2017 Australian Historic Road Racing Championships

Part One – With Colin Rosewarne

Sunny days and cool nights was the atmosphere for the 2017 Australian Historic Road Racing Championships.

Riders briefing
Riders briefing

This year the event was staged at Wakefield Park Raceway, a few kilometres east of Goulburn, New South Wales.

Wakefield Park Raceway
Wakefield Park Raceway

There was quite a few genuine upsets to the traditional favorites that were expected to retain their silverware.

The Post Classic Racing Association of NSW numbers say that there were approximately 350 entries for this year’s event which is a great reflection of the strength of burgeoning classic and post classic racing in this country.

Wakefield Park Raceway
Wakefield Park Raceway

Practice Day on the Friday saw lots of testing, tuning, breaking and mending from the racers that were able to skip work to get there early.

One of our National Treasures George Campbell hard at work in his office
One of our National Treasures George Campbell hard at work in his office

The smell of the Dencorub lathered, aging muscles filled the air reminiscent of the change rooms at a game of post senior’s football.

She's stepping out tonight
She’s stepping out tonight

The machinery also had a few highs and lows as is the norm at any historic event with legs being stepped out of bed, lifted barrels, blown crankcases and knocking big ends but fortunately minimal damage from accidents.

Lessons from The Master George Campbell schooling Peter O'Neill on his way to a P3 250 title
Lessons from The Master George Campbell schooling Peter O’Neill on his way to a P3 250 title

Saturday bought glorious sunshine and cool breezes and delivered ideal racing conditions.

An up and coming race commentator
An up and coming race commentator

Large fields of historic and post classic period machinery took to the track to test their boundaries and put a few laps on the board.

Keith Campbell on his CB77 Honda leading Phil Paton and Darren Trotter at the top of the course
Keith Campbell on his CB77 Honda leading Phil Paton and Darren Trotter at the top of the course

The big entry numbers and married classes saw lots of tussling and maneuvering in each race with some peculiar marriages such as Period 3 500’s being coupled with the Period 6 – 250 production racing bikes. Quite a few of the P3 racers commented during the day that they were feeling quite intimidated by the speed difference between the two classes on corners and cited instances of being overtaken by racers that to them, were seemingly doing double their speed.

Matthew Klein and Lionel Cornwell on the 1962 BSA KRS A65
Matthew Klein and Lionel Cornwell on the 1962 BSA KRS A65

Apart from a fairly nasty high-side on the second of the two right handers at the top of the track the day was fairly incident free and produced some lively, posturing competition that set the scene for a great day of racing on race day.

The weather Gods had their say and clobbered the track about an hour after racing had finished and cleansed both the track and the air with a substantial amount of thunder and lightning followed by hail and heavy rain.

Laid back atmosphere
Laid back atmosphere

The platypus’ of the historic racing world saw this as a plus and were salivating at the thought of a wet track but that was not to be.

Saturday night rains cleared and what ensued was a glorious Sunday. Bright sun, warm temperatures and a nice warm track heralded some top class racing.

Period Two

Stan Mucha on his Indian Altoona
Stan Mucha on his Indian Altoona

Period 2 Unlimited and Hard Shifter brigade had their usual ball with Victorian Stan Mucha on his 1926 Indian Altoona 998 taking the trophy ahead of fellow Victorian Peter Birthisel, also on an Indian Altoona.

Peter Birthisel picking up second place in the P2 Unlimited group on his Indian Altoona
Peter Birthisel picking up second place in the P2 Unlimited group on his Indian Altoona

A hard finishing Mick Cheguidden on a 750 Indian Scout did very well to finish not only with his hand shift gears but also lost the use of his left foot peg to boot (no pun intended) – great stuff.

