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The New Zealand Marlboro Series


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#751 picblanc

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 09:22

Forward slanting shocks were on the 1975 works/factory bikes, the one Croz is on looks like upright shocks on the 1974 bikes, this bike in the museum looks likes Pats 1976 bike?
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Photo Copyrighted to Graham Etheridge.

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#752 philippe7

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 09:42

The TR750 is the bike we put together from TR750 parts left over after U.S. Suzuki closed down its factory road race team because of the gas crisis in '75. Pat was a member of U.S. Suzuki's factory team that year. Rod Coleman struck a deal with U.S. Suzuki to buy some of the parts that were left over after Suzuki of Great Britain bought and shipped back to the U.K. all of the TR750 bikes and parts they wanted. Pat was able to locate enough parts to cobble together a complete bike and better part of a spare engine, but most of what he got was pretty used up. Pat successfully raced that bike in 74/75 Marlboro Series, then we shipped it to U.S. for '75 Daytona and then on to Venezuela for start of F750 series.


Unless I'm totally lost, this should read 75/76 Marlboro Series, and '76 Daytona , shouldn't it ?

Sorry for nitpicking once again :blush:

#753 picblanc

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 09:46

Unless I'm totally lost, this should read 75/76 Marlboro Series, and '76 Daytona , shouldn't it ?

Sorry for nitpicking once again :blush:


I think so too Philippe?

#754 philippe7

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 09:58

And, sorry if I'm stating the obvious, but the "Geoff Perry" machine in skeeternz's museum pics is a 500 twin, not the "ex-Geoff Perry " 750 raced by Pat in the 74/75 series, as pictured below....

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#755 GD66

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 10:18

Correct, mate.  ;)

#756 HIGHFLY

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 10:19

Tx for posting the pics. Great to see both bikes after all these years. Lenn Perry's bike was basically a highly modified GT750 street bike ... still a very pretty bike. The TR750 is the bike we put together from TR750 parts left over after U.S. Suzuki closed down its factory road race team because of the gas crisis in '75. Pat was a member of U.S. Suzuki's factory team that year. Rod Coleman struck a deal with U.S. Suzuki to buy some of the parts that were left over after Suzuki of Great Britain bought and shipped back to the U.K. all of the TR750 bikes and parts they wanted. Pat was able to locate enough parts to cobble together a complete bike and better part of a spare engine, but most of what he got was pretty used up. Pat successfully raced that bike in 74/75 Marlboro Series, then we shipped it to U.S. for '75 Daytona and then on to Venezuela for start of F750 series. I'm not aware of Ron Grant's ever having raced it.

Croz, I know you're following this thread. Pls fill us in on the TR750 you rode. Was it this one? By '75, it was way down on power to the TZ750s, especially the OW29s and OW31s. If you tried riding it in 75/76 series, it probably seemed pretty slow.


Hey Croz, where are you mate!! The festive season is over, we need the Durrie Series Reunion to happen!!!
I will give you some fly casting lessons if you like!!!
Murray Ogilvie

#757 skeeternz

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 08:16

I wouldn't put too much store on the pipes. In the mid seventies the ACU started to get concerned about noise and two strokes with stingers had to have mufflers fitted. The silenced pipes could be a later edition.

Note the cabinet in the background. It is full of Geoff Perry's trophies. Mostly from the Asian circuit - Singapore GP etc. From what I know Geoff had a future with Suzuki but was killed in a plane crash in Pango Pango.


#758 philippe7

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 08:55

From what I know Geoff had a future with Suzuki but was killed in a plane crash in Pango Pango.

Tahiti. He was aboard a PanAm Boeing 707 that crashed shortly after take off on the way to LA, killing all on board.


#759 ccmUS

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 18:57

Tahiti. He was aboard a PanAm Boeing 707 that crashed shortly after take off on the way to LA, killing all on board.


My memory is that Geoff was coming to race at Laguna Seca (July 1973). We (Pat, Ron Grant and crew) were all in the pits/paddock area working on the bikes when word came that Geoff's plane had gone down just after takeoff from Tahiti.

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#760 GD66

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 09:01

I wouldn't put too much store on the pipes. In the mid seventies the ACU started to get concerned about noise and two strokes with stingers had to have mufflers fitted. The silenced pipes could be a later edition.



