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The New Zealand Marlboro Series


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#1 philippe7

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 00:19

There is close to nothing on the web about the Marlboro Series which took place in New Zealand for 5 consecutive years from the 1973/74 winter ( sorry, summer down there....) to the 1977/78 one. As a teenager in Europe at the time I was fascinated by these exotic races which were often quite well documented in the written press, partly due to not much else being on the agenda racing-wise during the off-season.

We have mentioned those series on quite a few of the various threads and we are fortunate to have quite a few members on this forum who were involved, be it as riders, journalists, commentators, or spectators....so I would like this thread to be a collection point for all the results, pictures, programmes, paperwork, testimonials and personal stories which will hopefully, one day, make it the ultimate on-line resource for the history of the "Marlboro Series" . In the next days I will try to duplicate some of the relevant posts that may exist in other threads, but please, everybody start contributing whatever you may have to share . It's not a big deal at the moment if things are not organised chronologically etc, that can come later....

To kick off, I am happy to post a link to a full-lenght version ( 30 minutes ) of the famous "lost" documentary on the 76/77 season. We have already seen and discussed quite a few snippets in the past but as far as I am concerned this is the only full-length version I know of . Forum member Stu Avant features quite prominently , in the on-track but also paddock and cocktail (....) footage, and Jeff Sayle is also featured in the last two races . Enjoy !


Edited by philippe7, 14 May 2010 - 09:35.


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#2 philippe7

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 10:41

OK, let's start with the last series in the 1977/78 kiwi summer. For this one, at least, there will be no argument about the places and times ...

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A few clippings from the french Moto-Presse weekly

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The official Kawaski squad , that Murray left shortly after the series as he explained elsewhere on the forum....

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Croz on the big Z1-R closely followed by a certain Mr Avant who had nicked one of Marco Lucchinelli's 500 RG's

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and one picture found on the web, said to be of the opening round at Pukekohe : Guest Star Hidéo Kanaya, chased by Jeff Sayle, Gregg Hansford, Rick Perry and ?....



#3 philippe7

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 10:50

Now, a few pictures from the same year supplied by Murray Sayle a while back, which I will permit myself to copy here

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Gracefield, or Wanganui Cemetery ?

#4 GD66

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 11:10

The shots of Croz/Stu, and the queue behind Jeff with the culvert pipes in the background are from the last corner at Gracefield. The one of Jeff leading Lucchinelli is going onto the bridge at Wanganui, not long before "Lucky" biffed it and broke his collarbone. And the group shot led by Kanaya on the drool drool factory OW31 is for sure over Rothmans at Pukekohe. Not sure who the tailgunner is though, maybe it's on the video... :)

Edited by GD66, 12 May 2010 - 11:14.


#5 philippe7

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 11:20

Ah, but the video is from the previous year ! :)

I think the caption said it was Warren Willing and if one looks closely it may be a W on the number plate.... doesn't really matter, logically there should be plenty of pics of Warren to come on this thread !

Any results from this year ? the only ones I had noted were from the Wanganui event :

Race 1 : 1st Gregg Hansford ( on his 250 KR ) 2nd Graeme Crosby 3rd Marco Lucchinelli

Race 2 : 1st Jeff Sayle 2nd Gregg Hansford 3rd Stu Avant

#6 stuavant

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 11:34

The shots of Croz/Stu, and the queue behind Jeff with the culvert pipes in the background are from the last corner at Gracefield. The one of Jeff leading Lucchinelli is going onto the bridge at Wanganui, not long before "Lucky" biffed it and broke his collarbone. And the group shot led by Kanaya on the drool drool factory OW31 is for sure over Rothmans at Pukekohe. Not sure who the tailgunner is though, maybe it's on the video... :)

Lucky was smoking so much dope that it was a wonder he woke up for the practice session. He said to me, which way does the track go and whats the lap record?. Did'nt last long though and soon Dr Jim Cashman was working on the collarbone.

