Wharf Lane motocross: What do you remember?

I found the above video on YouTube few weeks ago, and it’s made me think of the Motocross events that used to take place in the old quarry off Wharf Lane in Brownhills. The sound of the bikes used to colour many a Brownhillian weekend, but all was ended by the construction of the M6 Toll, which destroyed the course.

It occurs to me that people travelled from miles away to come to these races, and it was a very popular activity. Does anyone out there have memories of this, or can shed more light on the above video?

It was posted by user Tog20 in 2008, and is entitled ‘Anthony Barrett and the Late RAY TONKS at Brownhills’, The caption says:

This was a practice day at Brownhills, I’m riding the 1998 CR250 and Ray is riding the YZ 125. RIP Ray, you’re sorely missed mate. Great days practice.

Another commentor, Gav1976 says:

Wharf lane was an awesome track.Shame the AMCA arent buying more land 2 build parmanent tracks rather than just taking our money & leaving the hard work to the clubs

So, can anyone shed any light upon this, or the track and events in particular? I don’t even know who ran them. Any contributions gratefully accepted.

BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com, or comment here. Cheers.

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42 Responses to Wharf Lane motocross: What do you remember?

  1. Clive says:

    I used to go to the meeting there in the early 70s. great days out, and just down the road.

  2. oakparkrunner says:

    I used to go regular to this event in the late 1950’s, it was known then as scrambling, and involved a fast climb uphill to a sand quarry where the riders would ride down the steep side and back up again before going round the field crossing a brook and then a race up the hill for subsequent laps. One rider who died was a Ray Edwards and after that they raced for the Ray Edwards memorial trophy. Another rider I recall was a Ray Hatton who owned a car hire company in walsall Wood which I think was Motorola or something like that. Ray Hatton was a slowish rider if I remember correctly.

    • I also used to go there and remember the Ray Edwards tragedy.
      I recall one very slow rider, I think he always wore No.13. At the start, the riders went downhill and fled across the brook – after a while, No.13 would come along a slowly edge into the water and chug slowly across. Great times!

  3. oakparkrunner says:

    The events were run by the AMCA (amateur motor cycle association)

    • Gordon says:

      So pleased to see that video my son raced a m c a Gordon mycock @bruce ? Terry Brady was another my road 125@ 250there for a r d racing brow hills

      • Gordon says:

        Some of the old riders I remember such as bill&lee right Stuart Simms bob greenhough bob stringer nick Owen young rob stringer Gerard Brady Jason woralow Alan& Kevin fisher rob tabra Kris Owen lee bailey Carl Roberts and his dad piggy just a few foul go on for ever

  4. Anthony Barratt lives in Bloxwich and still attends motocross sometimes (scrambles) I used to live in Whitehorse Road and became a fan for ever Joining Burntwood Barracudas when I began racing. At the age of 60 I still race most Sundays in the summer along with my two sons. Of course Wharf Lane was famous for it’s TV scrambles as well along with many International meetings.

    • brett lycett says:

      Bet you always wear your boots now Malcolm.I remember you showing your mate how to ride his bike on the slag heaps,broke your ankle.

  5. brett lycett says:

    I bet you always have your boots on

  6. brett lycett says:

    I first raced there in 1970 on a Square Framed DOT ,every time i went through the stream my bike cut out.I last raced there about 1997 on a 125 Kawasaki .Loved this track,fast and flowing.

  7. warf lane was a great track/ had many a happy race there gary mason ex burntwood barracuders... says:

    what a great track and a fantastic sport/ had many a happy days racing in the 80s /90s

    gary mason burntwood barracuders

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  10. Ivor2302 says:

    I used to attend the “Scrambles” in Wharf Lane in the mid 50s. I worked in the sand pit, that belonged to Harry Farmer, across the Road from 1957 until I left to go to college in 1959 when my brother took the job. I don’t remember any scrambling at that time.

  11. Len says:

    Hi Folks,
    I first raced at Wharf Lane around 1971/2. I was one of the original members of the Burntwood Barracudas MC. The Wharf Lane site was administered by Walsall MCC if I remember right. The lower end of the track ran through a stream which turned that part of the track into a quagmire, particularly on rainy track days. I started riding on a Goldie and got my first junior place on such a day. The old heavyweight would plug through and over anything particularly the multitude of half submerged two strokes that had got there before me but couldn’t handle the mire. Happy days.