It's NOT the same bike !


Re your observations about Geoff having a future with Suzuki, this is somewhat understating the case. Geoff had been riding Suzukis since 1966, when he debuted on a T20 at Paritutu. After periods on a 250 Bultaco and a TR2 Yamaha, he was back on Suzukis, 250 and 500, with the support of Suzuki as well as Air New Zealand, where he worked. The success of his forays into Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as a cracking second to Ago on the MV 500/3 at Oran Park, did him a power of good with the factory, and when he had a couple of decent attempts at winning Daytona, Suzuki had no delay in signing him to race for them in the USA on the TR750s.
He is credited with leading Daytona on the 500 in the closing laps, only to have a chain break and put him out : this was subsequently discredited as a lapscoring error. Nevertheless, having won at Road Atlanta on the 750, his star was very much on the rise as he returned for Laguna.
Just a couple of other things about Geoff : it's widely believed that the factory had earmarked Geoff as the rider when they made their entry into the 500 GP ranks with the first RG500s, and had built the bikes with him in mind as a major component in their plans : we now know that Jack Findlay and Barry Sheene got that gig. After Geoff's crash, his Dad Len went to look for him, hired a boat and combed the waters around the crash site for days in the hope of finding his lost son. Somewhat surprisingly, I never heard Len mention Geoff in any subsequent interview. Very sad.

Edited by GD66, 12 January 2012 - 09:03.


#761 Russell Burrows

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 09:39

It's NOT the same bike !


Re your observations about Geoff having a future with Suzuki, this is somewhat understating the case. Geoff had been riding Suzukis since 1966, when he debuted on a T20 at Paritutu. After periods on a 250 Bultaco and a TR2 Yamaha, he was back on Suzukis, 250 and 500, with the support of Suzuki as well as Air New Zealand, where he worked. The success of his forays into Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as a cracking second to Ago on the MV 500/3 at Oran Park, did him a power of good with the factory, and when he had a couple of decent attempts at winning Daytona, Suzuki had no delay in signing him to race for them in the USA on the TR750s.
He is credited with leading Daytona on the 500 in the closing laps, only to have a chain break and put him out : this was subsequently discredited as a lapscoring error. Nevertheless, having won at Road Atlanta on the 750, his star was very much on the rise as he returned for Laguna.
Just a couple of other things about Geoff : it's widely believed that the factory had earmarked Geoff as the rider when they made their entry into the 500 GP ranks with the first RG500s, and had built the bikes with him in mind as a major component in their plans : we now know that Jack Findlay and Barry Sheene got that gig. After Geoff's crash, his Dad Len went to look for him, hired a boat and combed the waters around the crash site for days in the hope of finding his lost son. Somewhat surprisingly, I never heard Len mention Geoff in any subsequent interview. Very sad.


Sad indeed, GD. Is the wide belief that the RG was built for Geoff to campaign in Europe, actually based on any evidence? I wonder why Suzuki would have decided to put themselves at such an obvious disadvantage by using a rider who had never even seen any of the GP's circuits? If accurate, It would have been a first?

#762 GD66

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 11:15

I can't offer you any written evidence Russell, so feel free to discard the possibility. I would hardly have mentioned it if it was a mere flight of fantasy from a long-lost age. My recall from the time is based on conversations with members of Geoff's crew and family. Geoff died in 1973, and the RG500 was introduced to GPs in 1974.

#763 Russell Burrows

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 11:20

I can't offer you any written evidence Russell, so feel free to discard the possibility. I would hardly have mentioned it if it was a mere flight of fantasy from a long-lost age. My recall from the time is based on conversations with members of Geoff's crew and family. Geoff died in 1973, and the RG500 was introduced to GPs in 1974.


Think I might have to, mate. I know you've not just made it up as it's a story that's been around for ages. Not too much logic to it though, aye.

#764 picblanc

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 12:00

Paul Smart had an RG also in 1974, but broke his pelvis early on & lost his factory ride for 1975.

#765 Rennmax

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 12:50

Paul Smart had an RG also in 1974, but broke his pelvis early on & lost his factory ride for 1975.


I only remember Paul Smart doing the TT on a square-four along with Findlay that year, was he allowed to keep that bike for UK meetings ?
Sorry off-topic

Edited by Rennmax, 12 January 2012 - 13:01.