Piers Forrester did one series. JP Orban. Randy Kleek, Phil McDonald, Scott Brelsford, Pat, JIM Allen ( dunlop USA) Chas of course. Vince French came down. Big Bob from yamaha. Kanaya, a couple of great Hippies from the US whose names elude me. Ray Quincy, Sayle and Sayle, Mr willing, Doug Sharp ( Doohan) Hendra Terisaputa ( spelt wrong) who was President Suhartos son in law...thats a start guys..Harry Hansford.

#7 GD66

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 11:53

:lol: ..so he's "Lucky" they weren't testing in those days... :p :drunk:

I think the two hippies would have been Phil Frank and Mike Ninci. Ninci in particular had a scone that wouldn't have looked out of place in a Freak Brothers cartoon. But as you say Stu, good guys.

Edited by GD66, 13 May 2010 - 10:28.


#8 peterd

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 21:56

Phillipe mentioned on the Ontario 200 thread Paul McLachlan.

Rather than the time-worn path to Europe, Paul chose the US route for his racing endeavours in the 70s. Rode TZ700/750s. Also coverted one to a 500 and ran it in a Frepin frame in NZ.

He was also a bit of a thinker. Still is. This is his project.

http://www.pivotalengine.com/

#9 philippe7

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 09:39

He was also a bit of a thinker. Still is. This is his project.
http://www.pivotalengine.com/


:eek: Well, I am no engineer so I have difficulties understanding it all, but if it's for real it definitely is interesting !

#10 stuavant

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 10:33

:eek: Well, I am no engineer so I have difficulties understanding it all, but if it's for real it definitely is interesting !

PaulMcLachlan and I had family ties so we have always been mates but again, drifted apart. At John Woodley's 60th/ Wedding we got togeather again and he is fit as hell and ageless!!. Had an email from Mike Sinclair yesterday and he is still working out how to join the forum.. :) about time I was able to be better tahn Mike at summit

#11 kz71

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 10:44

PaulMcLachlan and I had family ties so we have always been mates but again, drifted apart. At John Woodley's 60th/ Wedding we got togeather again and he is fit as hell and ageless!!. Had an email from Mike Sinclair yesterday and he is still working out how to join the forum.. :) about time I was able to be better tahn Mike at summit


I'm in!......alphanumerics only for log on name, what's that all about?
Mike S

Edited by kz71, 15 May 2010 - 10:45.


#12 Ninja1950

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 10:58

[quote name='kz71' date='May 15 2010, 10:44' post='4346092']
I'm in!......alphanumerics only for log on name, what's that all about?
Mike S
[/quote

Hi Mike

Welcome, see it is not too hard.


Murray S


#13 philippe7

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 20:12

Indeed , welcome to the forum Mike, we are very honoured to have you here and looking forward to your imput. :up:

#14 LamboNZ

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 21:21

Hi Mike

Glad to see you made it on to here in the end, look forward to reading your posts, I'm sure sure you will have a story or 2! :cool:

Nigel

Edited by LamboNZ, 17 May 2010 - 08:29.


#15 peterd

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 22:03

Hi Mike.

Glad to see you here. Awaiting with interest your contributions. Stu has given us good idea of life as a privateer rider back in the 70s. No doubt you had some interesting challenges, too.

#16 SADBATCCM

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 22:53

Hi Mike.

Glad to see you here. Awaiting with interest your contributions. Stu has given us good idea of life as a privateer rider back in the 70s. No doubt you had some interesting challenges, too.

Just spill the beans :eek: :eek: :eek:

#17 fil2.8

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 19:07

Hi Mike

Glad to see you made it on to here in the end, look froward to reading your posts, I'm sure sure you will have a story or 2! :cool:

Nigel


Hear , hear , welcome from me , also , Mike :up: :wave:


#18 jaybee49

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:58

:wave: I was led to believe this was Mike with Kenny Roberts at Silverstone around 1978 - would that be correct?


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#19 stuavant

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 20:57

:wave: I was led to believe this was Mike with Kenny Roberts at Silverstone around 1978 - would that be correct?


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I don't think so..maybe Trevor Tilbury?

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#20 philippe7

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 22:07

Calling Mike Sinclair to the rescue !

