Red Marley 17th April 2006. Review

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    Easter Bank Holiday Monday means only thing to bikers here in Worcestershire, especially for those of us with a passion for days gone by; the Red Marley Freak hill climb where man and machine pit themselves against a bumpy vicious slope and see who comes out on top.
    The weather Gods were smiling on us this bank holiday for once, and as I rode over to the track on my trusty CB250RS all the sights, sounds and smells that I enjoyed so much last year came flooding back. I rolled past the queue of cars and into the field dedicated to bike parking. I tucked the CB up next to a battered BSA Bantam and as I looked across the several hundred bikes in the field I was struck at how varied the selection was; old British bikes, classic Italian, modern sports all parked cheek by jowl. A refreshing change to the line-ups more typical on my morning runs into Wales or Matlock on my YZF600, where neat lines of modern Japanese sports bikes and Ducatis is more the norm outside the cafes. In fact the line up of bikes was a decent show in itself and I hadn’t even paid to get in yet! The highlight for me was a beautiful Benelli 750 Sei with her sexy six into six pipes glistening in the afternoon sun.

    My CB250RS tucked up next to a cruiser, a supermoto and a Bantam!

    Stunning 750 Sei. Check out those pipes!
    Anyway, after meeting Red Leader who had arrived by car (wus), we headed off to the hill and the centre of the action. I paid the £5 to get in and made my way past all the family orientated stuff such as bouncy castles and food stalls.
    Initially watched from the bottom of the hill directly opposite the start line. The Up to 350cc heats was already well underway and the bikes roared purposefully of the line fishtailing swathes of dust in their wake. CZ, Royal Enfield, Norton, Triumph, Greaves were just some of the names emblazoned on the tanks of the mix of scramblers and grass-track bikes that made up the vast majority of the entries. All the bikes in the three classes (up to 350cc, over 350cc and all comers) dated from before 1970 so simple, sturdy frames and beefy twin shocks were very much the order of the day. The bikes all boasted a rugged, purposeful look, and as they lined up for the start the noise and smell of Castrol R hanging in the air makes this a special event, redolent of the Steve McQueen film “On any Sunday”. My favourite machine was a rather care worn 1931 Norton.

    Classic metal everywhere!

    1931 Norton that looks like it could tell a tale or two!

    Four bikes at a time roared up the hill, the first two over the line progressing to the next round in a knockout style elimination process. All the established Red Marley masters were there, Chandler, Pope, Williams and, of course Browning the king of this particular hill. However riders of all ages, from 20 to 73(!) took part including a small contingent of ladies.
    The action is quick moving as each race only lasts about 25 seconds, and slick organisation meant race after kept the large crowd’s attention for over 5 hours of close racing. The nature of the event means that the racing gets progressively harder and faster as the elimination process gradually weeds out the slower machines. The action itself is spectacular as the bikes buck, weave and wheelie their way up the slope, some falling victim and taking a tumble, nobody was injured so it was all part of the fun really.

    The hill

    A visit to any event of this type is not complete without a wonder around the pits and I enjoyed a stroll through the competitor’s area. Some people arrive in huge camper vans, fully equipped with Snap-on tool-chests etc, whilst some turn up in a rusty Maestro van with a few spanners in a tool roll! The contrast in approach is quite amusing!

    In addition there were a few trade stalls and Triumph, Victory, Polaris (Quads) Motorcycles also had small dealer run stands. The 675 Daytona, the latest sports bike providing an interesting counterpoint to the nearby Rickman stand, where more traditional bikes were available.

    All in all another excellent day out. If you ever get the chance go, it is worth it for the
    smell of Castrol R alone!

    I will post some pictures later.


    Great write-up ,as usual, Radar.

    I will have to try and make it next year.


    Cheers Kat, it is a great event and I think you would really enjoy it

    Here are the full results

    Red Marley Classic Trial DVD or Video now available, lasts 57 minutes. Cost is just £6 plus P&P. Tel. 024-7654 3393 or e-mail [email protected]


    I’ve always wanted to have a go at Hill Climb, looks really daft and a real good laugh!


    The Red marley event is excellent, come along next year Pete! I can email you some more pictures of the event if you want

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