#766 peterd

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 20:45

I'm with you on this, Glenn. I think Stu knows more about it as well.

Mmm, didn't Yamaha do just that, send a bloke with no GP experience over to Europe just a few years later. Kenny someone. What happened to him? :)

#767 picblanc

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 21:14

I only remember Paul Smart doing the TT on a square-four along with Findlay that year, was he allowed to keep that bike for UK meetings ?
Sorry off-topic


I think Paul broke his pelvis or both legs @ the 2nd race @ Mallory in the Trans Trophy race in mid April 1974, dont think he rode the RG again that year? & dont think he did TT either though could be wrong on that, but dont think he had recovered from Mallory spill?
How many dont thinks can you fit into a sentence!!!!! :eek:

OK he did do TT in 74 Senior & F750 DNFing in both.

Edited by picblanc, 12 January 2012 - 21:18.


#768 Russell Burrows

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 00:36

I'm with you on this, Glenn. I think Stu knows more about it as well.

Mmm, didn't Yamaha do just that, send a bloke with no GP experience over to Europe just a few years later. Kenny someone. What happened to him? :)

Bit of a parallel there, but only a bit. Roberts came over with a bike that was a winner, one that had evolved after six years or so of GP racing, and he was supported by hotshots Cecotto and Sarron. He had also successfully raced in Europe prior to ’78.

#769 Rennmax

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 11:47

Compiling Graham's, Jim's and my own recollection
1) PS did the Senior TT in '74 on a RG (as substitute for Sheene), otherwise only Sheene and Findlay had access to the Suzuki 4 in that season
2) PS rode a RG under the banner of 'Barry Sheene Racing' in '75 (prior it became available as a production racer) when he was'nt a works rider anymore. So this bike was possibly a works bike from the foregoing season ?
Correct ??

Edited by Rennmax, 13 January 2012 - 18:00.


#770 picblanc

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 17:38

Jims pic is of the 1975 ex Barry Sheene bike but taken in 1976, Barry provided Pauls bike that year.
Sheene on the XR14 1975 factory machine.
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Barry on the 1974 original RG?500 @ Brands 1974.
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Both Photos Copyrighted to Graham Etheridge.

#771 philippe7

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 19:42

Compiling Graham's, Jim's and my own recollection
1) PS did the Senior TT in '74 on a RG (as substitute for Sheene), otherwise only Sheene and Findlay had access to the Suzuki 4 in that season
2) PS rode a RG under the banner of 'Barry Sheene Racing' in '75 (prior it became available as a production racer) when he was'nt a works rider anymore. So this bike was possibly a works bike from the foregoing season ?
Correct ??


Friends, we are veering pretty far away from the Marlboro Series here :well: , but if this may settle the matter, my recollection is that Paul was a full factory rider for the '74 season, alongside Sheene and Findlay but he indeed missed the first Grand Prix ( France, the boycotted Germany and Austria) due to his Transatlantic Trophy injuries . From then on, he took part in most ( if not all ) races ( might have skipped Sweden / Finland ) but he indeed struggled and didn't score any points. At some stage he commissioned a special frame with side radiators (!) from a british manufacturer to try to cure the bike's handling problemes - in my old mags in France I have a pic of him riding that special frame machine at Brno for the last 500 race of the season, where he fell off while battling with Findlay, ending the year on another low note....

#772 Roogazza

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 19:48

Sad indeed, GD. Is the wide belief that the RG was built for Geoff to campaign in Europe, actually based on any evidence? I wonder why Suzuki would have decided to put themselves at such an obvious disadvantage by using a rider who had never even seen any of the GP's circuits? If accurate, It would have been a first?

One of my first meetings was at Gracefeild early 1970s. I was towards the back of grid on the left near the gutter. Push starts in those days and a guy came up to me from behind and said "can you just move over a bit mate, I'm coming through there" !!! He had a pusher as his leg was injured.
I thought shit, it's Geoff Perry, he only wanted a two foot gap. As you do I moved over, and yes he came through !!! lol.
Nice to be able to say I met the man.

