Motorcycle Sport in the North West area of the UK
The Northern Centre of the ACU was a stronghold of trials, scrambles and grass track and being the North West of England has produced some really fine trials and scrambles riders over the years.
For example, Billy Tiffen; Jack Foster; Bob Dickinson; Tony Sharp; Zeke Myers; Mike and Chris Myers; Ian Abbott; Mike Barnes; Norman Barrow; Nigel Birkett and Peter Remington to name but a handful. They also hosted some fantastic events like the Cumberland Grand National.
Ray Berry was one of the founder members of the Barrow and District MCC, he worked at Barrow in Furness for Vickers now BAE Systems, he worked as a welder on all the ‘bouncing bombs’ that was used in the dam busters raids in Germany in World War II all were made and tested in Barrow-In-Furness.
With the Cumberland County Motorcycling Club founded as early as 1910, it comes as no surprise that with nostalgia being a growing phenomenon in motorcycle sport that this also grew in the north west. There is a lot of motorcycle sporting history in this part of the country.
Ken Shuttleworth gives us the inside line as to how the now famous ‘Nostalgia’ weekend of off-road motorcycle sport began.
“Back in the eighties I was occasionally racing my 1979 400cc Maico in scrambles & enduros.
It was a little unique back in those days, as riders bought the latest model of bike to ride each season. By 1988 the Lancaster AMCA Motocross club ably managed by Keith Bland, father of Stuart Bland started to run a class for twin-shocks. Around twenty riders dug out their old late 1970s and early 1980s motocross bikes to have some fun. Meanwhile Bill Brown was enthusiastically encouraging his many customers to make a come-back.
At the time I was an organising member of Westmorland Motor Club running modern motocross events. Mid 1989, the club advertised in the Westmorland Gazette appealing for land to use for scrambles events.
John Metcalfe, now deceased, father of David at Holme Open Farm, Middleton, near Sedburgh contacted the club saying he was interested, he had some land, so please could they come and have a look.
Myself and the late Hughie Hudson, a very good rider and my right hand man at the time, went to look in October 1989. He showed us what is now the Nostalgia scrambles field. We thought it would be ideal for a scrambles track straight away. Natural bankings and ideal spectator viewing. He showed us other land and we could see the potential for a trials event.
We reported back at the next club meeting. Discussions somehow led to the fact that classic scramble events were being organised down south with good success and Kendal rider, John Bethell, was competing in classic events in Scotland on his CCM. Also in 1990, the twinshock motocross events were evolving. Myself, Bill Brown and the Yorkshire lads, led by Alan Hardy pursued and rode in any events that offered us a ride in a twin-shock class.
Meanwhile a chap called Colin Mundy was organising good events in Dorset and managing to attract many of the original twin-shock experts including Graham Noyce and Neil Hudson, both former world champions. It was the highlight of the day for me at one event when I managed to get the hole-shot and led them both for half a lap before succumbing to their greater pace.
So this is what set the format for the first Nostalgia scramble in the September of 1990. We received entries from approx sixty riders for that first event. Even the TT road race winner Charlie Williams turned up to have a ride. The first event was held just in the main scramble field.But not many had motor-homes in those days and riders only turned up on the day, vans, cars & trailers.
I organised the Nostalgia scramble annually (then moved to August) from 1991 through to 1995 and the event grew with every year. A small Saturday evening trial was run from 1991 onwards. The car park field was then added. Hughie Hudson did a great job of installing a new gateway to connect the two fields.
We incorporated many ideas to make the event different from others. This included a handicap race, as everyone likes to lead a race and it was a great talking point after the event.
Other additions were an event decal; Nostalgia pen; event tee shirt as not many events did them back then; bunting & national flags around the paddock to help develop an ‘atmosphere’.
Past era riding gear was encouraged, with Davy Maxwell on his CZ in his RAF jacket, tails flapping in the air. We had a good public address system and a knowledgeable commentator in the late John Bethell.
