Brooklands brings Motoball back to a wider audience

BROOKLANDS was once famous for motorcycle contests on its historic racetrack and many records have been broken there, but it has never staged a version of football played on motorbikes which was invented around 90 years ago.

The ball is in the air as players rush to intercept it

Now the museum which celebrates the famous location is going to make up for that by staging demonstrations of a sport called Motoball this weekend.

Motoball, played with the riders kicking a large football, was popular in this country in the 1930s. Top matches often attracted bigger crowds than First Division football games, and there are still leagues in Europe and Russia and a European Championship.

A hefty kick sends the ball hurtling towards goal

The UK has two surviving clubs and one of those, Hayes and Southall Motoball Club, will bring the sport to Brooklands – the birthplace of the British Motorcycle Racing Club – on Saturday and Sunday.

Games will be staged on the wide concrete expanse of the original racetrack’s start and finish straight, using a half-size pitch to allow spectators to have a close-up view of the action.

Motoball teams have five players, four on motorbikes and one on foot in goal. The goals are the same size as regular football goals and there are two 20-minute halves. Our photographs show scenes from demonstration matches involving British and European players.

A goalkeeper gathers up the ball after stopping an opponent scoring

There will be two demonstrations on both Saturday and Sunday, at 11.30am and 2.30pm. After each game, there will be the opportunity for visitors to speak to the match organisers, John Bottomley and Michael Sands, who are also volunteers with the motorcycle team at the museum.

Brooklands is open Thursday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Timed-entry tickets must be booked via www.brooklandsmuseum.com and numbers limited to allow for social distancing.

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