When we were making such a fuss in the build up to Revival about the St Mary’s Trophy races, we may have been guilty of failing to devote enough attention to the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy. Where we were spot-on with our excitement ahead of the former (have you seen the footage?!), we waxed lyrical somewhat less about the prospects of some grade-A action from the two-wheeled crowd. This we now know was an error, as the footage here proves.
It was a two rider race, with Duncan Fitchett taking the first stint on a Manx Norton 500 and Mike Edwards doing the same on a Matchless G50. We pick up the action here not long after they’d handed over to Jeremy McWilliams and James Haydon respectively. The two riders were well ahead of the field and the last ten minutes of the race, as you’ll see, were nothing short of breathtaking.
The first thing that amazed us was the speed these machines were circulating at. Despite both bikes being over 50-years-old, messrs McWilliams (No.99) and Haydon (121) are getting down the straights in an incredibly short amount of time. Braking technology was, of course, still a country mile short of most ’70s bikes, never mind modern stuff, but if anything this adds to the spectacle of these two aces going all-out to win.
The icing on the cake is that we have footage (all taken from Haydon’s Matchless) pointing both forwards and backwards, which has enabled us to put together an edit showing the Norton chasing and being chased. The Norton would appear to have the outright top speed advantage, but the Matchless appears to have the edge in the braking and handling departments. Every second is sensational, but if you only have a couple of minutes spare, just watch the last lap …
We won’t give away the result, except to say that the finish was extremely close and that it wasn’t clear which rider would prevail until both are clear of the chicane and making that final run to the flag.