The Stars came out in Scotland! Drumlanrig Scottish Classic Grand National – Race Report and Results
Report and images by Graham Milne
The silver-haird man? 1982 World 500cc Motoross Champion Brad Lackey, after seeing the stunning setting and fabulously set out circuit at the Drumlanrig Castle based event, in the Scottish Borders last weekend.
So impressed with the circuit, Lackey even considered coming out of retirement to head for the hills, and the off-cambers, and scenic drop-offs as members of the reformed Galloway Motorcycle Club had set out a tough, but fair track for its second running of this meeting for Classic and Twinshock machines.
Initially a host of star riders had been signed up to race, Lackey didn’t race however, but was there as the club’s ‘Guest Of Honour’ – his former Honda team mate Graham Noyce was signed up to race but a ‘technical issue’ on travelling north put paid to his appearance, but, we did have a vertible array of talent on show from north and south of the border, Wales, Ireland and as far afield as Italy, including former Centre champions and GP riders Willie Simpson, Mark Fulton, Steve Bircher, Willie Burgess, old Twinshock heroes Barry Turnbull, Paul Chiappa, Alan Bott and Walter Bickmore – the Italian visitors headed by Masimo Signorin and party animal Franco Rippa.
The event, held over three days in a huge area known as the Drumlanrig Castle front lawn (The owner, Richard Scott, the Duke of Buccleuch, is Scotland’s largest private land owner) is fast becoming one of the top Classic and Twinshock events in the country and kicked off with a Grass-track event on the Friday evening, once everyone had been signed in a scrutineered (and their bikes).
Heats were run and riders with Pre 78 and Pre 84 machines advanced to their respective Finals with Thom Anderson taking the glory in the C Pre 78 Final and Jim Colligan taking the Pre 84 C Final win.
The B Final Pre 78 and Pre 84 winners were Italian flyer Pietro Mistrorigo and Edinburgh man David Lawson respectively.
Jonathon Bethel was a popular winner in the A Final for Pre 78 machines and after a hard tussle with the unfortunate Wille Simpson, who was a victim of the moist off-camber after the finish line, in the Final for Pre 84 bikes, Irishman Wille Burgess took the honours before we all retired to the obligatory marquee/ beer tent for the evening’s entertainment.
Friday’s evening’s main interest lay with ‘an audience with Brad Lackey’ led by John Moffat, also known to have a word or two!
Lackey chatted about his early life and career and how he advanced to become America’s only 500cc world champion and it was an interesting view into a factory rider’s life with honest accounts of any differences he had with factories and his colleagues and why he saw fit to retire ‘at the top’ after winning the title in 82.
The first of two-days of Classic and Twinshock racing began on the Saturday in bright and at times very hot sunshine.
Classic Unlimited machines from Pre 68 and Pre 78 kicked us off for five lap races around a fabulously designed track with one major hill-climb at the back of the circuit, which would later cause mayhem.
James Thomson took the overall Pre 68 honours with a majestic max points haul over the four races as Tim Dallaway also claimed a solid points score with four second spots for Runner-up position as he just couldn’t get near the flying Thomson and in third overall was John Griffiths with just a slight hiccup in the second race with fifth spot or he would have had a four third places out of four score.
The hotly contested Pre 78 class saw Chris Woodward claim top spot from Runner-up John Mitchell who had some bad luck after his first race win, as Italian visitor Mirco Mistrorigo made the long trip worthwhile in third place on the podium.
A mention has to be given to the unlucky Jamie McMaster who looked safe for a podium after four races with two second spots to Winder early doors, however, he couldn’t take any points on the second day of racing so finished down the table in eighth place.
It was close racing between the two for most of the four races with a few bar banging moments and no holds barred action which kept the huge crowd enthralled for their five lap encounters.
Signorin took the first race win ahead of Simpson with the Scot claiming the next two race wins.
With the sun baking the already hard track and the bikes ripping up the back hill causing extremely dusty conditions and log jams with stricken riders, the hill was taken out for the second half of the first day.
Signorin eventually took the last race win as Simpson took a slip but the Overall went to the Scot, father of GP Yamaha rider and former British champ, Shaun.
Signorin had to be happy with Runner-up with Andy Long taking a last race second spot to boost his points haul enough to snatch thrird place overall by one point over the ever impressive Sammy Doble.
The Over 60 Clubman Class reacquainted former Northern Centre Champion Steve Bircher, with his new hip, to a Twinshock bike and dusty track.
Birch took the Overall honours with three second spots and a third race win ahead over Runner-up Andy Malloch and the very unlucky, but last race winner, Phil Baker in third spot Overall.
A mention for David Loudon who rode brilliantly to the first two race’ wins but
Possibly the most popular classes for fast-paced action were in the Twinshock Under and Over 50s over the two days.
But, for Turnbull it wasn’t to be as Campbell snatched the opening victory to loud applause and appreciation from the watching crowd.
