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Motor club’s centenary exhibition celebrates the love of motors, speed and competition

24 March 2022

Motorbikes in an art gallery? If you’re a bike enthusiast you’d probably say why not and even if you’re not, it’s well worth a visit to Kirkcaldy Galleries to see a new exhibition opening this weekend celebrating the centenary of Kirkcaldy Motor Club, including three cracking vintage motor bikes.

Right from the start, the club was about a passion for motors – two, three and four-wheeled – with speed and competition adding to the enthusiasm.

Jake Drummond, club secretary, explains: “Starting in 1922 with a dozen or so members, the club grew into one of the most prominent multi-discipline clubs in Scotland, mainly as the members could enter any type of event using the same machine and Fifers want their money’s worth!

“Members could have a Saturday Hillclimb at Dunearn Hill, a half-day closing Wednesday Social run with the ladies and a Friday night Sprint at the nearby Donibristle Estate on land governed by the MOD. Tide times permitting, there would be an evening sand race on the Kirkcaldy’s mile long beach – a free show for the Langtonians.

“How the machines of the day stood up to such use is anyone’s guess but as most of the members were local trade, professional or business people, money didn’t seem of much concern.”

Pre-World War Two there was no road racing in Scotland and the sand races were the speed events of the day.

By 1948 the Kirkcaldy Grand Prix was described as “The Only Motor Cycle Road Race in Scotland” and drew top Scots and English riders to the town’s picturesque and normally peaceful Beveridge Park, with Graham Walker – father of legendary motorsport journalist and Formula One commentator Murray Walker – as commentator for the BBC Home Service.

The Scottish Road Races for Motorcycles, as they were known, continued at Beveridge Park until 1988.

The club continued to be seen at Knockhill, where, from 1975 to 2010, Kirkcaldy’s name was on the programme as organisers of the Scottish Championship events, the early BSB rounds and the Euro Cup sidecars. A return to sand racing after a parting of the ways with Knockhill was the club’s swansong in race organisation, a fitting return to its roots.

The club has continued with its own ‘Kirkcaldy Motorcycle Show’, although an alternative venue is being sought for this year with Fife Ice Arena unavailable.

However, you can now find a display of machines and lots of information on the club’s unique history in Kirkcaldy Galleries – a definite must for any motor sport lover and it’s all free.

Lesley Botten, OnFife’s Interpretation Team Leader, said: “Motorbikes in the art gallery? Why not? As the bikes arrived, even I quickly picked my favourite: the classic 1929 Norton!”

The other bikes on show are a Yamaha TZ750 and a Honda Britain CBR600. There is also a Mini Moto sidecar outfit.

Lesley continued: “It’s really important to mark this milestone in Kirkcaldy Motor Club’s history. The three magnificent bikes are displayed in one room upstairs at Kirkcaldy Galleries along with photos and information about the club’s story.

“This is a short exhibition and I really hope that people will venture along to see something different, as well as taking a look at the paintings and crafts in the other galleries while they’re here.”

Kirkcaldy Motor Club Centenary Exhibition runs from 26 March- 8 May.

Ends

For further information contact Sheona Small, press officer, 07809 727 989 or email sheona.small@onfife.com

Notes to editors: OnFife is a registered charity and manages and operates theatres, libraries, museums and galleries and cultural partnerships on behalf of Fife Council for people living, working and visiting Fife. Further information can be found at www.onfife.com

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