2016 Red Marley Hill Climb Report, Results & Photo Collection, Over 140 Images To See.
It`s quite ironic that an event that can trace its roots back to the 1920s when life moved along at a more sedate pace should fit in so well with our fast & frantic “we want it instantly” lifestyles today. Four riders line up together, the gate drops, a little over 20 seconds later a winner is declared, then a few moments later the next qualifying / knock out heat begins & another four riders thunder away from the start gate, this cycle of events is repeated all day long & is only interrupted when a fallen rider has to be cleared from the hill & even then proceedings are only held up for a short time. It would make quick & snappy TV viewing, you would have a winner announced every 30 seconds with everything building up nicely to each class final, the 1/4 mile course could probably be covered by just two TV cameras & I am sure the nostalgia loving British public would love to see men of daring do whizzing up the hill on classic motorcycles from the 1940s, 50s & 60s. Although the television people would probably spoil the whole thing by bringing in a TV presenter who knows absolutely sod all about classic off road motorcycles, they would no doubt do the usual & wheel out a very attractive young lady to front the show because they think that’s what the viewers want to see, they would waste precious time that could be used to show more of the racing by making us all watch said TV presenter slowly riding around on something like an old BSA, no doubt emitting the totally false but ( as laid down in the TV presenters guide / hand book) mandatory squeal of delight, or fright, for the purpose of the viewing public. No sorry, I would rather see an ugly man or woman come to that, complete with untidy hair & oil stained woolly jumper, a person who actually knows what they are talking about fronting such a show, a rider, restorer or engine builder, someone who`s done a bit, a person with rough hands & chipped fingernails, a person who’s bank account is in a similar state to every rider taking part, i.e. totally devoid of cash. But enough of my ramblings, for those of you who don`t know about the Red Marley Hill Climb the format seems pretty simple, riders go through a series of knock out heats, the winners advance to the next stage all building up to the various class finals. Only machines built before 1971 are eligible to race, although this years race day program had a 1973 & 1974 CZ 380 listed as taking part, not too sure what happened there, perhaps it was a typo or the rules are not as I think, no doubt someone will put me straight on that point, anyway all the other machines ranged from 1942 through to 1970. To the casual observer the first two thirds of the relatively flat straight course look quite easy, but not so, the photos bellow will show that the course has quite a few lumps, bumps, cambers & dips, hitting these obstacles at high speed on a machine with limited suspension travel is a serious business & takes a lot of skill to master. The final third of the course including the steep up hill jump is where most attention is focused, there seems two favoured routes, either to the right hand side of the course or to the left, I can`t remember seeing many riders attacking the hill in the middle, the photos bellow will show riders breaking away from the main group at the midway point & making a sudden dash for the left hand side of the hill. There is no answer as to which route is the quickest, it`s all down to the rider & their technique, the top riders hit the jump fast & hard but try to stay low & go far rather than spending too much time up high & wasting precious 100th`s of a second airborne, riders like Tom Crump & Tim Dallaway carry so much speed up on to the hill section that it looks like they only touch the ground once on landing & then seem to rebound / skip to the very top of the hill & straight through the timing lights. This year, after the heavy rain on Saturday night the condition of the hill started off quite poor but got better & better as the day wore on although the section of ground right in front of the start pad took a right old hammering with riders having to slither & squirm away from the start gate for the first few yards before the ground improved & gave better traction. All the riders both fast & slow put on a great show for the crowd & as I stood high up on the hill clicking away with the camera I thought that more than any other classic off road motorcycle event I have attended, this is the one that takes you back to within almost touching distance of a time when normal working class guys would scheme away building special racing machines in their sheds, everybody was pretty much on a equal footing nobody seemed to have much money, even the factory works bikes didn’t look that much different from machines rattling around the streets of places like Birmingham, not like today, what chance would you or I stand of building a MotoGP or F1 machine, answer, no chance. If you believe in the afterlife then you would certainly think that if the ghosts of off-road riders from the past are going to gather anywhere, then it will be at the Red Marley Hill Climb. When the racing was over I made my way out thought the gates & into the tiny lane that takes you back to the 21st century, as I trundled along I thought popped into my head, “if the king of cool Mr Steve McQueen had still been with us, he would have loved that”…….Mr J
King of the hill & winner of the All Stars invitation only “SUPERCLASS” this year was # 163 Ricky Pedder on his 650 Triumph. A series of cool & calculated runs up the hill saw him take the victory.