Mike , we ( well, at least I ....) need your help to correctly identify which Marlboro Series this picture of Pat Hennen is from, and, more generally, to ensure which machine he rode when during his numerous trips to NZ . Below a patchwork of some relevant bits and pieces of posts copied from the main thread :

A lovely and unusual picture I just found on the web - credited to Roger Kirby .

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It was captioned as displaying Pat riding the "ex-Geoff Perry TR 750" , which might need to be confirmed although the fairing does carry the name of Len Perry's motorcycles shop (......) The year is said to be 1974 , does anybody know if this mean the 73/74 or 74/75 winter ? (.....)


That is indeed Geoff's TR750. The circuit looks more like Gracefield (Wellington) than Wanganui, however both had railway tracks. I'm picking that would be the '73/'74 season, the following year Pat had an updated model that was ex-USA, and I think the last of the TR750s, then the year after it was the RG500s. Pat's first tour of NZ under Ron Grant's wing the year before the Marlboro series was aboard the Jon Allnatt-built Sayonara Special, a lovely little TR500-based weapon with mag wheels.


To add to the debate :

For his first US Junior season in 1973, Pat Hennen rode the Ron Grant Rickman 750 Suzuki ( not a TR then , but Gt 750 based - hence the wet clutch Stu mentions ? )

For his second Junior season in 1974 , he rode a stock TZ 700 Yamaha from Ocelot Engineering ( and , I think, won the championship )

For his first Expert season in 1975, he was drafted in the official Suzuki USA team, starting at Daytona .

So the questions remain :

did he bring the Rickman 750 for the 73/74 Marlboro series, but ended up riding the ex-Geoff Perry TR750 pictured at Gracefield ? And sold the bike there, since he knew he had a brand new TZ700 on order in the States ?

Or is the picture on the ex-Perry machine rather from the 74-75 winter, hence the Ocelot leathers, a deal having been struck for him to ride this bike rather than his Yamaha since he had just signed his contract with Suzuki US ? (....)


Gidday Stu,
That was a Rickman Metisse frame and had been built up by Ron and Pat for Pat to ride in his second Marlboro series and I think Tom bought it when they went back to the US.
I think it originally had wierd wheel sizes (19"?) because the chassis was too low.
I think Phil Winter bought it from Tom.

This is my reply from Mike Sinclair which will be correct as he's far smarter than me!!!


So, to sum up what I think I understood about Pat's machinery :

72/73 (pre- Marlboro series ) : Sayonara Special 500 Suzuki twin
73/74 (1st Marlboro series ) : Ron Grant Special Gt 750 or ex-Geoff Perry TR 750?
74/75 (2nd Marlboro series ) : Ron Grant Special Gt 750 or ex-Geoff Perry TR750 ?
75/76 (3rd Marlboro series ) : Factory TR 750 ( Pat's machine during the 75 USA season )
76/77 ( 4th Marlboro series ) : RG 500 ( also backup TR 750 according to Stu )

And therefore the question really is ( regarding the pic above ) : 73/74 or 74/75 ????

( please note that some websites mention Pat winning the 74/75 series on a .... 500 TR , but I hope it's a mistake since that would just add up to the confusion :blush: )

edit : unless, of course, the ex-Geoff Perry machine pictured above is not a TR 750 as we all assumed, but a TR 500....I'm not qualified enough to tell from that angle.

Edited by philippe7, 18 May 2010 - 22:09.


#21 Hasselhoff

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 06:14

Seeing as nobody is posting any photos on here I know on Vaughans facebook there are quite a few photos of these series that he kindly doesn't mind me adding to this thread. They are mainly the 350 series with Randy and Chas etc. Would you like me to do that philippe or were you just after the "unlimited" stuff?

I have a few laying around also which I will happily put up.

Cheers. :wave:

Edited by Hasselhoff, 20 May 2010 - 03:48.


#22 philippe7

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 06:50

Of course, please do ! The 350 category was, the way I see it at least, a fully legitimate part of the Marlboro series.... to kick off, a few scans ( well, digital photos....) from the french weekly Moto-Presse of the 77/78 series, that I had posted ages ago in the old thread.

