2017 International Island Classic support classes – Part 2 – Classic, Post Classic & Sidecars
By Mark Bracks
Back to Part 1 | To Part 3
While the focus of the Island Classic is the International Challenge category with the living legends on track, it is the support classes that make up the vast majority of entries. Without them – the mainstay of road racing – there is no way that the event could take place.
So, instead of just a quick overview of the classes, here is a little more in-depth look at the racing and the passion at the core of competitors that have supported historic racing for years. It is not only the premier class that has excellent racing, so let’s continue the commitment of MCNews.com.au to report on events that are often given scant coverage.
In Part 2 this includes the Pre-War, 125cc Post Classic and Forgotten Era, 250cc Classic and Post Classic; 500cc Classic and 350cc Post Classic; Unlimited Classic and Post Classic; and Sidecars.
The grouping of categories represents the classes that were out on track racing together, with separate point scores for each class. The 500cc Post Classic will be covered in Part 3, as it’s raced with the 500cc New Era class.
Pre-War, 125cc Post Classic and Forgotten Era, 250cc Classic and Post Classic
This race kicked off proceedings for the weekend’s racing, and the stand out is the eclectic range of two wheeled machines spread over the five classes.
Examples include the 1928 Douglas IOM 690 owned by elder racer Ken Lucas, the 1938 Ariel Red Hunter 500 of Clive Harrop and the immaculate 1954 Adler MB250 of Otto Muller. Not to mention the immaculate Yamaha TD3s of Murray Seabrook and visiting American Ralph, this category provides a mobile history of motorcycles.
The closest the field got to the 250cc Post Classic class winner Seabrook was on the start line, as he clean swept all the races outright, with the minimum winning margin of over 12 seconds from Hudson with John Simms, third, on another TD3.
Harrop won the Vintage class on the very rapid Ariel Red Hunter 500cc beast that possesses an amazing turn of torque off the line. It had him up the front of the field momentarily, until the two-strokes got going.
Second was Ross Bolding on his ’42 HD WLA with Terry Kavney third (1938 BSA Silver Star) after he suffered the weekend’s affliction of a DNF in the first heat, ruining his chances of an outright win.
Flying the flag high for the ladies was Stacey Heaney. After claiming silverware at the Australian Historic Championships at Symmons Plains late last year, she went to the top of the podium winning the 125cc Post-Classic class on her 1972 Honda CB 125.
Stacey was also out on track racing a Yamaha XS750 in the Unlimited Post Classic class where she finished seventh overall.
John Imrie scored three wins in the 250cc Classic class on his 1962 Bultaco Mercurio to win the class by a slender margin. He was another rider burdened with a DNF in his opening race.
Imrie managed to edge out Otto Muller on his immaculate 53-year-old Adler and Bruce Meredith (’61 Ducati Diana 250) who was third and also suffered a DNF to curtail his chances of a class win.
Finally in the 125cc FE class there were only two entrants with Simon Oliver taking it out in easy fashion as his only rival John Sedy’s weekend came to a halt after the first lap of the second leg.
125cc Forgotten Era
- Simon Oliver (NSW) – 75
- John Sedy (Vic) – 25
- Stacey Heaney (Vic) – 100
- Vic Vasella (NSW) – 60
- John Imrie (NSW) – 75
- Otto Muller (SA) – 74
- Bruce Meredith (Qld) – 65
- Murray Seabrook (Tas) – 100
- Ralph Hudson (USA) – 80
- John Simms (NSW) – 71
- Clive Harrop (Vic) – 100
- Ross Bolding (Vic) – 76
- Terry Kaveny (Qld) – 58
500cc Classic and 350cc Post Classic
These two classes provided some entertaining duels between the different eras, plus the standout performance of Murray Seabrook, the only 250cc machine in the 350cc Classic class.
The Tasmanian was in fine form as he mixed it up with Brendan Roberts (Matchelss G80), Neil May (Molnar Manx 500), Keith Campbell (Norton ES2 500) and Bob Rosenthal (Matchless G50) who joined in at various times.
However no one could stop Seabrook’s rampage, winning all four races outright.
It may have been different had Roberts not had to start from the rear of the grid due to missing qualifying but nothing could be taken away from one of the elder statesmen of classic road racing. He beat the pole-sitter May in the first leg by 0.664s with Rosenthal third.
The margin was bigger in leg two with Roberts just over a second off the lead with May third. Roberts came within 0.678sec of the win in the third leg with May in third spot. In the final leg Seabrook left them standing to take the final win by 4.471 sec with May again third but by only 0.138s.
With his perfect score of eight wins from as many starts, Seabrook was a worthy winner of the Phil Irving Trophy for the second time. Probably even more impressive is how he steered that little 250cc machine to such domination and left larger capacity machines in his wake.
