Posted On 27 Apr 2024
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This entry is part 8 of 29 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#28


Happily, sometimes, something happens that reminds you just how much fun motorcycle racing used to be. The 2015 Barry Sheene Festival of Speed, held by the Post Classic Racing Association NSW at Sydney Motorsport Park was the event to do that, and it was not to be missed.

Even just judging by the number of cars in the carpark and spectators walking around it was a hit. I haven’t seen so many cars, parked all the way up to the hill at Turn 2, for many, many years. If you went to the Australian super bike racing a week later, it was like a ghost town, so classic racing is alive and swelling at the gills. It’s not just bikes. You only need to look at the car racing scene a few years ago, which had dwindling numbers attending the “main” game. Yet muscle car racing was huge – and much the same thing is happening with the bike racing scene. Maybe the super bike promoters need to look at a classic bike support class?

Anyhow, on to the show. Legend and all-round great guy, Freddie Spencer was on hand at the BSFoS and the line up to meet and greet was constant the entire time he was there. Freddie even got out to ride a couple of his old bikes – an RC860 and a 250cc 2-stroke GP bike.

Even though I was unable to make it, I was told that the main dinner for the event, where Freddie spoke, provided a great insight into the world of GP racing and the laid back nature of Freddie Spencer himself.

My weekend started off… not so good. In qualifying I got held up for three laps and got two clear laps, both of which I stuffed up, putting me 9th on the grid. Thankfully the racing throughout the weekend was a rolling grid, so where you finish, is where you start for the next race. First race I moved up to 5th, after blowing the start (not like me at all). I’d felt the rear of my Pre Modern F1 CBR900RR moving around a bit, thinking it was the wet parts of the track, but what I found was that the rear sprocket carrier bearing had disintegrated causing the rear wheel to slop around in the swing arm. This caused a fair bit of damage to the swing arm, but luckily not enough to sideline me for the weekend. Then the fun was on to get another sprocket carrier. Of course the carrier had a specific part number and one that I thought was similar (thank you, Brian), was just not going to fit. With the help of Simon from Metro Spares (Silver water NSW) and Brad from B and C Motorcycles (Newcastle NSW) I got the right carrier, got it fitted and just made it in time for my race.

For the 2nd race I blew the start again, going back to around 12th into turn one, but made my way up to third. The third race was cancelled after a number of holdups due to rain and accidents, so now we’re into Sunday morning and my third race for the weekend. Again, I blew the start, going backwards (grr!), but I made my way back to third, only for the bike to start losing power, going back to fourth and holding on to that position over the line. A bit of investigating found that the battery might have been losing charge after a couple of laps, so I put it on the charger and the mighty CBR had its zing back.

While all of this was going on, IoMTT racer Alex Pickett was racing in Period 5 Unlimited on a Suzuki GSX1100. P5 unlimited are the big banger bikes that are worth massive dollars and are built to within an inch of their lives. And, as you guessed it, they blow up, break down and generally cause all sorts of grief for the owners and riders.

Alex also became a victim of the gremlins that had invaded our pit garage. While he was fighting for a place on the podium the clutch started slipping.

We then had the joy of trying to find a “special” clutch, fitted to a bike like this – luckily someone had one spare. The big GSX also had breather pipe issues, so his father Chris, Brad from B and C Motorcycles and I spent many hours sorting that issue.

All for Alex to have gearbox issues in his next race!

The trouble here was that Alex needed a certain number of finished races to be eligible for his mountain licence at this year’s TT. We knew my CBR would fi nish,so I lent him the bike so he could get his tick of approval (as you might say).

Unfortunately I didn’t get time to see the show ‘n’ shine on the Sunday which is a favourite of mine and in general, didn’t get to see too much of the excitement around the paddock, other than for some friends and other racers like, Cam Donald and Steve Martin who dropped in to say hi as we were battling the gremlins. As you’ve no doubt heard before – that’s racing.

Of the feature races over the weekend, the results show many top level racers were on hand for the weekend –

Barry Sheene Memorial (Top 25 P5’s & Top 25 P6’s)

1. Mal Campbell
2. John Allen
3. Scott Campbell

Freddie Spencer Challenge/Plus Paul Dobbs Memorial P4 750cc & Freddie Spencer Guest of Honour Challenge

1. Simon Thomas
2. Stephen Ward
3. Alan Johnston
1. Aaiden Coote
2. Nick Cole
3. Cam Donald

If you want to see superstars and super racing, mark down the dates of 17-20 of March 2016 so you’ll be ready to come see the awesome spectacle that is the Barry Sheene Festival of Speed. I’ll be there again on my CBR900RR, and depending on class combinations, I might even be riding the wild GSX1100 or the beastly FZR1000 that my mate Chris and I are building!

IomTT racer Alex Pickett launches the front wheel in the air on the wild GSX1100


There are two bears here with Jacqui and her trusty postie bike Mo. Which is the more handsome?

The Bear Ride, running from July to September 2015, is a new type of event that combines love of riding, a photo competition and the bonus of putting smiles on kids’ faces. The event was partly conceived by our contributor Jacqui Kennedy.

“We aim to generate a lot of smiles and laughter for the kids in The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and raise $10,000 plus for the hospital,” she says.

This is how it works: Teams of riders will be asked to “purchase” a special Bandaged Bear during July and August.

Then they have until the end of September to take it to various locations around Australia and photograph it with their bike.

“Creative and funny photos will probably win a prize pack for your team because the best photos will be chosen by the kids in The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, not some photo guru or journalist,” says Jacqui. “And you will only be Bear sitting. All the Bears will become prizes for the kids in hospital. Some of the Bears will have interesting stories to tell. All the kids that vote go into a draw to win one of the Bears. The more teams that register, the more Bears will be available for the kids.

“Teams can be formed by any means.

They can be groups of friends, riding clubs or motorcycle dealers. Motorcycle dealers are encouraged to register early to enable the Bandaged Bear to be put on display to promote team members and the ride.”

The winners of the photo competition will be announced at Breakfast Torque in October 2015. Meanwhile, you can track progress and make donations at bear-ride-2015.

“The ride is supported by The Bear at Australian Motorcyclist Magazine,” Jacqui concludes, and that’s most definitely true. But photos of me, bandaged or not, won’t count! PT

Contact David Tynan, Secretary, STRA NSW, 0473 934 196

Survive the Ride Association of NSW will encourage motorcycle riders to enjoy riding motorcycles, without injury, for as long as they chose.

Key messages include:

Take responsibility for your own safety – it doesn’t hurt any less when it’s not your fault.

Scan – Anticipate – Respond to actively avoid situations that lead to a crash.

Wear protective clothing just in case someone makes a mistake.

Speed on the track not on the road – you still get the thrill, it is safer and you keep your licence.

More at

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Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
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