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Edited by philippe7, 19 May 2010 - 07:29.


#23 kz71

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 11:39

[quote name='philippe7' date='May 19 2010, 10:07' post='4360896']
Calling Mike Sinclair to the rescue !

Mike , we ( well, at least I ....) need your help to correctly identify which Marlboro Series this picture of Pat Hennen is from, and, more generally, to ensure which machine he rode when during his numerous trips to NZ . Below a patchwork of some relevant bits and pieces of posts copied from the main thread :









So, to sum up what I think I understood about Pat's machinery :

72/73 (pre- Marlboro series ) : Sayonara Special 500 Suzuki twin
73/74 (1st Marlboro series ) : Ron Grant Special Gt 750 or ex-Geoff Perry TR 750?
74/75 (2nd Marlboro series ) : Ron Grant Special Gt 750 or ex-Geoff Perry TR750 ?
75/76 (3rd Marlboro series ) : Factory TR 750 ( Pat's machine during the 75 USA season )
76/77 ( 4th Marlboro series ) : RG 500 ( also backup TR 750 according to Stu )

And therefore the question really is ( regarding the pic above ) : 73/74 or 74/75 ????

( please note that some websites mention Pat winning the 74/75 series on a .... 500 TR , but I hope it's a mistake since that would just add up to the confusion :blush: )

edit : unless, of course, the ex-Geoff Perry machine pictured above is not a TR 750 as we all assumed, but a TR 500....I'm not qualified enough to tell from that angle.

That's Pat at the end of 74 with the Ocelot leathers and it's Geoff's TR750. I think Dale Wylie won the Marlboro series that year.
I had been in the US with Dale during the 74 season but wasn't at the Marlboro series as I'd given up riding and as with all drugs, you have to stay away to get off them.
I'm pretty sure the Rickman 750 was for the season before. Odd thing it was, it ended up all wrong regarding ground clearance and Ron had used 19" wheels to get it off the floor.
I did a rebuild of it in early 75.
I remember the Sayonara 500 because at Wanganui I was right on Pat's tailpipes wondering who the young yank fella was when my engine exploded.
My TR500 that year was a rocketship. It was on alky with small ports and pipes scaled from TD3 Yamaha dimensions.
It revved way too hard and the pistons wouldn't stay in one piece. And that was the end of the only international series that I did.

Cheers,
Mike S

#24 GD66

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 15:47

Are you a bit of a slow learner or what, Philippe ? We've already been through this stuff about what Pat Hennen rode in what year, and that Gracefield shot is Pat on Geoff's TR750, so it's the 1973/74 season.

#25 Russell Burrows

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 17:13

Yeah, Philippe, stop being so er...human and making mistakes and stuff.

#26 Coupe Kawasaki

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 17:21

I like Philippe's stuff and he tries to clarify things once and for all so a big :up: from me :)



David

#27 philippe7

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 19:44

Are you a bit of a slow learner or what, Philippe ? We've already been through this stuff about what Pat Hennen rode in what year, and that Gracefield shot is Pat on Geoff's TR750, so it's the 1973/74 season.

Sure Glenn, I know you said so ( and I had copied your relevant post above ) But then, why does Mike write :

That's Pat at the end of 74 with the Ocelot leathers and it's Geoff's TR750. I think Dale Wylie won the Marlboro series that year.
(........) I'm pretty sure the Rickman 750 was for the season before.


For me, "the end of 74" means the 74/75 series , and "the season before" with the Rickman 750 was 73/74, right ?

However, Mike is also wrong somewhere since "the year Dale Wylie won" was 73/74 , not 74/75.....

So, everybody's wrong ?

I'm not nitpicking, or questioning what you or others have said, obviously you were around the scene at the time and I wasn't , I'm just trying to get facts straight since there are so many mistakes repeated from one site to another on the web ( for instance, that Pat won the 74/75 series on a TR 500 ...) that I was hoping that this place, at least, could be faultless.

