Hawkstone Park Motocross Circuit

Hawkstone Park Motocross Circuit, typically referred to as Hawkstone Park or Hawkstone, is a motocross circuit situated near Market Drayton, north Shropshire, England. The circuit is arguably one of the world's most famous motocross circuits, having staged many grand prix and international events from the 1950s, right through until the present day. The Hawkstone circuit is approximately 1.8 miles (2.9 km) long (although the layout can be shortened for youth or clubman events if required). It is famous for the track surface, which consists of deep, loamy sand. During the course of a race meeting, the circuit becomes very rough and bumpy, testing the skill of riders. The centrepiece of the circuit is the famous 'Hawkstone Hill', a steep hill that eventually rises to a 1-in-3 ascent at the top of the hill. The crest of the hill can be seen from the A53 road (Shrewsbury to Market Drayton) several miles away. At the top of the hill, riders have to contend with a hard sandstone surface, before dropping back down the hill in a fearsome descent, beginning in an 8-foot (2 m) almost vertical drop, followed by a bumpy descent that tests riders' skill and bike control. Other famous obstacles include the 'whoop' section, a series of large man-made bumps that require a great deal of skill and courage from riders in order to tackle them at speed. A fall in this section is usually heavy and spectacular. (3 times World Motocross Champion David Thorpe crashed spectacularly here in front of TV cameras at the 1986 500cc British Motocross Grand Prix). There is also a Race control area including a commentary tower, offices, scrutineering area and press room, a first aid building, toilets and shower area for riders, and a large paddock and car park area. [edit]Early history The site used for motocross events first h

ld a motorsport event in 1938, a hill climb event, staged by the 'Crewe and Nantwich Light Car Club'. The event used the Hawkstone Hill, the winner being the driver who was able to get the furthest up the hill. These quaint beginnings were soon halted by the advent of World War II, but soon after the end of the war, motocross (or scrambling as was known) made its debut at Hawkstone Park. The event was held by the Salop Motor Club, who still organise events at Hawkstone Park, and manage the motocross circuit to this day. Qualification for the motocross races was determined in a similar fashion to the hill climb events, the riders who made it the furthest up the hill qualified for the race. From there, the circuit moved onto greater heights, in 1951 the first national level meeting was held and in 1954, the circuit staged a round of the FIM European Motocross Championship. 33,000 spectators witnessed British rider Phil Nex take the victory. 1960 saw one of the largest crowds in Hawkstone Park's history, for the Brian Stonebridge Memorial Trophy (in memory of 1950s rider Brian Stonebridge who died in a motoring accident). 54,000 spectators attended the event, with buses being laid on from nearby towns such as Shrewsbury for spectators. Grand Prix events continued at the circuit until 1965, by which time, the dusty conditions had deemed the circuit too dangerous for top level motocross competition. British rider Jeff Smith won the final 500cc Grand Prix of the decade in 1965, aboard his BSA. The 1950s and 1960s were arguably the hey-day for Hawkstone Park. Thanks to coverage from the BBC Grandstand programme (which incidentally included Murray Walker as commentator), "Scrambling" was quite popular with the general public, and major events at Hawkstone regularly saw five-figure crowds in attendance.