TO Preserve The Spirit Of Historic Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing

The objective of the Series is to create and maintain a level playing field for those wishing to race genuine ( and faithful replicas) of pre 1963 Group 1 and 2 machines without encountering the modern short stroke, lightweight faired missiles that predominate in Classic racing. This is with the intention of recreating as far as possible the sight, sounds and spirit of racing in the 1950’ and early 1960’s for both rider and spectator alike, while at the same time maintaining a viable event for the host club/circuit.

Both riders and machines must be registered and approved by the organisers. For further information on eligibility please read the Rules and Regulations. These are also available to Download.

The Lansdowne – how it all started       (by the founder, Richard Thirkell)


Richard Thirkell

Image supplied by Sport-Pics

The Lansdowne was inspired by the very first Goodwood Revival meeting in 1998.

The motorcycle grid for this meeting was organised by John Surtees. At the time we submitted our entries for consideration by the great man nobody was quite sure what to expect! What transpired was a grid of 20 very original Manx Norton’s, Matchless G50’s, AJS 7R’s etc, the like of which had not been seen for a very long time.

The racing was close and atmospheric without the ‘white heat’ of having to compete against machines bearing post –period modifications, as John Surtees was very keen to keep these out. Not being in a rush to go home after the prize giving, a small group of riders comprising John Ruth, Mark Blackden, Len Haggis, Mick Hemmings, Malcolm Clarke and I found ourselves sitting on the embankment by the chicane enjoying the last of the Duke of Richmond’s champagne and all we could think about was how we could do a lot more of this type of racing!

Yours truly drew the short straw by agreeing that if each gave me their contact list of suitable owner-riders then I would write to everyone with the idea of starting a Series next year. A few weeks later I sent out 70 letters and received over 100 replies almost by return, many of which were from riders who had retired from racing but only because there was no championship dedicated to our particular genre. This told me something about the huge untapped demand!

Armed with this response, the following January I went round all the racing clubs at the Racing & Sporting Show at Alexandra Palace to try to find a Club that would give us a slot in the 1999 programme. All were interested but, understandably, they had already finalised their 1999 programme so had no spare track time, that is all except New Era. New ERA had just decided to drop their open Classic Class so had a slot that they would be very happy to discuss with me.

First Programme Intro 1999

1st Race 1999

2nd Race 1999

3rd Race 1999






At around this time, serendipity led me to a meeting with Malcolm Barber of Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) who generously offered the Lansdowne a sponsorship deal, which I am delighted to see still continuing today. The National Motorcycle Museum started sponsoring the Series in 2003/4 they too are still our sponsors today, and in the last few years The Classic Motorcycle magazine and Avon Tyres have joined this list of very supportive people.

I forget how many races we did in that first year but our inaugural meeting was at Cadwell Park early in the Season with 15 entries, not bad given it was just two or three months after Jim Parker, President of New ERA, and I had shaken hands. The races were then push start at the drop of the Union Flag which, for that Cadwell Meeting, were flagged off by my 16 year old daughter …….. from the edge of the start-line. Again, I forget who won – perhaps because for me it was more about the success of the races – but I seem to recall that Tim Jackson and Malcolm Clarke featured prominently.

From that inauspicious start, the Lansdowne rapidly went from strength to strength as the word quickly got around that this was for real and something to be part of. Over the last 17 years ‘The Lansdowne’ has been hosted by many well known clubs and organisations and supplied full grids of period machines at several BSB meetings, the Silverstone MotoGP , Scarborough, Chimay (where we ran separate 350cc and 500cc classes) in Belgium and several Vintage car events with the VSCC. At these various meetings the Series has also attracted famous names such as Chas Mortimer, Phil Read, Stuart Graham, Stan Woods and Charlie Williams. In 2010 we achieved a British Championship for the ‘premier’ Lansdowne class the Bonhams Lansdowne British GP Championship.