It takes stones to race a hand shifter but even more monumental was Mick Cheg racing his 1939 Indian Scout with one footpeg
It takes stones to race a hand shifter but even more monumental was Mick Cheg racing his 1939 Indian Scout with one footpeg

Malcolm Brice hard at the office on his 1942 Harley WLA hand shifter
Malcolm Brice hard at the office on his 1942 Harley WLA hand shifter

Period Three

Lift Off in the P3 500
Lift Off in the P3 500

The P3 500 class was an action packed affair with the normally super clean racing and fault free machinery of multiple Periods 3 and 4 Champion Keith Campbell abandoning him. Broken gear boxes, followed by broken rocker arms (on two separate occasions), saw Campbell biting the dust twice in two different classes.

Keith Campbell must have stepped on his blue suede shoes breaking two rockers in 2 different races
Keith Campbell must have stepped on his blue suede shoes breaking two rockers in 2 different races

All of this not surprisingly turned Campbell’s weekend on its ear taking him out of contention in pretty much all classes culminating with him eventually jump on to Mick Neason’s Manx Norton to try and salvage a win in the P3 500 class final.

Keith Campbell on the Neason Manx Norton
Keith Campbell on the Neason Manx Norton

Darren Trotter and his expired 1962 G50 Matchless
Darren Trotter and his expired 1962 G50 Matchless

The class was eventually won by Brendon Roberts on another borrowed bike, this time the Rosenthal G50 Matchless after the South Australian smashed his G50 Matchless in a nasty start line crash that saw Victorian Ryan Francis airlifted out to Canberra Hospital.

Brendon Roberts on the Rosenthal G50 Matchless
Brendon Roberts on the Rosenthal G50 Matchless

Reigning Period 3 Unlimited Champion Garth Francis on his 750 Norton Atlas, and South Australians Darren Trotter on his 650 Manx G50 Matchless and David Trotter on his fire breathing 1000 JAP, had some ding-dong battles throughout the day, with both nearly coming to grief entering the main straight in one of the races.

Garth Francis ahead of a close to tangled Trotter duo
Garth Francis ahead of a close to tangled Trotter duo

This year’s championship was set for a great race with Francis and David Trotter streeting the competition.

The P3 Final set off to be a ripper with Garth’s Francis and David Trotter going head to head.

Period 3 Unlimited champ Garth Francis 1962 Norton Atlas 750 relinquished his crown with a big trip over the handlebars in the final to David Trotter on the thunderous 1956 JAP 1000
Period 3 Unlimited champ Garth Francis 1962 Norton Atlas 750 relinquished his crown with a big trip over the handlebars in the final to David Trotter on the thunderous 1956 JAP 1000

With the warm up lap completed and on to the starter’s signal the race full of promise until Francis’ Norton seized the engine at turn one throwing him off and unable to restart handing an easy but deserved win to Trotter. As you say it ain’t over until the fat lady sings.

Neil May on the Molnar Manx had a good championship win on his lovely P3 350
Neil May on the Molnar Manx had a good championship win on his lovely P3 350

The Period 3 Class is hotly contested in all divisions and saw many sterling performances. Amongst those was Peter O’Neill returning to the sport from a nasty shoulder injury taking out the 250 Class championship.

Darren Trotter and David Hagney both on G50 Matchless in Period 3
Darren Trotter and David Hagney both on G50 Matchless in Period 3

Period 3 Unlimited champ Garth Francis 1962 Norton Atlas 750 relinquished his crown with a big trip over the handlebars in the final to David Trotter on the thunderous 1956 JAP 1000
Period 3 Unlimited champ Garth Francis 1962 Norton Atlas 750 relinquished his crown with a big trip over the handlebars in the final to David Trotter on the thunderous 1956 JAP 1000

Phil Paton on the 1962 ES2 Norton 500
Phil Paton on the 1962 ES2 Norton 500

Bob Rosenthal pushing Jim Scaysbrook on Bobs bike
Bob Rosenthal pushing Jim Scaysbrook on Bobs bike

P3 Formula 700 Champion Robby Turner coming close to a hard running TZ
P3 Formula 700 Champion Robby Turner coming close to a hard running TZ

Peter O'Neill leading the pack on his 1962 Montessa Impala on his way to wining the Period 3 250 crown
Peter O’Neill leading the pack on his 1962 Montessa Impala on his way to wining the Period 3 250 crown

Part Two And Three Below. Enjoy.