|-- Island Classic 2013 - Thursday Pit Bits + Onboard laps with Shawn Giles & Steve Martin --|
-- Giacomo Agostini, the world’s most successful grand prix motorcycle
racer, to star at this weekend’s Phillip Island International Island Classic for
The most successful grand prix motorcycle racer of all time, Italy’s Giacomo Agostini, will be special guest at the 20th anniversary 2013 Australian Motorcycle News International Island Classic for historic bikes, to be held at the freshly resurfaced Phillip Island circuit this weekend, January 25-27.
Agostini, much like the modern day wonder Valentino Rossi, transcended motorcycle sport during his glory days in the 1960s and 1970s, when he won an extraordinary 15 world titles and was a regular winner at the Isle of Man TT. During that period, he was feted all around the globe and treated like a rock star wherever he went.
The 70-year-old from Bergamo is intrinsically linked with MV Agusta, where he won 13 of his world titles on 350 and 500cc machinery. He also chimed in with a couple of world titles with Yamaha.
Up until the modern era, riders regularly competed in two or three classes simultaneously and to put Agostini’s talent in perspective, the young Italian took ten of his 15 titles in five successive seasons as double champion in 350cc and 500cc.
Ago’s golden period commenced in 1968, riding for MV Agusta and ended with Yamaha in 1974. What was his secret? He had great feel for bikes, worked assiduously at getting them right, and then went fast. Very fast.
Phillip Island’s International Island Classic – the biggest meet in the southern hemisphere for historic bikes - will mark Agostini’s attendance with a special welcome dinner for 650 guests at the circuit. To be held on Saturday evening, January 26, Agostini will be interviewed by acclaimed journalist and motorcycle historian, Alan Cathcart.
‘Ago’ will also perform parade laps during the three-day event aboard a MV Agusta grand prix replica, housing a genuine 1968 in-line four-cylinder engine modified to early 500 MV factory GP specs. Weighing just 155 kg, it was restored in Pennsylvania by renowned expert, Albert Bold, and acquired by a Melbourne collector.
Most of the components built from titanium or magnesium are handmade, and the race frame, fairing, tank and seat were supplied from Italy.
“I am very excited to be invited to the 20 year celebration of the Island Classic and am honoured to be one of the first to try the new racetrack surface,” said Agostini, who won 20, 500cc grands prix in a row.
“Phillip Island is a beautiful place with a circuit that I like very much and I look forward to meeting the fans and sharing everything that is great about motorbikes from every era.”
Giacomo Agostini Facts:
Born June 16, 1942, Brescia Lombardy
Grand Prix motorcycle racing
Active years: 1964-1977
First race: 1963 250cc Nations Grand Prix
Last race: 1977 500 cc British Grand Prix
First win: 1965 350 cc German Grand Prix
Last win: 1976 500 cc German Grand Prix
Teams: MV Agusta, Yamaha, Suzuki
Grand Prix Championships
350 cc – 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973 (MV Agusta), 1974 (Yamaha)
500 cc – 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 (MV Agusta), 1974 (Yamaha)
Starts Wins Podiums Poles Fastest Laps Points
186 122 159 9 117 1493
Isle of Man TT Career: TTs contested 8 (1965-1972) with 10 victories, and 13 Podiums
ABOUT THE ISLAND CLASSIC
The AMCN International Island Classic has become the jewel in the crown of historic racing in the southern hemisphere, and next weekend 372 riders on over 400 bikes, will qualify Friday and compete across 44 races on the Saturday and Sunday.
Now in its 20th year, the headline event is the Tahbilk International Challenge, a four-race square-off between men and historic machines from Australia, the UK, New Zealand and America.
The field is packed with blue-chip talent, led by former 500GP and 250GP star Ireland’s Jeremy McWilliams, who has been the leading individual point scorer over the last two years. He is joined by fellow Irish TT star, Ryan Farquhar and Steve Brogan in the UK squad.
NZ is led by veterans Roger Gunn and Kevin Grey ; while 14 riders, including Pat Mooney, Wade Boyd and Deano Swims, are flying their machines from the US for the historic Challenge.
It is the crack Aussie team they all want to beat. The locals have dominated the International Challenge since its inception, and are planning their fifth consecutive team win with an all star line up including Australian superbike legends Shawn Giles, Malcolm Campbell and Rob Phillis; Melbourne’s Isle of Man-riding enforcer Cameron Donald; and 2009 world endurance champion Steve Martin.
Martin is the current historic lap record holder at Phillip Island, but that benchmark is set to be lowered again following a full $3 million resurface of the 4.445km grand prix circuit last month.
TICKETS AND CAMPING
Tickets for the AMCN International Island Classic are available at www.islandclassic.com.au or at the gate. Adult three day passes are $70, Sunday only $45 and children under 15 are free Friday and just $5 on Saturday and Sunday; or splash out with a VIP Club Classic package on pit roof for $125 Sunday.
Being the Australia Day long weekend, make it a family getaway. Trackside camping is super reasonable with four nights of camping for $70. Add a three day event entry ticket for a family of four and you get a long weekend getaway for less than $250. The campground is open from Thursday to Sunday inclusive, and spots must be pre-booked on www.islandclassic.com.au or by calling the circuit on 03 5952 2710.
Phillip Island GP Circuit hotline telephone 03 5952 2710 or www.islandclassic.com.au
-- 2012 Island Classic Coverage
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