- Murray Seabrook (Tas) – 100
- Paul Smith (WA) – 80
- Sean Leonard (Ire) – 69
- Brendan Roberts (SA) – 87
- Neil May – 85
- Bob Rosenthal – 72
Unlimited Classic and Post Classic
The Post Classic machines were the frontrunners in this class and current Australian Unlimited Post Classic Champion Corey Forde was hopeful of taking out the class. However with the form of Dean Oughtred on the Carl Cox Motorsports Honda CB, there would be some stiff competition.
Oughtred took out the first leg from South Australian Simon Cook (Honda CB1120) with Richard Molnar third, as the best Forde could score was fifth.
Forde’s chances didn’t improve in the second leg as he crashed at Honda on the opening lap as Oughtred took a commanding grasp on the class with another win. Cook again finished second but it was the end of the weekend as he was forced out of the meeting in the third leg and took no further part, robbed of a very probable podium finish.
Forde fought back to win the two entertaining final legs to climb back to second overall with Oughtred second in both races. Laurie Fyffe was another beset by first race gremlins with a DNF followed by three third placings to be another that was unfortunate not to claim silverware.
Instead it was Owen Ward’s consistency with 5-4-5-5 finishes to finish two points behind Forde in third.
Chief Scrutineer for the ASBK, Rob Scott, made the trek across from Tasmania to compete in the Post Classic class on his Honda CB 851, finishing eighth overall with a DNF in the third leg putting a dent in his impressive weekend with 7-0-7-8 finishes.
Phil Irving Trophy co-defender Neil May (Molnar Norton Manx 500) didn’t let the 250cc deficit dampen the challenge against his old sparring partner Garth Francis (Norton Atlas Manx 750) either.
Along with the likes of Keith Campbell (Norton ES2), Dan Gleeson (Norton 750 Dominator), and Post-Classic machines like Wayne Gow’s Moto Guzzis, the bunch put on some entertaining racing as the Unlimited machines took the main focus.
Francis won the opening stanza from May and Craig Hemsworth on a HD XLR 1300, the positions the same quinella for the next two races as Campbell and Gleeson fought out third place.
In the final leg May denied Francis a clean sweep of the class when he grabbed the win, with Keith Campbell third. Hemsworth swapped steeds in the final two races, to ride a ’71 HD XLR 1170 to score a total of 59 points spread over two classes in the same race!
- Garth Francis – 95
- Neil May (NSW) – 85
- Keith Campbell – 70
- Dean Oughtred (Vic) – 90
- Corey Forde (NSW) – 67
- Owen Ward (Qld) – 65
As usual the Sidecars had a varied bunch of machines fronting the grid. As in Tassie, the most impressive bike on the grid was the absolutely pristine Konig, a two-stroke four-cylinder boxer 500cc. It was piloted by the evergreen Doug Chivas and his passenger Scoobie Breen, who celebrated her 21st birthday on the Friday of the event.
The engineering of the Konig is just magnificent and anyone who is fortunate to see the outfit without clothes on is mesmerised at its engine design and operation.
It was a close call however, with the other bit of eye and ear candy on the grid the big booming Irving Vincent of Barry Horner and his very experienced partner, Chris Di Nuzzo. The sound of the Irving Vincent on full noise is something that has to be experienced and it was a welcome sound after the demise of the solo machines early in the meeting.
It was also good to see Graham Biggs and Daryl Calvert turn out again on the old outfit, resplendent in the same colours as in the past. It was a troublesome weekend for the pair though, as they only competed in one race where they finished fifth in class.
Another who spent the weekend in the pit box was Barry Ditchburn and Bruce Collins. Both have an impressive record in sidecar racing and it was a shame to see them confined to the pit garage all weekend.
Bazza had attempted to turn the clock back and pilot the exact outfit that took him to so much success over two decades ago but it was not to be. The TZ750 powered outfit refused to come to the party and so sat in the pits all weekend as the younger Ditchburn, Craig, flew the family flag in the solo classes.
Whatever the sights and sounds, the class belonged to Mark Knight and David Rumble on a Dave Kellett designed machine, winning three races in the FE class.
The determination and hard work of Horner/Di Nuzzo paid off when they took out the third leg in pretty dominant style after Knight spun the outfit at Honda corner. Ian Gardner and Kevin Burns finished third overall, a fitting reward for their 3-3-4-3 results
Max Hooper and Brad Gorrie took out the Post Classic class with a perfect scorecard, with Doug Chivas and Scoobie Breen taking second overall. Lindsay Donai and Christine Menzies were third although they only finished the one race.
Hats off to Chivo for still riding, the man is a legend of Australia Sidecar racing and keeps on keeping on, forever with a smile on his face, loving life and his racing.
The Sidecars are a great feature but it is a true pity that they have difficulty getting the numbers to attend these events, as with a few more on the grid the action would be so much more intense.
- Mark Knight/David Rumble – 95
- Barry Horner/Chris DiNuzzo – 82
- Ian Gardner/Kevin Burns – 71
- Max Hooper/Brad Gorrie – 100
- Doug Chivas/Scoobie Breen – 78
- Lindsay Donai/Christine Menzies – 20