Silverstone Grand Prix
2nd August 1981
As mentioned at the end of my report from the 1st Between the Downs Rally, we had to get up at stupid O'clock on the Sunday to go to the British Grand Prix. This was because the Yamaha Owners' Club Head Office had once again managed to wangle it for as many members as it could muster to ride a selection of Pro-Am Yamahas prior to the races, waving flags of all the participating countries, Apparently this was similar to last year, only then the riders rode their own bikes. This entailed us all having paddock passes for our bikes and ourselves!
There was still the matter of getting past all the traffic outside and there was the usual numbers of cars and the normal amount of mud in the fields they were expected to park in, (the previous days had been a bit wet), which delayed our arrival. We made our way through the assorted officials, grinning smugly, and eventually located the YOC representative. We had a brief introduction to the bikes, given natty Yamaha jumpers to cover our various t-shirts, sorted out riders and flag wavers, and what formation we would ride in. There was a rehearsal in the central space, which did not go well, causing a rather unexpected level of abuse from the organisers. Having never ridden race-tuned RD350s before, I think this could have been forgiven, but we got the hang of it.
Off we went to the start line and we did our bit, only deviating slightly from the arranged formation, and put the bikes back into the marked bay.
Now, I have never been much of a fan of roundy-roundy racing, even on TV, (which was then, as it is now, very scarce), and being stuck in a small space with very restricted viewing opportunities, I got bored quite quickly. A few of us wandered about, trying to find food and/or drink and looking at bikes, for a while. It was here that I saw what was perhaps my only sighting of a Hesketh Vampire, which looked quite impressive, but still not worth the price tag.
We decided to slope away as soon as we could to avoid much of the traffic, in which we were only partly successful. After we were out of the direct area, the roads became a bit clearer and it was quite a nice warm ride home after that.
Phil Drackley - Phil the Spill