HORSES FOR COURSES – THE AINTREE SPRINT
JOHN NEWMAN PAID A VISIT TO THE MOTORCYCLE SPRINT EVENT AT AINTREE
It was quite strange turning into the the famous Aintree race course for a motorcycle event. You are straight away confronted with the array of grandstands, bars and restaurants – the Queen Mother Stand and County Champagne Bar to name but two - which are thronged with horse race goers for the Grand National.
There was a Grand Prix race circuit here at one time, built in 1954. In the early sixties they ran world championship GP races, and the drivers included Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham and Tony Brooks. A 1957 Grand Prix attracted 150,000 spectators.
There's still a small circuit here, and the Aintree Motorcycle Racing Club run a five race series over the summer, keeping the motor racing memory active. But on a Sunday in early August it was an entry of enthusiastic motorcycle sprinters that claimed the quarter mile of tarmac in front of Aintree's main grandstand as their own. The Mersey air was filled with a glorious diversity of bike engine sounds, from 1940's Velocettes and Ariels through to a Ducati Streetfighter, a Triumph Speed Triple and an array of supersport machinery such as CBR 600's and R6's. Mustn’t forget the sidecars too.
The Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club had laid on a display in the Irish Bar and Betting Hall. Not just Japanese bikes; a few British and Italian examples too.
We hope you enjoy our picture story of the days racing and paddock activity:
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