As a final reflection, I had no idea in 1999 that the Lansdowne would take up 12 years of my life but looking back I feel very privileged to have played a part in helping to revive the fortunes of classic thoroughbred racing. I can honestly say that it was all great fun but just as important to me is that ‘our’ machines seem to attract a certain type of very genuine like minded and totally dedicated enthusiast. As a result, the camaraderie in the Lansdowne was, and still is, quite exceptional …. rather like being part of an extended family (who all get on!). It is this that sets the Lansdowne apart.

If you are reading this as a prospective Lansdowne competitor please don’t delay – become part of a living legend and make your mark on history!

The Lansdowne Classic Series Ltd

Rules & Regulations 2016

(Agreed at TLCS Ltd AGM 14/11/15)


  1. The aim of The Lansdowne Classic Series Ltd (TLCS Ltd) is to put on classic motorcycle races in the spirit of motorcycle racing in the 50’s and 60’s, for machines which conform to the published current eligibility rules. Such races will constitute The Lansdowne Classic Series of Championships
  2. TLCS Ltd Directors will appoint a Club Committee (the Committee) to administer it’s activities
  3. The Committee will produce annual Rules & Regulations and Eligibility Rules. The interpretation of these rules is solely as defined by TLCS Ltd and or the Committee
  4. The TLCS Ltd is affiliated to the ACU as a Non Territorial Club and shall abide by the rules of the ACU.
  5. TLCS Ltd shall not be liable to any member for any economic or financial loss or damage (including the loss of profits, loss of revenue, liability incurred by the member to third parties) or any consequential or indirect or special loss or damage howsoever caused and in particular not when the member or members machine or machines, including machines owned by sponsors and entrants, are involved in any event organised or recognised by the Club, including racing, parading, trial or display, (static or otherwise) or social. This rule shall also apply to the member of any other club invited to or jointly participating in this club as well as to TLCS Ltd members invited to or jointly participating in an event organised by the Club. Although the Club will make every effort to provide members with insurance this should not be construed as an assumption of liability and it will always remain the responsibility of the individual member to protect and defend themselves and / or the Club / the Committee / TLCS Ltd against any claim for loss or injury howsoever caused.
  6. Nothing in these rules excludes or limits the liability of the TLCS Ltd for death or personal injury caused by the TLCS Ltd’s negligence or fraudulent misrepresentation.

Club Membership

  1. By signing the membership application form, Club members (if accepted) agree to abide by the rules of the Club, the Memorandum and Articles of Association of TLCS Ltd, the Eligibility Rules and the rules of the ACU
  2. Only Rider Registered Club members will be listed to be accepted by race organising clubs for entry acceptance. Only Club members may become Registered Riders
  3. Only Registered Riders or supporters / sponsors may have machines registered by the Committee. Such machine will be listed to be accepted by race organising clubs. Riders may register multiple machines
  4. Members, riders and their teams are expected to conduct themselves in a gentlemanly and sportsmanlike way with due regard to fellow riders and teams when attending Lansdowne Classic Series race meetings, Riders Meetings and social events
  5. Riders are expected to ride with due consideration to their fellow riders especially when lapping occurs.
  6. Membership runs from 1st January to the 31st December each year
  7. Persons wishing to join the Club should submit an application on the correct form to the Committee
  8. The Committee reserves the right to refuse membership to any applicant, although this will not unreasonably be withheld. There is no right of appeal against membership refusal
  9. Members shall hold themselves bound, in all cases of dispute or disagreement as to the interpretation of the rules of the Club, to accept the decision of the Club Committee. (See appeals below)
  10. In the event of a breach of the rules of the club by a member, or conduct on the part of the member, or a person(s) accompanying a member at any Club event, which is contrary to Rule 2.4 above, or is deemed as being prejudicial to the interests of the Club or the ACU that member may have his or her membership suspended forthwith by the Committee. Suspended members will have their Rider and Machine/s acceptance listing removed forthwith and thus will be unable to compete in The Lansdowne Series races from that moment. The Directors of TLCS Ltd will be informed as soon as possible who will then make the final decision on future membership of the member in question. (See 6 below)

