Island Classic 2017

On 28 January I took a day trip to Phillip Island on the ZX14R. The reason for this trip was the annual Island Classic race meeting, featuring teams from the UK, Ireland, NZ, the USA and Aust. I really like this event – not just for the bikes and racing, but also because a standard entry ticket provides full access to the pits and the pit roof area. And it’s quite OK to ride through the tunnel into the centre of the track and anywhere around the track outer perimeter. That’s good access for getting involved in an event. It was beautiful weather with plenty of sunshine and temps around 22 -25C – pretty good for PI!

When I first arrived I headed for the museum to see the new collection of racing winning Cagivas that they have just purchased and put on display.

After a look at the bikes and the info at the Visitor Centre I headed back into the track and straight through to park in the centre of the track. It was great wandering around the pits enjoying all the sights and sounds, and of course, events like this bring out some pretty special spectators’ bikes.

I spent ages peering into various pit garages and photographing the bikes and people fettling them. I’m always more interested in the 1970’s and 1980’s superbikes than the really old British and American iron.

I even managed to get up close to a few of the British team stars during their lunch break. Jeremy Williams, below, is still an incredibly gifted rider. His lap times and race craft was spectacular.

The fella below has won a few trophies at the Isle of Man TT races I believe!

Above: John McGuinness

Above: Cameron Donald

After a really good wander around the pits I headed over to the inside of Turn 4 to take some race photos with my ageing SLR. As I said, Jeremy McWilliams (#99) at age 52 can still really ride at a very high level and led every race that I saw him in.

The big Irving Vincent powered sidecar was impressive, however, the real star exhibit was the priceless Britten.

By around 3.45pm I was done and headed over to my Kawasaki and kitted up to head for home. As I was doing so a fella with some pretty impressive camera gear stopped to chat and take a couple of pics of the Kwaka. I got talking photography him and it turned out to be none other than legendry Team Kawaski Australia racer Murray Sayle! That topped off an already excellent day. A gentle ride completely around the outside of the track to take in all the sights and I was off towards Melbourne in still, perfect riding conditions.

Link to a gallery of photos, CLICK HERE

 

 

 

 

 

Broadford Bike Bonanza Easter 2016

For quite a few years now we’ve headed to the Bike Bonanza at Broadford, and this year was going to be ‘make or break’ having left a bit disappointed last year. It was actually an excellent event which we thoroughly enjoyed, so I dare say that we will be back again next Easter. The road bike themes for this year were Moto Guzzi and Aussie Superbikes. Dorothy just loves 1970’s Le Mans Guzzi’s and has always lusted after one. The feature Guzzi was the 500CC V8 racer, which proved pretty temperamental to get running and we didn’t see it on the track at all.  There were, however, two other V8 motorcycles present, the Drysdale 750 (see video at the end) and a PGM 2 litre. John Kaiser who has been the mechanic I go to for many years was there with his Kawasaki Z900 and friend Tim Kingston brought his T500 Suzuki along for a run. There were lots of old Pommie bikes in addition to the Guzzi’s, however, I most relate to 1970’s Japanese superbikes. A selection of pics below, but hundreds at this link BBB

JK getting a knee down

Highly desirable Norton 650 SS

The V8 Moto Guzzi being difficult



 

Broadford Bike Bonanza

Mrs Tarsnakes & I have been attending  Broadford Bike Bonanza at Easter since its inception 6 years ago by Motorcycling Australia as a fund raiser for its historic / museum division. We don’t camp trackside, however, many folk do make a weekend of it. Previously the event has be sponsored by Honda, however, Penrite oils had the naming rights this year. Just to repeat from previous years’ posts, this is a historic event, with no racing, just demo laps and many disciplines of motorcycle sport represented – road race, motocross, trials and speedway – as the complex has specific tracks at the one site for all of these disciplines. The main theme this year for the road race track was the “Castrol 6 Hour Race“, which was a production motorcycle endurance race run in Australia between 1970 and 1987. This was a race where a win on Sunday meant sales on Monday, and Kawasaki had a great run on wins in the 1970’s with the mighty Z900, winning four years in a row from 1973.

However, I think a consequence of the “6 Hour” theme this year was that there were far fewer older British and American bikes present compared with previous years. The Velocette theme last year led to huge numbers of old Brit bikes being represented. Not that I mind Japanese bikes of the 1970’s, as they were my formative years of motorcycling!

I wish I could tell you the tale of a TX750 that was raced and podiumed by a Geelong motorcycle shop in one of the 6 Hours, however, I’ve been sworn to secrecy.

A famous 6 Hour winner, who was later disqualified, was Joe Eastmure on the 315 CC Suzuki. I still think he was brilliant, whether the little Suzi was ported or not. He later won in 1977 with Ken Blake on a BMW K100RS, stopping the big Kawasaki’s run of wins.

We always love looking at spectators’ bikes as well. This was a nice example of a mid 1970’s GT750. We enjoyed talking with Alain, the owner & restorer.

How neat is this tastefully modified 450 Ducati?

I also sneaked of few pics of my own when a photo shoot with Sir Alan Cathcart and Rex Wolfenden’s “T-Rex” Honda was being shot.Sir Al was giving the photographer all the instructions for a heap of static shots of the motorcycle before posing with Rex.

I suspect that you may see a pic like this one above in an upcoming feature article about the bike by Cathcart!

Others were having on track professional photo shoots done during the lunch break as well.

The beast!

We caught a shuttle bus over to the Speedway circuit for a 4.00-6.00pm speedway spectacular – which the Vincents in particular certainly provided. We were told by an official that the shuttle service had finished at 5.00pm so we walked all the way back to the track (a long way with a damn big hill), only to find the shuttle buses running again as we left around 6.15pm – a stuff up that I was not impressed with after a long day on my feet!

Not racing, just a demo – sure!

Again, there were all shapes and sizes of riders on all sorts of motorcycles riding in the demonstration laps – even a Vespa scooter sharing the track with Laverda’s, Nortons and some iconic 1970’s Japanese bikes. High budget to no budget at all , it is certainly an event that offers access for all levels of historic motorcycle enthusiasts.

 

 

Honda Broadford Bike Bonanza

Mrs Tarsnakes & I attended the Honda Broadford Bike Bonanza again this Easter and the crowd was the biggest we’ve seen. This is a historic event, with no racing, just demo laps and many disciplines of motorcycle sport represented – road race, motocross, trials and speedway.

It was a huge thrill to bump into Alan Cathcart, have a chat, get his autograph on the T-shirt I’d just bought and,of course, get a pic with him. He is a delightful ‘fella to speak with and very generous with his time.

Sir Al’s Groupie!

Velocette was the featured marque this year and there was a huge turnout, from the 1930’s right through to the last model in 1970. If you want to hear what a bunch of Velo’s sound like, then click HERE

Below is a shot of just a few of the Velos. The other pictures demonstrate the variety that was on display.  I’ve sorted through around 300 photos and posted  the best of them in high resolution HERE. Best viewed in ‘slideshow’ view. There are some beautifully turned out historic British motorcycles and some great classic Japanese bikes that I love.

Next weekend the Victorian historic road race titles are on at Broadford and I suspect that some riders were using this historic event to sort their bikes and get in some practice laps of the circuit. At the risk of repeating myself, I love these events where one can get in among the bikes and talk to the riders to get a real sense of the history of specific bikes. next weekend I will have to buy another T-shirt – I certainly can’t wear the one that Sir Al autographed for me!