Bemsee Centenary race report

Published: 20 April 2009

The British Motorcycle Racing Club, or Bemsee, as it’s better known, celebrated its 100th anniversary last weekend at Brands Hatch in fine style, and I was very lucky to be a part of it, racing my R1 in the MRO Powerbike Championship.

Bemsee put on a superb weekend with some of its normal racing classes (which were all over-subscribed), sharing the paddock with classic and historic racers from yesteryear. This made my Dad happy as he saw the first bike he ever owned 50 years ago when he was 17! It was an Italian-built 50cc Itom, in red. Back then he had it on finance, paying 17 shillings and 6 pence a week. He earned 2 pounds 10 shillings at the time as a car mechanic. I can’t work out what that is in real money, but I know it didn’t leave him a lot for beer tokens!

The Powerbike races were as tough as ever, with myself and 39 other crazed lunatics battling for a result. I managed to qualify 7th fastest and finish 8th, 9th and 11th in the races. The 11th result was down to a 10 second penalty for jumping the start, when I got a bit eager to go with the red lights still on. Still, I managed to lead into the first corner, something I’d have got £250 for in the R1 Cup last year!

GSX-R1000-mounted Peter Baker was the class of the field, showing everyone the way to win each race. But, despite not being fast enough to run right at the sharp end, I still had a good weekend. My R1 handled beautifully, the Dunlop slicks were better than me and the motor powerful enough to leave me buzzing for a good half an hour after each ride.

Although it’s hard to prove, Bemsee reckon they could be the oldest bike racing club in the world, let alone the UK. Provided motorcycles still exist then, I’m sure they’ve got another good 100 years left in them. Maybe my R1 will be in the classic paraded then. Roll on the next round at Cadwell Park on 16/17th May!