Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Golden Boys Set to Light Up Croft

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Golden Boys Set to Light Up Croft

Article excerpt

BIKE racers past and present will give Croft Circuit the golden touch as they get the new season underway this weekend.

The visit of the North East Motor Cycle Racing Club to the track, near Darlington, is always a popular one.

And as well as being the circuit's first race action of 2012, this weekend's two-day NEMCRC meeting will mark 50 years since the club's formation.

And to celebrate their golden anniversary, the NEMCRC are inviting all former members to join them.

After being formed in 1962, the club's first competitive meeting was staged in 1963 - a grass track as part of the Tynemouth Flower Show festivities.

The opening of Croft in 1964 sparked a massive surge of interest and since then it's gone from strength to strength.

"Earlier this year we had some seminars for new riders," said club official Dave Mallon, "and we had 22 riders along.

"There's always a percentage of guys who pack in at the end of the year due to costs or whatever reason, but this shows there are others there to take their place.

"We have in the region of 200 members and 95% of them are rider members."

The club championship takes place over four rounds at Croft, East Fortune and Knockhill and caters for all classes.

This weekend's meeting is the first of those and unfortunately - due to noise restrictions at Croft - the only one at their local circuit.

As well as the battle for points, riders will also be battling it out for two famous pieces of silverware - the Laird of Croft and Ken Redfern Trophies.

Dave Paton, who won both in 2011, will return to defend his titles along with Joe Burns, his chief rival 12 months ago.

Stockton-born Redfern was a big name on the road racing scene during the 1960s and 1970s and made his name by taking on the world's best riders and manufacturers on a home-tuned Norton 750.

He enjoyed a good deal of success at Croft as well as finishing second to the legendary Giacomo Agostini on consecutive weekends in 1969 at Mallory Park and Cadwell Park in front of 60,000 and 40,000 fans respectively.

Tragically he was killed in a road accident not far from his Hutton Rudby home in 1973 and a race in his memory has been contested every year since 1974, with Kork Ballington, Joey Dunlop and Jamie Witham among previous winners. …

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