Celebrity motorcycle racer Guy Martin is just one of a number of stars from the world of two wheeled motor sport at this weekend’s ‘Grand National’ at the Castle Combe circuit.
The biggest race meeting at the Wiltshire track for over a decade, the event’s many highlights and motorcycle celebrities all revolve around the ‘Mike’s Bikes’ parade, a very special tribute to the late Mike Hailwood, arguably the greatest motor cycle racer of all time and one of the few to have truly earned the description ‘legend’.
Martin is also a man gaining legendary status, though as much for his TV stardom and world record attempts as his motorcycle racing! Having tested his current Honda Fireblade race machine at the circuit in April, this Sunday Martin will ride the 297cc Honda RC197 in the parade. Joining him will be his Honda team mate, John McGuinness, himself a 23 time TT winner. Older fans of the sport will be well acquainted with the name of American Freddie Spencer, a three time world champion. All these names will be demonstrate a variety of classic and historic machinery, many of which were Mike’s actual race bikes, courtesy of his widow Pauline.
It is 60 years since Mike Hailwood had his second ever motorcycle race at Castle Combe at the age of 17, his performance immediately giving him media recognition. He went on to win nine world motorcycle championships, 14 Isle of Man TTs and 76 GPs. His evolution to Formula 1 sealed his legendary status and in 1971, even though he was a works driver for the Surtees Grand Prix team, he took time to compete in a Formula 5000 race at Castle Combe. by a , courtesy of Mike’s family.
Whilst the celebrity guests and rare machinery will be a draw for many, the weekend is primarily about racing, namely double header rounds of the ‘NG Road Racing Club Championship.’
As is traditional, it’s the ‘King of Combe’ title which every rider will want to win this weekend, with two locals looking to be favourite. Josh Day from Cirencester on his ZX10R will be challenging three time winner Dan Cooper from Stroud on his 600cc Honda. Day has recently returned from the TT and has a stunning record on the short circuits this year.
Feature races on both Saturday and Sunday will be rounds of the British 125cc & 250c Championships while the Bonham’s British Historic Championships will highlight the classic feel of the meeting.
The weekend gets under way on both days with practice from 08:40, with a packed schedule of races filling the weekend. Adult admission tickets for the weekend are £30, with under 17s admitted free and seniors at £24.