Simon's snapshots #25

Motorcycles

It used to be a source of mild irritation that motor racing in north-west England shut down in October while continuing elsewhere (mostly at Brands Hatch, far beyond comfortable cycling distance from the teeming metropolis of Altrincham). There might have been insufficient daylight to accommodate a full-blown meeting, but some racing was surely better than none. Me? I repaired to the terraces to watch non-league football, pie in one hand and lukewarm Styrofoam tea in the other.

Brands Hatch seemed ever active, the season not winding down until its annual Boxing Day races were done and dusted… by which time a fresh campaign would be only a few weeks distant. I never managed to attend this traditional finale: it fizzled out during the early 1980s, just as my fledgling writing career brought me within easy commuting distance.

But Brands Hatch hadn’t been alone in drizzling its Christmas with Castrol R rather than Cognac. Mallory Park initiated its Plum Pudding meeting during the 1970s, initially as a motorcycle event although in more recent times this has been extended to embrace cars: it thus has the rare distinction of hosting two-, three- and four-wheeled racing at the same location on the same day.

The event had to be canned in 2013, while the circuit’s existence hung in the balance, but it was restored 12 months later and this year’s fixture will be the 41st of its kind.

There are 10 races planned, four for motorcycles of diverse capacities and two apiece for sidecars, sports cars and open saloons (if it has wheels, there’s a fair chance you’ll be able to compete). The attached photos are from the corresponding fixtures in 2012 and 2014 – a small foretaste of what to expect.

Entries close on December 15, but anyone who’s left it this late will start their opening race from close to the back: car grids are decided by the order in which entries are received, while the first result is reversed to determine the line-up for part two.

Overtaking is guaranteed… and it goes without saying that a Mallory Park café breakfast is perfect seasonal fare.

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