Bike racer enters 60th year in competition

Bill Barley, 76, takes to the grasstrack scene once again after hip replacement surgery

‘MAD’ Bill Barley is looking to become the oldest motorbike racer in the country after renewing his racing licence, aged 76.

Moving into his 60th year of competitive racing ‘Mad’ Bill, who competes in grass-track, got his nickname through a reputation for a fearless riding style during his prime, with instances which include landing his bike in a tree.

Bill races vintage grass-track bikes across the country and his greatest success came in 1988 when he won the Vintage Speedway Championship at the age of 56 on a 1934 Rudge, but he ranks his proudest moment of his racing career as winning at the Teterow circuit in the former East Germany, the year after the Berlin Wall came down.

In 1998, Bill had a hip replacement operation after coming off his bike. Within eight weeks he was racing a sidecar again. Speaking of his addiction to racing he said: "It's just the adrenaline off the start that keeps bringing me back every year, there's nothing like that feeling. Every year I think it'll be my last, then the forms drop through the door, and I think: well, one more year then."

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