FENLAND: "Mad" Bill Barley, 77, to race at Fenland Grass Track Club meeting

PUBLISHED: 16:53 08 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:06 02 June 2010

Bill Barley

Bill Barley

By ADAM LAZZARI MOTORCYCLE racers from the Fenland area will be looking to learn from 77-year-old veteran Mad Bill Barley when the Fenland Grass Track Club holds a race meeting at a new venue this month. Barley, from Covington, near Huntingdon, a compet

 Bill Barley

By ADAM LAZZARI

MOTORCYCLE racers from the Fenland area will be looking to learn from 77-year-old veteran "Mad" Bill Barley when the Fenland Grass Track Club holds a race meeting at a new venue this month.

Barley, from Covington, near Huntingdon, a competitive rider for more than 60 years, is thought to be the world's oldest motorcycle racer.

He will be racing at the Fenland club's next meeting at a track just outside Wood Walton, near Huntingdon.

Several riders from the Fenland area, including Adam Portwood, from March, Jacob Taylor, from Wisbech, and Adam Harper from Wimblington will be amongst the riders competing in the two-day meeting, involving around 80 races, which starts on June 27.

Barley earned his nickname when, in his racing prime, he was involved in a spectacular crash.

He hit a bump but refused to ease up on the throttle, landing his bike in the branches of a tree.

He said: "I still enjoy it and as long as I feel okay I'll keep riding.

"The wonderful thing the sport is there are riders as young as six competing at the same meetings as myself.

"I give them advice but I think some of them could teach me a thing or two."

Barley's greatest success came in 1988 when he claimed the Vintage Speedway Championship at the age of 56, but he remains proudest of winning at the Teterow circuit in the former East Germany, the year after the Berlin Wall came down.

He said: "It can be hard getting thrown around a lot at my age and I joke that my son, Lee is too old to race at 55, but I love the atmosphere."

Fenland Grass Track Club chairman Gary Southgate said: "Bill's a real character and he was a top rider in his day. It's remarkable that he's still riding."

The Fenland Grass Track Club was formed in a March pub in 2005 and held their first meeting in Wisbech the following year.

Recent meetings have been held close to King's Lynn, but due to an increase in rents the club had to move.

They also race in Wood Hurst near Huntingdon.

The June 27-28 meet will be run in conjunction with the Vintage Motorcycle Club and there will be adult and youth races.

The Sunday will see the Fenland Trophy Meeting take place.

Practise on both days starts at 11am and racing will be from noon on the Saturday and 12.30pm on the Sunday.

Admission is £4 for adults and £2 concessions on the Saturday, and £8 for adults and £4 concessions on the Sunday and free for under-14s on both days.

Weekend passes are £10 for adults and £5 concessions.

For more on the club, call 07974 72848 or 07795118866.


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