The smell of two-stroke oil will fill the air at this weekend’s Vets Motocross Des Nations at Farley Castle in England, where former three-time British champion Gordon Crockard will represent and manage an eight-strong team from Northern Ireland.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever had a team from Northern Ireland at the event,” said Newtownards man Crockard, who first has to overcome his sister Christine’s wedding on Friday, before flying over on Saturday morning, accompanied by British Superbike star Josh Brookes — himself a two-stroke motocross aficionado.
Crockard will compete in the Evo Des Nations class alongside Comber men Johnny McBride and Paul McMinn, with Ballynahinch man Stephen Kelly the fourth rider in the squad.
“All our bikes are 500cc two-strokes and the youngest is a 1989 Honda supplied by a former sponsor of mine from my CAS Honda days: Bake ‘n’ Bite. I even have my old mechanic Nick Moores preparing the bike, which is a real throwback in time,” he said.
The second Northern Ireland team of Colin Burns, Terry Bailey, Dave Wilson and George Porter will compete in the Twin Shock Des Nations class with all men riding Maico machinery.
Farley Castle hosted 500cc World Championships in the 60s, 70s and 80s and this weekend’s Somerset-based event on Saturday and Sunday is for anoraks of the two-stroke era.
Former great like Belgium’s Stefan Everts, Mickael Pichon of France, Australia’s Jeff Leisk and British riders Dave Thorpe and Graham Noyce have all taken part.