And more generally speaking , my idea in opening this thread was also to collect all posts relevant to the NZ races in one dedicated thread , instead of having it all scattered and lost among piles of irrelevant posts on the "main" thread.

Incidentally, I've sent a message to Chip Hennen via Facebook to point him to this thread and hopefully get his input . He's been working on his brother's bikes ever since Pat started back in '72 or something so he may remember some details ....

#28 jeff sayle

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 20:01

Well i have many fond memories of the Marlboro Series. It was my springboard to racing in Europe.
Made many friends during that period that have remained friends for ever.Except Stu!!!!! LOL

#29 Hasselhoff

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 00:53

This is a typical scene. 4 different bikes in the same race from the 76/77 series. Kawasaki 1000, TZ700, RG500 and TZ350.
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The video is very good, I particularly enjoyed the contrasting interviews at about 9min in with Chas Mortimer and Jean Philippe. :lol: You wouldn't think they were riding on the same track.

BTW the extra Gracefield footage at the end of that video in fact begins with the start of the 250 race which supported each meeting and, I will have to confirm this, but I believe Randy only brought his 250 over that year but after a couple of races without result he changed it to a 350.

Edited by Hasselhoff, 22 May 2010 - 14:43.


#30 Coupe Kawasaki

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 05:05

That's a cracking photo :up: I've got a 76 900 so I'm biased :rolleyes:



David

#31 philippe7

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 05:18

So, the 350's were also allowed to take part in the "unlimited" class, besides having their own dedicated races ?

Well, it seems we have Vaughan Coburn leading from John Woodley and Graeme Crosby . Not sure who's the rider in the background .

#32 Hasselhoff

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 06:23

Not sure who's the rider in the background

I'll give you a clue. He is wearing a number not a letter.;)

So, the 350's were also allowed to take part in the "unlimited" class, besides having their own dedicated races ?

Yes that year but not 77/78, and when Hansford won the "big" race riding his 250 in 77/78 I believe there was a protest due to the rules specifying the race was for bikes of between 500-1000cc capacity or something like that? Maybe Jeff Sayle could confirm that? I believe his 750 went onto 3 cylinders in that race making it about a 565. :lol:

Edited by Hasselhoff, 20 May 2010 - 07:02.


#33 lukebaby

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 07:41

So, the 350's were also allowed to take part in the "unlimited" class, besides having their own dedicated races ?

Well, it seems we have Vaughan Coburn leading from John Woodley and Graeme Crosby . Not sure who's the rider in the background .



Is it Roger Freeth?


#34 LamboNZ

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 08:17

I thought maybe John Boote, with the big letter B on the front?

#35 picblanc

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 08:47

Yeah, Philippe, stop being so er...human and making mistakes and stuff.


:rotfl: :rotfl:

#36 philippe7

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 08:59

I thought maybe John Boote, with the big letter B on the front?


I'll give you a clue. He is wearing a number not a letter.;)


From what we gathered on the "John Boote" thread, Nigel, he had retired in early 76 - so before that series.

Moreover, it seems that the Kiwis only were were entitled to using numbers, and the various furreiners, even from OZ, were carrying letters instead . So if he is carrying a number, as Hasselhoff says, then the guy in the background must be a New-Zealander ?

#37 GD66

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 09:47

Is it Roger Freeth?



Probably, wearing #8 and in the orange Viko livery he sported on both his RG500 and the TZ750 "Viko Special".


#38 stuavant

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 09:56

Probably, wearing #8 and in the orange Viko livery he sported on both his RG500 and the TZ750 "Viko Special".

I reckon you may be right as hes got the elbows working!! But maybe this was to early for Roger?

#39 Hasselhoff

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 12:16

Is it Roger Freeth?

Yes it is. :up:

Here's one from 75/76.

Posted Image

Edited by Hasselhoff, 22 May 2010 - 14:43.


