RAF's Classic Racing Team
The right stuff
Airfields and motor racing have for a long time been closely intertwined. Many tracks are located on the sites of ex-military airfields – Silverstone being perhaps the best known, though the list is long and illustrious.
So it was highly appropriate that on a typically British spring day (dull, overcast with a threat of rain), a group of enthusiasts should gather in the gloom at RAF Cosford just outside Wolverhampton to launch the start of their new season.
Enter (in formation, of course) the RAF Classic Racing Team.
This team of self-effacing guys, whose day jobs range from flight engineers to “scopies” on EWAC (early warning) aircraft, gather together from various bases across the UK to form a squadron of bikes and compete in the incredibly popular Classic Racing Motorcycle Club series.
Resplendent in Royal Air Force blue and adorned with RAF roundels, you certainly can’t miss them. Nor should you as, rather unsurprisingly, there’s not only a competitive spirit between members of the team, but also one that has delivered an enviable share of silverware.
Leading from the front, Squadron Leader Symon Woodward last year took the honours in the 500cc air-cooled class, taking the title before the final race of the season. The team also competes in the Post Classic 125, 250 and Classic 350 Twins classes, too.
While they try to compete at every meeting, being serving members of the RAF means their “day jobs” come first, making accumulating sufficient points difficult at times. But as Sergeant Andy Green says, “It may sound a bit corny but we do it as much for the taking part as we do for the winning”. Having met them we’re not sure that’s strictly true, but it’s a good mechanism to cope with the frustration that must arise when job commitments clash with race days.
This year they’ve got eight dates in the diary: Pembrey, Cadwell Park, Anglesey, Brand Hatch, Donnington, Lydden Hill and Snetterton, plus (hopefully) one overseas trip to the Belgium Classic TT at Gedinne. Plenty of chances to see these boys in blue in action.
Meanwhile, there’s always the chance to visit their training ground at Cosford, where the RAF Museum boasts a stunning array of aircraft. Although not on show, rumour has it that tucked away in the corner of a hangar they still have at least one operational Harrier. Just in case of emergencies, you understand.
In another corner of the field you’ll find the last Nimrod aircraft to fly operationally. An aircraft that racer Sergeant Green has a soft spot for as he was onboard for its last flight. This last picture is just for you, Andy. Enjoy and good luck for the season!