuting mainly.
  • Martine
  • France
  • 14 Apr 2016, 04:07
Ce sont des motos de collectionneurs.
Brian Walbey: They are indeed Martine, but by being raced they are being used for what they were built for.
  • Chris
  • England
  • 14 Apr 2016, 06:44
Everybody finds something, an activity or hobby that speaks to them. Motorbike racing must be a very exciting thing to be involved in
Brian Walbey: I have had some great times over the years with my own personal involvement in the sport, I have also, sadly, seen a few tragic events that make one wonder whether it is worth it.
I can only imagine the thrill of racing these!
Brian Walbey: They might be old but the people who race them get just as much excitement as the modern day racers on their superfast modern machines.
These two "Norton" bikes are real gems Brian.
I envy you having attended so many races, as I couldn't do it when living in Madagascar. I attended a few races in RSA along the ten years I spent there.
Brian Walbey: Among the older generations Nortons like these hold a special place and it is good to see them still being raced after all these years. My friend, who I mentioned in my notes, has a sister who for quite a while lived in Johannesburg and when he used to visit her I believe he arranged to borrow a bike to race at a circuit near there, which presumably would be Kylami.
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 14 Apr 2016, 08:34
Did you ever own a motor-cycle, Brian?
I think the Norton is the marque that I knew most Brian.
Brian Walbey: To men of our generation and our fathers and grandfathers Nortons were the be all and end all of machines, before the Japanese came along!
  • Alan
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 14 Apr 2016, 13:52
My elder brother had a Matchless. I was a scooter fan, though, and I've taken part in a 24hr time trial at Snetterton (always cold, bleak and wet!), something at Donnington (Can;t remember what - I can remember the layer of snow on the tent, though!) and the scooter equivalent of the Manx TT events for 2 years. I'm still into two-wheeled sport but (pedal) bikes only.
Brian Walbey: So you will have some idea of the appeal of motorcycle racing then Alan. Actually this race meeting I'm featuring had scooter races in in all the years I've watched I've never seen one race before. When I post a picture of that I'm also posting a short video I took as well, but if you can't wait the video is here https://youtu.be/MnnOr4gbWzA
Wonderful machines Brian. The only motorcycling I have ever watched cellularly was Speedway when I used to watch Exeter Falcons (I think they were called) at the old county ground. It was one of the only tracks with banked corners in the country and was one of the longest too I think.
Brian Walbey: I used to go to speedway occasionally at Rye House, Hoddesdon and Peterborough but was never a great fan, first out of the gate very often wins, but my friend and I went to the old Wembley several times for the World Championship Finals and that was something else.
I especially enjoyed reading your info.
Brian Walbey: Thanks Jacquelyn.
i had many rides on Norton and BSA cycles when i was young Brian...
then the Japanese stuff starts taking over the market here in Canada...
two great bikes....petersmile
Brian Walbey: The Japanese have of course got almost the entire world market these days on road and racing apart from a few smaller manufacturers. The only Norton I ever rode was a 500cc.Side Valve ex War Department bike a friend of mine bought, it was great fun, solid frame and all that!
  • blackdog
  • United Kingdom
  • 14 Apr 2016, 22:44
Ah. Now I don't know much about bikes, but I do know that these are classics before reading your excellent notes.
Brian Walbey: Lovely bikes Mike, that don't come like that any more. Thanks for reading my notes.
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 25 Apr 2016, 16:46
This is wonderful and thank you for the wright-up. I know you were in Assen and that you like motorcycles. Norton is a great brand. My brother once had a Norton. Now he has another one which I don't remember the name.
100 meetings, that means you know everybody and know what you are talking about. All I know is that this 'motor-world' is a world on its own.
We had Wil Hartog https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wil_Hartog
Thank you for sharing.
What a fabulous synopsis, Brian, of your love affair with motorbike rqacing! WOW. I am tryly impressed.

As for Snooker, both Astrid and I are hooked, and are totally disappointed our favorite, Judd Trump, petered out yesterday...but thrilled that Ronnie O'Sullivan also lost (whom Astrid can't stand). This year's Crucible has given many surprises to date. I wonder who will be the surprise last-man-standing!?!

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