For one weekend in July, the usually immaculate landscape of Kevington Hall gets ripped apart by a bunch of lunatics on motorcycles, of all persuasions.
MALLE MILE – PERFECTLY UNUSUAL
A country house built in 1769 is an unusual venue for an off-road event. However, it’s this backdrop which provides the Malle Mile with its charm and has made it a must-attend event for the last five years running.
This weekend of two-wheeled merriment is the brainchild of Robert Nightingale and Jonny Cazzola, founders and designers behind the British brand Malle London.
Malle London has been producing high end, durable, stylish motorcycle luggage since 2012 and five years ago the brand decided it wanted to host an event that encompassed its own ethos and style, ‘The British Inappropriate Motorcycle Race & Exhibition in Motion’ was born.
Head-to-head ⅛th Mile Sprint
So, what can you expect on this fume and fun-filled weekend? The mainstay of the event has and will always be the ‘Sprint‘ race. Traditional simple head-to-head racing over a 1/8th-mile course with a couple of kinks built-in.
Riders must start in neutral with their clutch hand on their helmet. When the flag drops it’s a race to bang the bike in gear and make it to the finish line ahead of your opponent. Sometimes it’s as smooth as silk, most times it isn’t and that’s what makes it such great spectator sport.
MALLE MILE, 500 STRONG
This year over five-hundred riders registered to race. So, what’s made the event so popular? Well, that probably lies in the event’s accessibility. At its heart, the Malle Mile is a grassroots race event. You can ride pretty much what you want, which gives the organisers a bit of a headache when trying to separate the disparate bunch of bikes and their reprobate riders into appropriate classes.
CUSTOMS AT THE MALLE MILE
Without question, the most entertaining class of the nine available has to be the ‘The Customs’. It’s usually made up of the most motley collection of ridiculously inappropriate bikes you’ll ever see at a race event. 70’s inspired chops lining up against 80’s sports bikes, Bobbers versus homemade specials. It really is a class where you never know what you are going to get.
“First time at the mile? Never raced before? No problem”
First time at the mile? Never raced before? No problem there is a very friendly novice class where you can ‘run what ya brung’ and have the time of your life.
Since the inception of the event, the scale has grown and there is now a full weekend of events. Outside of the Sprint, the Hill climb is the next biggest attraction, a longer arguably faster chase up a not insignificant incline. There are a hardy bunch of lunatics ready to take part in the moto polo, as well as the Malle 100, which is raced on a 1-mile dirt track with a Le Mans style start.
The two-wheeled action also includes a trials area and the Zero cc race for those brave (stupid), enough to want to race a 2-mile off-road course using only their leg powered machines. This year there was also a special ‘Midnight Mile’ open only to electric bikes, which turned out to be a cross between a bike race and an 80’s neon disco!
Away from the racing, you’ll find plenty of food options to re-fuel, a collection of vendors selling their wares, an adventure biking exhibition, moto film screenings, a paddock full of custom bikes and cars. You can even start your day off with a Yoga session, assuming the hangover isn’t too debilitating…
What’s great about the event is, that despite its growth it hasn’t lost that friendly ‘bunch of mates pratting about’ feel that the first event had. If you have any interest in bikes at all and you’ve not experienced the ‘Mile’, make sure you set aside the last weekend in July next year.
Long live mucking about with motorcycles and long live the Malle Mile!
- All images by Tony Walters