After almost two years of waiting, action returned to the last remaining road race in England, Oliver’s Mount, in spectacular style.
This weekend’s Barry Sheene Memorial Classic witnessed an historic moment for Oliver’s Mount as once again the famous 2.43-mile race track came alive to the sound of bikes.
A crowd of around 15,000 eager spectators (a record for this meeting) flooded in, backing the new club and new organisation by showing their support to the volunteers who’ve brought the historic racetrack back from the ashes.
Heavy sea mist called the meeting prematurely to a halt on Sunday, one hour before the official ending and legendary TT rider and joint president of the new club, Mick Grant gave an emotional speech from the new podium.
We couldn’t let this track fall into the history books, it means so much to me, Eddie (Roberts joint president) and the rest of the club. We can’t thank the fans enough for showing us their support. Behind the scenes our team has worked tirelessly to get the track back up and running – and the race fans today have shown it was worth it – thank you all.”
The action commenced on Saturday in patchy but otherwise good conditions and riders praised the updates and safety improvements. Dean Harrison, the current lap record holder, said: “The track looks mega, new kerbing, grass cut back, and Recticel – it’s the same layout, same track but new. The new dummy grid is a great idea.”
Saturday afternoon’s racing got off to a flyer with Lee Johnston taking a win in the 600 class, over Mick Norbury who set the fastest lap of the race with Brad Vicars in third. Lee had to play second fiddle to good friend Dean Harrison who took the win on the Classic Superbike class.
Rhys Hardisty took the Lightweight win and Joey Thompson was on top in the Supertwin class. In the sidecars Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie took the win, followed by John Lowther/Tom Christie and Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle third. On Classic machinery Peter Boast took the Senior Win over Julian Tillotson and Brian Alexander.
From 7am on Sunday with the promise of good weather the expected crowd started to flock in. Overnight the track had dried out and conditions were near perfect, with just one or two very small damp patches.
Dean Harrison started from where he left off, taking wins in both Classic Superbikes races with David Bell getting the better of Lee Johnston in the final. Lee Johnston took the race win in both Supersport races, with Mike Norbury in second, but this time Joey Thompson taking third in the final. Joey Thompson also took the Supertwins win on the Kramer.
The sidecar race was declared a result, after Paul Riley/Shaun Parker decided to test the new Recticel fencing at the end of the back straight. Thanks to new safety measures, both walked away unscathed, and Lee Crowfard/Scott Hardie was declared the overall winner, and took the Robin Daykin trophy.
Arguably the highlight of the weekend was the exotic parade, when close to three million pounds worth of bikes took to the track. The star riders included WorldSBK legend and TT winner Carl Fogarty, who took to the grid with good friend and former Oliver’s Mount lap record holder James Whitham and TT king John McGuinness.
To witness the three riders, take to the track in front of a packed crowd in perfect conditions, will be a vision which will last in the memories of onlookers for years.
Foggy was happy to be back on track, “That was great, the place is packed. Scarborough has always pulled in a huge crowd and it’s the same today. I really enjoyed that, I was trying to catch Whit into the harpin – that was a laugh.”
Whitham added: “That was mega. I’ve loved it, proper loved it. I can’t praise Eddie and Mick enough. I was coming here as a kid and I thought we’d never ride here