  12. Karan bowater says:

    My late dad Jim Whitt raced sidecars for many years and brownhills was always his favourite especially in the wet. Many said he was one of the best riders in the mud.I remember going to a televisised scramble when I was a little girl. Happy days

    • Pete astley says:

      I remember watching your dad riding his triumph outfit there many times in the 60s when i was a teenager,happy days,

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  14. Wayne Woolridge says:

    Hi bob. May know you if you were one of the founder members of the barracudas. Would like to speak, Wayne wool ridge.

    • gary says:

      Hi ya Wayne,dont no if you remember me Gary Mason use to ride in the 125 experts.and was in burntwood barracuda club..gess what me and Nick Boot are back riding mx [silly old sods]..

  15. Wayne Woolridge says:

    Hi Gary, how are ya m8? Good on ya for getting back in the saddle. Still see kev trawford and a few old names when I get to an amca MX. Am sure to bump into you.

  16. First went there in 1975 great racing great day out .cliff barton and mike eatough on ccms bernie andrews and john williams on maicos martin jones on a bultaco that day bob stringer won on another ccm I think great sounds and atmosphere

  17. philip gulliver says:

    dose anyone recall the expert rider ivor Jackson sadly lost his live at wharf lane Brownhills ,he had only gone there to watch with his family when a bike came through the ropes and hit him it was sad day ex burntwood barracuders member phil gulliver

  18. philip gulliver says:

    yes brett he is my brother as you might remember we where both members of burntwood club but a long time a go. Derek was a founder member and I joined not long after.i can remember seeing you ride a few years back. nice to find some of the old riders in the blog

    • Wayne Woolridge says:

      Hi Philip and Brett. Yes I remember Ivor and Sheila Jackson.my dad was John woolridge and I was a 4 year old kid on that sad day. My dad was in the race as I remember on his 250 greeves and ivor was watching over me at the bottom of the quarry. My memory is vague but from what I remember a rider came down the hilll went straight on at the bottom directly bat me, Ivor sacrificed himself by pushing me out of the way and got hit himself and lost his life. If my memory is wrong please correct me as i was a kid at the time around 1970 and apart from Ivor’s memory I think think things were kept away from me. Phil know derick like my old man still loves his currys like the old Indus days as we met in Walsall a while back. Brett remember you 1982 on that uni track kwak with no suspension NEC circa 1982 when I was having a dabble. Think you lasted longer than me ‘though!

  19. philip gulliver says:

    yes wayne i have had a few currys with your dad in the past i was sorry when no one told me he had passed away i liked john we did a bit wheeling and dealing many years a go and you are right about ivor it was very sad, nice to hear from you and yes derek did say he run into you in the curry house regards phil

  20. Brett Lycett says:

    Hi Wayne,the NEC meeting was around 79’80 and it was 250 A4 twinshock.I rode the 125 A6 Unitrack 80’81,it got me into the experts.Bought a brand new 250j Yam in 82 stopped riding in 84.then I rode most of the 90’s until 98. Now,whilst looking through the archives at the library in Lichfield,i found a photo of a young Wayne Woolridge,aged 5, on his little Grasstrack bike.I was going to put it on here but my scanner won’t talk to my pc.But if you want it e-mail me brettlycett@aol.com and I will send it to you.

    • Wayne Woolridge says:

      Hi Brett.great memories. Think 1982j mono shock yam was one of the best bikes they made. I had a 125 new that year.still got the invoice 995 quid from Claremont motor cycles Manchester.ended up selling it to Eric gundersen who went on to win 3 world speedway championships. Spoke to him recently and he still got it! Yes would like to see that photo can,t beat a bit of nostalgia!

  21. Derek Gulliver says:

    Hi Folk, This is Derek Gulliver, there was origanally six of that formed Burntwood Barracudas it was the Idea of John and mysellf to form the club.the six were John, Iver Jackson, Cyril Squires ,Dave Hemus, James Bond. I was currently Racing Sec at Walsall MCC. The meeting took place at St Matthews drive Johns house the first meeting rooms were the Swan Pub. I have many happy memories of Burntwood club. I was the first voted in chairman,our first riding member was Malcom Hall first meeting was at Stonnall, Best wishes to all I go past Burton on Trent course often I remember standing on the bridge With MrJohn Daire a member looking at the Branston course. John and I took on the task of finding the owner, Joe Bailey and getting permission to put on a meeting Joe was worried about us damaging a new stainless steel fence he had installed but after talks with the farm manager we were allowed to put on a trial meeting the rest is history..I actually stepped down as chairman after several years but was asked to become chairman again which I excepted. The club had really grown in stature and I moved to Walsall my time was up and felt younger people should be organizing events. (still eating plenty of curries but slowing down a little (at 78)