Bookies favourite & strong contender to take the superclass title in 2016 was #164 Tim Dallaway. A series of spectacular qualifying runs up the hill saw him through to the final with ease & seemed to underline the fact he was going to take the overall victory but Tim just couldn’t reproduce his earlier form & could only manage 4th place in the final.
Danger man & always in with a shout #359 Carl Pope. He won the over 50s all-comers final as well as taking 3rd spot in the all-comers combined final & 3rd place the invitation only Superclass final.
Silent assassin Richard Williams #258 made light work of the qualifying heats & picked up second place in the All Stars final, no doubt he will be back next year & pushing for the title.
Sensation of the show Tom Crump, this young guy of only 21 blew away the competition to take first place in the over 350cc final, the all-comers under 50 years of age final & the all-comers combined grand final. His hat trick of victories might have been improved on if he had been included in the invitation only all stars superclass but unfortunately he could only manage to get on the reserve list.
A very period looking #414 Ian Bain flew the flag for the 2-Stroke brigade on his 345cc Greeves & fought his way through to a fine 4th place finish in the all-comers under 50 final.
Arthur Browning, former winner of Red Marley at the age of 71 (yes that’s right 71, makes all those people who say they can`t do this or they can`t do that because “I am over 40 you know”, look stupid does it not) is still as competitive as ever. Unfortunately this year Arthur didn’t qualify for the last eight in the Superclass finals but that’s not to say he is starting to slow down, during the early morning practice sessions nobody looked quicker out of the gate & over the first half of the course & take a look at the photo sequence below, he was pushing it to the max on the hill as well, a few minutes after taking these images during the qualifying heats, Arthur was back again jumping higher & further.
2016 Red Marley Hill Climb Superclass Final
2016 Red Marley Hill Climb Results
Up to 350cc:
(1) Paul Munslow (BSA)
(2) Mitchell Harris (BSA)
(3) Colin Hickie (BSA)
(4) John Dallaway (BSA)
(1) Tom Crump (500 Jawa) 21.29secs
(2) John Cash (500 BSA) 23.81
(3) George Newman (600 BSA) 24.13
(4) Alan Harris (380 CZ) 24.62
All-comers under 50 years of age:
(1) Tom Crump
(2) Richard Williams (500 BSA)
(3) Jim Shand (600 BSA)
(4) Ian Bain (345 Greeves)
All-comers over 50 years
(1) Carl Pope (600 BSA)
(2) Roger Dunford (500 BSA)
(3) Mark Grinnall (400 Maico)
(4) Phil Edwards (650 Cheney Triumph)
Grand Final (All-comers combined)
(1) Tom Crump20.91secs
(2) Richard Williams21.35
(3) Carl Pope 21.81
(4) Roger Dunford24.50
(1) Ricky Pedder (650 Triumph Metisse)20.79secs
(2) Richard Williams21.08
(3) Carl Pope21.67
(4) Tim Dallaway (500 BSA)21.86
Winner Len Vale-Onslow Trophy (King of the Hill)Tom Crump
Winner Silver Helmet (fastest time of the day) Tom Crump 20.72secs
Photo of the event… Out of all the images I took at this years event this is my favourite, an early morning practice run photo of a very retro looking #174 Trevor Hodges on his 1968 350cc BSA, it turned out to be quite a nice shot as well encapsulating what the event is all about, having fun on an old motorcycle that doesn’t have to cost a fortune.