The Barrow & District Motorcycle Club, the oldest established motorcycle club in the area, held their first ‘blue sky’ event of the year on Sunday on the fells near High Newton.

Their annual Founder Members Trial took place near the Back o’ the Fell road with the first man getting away around 11am.

The usual three courses had been marked out by club officials; the Hard, the Green and the Clubmans.

Overnight rain had again made several sections quite slippery, but on the whole most competitors coped with the conditions well.

I personally have unhappy memories of that event. I’d just returned from a rostrum place at Daytona in the USA in 2001 without a scratch, and decided to try my hand at trials riding at this venue...the result? Six weeks off work with a broken ankle!

I’ve said many times before that it takes a very special skill to ride a trials machine and I obviously didn’t have it, (and still don`t).

However, I`m pleased to say the competitors who did take part on Sunday did have the necessary skills and put up some good performances in all three classes.

Rob Shuttleworth from Kendal took the honours on the Hard course whilst his son Wilf put up an equally good performance to take third slot on the Clubmans course.

Broughton`s James Postlethwaite put his Birkett Scorpa to good use too, finishing runner-up to Shuttleworth, whilst veteran Nigel Birkett showed he’s lost none of his skills by taking his 300cc Birkett Scorpa to a fine win on the Green Course.


Hard course: 1. Rob Shuttleworth (Gas Gas, Kendal, 23 marks lost), 2. James Postlethwaite (Birkett Scorpa, Broughton, 44).

Green Course: 1. Nigel Birkett (Birkett Scorpa, Broughton, 23), 2. Sam Metcalfe (Beta, Carnforth, 38), 3. Tom Hutchinson (Gas Gas, Coniston, 42).

Clubmans Course: 1. Stephen Dixon (Twinshock, Grasmere, 7), 2. Mark Barrow (Gas Gas, Millom, 18), 3. Wilf Shuttleworth (Gas Gas, Kendal, 20).

As always, the club would like to thank all the observers, officials and landowners etc who gave up their time to make the event possible.

* Winter training completed, fitness levels up, and new machines acquired, the 2020 motocross season gets underway this weekend on the Route 44 track at Haverigg.

The Cumbria Motocross Club hold the first round of this season's championships there on Saturday and Sunday - let's hope we've seen the last of the heavy rainfall and racing can get underway as planned.

The first round of the prestigious Bridgestone British Masters series that should have been held last weekend at Culham Park in Oxfordshire has already been cancelled due to a waterlogged track denying at least six local riders the chance of getting back into action.

Maybe they`ll take the opportunity of getting some track time at Haverigg this weekend in readiness for the equally prestigious Acerbis Championship round, which is due to take place there mid-April?

* Former Manx Grand Prix rider Joe Thornton, who helped me immensely in my early career in the Isle of Man, has been the subject of a long-running social media discussion recently.

It's alleged that Joe, who hails from York but now resides in Bardsea, had pulled in to refuel during the Manx Grand Prix in the mid-60s, with a privet branch stuck in his shoulder after running wide on one of the corners.

He allegedly refuelled and took off before the officials could stop him and completed another three laps of approximately 120 miles to take a top-six placing.

I can reveal the story is completely true, he finished the race and was then rushed to hospital to have it removed.

Despite all his determination and effort he put in over the years, the Manx Grand Prix win that he so richly deserved always eluded him.

* The Furness British Motorcycle Club hold their next meeting on Monday at 8pm at the Ulverston Sports & Leisure Centre on Priory Road, Ulverston.

If you own or are interested in British motorcycles, pop along as new members are always welcome.

* The Furness branch of the Motorcycle Action Group hold their next meeting at Dalton United Football club on Beckside Road at 7:30pm.

Apart from lobbying MPs for a better deal for motorcyclists, they have a full social calendar, attending major rallies and shows as well as organising their own ‘Dead End Rally’ in July each year.

New members are always welcomed along there too.

* Spare a thought today for former Manx Grand Prix rider Steve Morris from Flookburgh, who’s heavily involved in organising the Flookburgh Steam Gathering.

He`s undergoing a triple heart bypass today in Blackpool. I’m sure all local enthusiasts wish him a speedy recovery.