#773 picblanc

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 19:56

Sorry guys, got a bit carried away. :blush:

#774 stuavant

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 12:36

One of my first meetings was at Gracefeild early 1970s. I was towards the back of grid on the left near the gutter. Push starts in those days and a guy came up to me from behind and said "can you just move over a bit mate, I'm coming through there" !!! He had a pusher as his leg was injured.
I thought shit, it's Geoff Perry, he only wanted a two foot gap. As you do I moved over, and yes he came through !!! lol.
Nice to be able to say I met the man.

Geoff had broken his leg in Penang on the road circuit IRMC. Sure there may be some Urban Myth about Geoff and the RG especially if Bob Coleman was pushing it about but I am satisfied that certainly the Suzuki factory recognized his talent. And take aside all else, at that time racing in SE Asia was huge and important to the factories attempting to establish in possibly the worlds largest market. On a different note I was in Ch Ch today for personal reasons and it iis primed for us old wankers to return for the M boro reunion. Bring it on


#775 Hasselhoff

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 14:48

Not exactly Marlboro Series but not far off.

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Posted Image

Edited by Hasselhoff, 14 January 2012 - 14:49.


#776 ccmUS

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 19:34

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Pat on the right, Chip and Carl Coleman

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Ready for launch!!

1976-77 Series. I need help with these photos, please. Stu, Murray, Jeff, Vaughn and Croz, is this something you were involved in?

My notes say "Raft Race in Christchurch". Seemed as if this was something the guys had been involved in the year before as well since they were planning ahead!! It was a "build and race your raft" event, Chip thought possibly arranged by the local Suzuki dealer? Began with a whipped cream pie throwing contest, then the race. Pat, Chip and Carl were attacked by scurvy dogs in another boat who punctured one of the inner tubes. It took them 15 minutes to patch the hole and take off again, but they ended up about 7th. I think there were maybe 10 or 12 "boats" involved. If this is something that was not widely attended by the riders and other participants, I'll pull the photos.

Edited by ccmUS, 14 January 2012 - 19:35.


#777 larryd

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 19:43

Claudia, you put up whatever photos you want - they're magic !!

:clap: :clap: :clap:


#778 picblanc

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 19:50

Who is on the almost out of control Yamaha B/W photo?
Great photos Hass & Claudia, keep them coming. :up:

#779 GD66

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 22:19

Aussie Geoff McNaughton at the Wanganui flower-bed corner, I'd reckon.

Edited by GD66, 14 January 2012 - 22:20.


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#780 ccmUS

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 19:49

Posted Image
Pat on the right, Chip and Carl Coleman

Posted Image
Ready for launch!!

1976-77 Series. I need help with these photos, please. Stu, Murray, Jeff, Vaughn and Croz, is this something you were involved in?

My notes say "Raft Race in Christchurch". Seemed as if this was something the guys had been involved in the year before as well since they were planning ahead!! It was a "build and race your raft" event, Chip thought possibly arranged by the local Suzuki dealer? Began with a whipped cream pie throwing contest, then the race. Pat, Chip and Carl were attacked by scurvy dogs in another boat who punctured one of the inner tubes. It took them 15 minutes to patch the hole and take off again, but they ended up about 7th. I think there were maybe 10 or 12 "boats" involved. If this is something that was not widely attended by the riders and other participants, I'll pull the photos.


Here are my other two photos from this event:

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Methinks this is the scurvy lot that punctured the inner tube!!

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Gotta love the vans/utes (Toad???), the swim suit and the high quality flotation device.......

Edited by ccmUS, 20 January 2012 - 07:23.


#781 peterd

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 20:50

Ah, Thames vans. :cool:

#782 ccmUS

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 06:15

[quote name='ccmUS' date='Dec 3 2011, 21:01' post='5435538']
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Photo by Bob Coleman

1976-77 Series

According to Bob Coleman, one of the men in the right of the photo is Eric McPherson (Australian) who visited the Colemans quite often. "Eric was third in the 350cc Class of the World Road Race Championship in 1950".

Edited by ccmUS, 27 January 2012 - 06:16.


#783 ccmUS

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 06:18

Posted Image

Photo by Bob Coleman. One more of Pat in the paddock



Woman on the "pillion" (Bob Coleman's term) behind Pat is Robin Cresswell, Doug Creswell's wife.

#784 ccmUS

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 03:55

Posted Image

1976-77 Series This photo was taken by Bob Coleman

Pat Hennen and John Woodley. Need help identifying the two men to the left.