The TLCS Ltd Club Committee

  1. The Committee will carry out the administration of the Club’s activities
  2. Committee members must be Club members
  3. Committee members are appointed by the Directors of the TLCS Ltd
  4. Any member of the Club may be a Committee member
  5. There is no maximum or minimum number of members for the Committee except that the Directors have to be sure that 3.1 above is fulfilled
  6. The following roles should have Committee members responsible for them
  7. Treasurer / Finance
  8. Membership Secretary / Rider Registrar
  9. Machine Registrar / Eligibility Secretary
  10. Sponsorship
  11. Hospitality
  12. Promotion
  13. Media
  14. Secretary / ACU liaison
  15. Competition Secretary

(Committee members may take on more than one role

  1. The TLCS Ltd Directors will be responsible for defining these roles
  2. The Committee has the authority to employ such staff or services that at any time may deemed to be required in connection with the pursuance of the clubs objects, or management of the Clubs affairs.

Machine Eligibility

Riders Meeting

  1. The Committee will arrange for a Riders Meeting to be held annually (normally in November) directly after the Directors meet for the TLCS Ltd AGM. The following business will take place at the Riders Meeting:
  2. The presentation and discussion of the following years eligibility rules
  3. The presentation and discussion of the following years Club rules
  4. The presentation of accounts which have been presented to the Directors
  5. The make up of the Club Committee for the next season’s administration
  6. The presentation of a provisional racing calendar for the next season
  7. General discussions on the past season and future season
  8. AOB pertaining to Club Matters
  9. Minutes of this meeting will be taken

Decisions, Appeals and Polls

  1. As soon as being informed that a member has had his or hers membership suspended the Directors of TLCS Ltd will determine the circumstances of the suspension and may, a) extend the suspension; b) cancel the suspension; c) terminate the member’s membership. Any such decision will be final and binding. See also 4.7 above. The membership fee will be refunded on a monthly based pro rata basis.
  2. Any member will have the right to appeal a decision of the Club Committee to the Directors of TLCS Ltd. Such appeals have to be made in writing to the Registered Office. Appeals will be discussed at the next Directors meeting after the appeal has been lodged. The appellant may be required to attend this meeting. Decisions will be communicated in writing and such decisions are binding and final

The Committee and or TLCS Ltd may decide that in exceptional circumstances a poll may be taken of members views on an issue. Any poll will have terms and conditions for interpreting the poll results included. All poll returns will be


  1. On 24/4/2014 The Lansdowne Classic Series as administered by the ‘Forum’ ceased to exist and all responsibilities for administering the Lansdowne transferred to TLCS Ltd and the Club Committee.
  2. The registered office of TLCS Ltd is 4 Church Green East, Redditch, Worcs B98 8BT
  3. For contacts for the Club Committee see http://www.lansdowneclassic.co.uk

The Lansdowne Classic Series

 2016 Technical Regulations and Championship Details

All bikes and riders have to be approved by the organisers via the ‘2016 Riders Registration’ and the ‘2016 Machine Registration’ forms from the ‘Downloads’ section of the website.


The interpretation of these regulations is entirely the province of the Lansdowne Classic Series Ltd (TLCS Ltd) and or the Club Committee


The Lansdowne British Championship races are open to pre 1963 Group 1 (machines made specifically for racing in Grand Prix, TT and Thoroughbred racing) classic racing motorcycles conforming to these regulations.

