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A Legend Returns - Farleigh

A Legend Returns - Farleigh

Jun 28

  • News

It is one of the legendary circuits from motocross Grand Prix history, Farleigh Castle, a circuit that raced around a castle. Begun in the late 14th century, Farleigh Hungerford Castle was for 300 years the home of the Hungerfords, a family that after distinguished beginnings suffered a series of disasters and scandals – some of which took place within the castle walls.

A ‘romantic ruin’ since the 1730s, it retains two of its corner towers, parts of its outer courtyard defences and a well-preserved chapel with outstanding 13th-century wall-paintings, family monuments and collection of unusual human-shaped lead coffins. And fortunately for our sport they decided to race motocross around this mystical venue.

They first ran motocross there in 1938 and the track was an undulating field, one third of a mile long and not a lot has changed over the years. Of course, on July 20 and 21, this historical circuit will be opened for what will be one of the highlights of the 2024 British motocross season, the World Vets Motocross. A celebration of the sport, with some of the biggest names from the past and from the present. Make sure to get your tickets right here.

Promoter Richard Wood is excited to be putting on this event and enjoy a weekend with his friends and his hero’s, and heroes of all of us. Names like our last World motocross champion James Dobb, AMA legends Mike Brown, Jeff Emig and Doug Henry, current British hero, Tommy Searle, two-time World champion, Sebastien Tortelli, 500cc legend and MXdN winner, Kurt Nicoll, and so many more.

“What we try to do is make it more interesting and not just a race weekend,” Wood said. “With good entertainment and a lot of things to do for the family. It is more a fun weekend and at night we have bands and numerous bars open and good food outlets, and it is a big change from your typical motocross event. When you are older you want more comfort, and our events also cater for the older riders and their families.”

Jeff Emig who won himself multiple AMA motocross and supercross championships, is known for ending the title reign of Jeremy McGrath in supercross and led Team USA to Motocross des Nations success returns to England for this event and can’t wait to experience the whole Farleigh Castle vibe, something he holds close to his heart.

“I love the travel,” Emig said. “Going to Farleigh is a circuit that is something like I had never ridden before. I grew up on the mid-west, where you would think there are tracks like that, but Farleigh is tough and the roost hurts like a Moth++++cker. When you put 60 bikes on the track, that place has such an amazing feel about it, really legendary place.”

For 1996 and 1998 World motocross champion Sebastien Tortelli, the whole Farleigh Castle vibe will be something very new to him, but racing the Stark Future electric bike around this legendary circuit is something he looks forward to.

“I have never ridden Farleigh,” Tortelli said. “I know it is an iconic circuit and what I like about it, it an old fashion track, with natural layout and todays track are too many jumps and short, but this old track, more natural, a bit narrow and you get less speed, but its good for an old guy like me. The Stark is easy to ride and will suit a track like this. I am looking forward to racing some of my old friends.”

2001 World 125cc champion James Dobb was fortunate enough to race at Farleigh, and although he never raced a Grand Prix there, he knows what lays ahead of him, and having been practicing with Tommy Searle to prepare for this event, he expects to at least enjoy a little success, but also revisit old times, with old friends.

“I raced the support class in 1989 and I won that,” Dobb said. “I never raced a GP there, but they had British champion rounds there. I won a couple, got second in a couple. It hasn’t changed too much. People have come in before us and in my eyes ruined it a bit, taking the steps out the back and tried to make it a more traditions set-up, but I liked the old steps. The fundamentals are pretty much the same, the historical first turn around the tree.”

Current British championship racer, multiple World number two and without doubt, the most popular British rider of the last two decades, Tommy Searle will be one of the fastest over the weekend, and the whole Farleigh Castle experience will be a new one for him.

“I have never ridden Farleigh before,” Searle said. “This will be my first time. I am looking forward to it and I have spoken to Jamie Dobb about it. He is excited about it too and I have done other veterans’ races, but I want to do a few of them. This one has a different audience and that will be more family oriented. I will be racing a modern bike and the class I am is the modern bikes, which is nice. I am really looking forward to it and it adds some much for the British schedule. Being able to race Farleigh Caste, a track that has so much history in our sport, which is the biggest thing I look forward to.”

And finally, a man who finished second in his class in the 2023 World Vets motocross event, Mark Eastwood, well, he has raced the place, and his father (Vic Eastwood) was one of the first British GP winners, back in the 1960s. He knows the place well, and returning to his child-hood playground is something he will enjoy.

“A lot of good memories,” Eastwood said. “Like jumping in the river while my dad was racing and messing around with my mates and then later watching the races when my dad had retired and watching Dave Thorpe, Eric Geboers, Georges Jobe and all those great GP races and dad being with me and giving me tips and also seeing them race Namur and for me, a lot of nostalgia at these tracks. At Farleigh I raced there, but we did British championship races. We didn’t go to Farleigh when I did GPs, we went to Hawkstone Park, but I never did a GP there, just the British championships.”

So, make sure, on July 20 and 21, you make your way to his legendary circuit, because the entertainment, the racing and the vibe of Farleigh Castle is something not to be missed. Legends racing a legendary circuit, and in the peak of summer. You can’t ask for more, can you?

Ticket for the event are available here: Spectators - World Vets Motocross

Motocross Action/Jack Burnicels image

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