However, his injuries made it an easy decision not to continue for Campbell, which was a shame as the next three races in the class went to an untroubled Turnbull, even though he didn’t have it all his own way all the time as young Scotsman Gavin Robertson put him
under pressure a lot but had to settle for Overall Runner-up spot ahead of third placed man David Alderton whos first race third position helped him onto the eventual podium.
Many mini battles went ahead down the field with local hero Paul Chiappa taking on friend and fellow Scot Craig Smitch and Alan Bott.
The Individual Class races were won by Andy Malloch (Clubman), Graham Smith (Over 50s), Steve Mower (Over 60s) and Michael McBride (Under 50s).
There were Classic Team Races with the star studded JAP Team of James Thompson (three wins out of three), Adrian Lappin, John Griffiths and Harry Stitt blasting to the Overall honours ahead of the Galloway Club squad of John Fleming, Archie Baird, Steve Dent and
David Wilson, with Team England beating their football colleagues by taking a third place. Peter Jerred, Ian Stainton, Alan Deer and Wayne Partington were their heroes.
The Twinshock Team races were won by The Castle Kings of Mark Fulton, Paul Chiappa, Gavin Robertson and David Houston, taking a 1,2,3,4 in most races.
Runner-up spot went to Northern Ireland’s team of Willie Burgess, George Porter, Jon McBride and Sean Murphy with Alan Bott leading the Pemberton Tyres team of himself, Michael Smith, Mick Du Feu and Daniel McNally.
The professionalism by which the Galloway Club members pulled this event off was emmense and the annual trip to Drumlanrig Castle Scottish Grand National must stand as a ‘first tick’ in your race calendar.
Mickey Oates Over 50 Class: 1 Mark Fulton (Honda) 100 points, 2 Willie Burgess (Maico) 84, 3 Gary Parker (Honda) 80, 4 Paul Chiappa (Maico) 63, 5 Craig Smytch (Maico) 61, 6 Alan Bott (Maico) 58.
Burnett Electrical Under 50 Class: 1 Barry Turnbull (Honda) 97, 2 Gav Robertson (Honda) 78, 3 David Alderton (Maico) 63, 4 Kristian Marshall (Maico) 61, 5 David Houston (Honda) 61, 6 Jon McBride (Maico) 59.
Broatch Construction Over 60 Unlimited: 1 Willie Simpson (Maico) 88, 2 Masimo Signorin (Maico) 81, 3 Andy Long (Maico) 74, 4 Sammy Doble (Maico) 73, 5 Alan Hardy (Maico) 71, 6 Steve Mitton (Husqvarna) 60.
Clubman Over 60: 1 Steve Bircher (Suzuki) 91, 2 Andy Malloch (CZ/ Armstrong) 78, 3 Phil Baker (Maico) 59, 4 Ian Clark (Maico) 58, 5 Calum Sangster (Maico) 52, 6 David Loudon (Yamasaki) 50.
Wallace Power Pre 68 Unlimited: 1 James Thomson (Capital Glazing Jap) 100, 2 Tim Dallaway (BSA) 86, 3 John Griffiths (Capital Glazing Jap) 78, 4 Harry Stitt (Capital Glazing Jap) 72, 5 Adrian Lappin (Capital Glazing Jap) 68, 6 Ryan McMaster (CZ/Maico) 56.
Paterson Engineering Pre 78 Unlimited: 1 Chris Woodward (Cheney BSA) 87, 2 John Mitchell (Maico) 79, 3 Mirco Mistrorigo (Honda) 78, 4 Ian Robertson (Yamaha) 63, 5 Gary Britton (Yamaha) 60, 6 Tony Reid (Yamaha) 59.
Hughan Builders Pre 75 Unlimited: 1 Kris Winder (Honda) 100, 2 Wayne Partington (CZ) 80, 3 Trevor Calderwood (CZ) 65, 4 John Fleming (CZ) 60, 5 David Stockdale (CZ) 56, 6 Derek McAulay (Bultaco) 48.
Individual Races (Under 50): 1 Michael McBride, 2 Mark Watson, 3 David Lamb.
Team Races (Classic): 1 Capital Glazing Jap (Thomson, Lappin, Griffiths, Stitt), 2 Galloway Club (Wilson, Dent, Fleming, Baird), 3 Team England (Jerred, Stainton, Deer, Partington). 4 Bethell’s Bangers (Smith, Bethell, Wright, Robertson). 5 H32 Racing (Buchanan, McMaster R, Calderwood, McMaster J), 6 AMD Motorsports (Dykes, Dallaway, Faulds, Farish).
Team Races (Twinshock): 1 The Castle Kings (Fulton, Chiappa, Robertson, Houston), 2 Norn Ireland (Burgess, Porter, McBride, Murphy), 3 Pemberton Tyres (Bott, Du Feu, Smith, McNally), 4 Piston Broke (Houston R, Moir, Simpson, Lawson), 5 West Yorks Allstars (Hardy, Craddock, Woodward, Eccles), 6 South Coasters (Cannon, Mollett, Fry, Kemp).