The Lansdowne 500cc and 350cc Championship races are open to pre 1963 Group 1 (machines made specifically for racing in Grand Prix, TT and Thoroughbred racing) classic racing motorcycles and certain Group 2 (machines converted from road bikes for racing) classic racing motorcycles conforming to these regulations

The Lansdowne Club Class Championship races are open to pre 54 Group 1 (GP type) and pre 55 Group 2 (machines converted from road bikes for racing) classic racing motorcycles conforming to these regulations


The TLCS Ltd organisers reserve the right to invite any machine which does not necessarily conform to these regulations if they think fit but such machines will not necessarily score Championship points. Similarly owners of non conforming machines may apply to the organisers to be invited to race in the TLCS Ltd but such invitations are solely at the organiser’s discretion and again may not score Championship points. Machines must be registered with the TLCS Ltd organisers. The organisers reserve the right to place a rider in the class they feel is most appropriate if necessary.



Up to 31st December 1963 / Club Class – up to 31st December 1954



350cc Class – up to 350cc

500cc Class – 351 to 500c

Club Class – up to 500cc for Group 1 bikes; up to1000cc for Group 2 bikes



(To be applied in conjunction with the championship specific regulations)

All machines must conform to ACU (and FIM where applicable) regulations for Road Racing Motorcycles.

  1. Original period motorcycles are eligible provided the specification and appearance of the motorcycle is substantially unaltered. Such machines could be ‘one off’s’, ex factory machines or have been available ‘over the counter’’.
  2. Replica motorcycles are eligible but only if they replicate machines which were raced in the period, were generally available ‘over the counter’, and are accurate in every substantive detail of engineering specification and appearance.
    • In particular the following relates to the machine being replicated: Engines must be of similar internal specification and externally very similar in appearance. Gearboxes must replicate the exterior appearance; however 5 or 6 speed internals may be fitted. In the interests of longevity belt primary drives may be fitted. Frames, swinging arms and front forks (internals free) must be as exact replicas as possible. The maximum allowable carburettor choke diameter is 1.5”. Brakes must replicate original, ‘as supplied’ type. Where shown to be used as a period fitting the period type Oldani front brake may be used. Fuel and oil tanks, seats, rear suspension units and such like items must retain period appearance. Weights of replica machines must be similar to the, ‘as supplied’ weights and a list of minimum weights is appended (Appendix A). Machines will be weighed ‘wet’ (with oil and fuel) and ready to race. Please apply to the organisers for minimum permitted weights for machines not quoted on the appended list.
  3. Short stroke’ motors are not permitted. For example the shortest stroke Manx Norton allowable is with the 86x 86 engines. Owners / riders are advised to contact the organisers for clarification if any doubt exists.
  4. All engines must have no more than 2 valves per cylinder.
  5. Period presentation of machines is absolutely vital and is an integral part of the eligibility process. So for example if modern materials are used they must be given a period finish.
  6. All machines must be silenced to ACU standards and will be tested to these standards before being allowed to race. For 2016 the exception to this requirement will be at Donington Park which is an unsilenced race meeting
  7. Tyres must conform to ACU Road Race regulations. Please note that slick tyres, wet weather tyres and hand cut tyres are not permitted.
  8. The maximum rim size allowable is WM3
  9. Fairings not allowed.
  10. Provided ignition systems are mounted in the original position and closely resemble original ignition systems then electronic components may be used.
  11. Methanol may be used as a fuel for pre-war machines but they must display a 3” orange disc on the number plates as per ACU regulations. Post war machines using for example JAP speedway type engines may apply to the organisers for a dispensation to run methanol fuel. All other machines must use either leaded fuel to FIM specification (roughly 100LL Avgas) or unleaded ‘pump’ fuel to ACU / FIM specifications. Only fuel additives approved by FBHVC are allowed.