  22. Paul Wood says:

    Paul Wood.
    I joined Burntwood Barracudas in the early 70’s. I was an Apprentice where Malcolm Hall worked & it was him that convinced me that I could have a go at scrambling. My first meeting was at the Hams Hall meeting in about 72 or 73. Mal lent me his Triumph Cochise 500 (which I think he still has). I remember going along on the Saturday to help with roping the course etc, then he let me do a couple of laps on the Cochise. That was a huge shock for me & I can still remember shaking all the way home. I will remember those couple of laps for the rest of my life, I also remember Mal doing a couple of laps with his Daughter Janine, then aged about 6 or 7 sitting on the tank!!. i did the meeting on the Sunday & was hooked. Bought BSA 441 Victor & did a couple of seasons on that & decided it wasn’t competitive, Bought a 250 Husky from another member, Tom Youle, That is when I found out that it wasn’t the Victor that wasn’t competitive it was me. I am not affraid to say that I never was very good at it but I enjoyed every minute. Still remember the smell of Castrol R, in fact I use it in my lawn mower just for the smell. I later moved on to Pre 65 for a while till an accident put a stop to that. I remember Derek Guliver, John Dare, Terry Furlong, Jimmy Bond, Malcolm Palmer (think he rode a Victor as well), Also have fond memories of the Uxbridge arms. One night Stuart Simms complained that the beer looked a bit cloudy, the landlord replied, “You’ve only got a pint of it, I’ve got a bloody cellar full.” I still have some of the programs from the early 70’s if anyone wants a copy of any of them let me know on pawwoody@gmail.com

  23. malcolm palmer says:

    Just re-discovered this thread (thanks Derek) Yes Brett I do wear boots all the time now. lol.
    I rode the first ever meeting at Branston and the last one two years ago (sniff) but my son Ryan also rode the next last meeting last year! Club Chairman Dale Moreton is running this years last meeting again…..I intend to ride that one even though I have told Dale he is a scheming crook. lol
    Derek you started something big……untill a few years ago I was secretary @ the Barracudas and we ran Championship and IMBA events and they were great. I am STILL riding and secretary of wolves club……great to hear the old names….if any one wants the dates for Barracudas Presentation evening or last last last race meeting let me know. gordons373264@tiscali.co.uk

  24. Lee howles says:

    Hi remember riding wharf lane in the 80s what a great track remember Andy Howell winning a new kx500 in a raffle there great days riding for burntwood Lee howles if anyone remembers

  25. Bob Green says:

    Used to ride here in the late 50s belonged to Bham 56 club, road with Cliff Crow and Dave Hill, had my picture in the Walsall Gazet from a meeting there. Bob Green

  26. Neil Brown says:

    I always loved Brownhill’s although I still have the scar on my leg to remember it by. I rode from 78 through to 81. Great times and great people.

  27. Geoff Smith says:

    Just seen this fond memories Burntwood Club Rode Brownhills in the 80s YZ 125J.So long ago great days Geoff Smith.Remember Stuart Simms and his Shop. Happy Times looking back just purchased KTM 250F for bit fun

  28. Mark Feltham says:

    Great track and used for AMCA Championship meetings great days 1980’s

    125cc championship Brendan Rowett Richard Main Derek Roberts Barry Johnson Mark Feltham Phip Hardy Richard Wood Dave Holland Royston Whittle Robin Hewlett Richard Cole Graham Legge Anthony Khal Shaun Summerton Steve Murray

  29. Not totally wharf lane related, but don green has put together a couple of great publications.just read 1971 edition. A masterpiece for anyone of that era.sadly covers the late Ivor Jackson tragedy at wharf lane. Called into the office where they were happy to sort a copy out. Brett, Gary sorry for not being in touch. Hope all good.😀

  30. Steve andrews says:

    Very happy memories of brownhills track in 70s as a child running wild with my brother,waiting at the finish line for my dad Bernie Andrews,he would sit me on the petrol tank and weelie back to the padoc for some more banana sandwiches,rip Bernie x

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