British built and customised machines steal the show as Goodwood Festival of Speed returns

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British built, designed and customised bikes dazzled at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, which was given a last-minute go ahead as a coronavirus 'pilot event'.

Thousands flocked to the open-air event to see a huge array of two and four-wheeled machinery take on the famous hillclimb – but it was the Brits that really wowed the crowd.

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One of the most exciting bikes to make its way up the hill was the Langen Two Stroke – a fully Euro5 compliant, British-built, road-going two-stroke that’s heading into production later this year, with a £34k price tag. Powered by a 249.5cc V-twin two-stroke, weighing 114kg and producing a claimed 75bhp at 11,500rpm.

Japanese-bōsōzoku inspired R18 built by Untitled Motorcycles

"It was amazing to be there," said Langen founder Christofer Ratcliffe. "We were originally supposed to unveil it at Goodwood last year, so it’s great to be able to finally get it here. Seeing Jenny Tinmouth ride it up the hill was great and she just loved it. All the racers did – Foggy was really taken with it."

Also taking to the track over the weekend was the 'World’s Fastest Bobber' built by Buckinghamshire-based Thornton Hundred and ridden by creator Jody Millhouse. The bike is a Triumph Bobber that’s been rebuilt by the Thornton team with a Rotrex C15 Supercharger, NOS injection, TTS machined cases, forged pistons, a custom cam and updated clutch. The result is 165bhp at the wheel without the nitrous and 202bhp with.

"The reaction has been incredible," said Millhouse. "As soon as I fire it up and people hear the noise of the supercharged engine a crowd gathers instantly. It was touch and go to get here as I had to replace the engine last week after I made a mistake and broke the oil pump. But we made it and it’s performed flawlessly."

BMW also had a trio of custom R18s all worked on by British brands. The Pier City PC.18 is a stripped-back bobber that took to the hill for many raucous runs, while on BMW’s stand there was a wild Japanese-bōsōzoku inspired machine built by Untitled Motorcycles, as well as a near factory finished sidecar outfit made by Watsonian.

All of the machines that impressed at Goodwood will be making their way around the UK at various events over the summer, so keep a look out.

MCN Rewind - A look back at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed

First published on 13 July 2020 by MCN news desk

Michael Neeves wheelies the Moto2 Triumph

We would have been at the Goodwood Festival of Speed over the weekend (July 9-12) but it was cancelled for obvious reasons.

So, here's a look back to last year's event when over 200,000 people descended on Goodwood for four days of high-octane motorsport action – but it was the battery-powered motorcycles grabbing all the headlines.

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Last year’s event celebrated ‘Speed Kings – Motorsport’s Record Breakers’ and saw 85 motorcycles take to the 1.16-mile hill climb course from Thursday to Sunday, as part of a 650-strong vehicle lineup, ridden by a roster of current and former racing stars, including Casey Stoner, James Toseland and Giacomo Agostini.

Giacomo Agostini gets a push start on his MV Agusta

The crowd was treated to two daily high-speed runs from a selection of racing machines, as well as a number of road bikes – headlined by the debut of Harley-Davidson’s Livewire, which was officially launched the following week.

Also riding up the world-famous Goodwood hill was the £90,000 Vector, the debut offering from British electric bike firm, Arc. While various prototype Vector models have been in circulation for years, this was the global debut for a moving Arc – and it looked great.

Elsewhere, the festival also celebrated 60 years of Honda motorcycles and saw a variety of current and former factory riders take to the track aboard some historic racing metal. Amongst them was Tadayuki Okada, who piloted Marc Marquez’s 2018 championship-winning MotoGP machine up the hill.

Ian Hutchinson

He was joined by Mick Doohan, and TT stars John McGuinness, Ian Hutchinson and Conor Cummins, as well as the great Sammy Miller, speed record addict Zef Eisenberg, and MCN’s own Michael Neeves riding an immaculately restored 1974 Suzuki RG500, an ex-Schwantz RGV500 and Triumph’s Moto2 test mule.

Last year also saw sidecar outfits blast up the hill, with the Birchall brothers and Maria Costello wowing festival goers with their antics. The Ducati Desmosedici GP12 pillion bike was also on hand to terrify ‘lucky’ guests up the hill, piloted by Randy Mamola and Franco Battaini. Bike fans craving off-track action could also enjoy stunt shows, trials displays, aerobatics and freestyle motocross throughout the weekend.

The Ducati team ready their GP12 pillion bike

Keep reading for our live coverage from 2019

Final Sunday bike run

Despite a wet final day of the festival, plenty of bikes still made it up the famous hill climb for one final run on Sunday.