Lansdowne British Championship (Bonhams)

  1. Only 500cc machines are eligible for this championship
  2. Machines in this championship are expected to be of a very high standard of preparation and originality
  3. Wheel sizes must be as supplied in the period for the machine. So for example for Manx Norton’s, Matchless G50’s and so on this will be 19”
  4. The sole tyre make will be Avon. See Appendix B for listings
  5. Exhaust pipe runs must be as original. So for example for Manx Norton’s, Matchless G50’s and so on, in general this will be low level ‘swept back’ exhaust pipes
  6. ‘Stepped’ or tapered exhaust pipes are not allowed.
  7. Carburettors must be as supplied in the period for the machine. So for example for Manx Norton’s, Matchless G50’s and so on this will be an Amal GP.
  8. Fairings are not allowed
  9. There will be no handicap system running in this championship.




Lansdowne 350cc and 500cc Championships (WRR / AVON)

  1. Machines in these championships are expected to be of a very high standard of preparation and originality.
  2. Machines must comply with the General Technical Regulations above.

Machines will be subject to a handicap system based on the particular specification of the machine – see the Championship section below.


Lansdowne Club Class Championship (TCM)


  1. The Periods for this class are – up to 31/12/1953 for Group 1 machines and up to 31/12/1954 for Group 2 machines


  1. This class is intended to give an opportunity for owners and riders to develop machines for the 50’s Goodwood Revival races. Thus it is a good opportunity to show such a machine in race conditions
  2. Engines may have 4 valve cylinder heads only if TLCS Ltd / and or the Committee are fully convinced that such a specification was a common period fitment – e.g. Rudge 4 valve
  3. The upper capacity limit is 500cc for Group 1 machines and 1000cc for Group 2 machines
  4. Fairings are not allowed.

Group 1 Machines: (TCM)

  1. Only racing machines commonly available to the general public (so called ‘production’ racers) in the period are eligible.
  2. In the interests of achieving a level playing field ‘works’ type machines or machines using ‘works’ parts are not allowed
  3. Replicas of Group 1 machines are allowed but must be accurate in every detail to the replicated machine
  4. Group 1 machines must be raced in a specification and form which is as close as practicable to the complete specification and form they were in when they were raced in the period.
  5. Internal engine and gearbox components may be re-manufactured in modern materials but the specifications in terms of bore & stroke, valve operation, number of valves, valve angles and so on must not be altered. The number of gearbox speeds must remain the same although different ratios may be fitted. Original type primary drive (normally chain) must be used. Original type clutches must be used.
  6. Newly manufactured parts may be used but must be as indistinguishable from original parts as possible. See also 2&3 above.
  7. Provided ignition systems are mounted in the original position and closely resemble original ignition systems then electronic internal components may be used.
  8. Featherbed Manx Nortons: They must be of the ‘bolt up’ type and still have the bolted on sub frame in place. The front brake must be an original Norton type but may be single or twin leading shoe versions. Only ‘long stroke’ (100mm) engines are allowed – no 86mm stroke (or shorter stroke) engines are allowed. TT or GP1 carburettors are allowed – maximum choke size of 1 3/8”. No ‘works’ bikes or specials will be accepted. It would be wise to contact the organisers to check that both the proposed specification and that there is room on the grid for any possible Manx Norton entry. A good example of the type of Manx required may be found at http://www.manxnorton.co.nz/gallery/.

Group 2 Machines: (TCM)

