THE 2021 OLIVER'S MOUNT RACE SEASON GOT UNDER WAY RECENTLY WITH THE TRADITIONAL BOB SMITH SPRING CUP EVENT AT THE LEGENDARY YORKSHIRE CIRCUIT
Oliver's Mount, that jewel of a circuit high up on the east coast overlooking Scarborough's South Bay to the north, Staxton edge to the south but most impressively the North Sea to the East. Acres of parkland top the hill, enclosed by a sinuous ribbon of tarmac that winds its way around the top before dropping down into the valley towards the Mere lake before turning and climbing back up to the top of Weaponess Hill itself. A most peaceful and tranquil location high above the arcades and slot machines of the popular seaside resort, peaceful that is, until the hordes descend...
Four times a year the roads are closed to traffic and the public and the upper playing fields come alive with tents, awnings camper vans and trade stalls, while the bottom paddock is a maelstrom of four-stroke and two-stroke machines. From the professional teams with their well-known riders and several mechanics are no airs and graces at Oliver's Mount, a place where people greet one another cordially, all bound by the common purpose of racing the only English road racing circuit as fast as they possibly can. It's not the polished GP or BSB paddock, it's a raw collection of riders who dare to pit themselves against one of the most picturesque of all circuits on two wheels and three.
You can feel the history around the place as the competitors ride in the wheel tracks of legendary names like Saarinen, Sheene, Agostini, and Read to such modern day greats as Hutchinson, McGuinness, Martin, Lougher and Harrison. It's a place of history, it's a place of triumph and tragedy, Oliver's Mount has it all and because this is motorcycle racing and such is the nature of the sport of Road Racing, it is a tough place to be sometimes.
The circuit itself is like nothing else in England, even the undulating rollercoaster that is Oulton Park is still light years away from here. Fences, bushes and trees rather than armco and gravel traps line the tarmac, there is very little room for error where the gladiators give one another respect but very little room to pass. Passing is an option, though, with three hairpins and a chicane immediately before the finish line the racing is never dull right through the field, whether solos or sidecars.
It's such a mix of talent that race the hallowed Yorkshire tarmac; there are the handful of riders that race regularly across the UK and then there are the riders that only ever race at Scarborough. These fellas have seen it all, they've witnessed the good and the bad and still they return. Oliver's Mount is a drug to them and they need to get their fix, and with the help of a few personal sponsors and a deep dig into their own pockets, they make it happen come hell or high water which conveniently this is the one place where high water won't stop play!
RICH Energy are proud to partner with the circuit for 2021 and this year's Spring Cup was only my third visit to the circuit. I've driven round it a couple of times in the past but didn't get the opportunity to experience it until last year's Barry Sheene Festival and I immediately fell in love with it. The team that runs the circuit are dedicated, passionate people who want to see the legacy continue. They want to make the circuit have a vision for the circuit to become a regular venue for visitors to the east coast, not just for the motorcycle races but for all manner of events.
Watching at Oliver's Mount leaves me with the hairs on my neck stood on end, whether along the start straight or in the trees for the spectacular Jefferies jump before that or up on the hill out in the open along the back straight leaning over the hedge; it also leaves me with a warm feeling seeing the camaraderie between the riders, even those battling for the prize money and podium places treat each other with mutual respect. Sure, it doesn't have the facilities of a modern day circuit like grandstand seating, catch fencing, and nice garages for the big teams, no, just a couple of toilet blocks that have served the hundreds and thousands of people who've made the pilgrimage over the years along with the basic tarmac paddock that houses the iconic race control tower and the list of names that comprise the history of the place itself.
This year, Silicone Racing's Dean Harrison took his Mount win tally to over 100 not out, lifting the season-opening Bob Smith Spring Cup from a returning Davey Todd who impressed many with his pace over the weekend aboard the Wilson Craig Honda with Manchester's favourite road racing son, Mike Norbury, taking third place for DC Racing. The main riders contest many different races over the weekend from Supersport to Twins to Lightweight machines to Classic Superbikes which help to rack up the wins, podiums and ultimately, experience meaning little time for rest on a busy Sunday! Rob Hodson, Dean Harrison, Mike Norbury, Brad Vicars, Adam McLean, Jim Hind and Ian Lougher are just some of the names that contest multiple classes over the course of the meeting.
Youth is well represented and the future is looking bright for the races in Yorkshire. Young riders in the shape of James Hind and Joey Thompson are finding their feet quickly amongst the experienced contenders, Hind in particular was only making his third appearance at Scarborough but the double Lightweight Manx GP winner and lap record holder is already a race winner as is Yorkshireman, Joey Thompson. The Irish road racers were also out in force with Adam McLean, Ian Kernohan, and Paul Jordan to name but three and we'll hopefully see them return across the year, culminating in the Steve Henshaw Gold Cup in September.
Should you ever get the opportunity then make sure you go. It isn't a trip you'll regret, it's one you'll remember for a long, long time.