Harley-Davidson and Arc talk electric

MCN caught up with Harley-Davidson and Arc who have both brought cutting-edge electric motorbikes to the festival.

Saturday's race bikes #1

An eclectic mix of past and present racing motorcycles have made their way onto the Goodwood hillclimb circuit for the first run of the day.

Amongst them was 12-time TT winner, Bruce Anstey, who took to the run aboard a Padgetts Honda RS250 two-stroke.

Anstey sadly missed the 2018 racing season, as well as all events so far this year, as he focusses on recovering from a long-term illness.

Other competitors taking to the hill also included double World Superbike champion and Triumph ambassador, James Toseland, who returns to Goodwood after an eight year hiatus.

Riding the Triumph Moto2 prototype bike, the former racer spoke to MCN between autographs and said: "I'm riding up the hill this afternoon as well. The bike is a proper piece of kit and it feels like a little superbike compared to the 600s I used to ride.

John McGuinness wheelies to the crowd

"The last time I was here was eight years ago and after my retirement I had to go cold turkey, which was difficult. It's nice to come back and still get such a good reception."

These positive sentiments were shared by 23-time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness, who said: "I haven't missed a year since 2004, except 2017 when I had my accident.

"After all those years, I still don't quite know where I'm going! I just try to wheelie and wave and show off to the crowd."

MCN also caught up with 15-time world-champion, Giacomo Agostini, who has been visiting the Goodwood Festival of Speed for over a decade.

"It’s a lovely event which draws in lots of bikes, lots of people and lots of cars and drivers. You get to meet a lot of top riders, and I get to catch up with racers I don’t often see any more.

"Lord March is very happy with me because I always bring some sunny weather with me from Italy, which helps with the crowds."

Giacomo Agostini at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Riding pillion on a MotoGP bike

Check out Dan's experience on the Ducati Desmosidici GP12 - a two-seat MotoGP bike he rode pillion on at Goodwood on Friday. More here.

Ducati two-seat MotoGP bike

Friday's race bikes run #2

Chief Road Tester, Michael Neeves managed to get on camera this time, and celebrates with a massive wheelie!

Video of the bikes running up the hill in batch one today:

A few of our star testers will be riding bikes up the hillclimb, so keep an eye out for exclusive videos of their runs as the weekend unfolds. It's starts at 10:00am today with Michael Neeves riding a Triumph Moto2 prototype bike...

We'll also be taking a close look at electric motorbikes - a subject that's causing a lot of conversation on our social media channels as fossil fuels fall out of favour.

To start with, take a look at our gallery above of some of the unusual bikes we've spotted so far, and take a listen to this beast below:

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019: Honda revealed as headline biking theme

First published June 7, 2019

The Goodwood Festival of Speed will be celebrating 60 years of Honda motorcycles in 2019 as the headline biking theme.

The famous hillclimb and motoring get-together will take place this weekend, with Honda getting their own class at the event in order to show off its rich history in motorbikes.

Honda's Naomi Taniguchi

Bikes range from a 1959 TT animal (above) right up to Marc Marquez’s 2018 MotoGP championship-winning missile.

Riders include Mick Doohan (five-time consecutive 500cc series winner) and two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner. MCN columnist John McGuinness won 16 TTs on Hondas, and will be aboard the bike that took him to the first 130mph lap of the Isle of Man course.

John McGuinness celebrating his 10th TT victory with Honda

Ian Hutchinson will ride his 2010 Senior TT-conquering Padgetts Racing CBR1000RR, and the team will also be sending their current superbike up the hill with Conor Cummins on board.

Sidecar fans are catered for too, with the Birchall brothers atop their LCR unit, fresh from winning this year’s TT on Monday.

With a theme of ‘Speed Kings – Motorsport’s Record Breakers’ for this year’s Festival of Speed, a number of record-setting bikes will be in attendance, ranging from 1920s Brooklands beasts up to modern competition Grand Prix monsters.

It's not just Honda motorcycles at the Festival of Speed. Image credit: Stephanie O' Callaghan/Goodwood

For 2019 road bikes will be on display alongside the Michelin Supercar Paddock, with the BMW S1000RR, Norton V4RR, Ducati Panigale V4 S Corse and Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory already confirmed, alongside the dynamic debut of the £90k Arc Vector – the British-built electric motorbike being crowdfunded right now.

Read the latest stories causing a buzz this week in News…

Jordan Gibbons

By Jordan Gibbons

News Editor, owns some old bikes. Should know better.