  1. It is expected that in the main machines will be race prepared original road bikes. Machines may be built from unrelated road bike parts but must be an accurate replica of an original road bike converted for racing. Normal race preparation / tuning may be carried out as long as the period presentation of the machine is not affected.
  2. Only mechanical rev counters may be used
  3. Rear suspension units may be replaced with new units but these must be in keeping with period appearance.
  4. Exhaust systems should be in keeping with the look and style used in period within the constraints needed for silencing to ACU standards
  5. Newly manufactured parts may be used but must be as indistinguishable from the original road bike parts as possible
  6. Clip on handlebars, racing petrol and oil tanks, racing seats, front fly screens, alloy engine plates and racing exhaust systems may be fitted as long as any such item is in keeping with the period look of the machine.
  7. Brakes must be as fitted to the original machine. Twin leading shoe conversions of original type single leading shoe brakes are allowed. The fitting of air scoops is allowed and brake lining material is free.
  8. Steel rims may be replaced by alloy rims but the original diameter and width must be retained. In any event the maximum rim size allowed is WM3.
  9. Internal engine components may be manufactured from modern materials but the specification in terms of crankshaft configuration (e.g. 360 degree twin etc), valve operation, number of valves, bore and stroke and so on must not be altered.
  10. Internal components of the gearbox may be altered to give different gear ratios but the number of speeds may not be altered. Thus the vast majority of machines will run with 4 speed gearboxes. Velocettes and Gold Stars may run with 5 speed gearboxes. In the interests of longevity over a season belt drives may be used. Please note that the Goodwood Regulations will still insist on chain primary drive
  11. Road equipment like dynamos, lights and so on may be removed. Stands must be removed.
  12. Provided ignition systems are mounted in the original position and closely resemble original ignition systems then electronic internal components may be used.
  13. Only period type carburettors may be used. Extra carburettors may be fitted – e.g. twin carburettors on a twin cylinder etc. Racing carburettors may be used. Carburettors may be bored to achieve a larger bore size.
  14. Any pre 1948 Group 1 machine is eligible for this class. However as with all Lansdowne racing such machines are expected to be of a very high standard of preparation and originality.


  1. Riding Standards: All riders in the Lansdowne Series Championships are expected to respect their fellow riders especially when lapping is taking place. TLCS Ltd / and or the Committee will take complaints of inattentive, poor or dangerous riding very seriously and if investigations warrant may remove Championship points. Please also see Rules & Regulations section 2
  2. Points: Old GP Scoring system of 15 points (1st), 12 points (2nd), 10 (3rd), 9 (4th), 8 (5th), and so down to 1 point for 12th . For pre 1948 machines points will be awarded on the basis of one place higher than their finishing place. So if a 6th place finish is achieved the points gained will be for 5th place etc
  3. Entry levels: If 3 or fewer riders enter a class at any meeting then Championship points will be allocated as follows: 10 points (1st), 7 points (2nd) and 5 points (3rd)
  4. Rounds: All rounds / races count.

Handicap points for Lansdowne 500cc and 350cc Championships are laid out in this table.

Item Detail Points Loss Comments
Front Brakes Non original fitment -1 Post 31/12/62 not eligible
Front Brake – Fontana 210mm Non original fitment -2 Dispensation
Carburettor Gardener -2
Non Period Other non period Fitments -1
Exhaust Pipes High Level -1
Exhaust Pipes Tapered / Stepped -1
Wheels 18” rims -1
Dating Pre 1948 machines Points for a 1 place higher finish


Main Information Sources

All regulations / entry forms / championship positions and so on will be published on the Lansdowne web site http://www.lansdowneclassic.co.uk – See also Supplementary Regulations and Final Instructions issued by organising clubs.



APPENDIX A – Table of Minimum Weights

Make / Model Capacity Minimum Weight (lbs ‘wet’)
Norton Manx 500 312
Norton Manx 350 307
Matchless G50 500 284
AJS 7R 350 284
McIntyre G50 500 295
Aermacchi 350 220
Moto Guzzi 250/350 215
Ducati 350 260

APPENDIX B – Control Avon tyres for Bonhams Lansdowne British Championship

Tyre Spec Compound
90/90 x 19”AM26 front 14089C A49
100/90 x 19” AM26 rear 13760C 308



  1. Tyres will be available from Avon at a discount for Lansdowne registered series riders
  2. ‘Development’ or ‘test’ tyres are not allowed in Lansdowne British Championship qualifying or races – only tyres supplied through the organisers may be used for qualifying and racing stamped with the above codes
  3. If ‘updated’ tyres are made available by Avon they will become available through the organisers after they have approved such tyres.