Two-wheeled racing certainly wasn’t a regular feature of Goodwood in the Motor Circuit’s first iteration, with just one motorcycle meeting held in period, on 14 April 1951, when a nine-race programme of bike racing was put on.
JUL 26th 2016
Revival Revealed: Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy
However, motorcycles have been a hugely popular feature of the Goodwood Revival since the late 1990s, with many of today’s spectators having watched these bikes race at other British tracks back in the '50s, ridden the road bikes from which these bikes were derived, or maybe just dreamt of owning them as they took the racing line on the way to work on their more prosaic BSA or Triumph.
When motorbikes made their return, and thus their second visit, to Goodwood, it was to compete for the Lennox Trophy. However, with 1976 and '77 500cc World Champion Barry Sheene leading the way as the star attraction, determined to entertain the crowds before getting his head down and winning on a 1960s Manx Norton, it was a natural step for the race to be renamed as the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy after his premature death from cancer at the age of 52 in 2003.
Split into two parts, with the first race on Saturday and the second on Sunday, with a Le Mans-style dash across the grid to the bikes at the start and a rider change midway through each, there is always plenty to entertain. Increasingly, modern-day racers want to try these 1950s bikes and can be spotted fighting back through the order after the bike’s owner has taken the first leg.
Conversely, there can be heroics if a lesser-ranked rider rises to the challenge of staying ahead. The final result is calculated on aggregate, adding another layer to the excitement of watching Norton, Triumph, Matchless, Vincent, BSA, BMW and Gilera machinery in action.
Photography by Steve Havelock and Jochen Van Cauwenberge