A comprehensive programme that kept the spectator well informed. Minimum late entries, the aim was to have all the riders details in the event programme. At one time the entry was full two weeks before the event, so all the details were in order. We laid on good awards and prize-money for the handicap races. Old bike banners around the track. Ariel, BSA, Triumph etc , all down to Alan Purdham.
One year we produced a video of the event. There was a marquee, bar and band; marquee nostalgia photos and posters of riders in years gone-by. We produced an annual calendar with plenty of action photographs. There was a saturday evening fun trial organised by John Holmes and Dave Ellis.
From 2003, with the help of Peter Remington, we invited top riders notably Tony Calvert, Mick Andrews and Dave Thorpe. A Trial programme with photos, which was quite a novelty for a trial was produced. The weather from 1990 to 1995 was generally warm and dry. However 2003 onwards was usually wet especially on the Saturday nights.
By 1992, we were attracting ex-British Championship riders notably Peter Mathia, Roger Garrett, Neil Hudson, Rob Hooper, Billy Edwards and many others. Guest of Honour included Bill Barugh the works DOT rider in his day.
By 1992 the National Twin Shock Scrambles Championship started, I was involved and riding regularly across the UK. By 1995 the Nostalgia event was taking a lot of my time so I decided to retire from the Nostalgia event and concentrate on riding whilst I was still young enough to do so.
In 1996, Anthony Brockbank ably organised the Nostalgia scramble but only catered for classic bikes. In 1997, the Westmorland Motor Club decided to move the event to their own fell track at Firbank. They had a reasonable entry for the first event there, including all-rounder Arthur Browning. For several years the Nostalgia was run at Firbank. But this was not as popular as Holme Farm venue.
In late 2002, Peter Remington and John Bethell approached me to resurrect the event at Holme Farm, Sedbergh. A new club was formed called the Kendal Classic Motorcycle Club Ltd which was affiliated to the AMCA.
“So with a new rejuvenated approach I took on the challenge along with founding members: John Bethell, Peter Remington, Mike Barnes, Dave Parkinson and Stuart Stainton.
Later joined by Geoff Shutt, David Todd, Alan Purdham & Peter Threlkeld plus the Blencarn gang. Brian Shuttleworth was organiser of the classic bike displays.
In August 2003, this saw a Nostalgia Scramble and a full blown Nostalgia Trial organised by Peter Remington. Rem also brought new ideas, he had been a competing rider in the early Nostalgia scrambles supported by Radio Atlantic 252, non stop music with very little DJ chit chat!
Trail rides & road runs, including the ‘ISDT ReRun’ became a feature throughout the week and proceeded the Nostalgia weekend”.
“In 2014 the Cumbria Classic Racing Club was formed by Steve Dent & Ian Ridley to continue the Nostalgia”.
“Our supporters and sponsors were many including: Bill Brown; Lancaster Honda: Coniston Brewery: Greeves Motorcycles: CCM: Sammy Miller Products; Triumph Cumbria; Colin & Barbara Jackson: Dave Muxlow: H & H Classic Auctions and the many other smaller sponsors to which we records our thank to – that’s what Nostalgia is all about”.
Nostalgia Guests of Honour:
2003 – Tony Sharp
2004 – Alan Clews
2005 – Peter Gaunt
2006 – Bill Brown
2007 – Mick Andrews
2008 – Frank Mumberson of Triumph Cumbria
2009 – Eric Boocock
2010 – Norman Barrow – ex CCM works rider and Northern ACU Champion
2012 – Arthur & Alan Lampkin
To read more about Nigel Birkett from the North West – Click HERE
To read more about Eric Kitchen – Click HERE
More Nostalgia photos:
John Gaskell from Keswick:
Copyrights & Credits:
Text: Trials Guru/John Moffat – 2016
With thanks to Stephen & James Postlethwaite, Broughton-In-Furness
- Eric Kitchen – world-wide copyright, all rights reserved.
- Ray Biddle, Birmingham.
- Peter Remington/Kendal Classic Motor Cycle Club Ltd, Kendal.