John emailed me about this photo and he said it was taken just after he had hit the "tyre wall" with his knee at Ruapuna. Didn't fall off and didn't break anything but he said it was very painful.

#785 twotempi

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 21:13

To "ccmUS".

I was only ever a flag marshall and/or spectator at these events.( Pukekohe only )

Your photos are a great diary of the series so don't ever think you are posting to many photos on this thread !!

Please keep posting as many as you have access to.

Thanks - in anticipation.

:clap: :clap: :clap:

#786 ccmUS

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 22:10

To "ccmUS".

I was only ever a flag marshall and/or spectator at these events.( Pukekohe only )

Your photos are a great diary of the series so don't ever think you are posting to many photos on this thread !!

Please keep posting as many as you have access to.

Thanks - in anticipation.

:clap: :clap: :clap:



twotempi and Larryd, thanks so much for your kind comments about my photos. You all (riders, spanners, photographers) were so busy with the task at hand, racing, that there was little time for anything else. Being more of an observer than a participant, I was able to take some of the more candid, relaxed shots. Glad you are enjoying them; I had assumed you would be more interested in the technical/racing shots. Like all of you, I wish I had taken more!!

Any more news on reunion plans Stu? I think Barb and Joe Lett (our hosts in Wanganui) and their son Perry, who was named for Geoff, are very involved in the planning. Has Christchurch settled down somewhat? Claudia

#787 twotempi

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 22:13

Is there a reunion planned for the Malboro Series for 2013 being the 40th Anniversary of the inaugural series ?? and who is the organizer or contact person ??

And what is the intended format ??

Many of the original bikes are still in existence and it would be nice to have them at this event.

Takes time to prepare them so a "heads-up" would be good to allow this to happen .

thanks :) :)

#788 philippe7

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 00:46

Is there a reunion planned for the Malboro Series for 2013 being the 40th Anniversary of the inaugural series ?? and who is the organizer or contact person ??



Of course there is :)

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http://forums.autosp...w...t&p=4595023

See the post above and the following couple of the pages with the "Philip Morris Lawyers" saga.....

#789 peterd

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 01:19

Oh, Philippe, don't wind up the PM lawyers again! ;)

I understand an announcement re date is likely in the next couple of weeks. :up:

#790 ccmUS

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 18:34

1976/77 Series Front page of Volume 2 (don't have volume one :mad: )


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#791 ccmUS

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 20:06

Would you like me to scan the whole New Zealand Motorcycle News newspaper or just the relevant parts? It includes sidecar and motocross results as well as the road racing results and interviews. And the ever-present ads, some of which are pretty funny in retrospect!! Let me know :wave:

#792 twotempi

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 21:08

Yes please !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:clap: :clap: :clap:

#793 philippe7

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 21:15

Of course ! :up: Please do !

#794 ccmUS

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 22:48

OK, will commence doing battle with the scanner (not very user friendly) and will post as I get them done.

And Dave1954, you no doubt have the Mike Hailwood photo sorted out at this point, but it's definitely Warren and not Lenny.

#795 ccmUS

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 03:58

1976/77 Series New Zealand Motorcycle News Volume 2 Suzuki ad:

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#796 ccmUS

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 04:00

Forgot how much I liked John Woodley's helmet with the NZ and the kiwi bird!!

#797 Hasselhoff

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 02:48

Pat at Wanganui.......

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#798 ccmUS

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 18:30

1976-77 Series Same day as the baseball game. McLeary's property.

Not sure I've got the sequence right, and I need help identifying some of the guys.

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Pat Hennen and Jeff Sayle at the ready, Randy Mamola setting up.

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Randy, Pat, Jeff. Carl Coleman officiating!

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Randy, Pat and Jeff

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Pat on the inside, Randy on the outside

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Change of riders. Two guys on the right in the previous photo now on Randy and Pat's bikes, Carl taking over from Jeff.

#799 exclubracer

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 00:44

[quote name='ccmUS' date='Mar 18 2012, 19:30' post='5604257']
1976-77 Series Same day as the baseball game. McLeary's property.

Not sure I've got the sequence right, and I need help identifying some of the guys.

Posted Image
Pat Hennen and Jeff Sayle at the ready, Randy Mamola setting up.

Ken Fletcher on the right?

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#800 GD66

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:23

Dead right, Mick. Sadly missed.