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#40 philippe7

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 19:54

I'm puzzled here :confused: ..... the bike Stu rides does seem to be an RG, the two exhausts on each side of the saddle are a good giveaway....but I didn't think the RG was available for the 75/76 series, I thought it only came out around mid-january 76 , and maybe (!) used for the first time for this famous Laverton Australian TT race that Kenny Blake won from Agostini"s MV , a race for which Blake, Stu, John Boote, Greg Johnson and John Woodley all rode brand new RG's...



#41 stuavant

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 20:57

I'm puzzled here :confused: ..... the bike Stu rides does seem to be an RG, the two exhausts on each side of the saddle are a good giveaway....but I didn't think the RG was available for the 75/76 series, I thought it only came out around mid-january 76 , and maybe (!) used for the first time for this famous Laverton Australian TT race that Kenny Blake won from Agostini"s MV , a race for which Blake, Stu, John Boote, Greg Johnson and John Woodley all rode brand new RG's...

where do these pics come from.Amazing. Roger highsided in front of me at Levels coming onto the back straighti n 1977 and I hit him and was launched over the barb wire fence beside the track and into a ditch. Knocked out cold the spectators new where I was but the marshals were watching Roger and I think Mike Vinson was in on it. So they pick up three bikes then someone figures there is only 2 riders :) Found me and shipped me to hospital anyway.

Regarding the RG's John Boote, Woodlies, Bill and myself first raced them in Jakarta in 1975. What a beautiful bike. We were then allowed to keep them and ship them home. Short on spares etc but still amazing. I had a TR500 Mk 3 watercooled as did John for a backup

#42 philippe7

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 21:22

Very interesting Stu, thank you. Was that Jakarta race late in '75 then ? And that means there were some RG's around for the 75/76 Marlboro series . Could you please tell who is the "Bill" that you mentioned having been at Jakarta on an RG with John Boote, John Woodley and yourself ?

#43 Hasselhoff

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 04:22

Roger highsided in front of me at Levels coming onto the back straighti n 1977

What are you referring to Stu? Surely not the last photo I posted? :confused:

#44 philippe7

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 06:24

Posted Image


Re-posting the pic on this page so that we see what we're talking about...

I personally have no idea who it is on the ground, nor who is the rider with a "V" on his seat..... all I can say is that it is in principle it should not be a New-Zealander due to the letter.....



#45 GD66

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 09:42

"Bill" is Bill Horsman. V is Vaughan Coburn (98, his normal number on his back). But that Timaru pic looks like the two lefts leading back to the pits after the end of the back straight. Can't say I can readily identify the unlucky faller.

The other pic with Croz, John Woodley and Coburn is shot approaching the bridge at Wanganui

#46 stuavant

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 10:20

What are you referring to Stu? Surely not the last photo I posted? :confused:

Nope, your pic was 1976/7. Its a bit surreal as I guess 1 year later was when I hit the deck in the same place?

#47 stuavant

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 10:29

Very interesting Stu, thank you. Was that Jakarta race late in '75 then ? And that means there were some RG's around for the 75/76 Marlboro series . Could you please tell who is the "Bill" that you mentioned having been at Jakarta on an RG with John Boote, John Woodley and yourself ?

This is a story that would not work today I guess..anyway I turned up to the 1975 Indonesian GP with a TR500 Mk 3. Garuda Boeing 707 with everyone smoking!! When Hendra Tursapusa did a few laps on his RG500 ( as a factory Suzuki Indonesia rider) he shit himelf and went home. It helped that he was President Suharto's son-in- law I guess!! So I got the bike and in a sorta casual way it was sent to NZ. Behind the scenes I guess stuff was happening but for those under 30, we didnt have the internet or mobile phones so deals were done on the day, by a handshake, letter or a telex...( whats a telex) lol

#48 Hasselhoff

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 16:40

Can't say I can readily identify the unlucky faller

It is Rod North on the deck, sadly killed at Brands Hatch the following year :(

Posted Image

Edited by Hasselhoff, 22 May 2010 - 14:44.


#49 LamboNZ

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 20:25

Mike hailwood signing a Greg Hansford poster?

#50 lukebaby

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 20:45

Mike hailwood signing a Greg Hansford poster?


You see even God wishes he was someone else :rotfl: