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The New Zealand Marlboro Series


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#201 philippe7

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 09:40

A tribute to the series multiple winner.....

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#202 stuavant

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 09:46

The basis for the original sketch was probably the American Kawasaki team rider Cliff Carr, who used to ride under #26. That artwork was later modified so that the number was 06 for some reason. And yes, I can confirm that Kanaya was one of the bravest I've seen, even noticeable on medium-speed corners when he turned the Timaru esses into a series of left-right slides under power. The works 750 met a sad demise when it caught fire and pulled to a halt in the final leg of the series at Ruapuna. Kanaya, a factory man to the end, held onto the bars while hiding round the front of the bike hoping the fuel tank wouldn't explode as the inept marshals of the day went through their Keystone Cops routine with the traditional fire extinguisher technique...

Kanaya had compressed sponge type buffers on his front forks to improve the rebound I guess. Oddly enough we walked around the circuit at Gracefield and down the end of the straight there were 1 metre black lines every 2 metres or so. It turned out that it was Kanaya on the anchor's. Fcuk it must have been a pig to ride on road circuits

#203 philippe7

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 09:49

Now, the official entry lists for the 77/78 series... some probably didn't arrive, and some not expected did arrive...like Chas Mortimer who it seems did take part in the 250 and 350 series, although only listed in the "big" class ...

Stu is entered on a TZ 750 but used a Ceramiche Della Robbia 500 RG for all races, so he told us IIRC .

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#204 GD66

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 09:54

Not really an official list Phillipe, more a document of conjecture...but it'll do as a rough guide... ;)

#205 philippe7

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 09:57

..... and to finish off for the evening : a little corporate advertising to finance the programme ( which was cheap, at 1.00 NZD for 55 pages ! ) :D

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Again, many thanks to Shane "Redneb" for this marvelous find :up:

#206 stuavant

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 10:50

..... and to finish off for the evening : a little corporate advertising to finance the programme ( which was cheap, at 1.00 NZD for 55 pages ! ) :D

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Again, many thanks to Shane "Redneb" for this marvelous find :up:

Leave it out!!!!!!!!!!!!

#207 philippe7

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 10:55

Leave it out!!!!!!!!!!!!


No way !!! :lol:

#208 GD66

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 11:11

Tee-hee, nice one ! :lol: Tyre Pando were actually quite a long-term sponsor for Paul McLachlan if I recall.

#209 philippe7

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 11:14

As a total aside - but in some way related to the #26 Kawasaki mystery discussed before....this drawing at the bottom of the 250 entry list has been puzzling me since I first saw it a couple of hours ago.....and I have now found why

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More than just a passing resemblance, don't you think ? That bottom pic is of Pat Evans in 1975 , Laguna Seca or Ontario - sent to me by Pat's brother Sean .

Edited by philippe7, 09 June 2010 - 11:15.


#210 Redneb

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 22:18

The real thanks should go to my brother Lee who had the vision to save this, and other memorabilia.

Stu - that tyre Pando stuff saved my butt quite a few times when I had punctures while commuting daily from Orewa to either Auckland or Takapuna. It was good for punctures but if you'd torn the tube you were walkin'

#211 stuavant

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 08:18

The real thanks should go to my brother Lee who had the vision to save this, and other memorabilia.

Stu - that tyre Pando stuff saved my butt quite a few times when I had punctures while commuting daily from Orewa to either Auckland or Takapuna. It was good for punctures but if you'd torn the tube you were walkin'

Glad to have been of service :lol:

#212 Twin Window

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 22:38

I'm sure it is and naturally every time you wanted the sticker to look real good you used #7

Yes, indeed.

Much in the same way as one would've used tyrePando...

:D



#213 Hasselhoff

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 12:56

The basis for the original sketch was probably the American Kawasaki team rider Cliff Carr

Yep I reckon you're right. I knew I was talking out my ear even as I was typing it but that has never stopped me before. ;)

Anyway here's another one from '76/77.

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#214 stuavant

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 13:28

Yep I reckon you're right. I knew I was talking out my ear even as I was typing it but that has never stopped me before.;)

Anyway here's another one from '76/77.

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Bloody Classic Hasselhoff or Rory or who ever you are. Lil George confirming that Smoking Stunts Growth. Len Willing RIP.last week Warren ( Willing) showed me pic's of his ( Lenny's) twin daughters on a Model Shoot in London or Paris or whatever....life goes on?

#215 Redneb

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 21:11

I watched the produced-for-TV documentaries of the 76-77 and 77-78 series last night. They were an interesting insight into the racing of the day and also some of the realities that were the Marlborough series.

Now, I recall a slick, fantastic series with great bikes and riders. And the last bit is certainly true but looking at it now it looks like a hokily run series with highly questionable safety standards and race organisation that must have had riders wondering what the heck they'd gotten themselves into at times.

There are shots of bikes bucking and weaving over fresh (read: bumpy) roadworks at the Gracefield "circuit." International riders saying outright that the circuit was dangerous.

Then there are the pictures of the infamous Wanganui Cemetary Circuit with Crosby - surely one of the guys who would have a go at anything - saying there was so much oil on the racing line right around the circuit that it was unridable. Photos of the riders sweeping cement dust onto the oil (dropped by a sidecar, nothing changes there). Mr Avant can certainly handle a broom! The racing footage shows everyone being extremely cautious and avoiding the trail of cement dust, therefore not able to ride on the best race line. It was a bit of a farce, or it seemed that way to me. The unspoken word through all that was the riders were not going to race.

Classic footage of the riders re-arranging the haybails at Wanganui with Gregg Hansford walking up to a solitary haybail leaning against a waratah post, with a good two feet of waratah sticking out the top of the bail, Hansford shaking the post to see how solid it was. What was going through his mind at that moment?

The classic footage of Kanaya's works Yamaha burning, with him holding it by the front forks until a marshall comes running along with his extinguisher.

Not long after someone running across the track just in front off the two leading riders.

And all captured by a maximum of two or three cameras - ahh the production values of the day.

It would be interesting to hear from some of the riders. Why use road circuits with their questionable safety, when purpose-built tracks were available? Did the riders think it was hokey or am I just looking back with the hindsight of someone who has grown used to the improved safety standards of today?

Edited by Redneb, 11 June 2010 - 21:14.


#216 philippe7

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 22:08

I'm not going to speak for those forum members who did take part in those races, but while we wait for their insight I would hazard a guess that the philosophy behind accepting to ride at Wanganui or Gracefield may have been along the "throttle works both ways" and "you don't see a tree crossing the road" phrases that are supposedly favourite quotes of "real road circuits" aficionados...

Fortunately, unless I'm mistaken the history of the Marlboro Series is blessed with a 100% no-fatality record*.... which is maybe part of the reason while we look back at them with only fond memories ?

*edit : outside, of course, of the tragic demise of Cal Rayborn which we have now established happened during the 2nd race of the 73/74 series, but on an "artificial" circuit at Pukekohe.

Edited by philippe7, 11 June 2010 - 22:10.


#217 GD66

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 00:24

Why use road circuits with their questionable safety, when purpose-built tracks were available? Did the riders think it was hokey or am I just looking back with the hindsight of someone who has grown used to the improved safety standards of today?


That may be true, but it's only now, with the benefit of hindsight that we look back in amazement at what were considered acceptable safety standards and circuit conditions from those times. The re-surfacing at Gracefield and the Wanganui oil-down were however, out of the norm, and generally the surface conditions at Gracefield and Wanganui were at least adequate for street circuits, as the intense racing proved over a number of years.
The reason those two circuits were used were no doubt based on crowd figures. Wanganui was long-accepted as the biggest meeting of the year, and was already established as part of NZ's race culture. Gracefield was also an established meeting run buy the Hutt Valley club, and the Series itself was administrated by members of that club, namely Malcolm McGregor, Jim Doherty, Graeme Stott, Jim Tuckerman and others, with Murray Brown working from Auckland, Don Cosford from Wanganui, Kevin McCleary from Christchurch, etc.
The circuit at Levin had closed, and while Manfield had been recently-established, it was felt that it wouldn't attract large crowds like Wanganui and Gracefield, and so held less appeal to the Marlboro advertising money men. Pukekohe, Bay Park, Timaru and Ruapuna were established circuits, and while their conditions weren't ideal, they were more or less acceptable for the time.
In hindsight, part of the appeal in those days was to see riders from all around the world battling it out on tough circuits, in front of good crowds during a tight-packed summer series, and to this end, and with the resulting projection of talent into the northern hemisphere, it was a raging success. But at the end of it all, there was certainly an unspoken air of "Phew ! Well, we got away with it..."


#218 vc1954

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 04:47

I'm not going to speak for those forum members who did take part in those races, but while we wait for their insight I would hazard a guess that the philosophy behind accepting to ride at Wanganui or Gracefield may have been along the "throttle works both ways"


The majority did accept Wanganui & Gracefield for what they were. The only REAL problem that I encountered during my visits there was the oil issue at Wanganui in 77 as it was downright dangerous :down: Any of the riders with a chance to win sat out the first 350 race and we (I know I was) were put under extreme pressure to go out for the second race with reminders of a financial nature re: The future sponsorship of the series by Marlboro (they started me smoking) :smoking: air fares, freight costs etc. That was the last Marlboro series.... as we all know. People made money from it all but certainly not the riders. :down: So there you go.....all good as long as there is a happy ending. :kiss: Great times and some great people :up:

Edited by vc1954, 12 June 2010 - 11:43.


#219 timhanna

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Posted 13 June 2010 - 22:36

I have seen these quotes about the throttle working both ways and trees not jumping out on the track attributed to 'a roadracer' a few times now. I am fairly certain that at least the first comment, and probably the second, was uttered by Vernon Cooper, absolute ruler of the ACU. He made such comments in defence of doing nothing about track safety and the attitude almost certainly cost lives. From what I can gather specialist riders at places lke the TT accept the risks on circuits that realitically could not be made a great deal safer but that is not the same as being all gung ho about it and decrying efforts to improve safety where possible.
Our remaining street races are still fantastic events but I wonder if more could not be done to improve safety. When you see bikes hurtling passed spectators seperated only by minimal crowd restraints of various kinds it looks to me like a disaster waiting to happen. I would have thought something like the inflatable barriers now available would be mandatory right around the circuits, or at least where there are crowds and no run off. Straw bales would be better than nothing and Wanganui and Paeroa are both relatively short.
This thread demonstrates very clearly what a fantastic assett to motorcycle racing history this forum can be. Race records in New Zealand were apparently kept in a small shed somewhere in a state of considerable disarray and neglect until taken away by a lady some years ago in order to write a history that never appeared. Most have apparently now been lost.



I watched the produced-for-TV documentaries of the 76-77 and 77-78 series last night. They were an interesting insight into the racing of the day and also some of the realities that were the Marlborough series.

Now, I recall a slick, fantastic series with great bikes and riders. And the last bit is certainly true but looking at it now it looks like a hokily run series with highly questionable safety standards and race organisation that must have had riders wondering what the heck they'd gotten themselves into at times.

There are shots of bikes bucking and weaving over fresh (read: bumpy) roadworks at the Gracefield "circuit." International riders saying outright that the circuit was dangerous.

Then there are the pictures of the infamous Wanganui Cemetary Circuit with Crosby - surely one of the guys who would have a go at anything - saying there was so much oil on the racing line right around the circuit that it was unridable. Photos of the riders sweeping cement dust onto the oil (dropped by a sidecar, nothing changes there). Mr Avant can certainly handle a broom! The racing footage shows everyone being extremely cautious and avoiding the trail of cement dust, therefore not able to ride on the best race line. It was a bit of a farce, or it seemed that way to me. The unspoken word through all that was the riders were not going to race.

Classic footage of the riders re-arranging the haybails at Wanganui with Gregg Hansford walking up to a solitary haybail leaning against a waratah post, with a good two feet of waratah sticking out the top of the bail, Hansford shaking the post to see how solid it was. What was going through his mind at that moment?

The classic footage of Kanaya's works Yamaha burning, with him holding it by the front forks until a marshall comes running along with his extinguisher.

Not long after someone running across the track just in front off the two leading riders.

And all captured by a maximum of two or three cameras - ahh the production values of the day.

It would be interesting to hear from some of the riders. Why use road circuits with their questionable safety, when purpose-built tracks were available? Did the riders think it was hokey or am I just looking back with the hindsight of someone who has grown used to the improved safety standards of today?



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#220 Hasselhoff

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 02:46

It would be interesting to hear from some of the riders

Yeah it would have been wouldn't it. :confused:

#221 philippe7

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 04:59

Hass, we've had some posts from Stu or Murray or Jeff about the Marlboro Series in general ( or in the parallel John Boote story ) but I understand Redneb's question was specifically aimed at the safety/track conditions issue that he wrote about - and indeed we've only had so far the answer of a mysterious 350 frontrunner who wouldn't name himself, but no insight from our other members ? So, Mrss Sayle or Avant, any thoughts please ?

edit : and one additional question : why was Teretonga never considered for a leg of the series ? The safety standards there seemed quite OK, with wide enough grassy fields before the tyres-lined earth banks, and no posts, concrete walls or oil drums nearby ... Was it deemed as too isolated and far away from the rest ? or was maybe the Invercargill City Council's monopoly on booze sales considered as a major risk to proper after-race fun ? :drunk:

Edited by philippe7, 15 June 2010 - 05:08.


#222 kz71

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 11:10


It would be interesting to hear from some of the riders. Why use road circuits with their questionable safety, when purpose-built tracks were available? Did the riders think it was hokey or am I just looking back with the hindsight of someone who has grown used to the improved safety standards of today?

I think the road circuits were used often in conjunction with a local festival or similar and so they could get plenty of organisation assistance and funding.
The crowds were always way bigger than an artificial circut would attract also.
I remember one year even Wanganui (oops sorry, Whanganui now !) held a race meeting in the middle of the year and it was tied up with a festival.
Mid year, poured with rain, super slippery, Joe Lett flying on a Norton Commando, me scared shiteless with no grip.....is all I remember from that race.
I think the saving grace for the NZ street circuits was that at least the corners were slow and this kept things a bit safer.
And we were much safer than the Aussies.
That earlier pic of John Boote and I on the grid at Amaroo Park with the TR500 was the first time I had seen an Aussie circuit and I thought the tracks were way more dangerous than ours with walls and armco right on the track sides with no protection at all. And they had plenty of damage as a result.
They had Norman Cooper types in their organising body also and it took a while before this mind set left the game.......and it was just a game and not worth dying for.
Like many other young dreamers I was very keen to eventually ride at the Isle of Man and I figured street circuits were probably good practice.
I knew all about the Island and the history and studied the sequence of bends and layout of the Island and read all I could get on the subject...... getting ready, I figured.
When I finally got to the Island and saw the place (with Pat Hennen in 1977) I thought "How lucky I am I'm not still riding, I could have killed myself".
Many people there seemed to have a morbid fascination with the death toll and liked pointing out the dodgy spots to newcomers.
Ghoulish and unhealthy attitude.
Racing became a lot nicer in later years with the emphasis on far safer tracks and IMHO far better racing also.

#223 kz71

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 11:19


a mysterious 350 frontrunner who wouldn't name himself,

vc 1954......I guess that would be Vaughan Coburn...........about the right birth date

#224 philippe7

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 00:04

I was not familiar with the name Dale Wylie until I started looking for the Marlboro Series early results - therefore I had not paid attention to this picture on the excellent Jack Middelburg website , taken at Daytona in 1974 , naming Dale Wylie as #24 at the front of this bunch. And indeed , there is a Dale Wylie from Christchurch, NZ, listed in the non-finishers ( classified 71st out of 78 starters ) of the '74 Daytona 200 .

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Mike, I think you mentioned you "followed Dale to the US " at some stage, were you part of this Daytona trip and can you tell us a bit more ? Was it some sort of "reward" for having won the 73/74 Marlboro Series ? From the pic, it seems that Dale had found the time ( and finance ) to trade the 500TR he used in NZ for a new 700TZ for the occasion....

#225 vc1954

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 00:10

I think the saving grace for the NZ street circuits was that at least the corners were slow and this kept things a bit safer.
And we were much safer than the Aussies.
That earlier pic of John Boote and I on the grid at Amaroo Park with the TR500 was the first time I had seen an Aussie circuit and I thought the tracks were way more dangerous than ours with walls and armco right on the track sides with no protection at all. And they had plenty of damage as a result.
They had Norman Cooper types in their organising body also and it took a while before this mind set left the game.......and it was just a game and not worth dying for.


I agree 100%.....Arthur Blizzard was our head imbecile back then and the A.C.U were more interested that your front number plate was square across the screen than any safety issue :mad: I was continually reminded by Blizzard that their "work" was voluntary :rotfl: :rotfl: I would love to see the A.C.U. balance sheets from those days :smoking:

Edited by vc1954, 16 June 2010 - 00:12.


#226 stuavant

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 08:47

I was not familiar with the name Dale Wylie until I started looking for the Marlboro Series early results - therefore I had not paid attention to this picture on the excellent Jack Middelburg website , taken at Daytona in 1974 , naming Dale Wylie as #24 at the front of this bunch. And indeed , there is a Dale Wylie from Christchurch, NZ, listed in the non-finishers ( classified 71st out of 78 starters ) of the '74 Daytona 200 .

Posted Image

Mike, I think you mentioned you "followed Dale to the US " at some stage, were you part of this Daytona trip and can you tell us a bit more ? Was it some sort of "reward" for having won the 73/74 Marlboro Series ? From the pic, it seems that Dale had found the time ( and finance ) to trade the 500TR he used in NZ for a new 700TZ for the occasion....

Mike will fill in the gaps Philippe but to say that going to America was some sort of a "reward" is a way of the mark. Dale is the most eccentric but loveable person I know but his stories, whilst incredible ( who else would have a sheep as his pet and drive with it in the passengers seat ) would take a day of explaining. Dale could live for a day on a $1.00.

I agree with Mikes appraisal of the track saftey and whilst I had'nt thought of it, it was possible to miss a lamp post in NZ but impossible to miss the Armco at Amaroo. As for Teratonga. I think Invercargil is the worlds Southern Most city and the track is always freezing and built on sand and gorse bush. Small population and no spectators. We always accepted the rational of racing where the organiser's could pull a crowd. Napier, Hawkesbury, Dundedin and so on and yet the most threatened I ever felt was on the öld Spa"circuit. What was the corner called , Malmo? Much worse than NZ for sure and as for the IOM. Beat me every time as I was'nt prepared to take the ultimate risk :rolleyes:

#227 exclubracer

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 21:06

on the öld Spa"circuit. What was the corner called , Malmo?

That would be Malmedy I think, someone once told me that the Masta kink and Blanchimont were also good laxatives. I spent an enjoyable Sunday riding around the old open roads circuit many years ago, max respect to all those who raced there :up:


#228 Russell Burrows

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 22:04

I agree 100%.....Arthur Blizzard was our head imbecile back then and the A.C.U were more interested that your front number plate was square across the screen than any safety issue :mad: I was continually reminded by Blizzard that their "work" was voluntary :rotfl: :rotfl: I would love to see the A.C.U. balance sheets from those days :smoking:


Didn't they quote something called the Speedway Act, at least in NSW, which stipulated there must be very hard imoveable barriers to protect spectators? But you're right though, they made no attempt to protect riders. And then there was the huge numbers allowed to start. :eek:

#229 Hasselhoff

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 03:23

Here's pretty much all the names that have been mentioned on here in one spot. ;)

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#230 GD66

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 03:35

With Bob Haldane on #5, and maybe B1 Kenny Blake

#231 Hasselhoff

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 04:58

Yep sure is Kenny Blake.

#232 kz71

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 06:14


Stu said..............and yet the most threatened I ever felt was on the öld Spa"circuit. What was the corner called , Malmo?

Yep, nothing wrong with using your brains when your knees begin knocking and there were several of the hotshots who I worked with who did the same.

One very brave fella I worked with felt real spooked at Chimay one time and asked me if I minded if we had a seizure today so he could pull out. Smart man.

#233 philippe7

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 06:54

It may be obvious for most of you, but is the pic above from Timaru or Ruapuna , and who would be #28 on the RG ? I think I've got all the others ( #8 Roger Freeth per chance ? ) and I assume it's the 76/77 series ?

#234 Hasselhoff

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 07:02

It's Ruapuna 76/77.

#235 GD66

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 07:28

I think #28 is the Lower Hutt rider Nigel Caigou, and the photographer is obscuring Jean-Phillipe Orban.

Edited by GD66, 17 June 2010 - 07:29.


#236 kz71

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 10:00

I was not familiar with the name Dale Wylie until I started looking for the Marlboro Series early results - therefore I had not paid attention to this picture on the excellent Jack Middelburg website , taken at Daytona in 1974 , naming Dale Wylie as #24 at the front of this bunch. And indeed , there is a Dale Wylie from Christchurch, NZ, listed in the non-finishers ( classified 71st out of 78 starters ) of the '74 Daytona 200 .

Posted Image

Mike, I think you mentioned you "followed Dale to the US " at some stage, were you part of this Daytona trip and can you tell us a bit more ? Was it some sort of "reward" for having won the 73/74 Marlboro Series ? From the pic, it seems that Dale had found the time ( and finance ) to trade the 500TR he used in NZ for a new 700TZ for the occasion....


Hi Phillipe,
Dale..... now there's a character. He was a fast rider and very smooth and won many NZ national titles in early to mid 70's before injuring himself out of the game.
As well as his own bikes Dale also rode for Colemans, the NZ Suzuki distributors who ran their bikes through Dick Lawton who was a great engine man and the guru of the time.
Dick built up all sorts of clever engines including a 3 cyl 350 based on a GT380 Suzuki crankcase.
Dale was very versatile and I've seen him ride on the same day...TR500, T350 production bike, Triumph 750 Bonny production (gear change on the other side!) 350 3 cyl GP bike and I think he may have also ridden a TR250 that day.
In early 74 Dale decided he would have to have one of these 700 Yamahas like John Boote had run in the final two NZ races and he figured he would go to the US to pick it up and do some AMA races over there.
He asked me if I would come along and help him so I binned my own racing (temporarily I thought) and off I went.
Through my boss, Tom McCleary he arranged with Barry Briggs (the kiwi speedway man) to get a bike out of the shipment going to Daytona in March.
Barry had contacts in Yamaha US and got a bike for us which was lucky because there was huge demand and along with the US riders all the Europeans were at Daytona to buy!
We sailed to LA, bought a van, visited YMUS then drove to the wharehouse and picked up our crated TZ 700.
I'm not sure if YMUS realised it but they gave us a very good price for the bike and we had it in the van and were off to Daytona quick smart.
It was quite a big change getting off a 65hp TR500 and onto 50% more power and then there was the track with the banking and high speeds.
It was a tall order to try and go fast straight off with all that to learn and so it was a job of work to get in the race, but he managed.
There were 117 entries and 80 got in the race.
How different is that to the 16 starters we see now in Moto GP?
The AMA and not the manufacturers, controlled the rules of racing, which perhaps, is as it should have stayed?
In the race we had a dnf when the exhaust system fell apart which was the standard dnf for this edition of Daytona. The pipes were a bit of a joke, flat sided, ugly things which didn't work well and fell to bits. I guess YMC had trouble getting 200 bikes built and some things came up short.
After Daytona we went to Malaysia from Montreal (cheapest air tickets) and did the Malaysian GP along with John Boote who came up from NZ. JB won.
This trip was the originator of the famous 'bike in a suitcase' story as we took the whole bike in suitcases from Montreal to Malaysia and return (via 2 days in London) to reduce costs.
As Stu said, Dale can live on a dollar.
John Boote pulled the same stunt the following year which fits since he likes to live on a dollar wjhere possible also.
Come to think of it, they may have contaminated me also.
Anyway, we arrived back in the US and did Atlanta, Talladega, Pocono, Ontario and Laguna Seca on the AMA schedule as well as a number of east coast club events at little tracks with names like Summit Point in places like West Virginia. Beautiful scenery, very interesting people racing very interesting motorcycles. Quite a time!
During the season, Dale had best finishes in heat races around 7th place and he had a few rides where he could hang with the likes of DuHammel and Paul Smart but I think as with many, he saw another level altogether in the top US guys.
Still, what an experience, travelling all over the US with a racing bike in a van and doing races where you were free to enter, had competitive equipment and the first prize money was 6-8 times the value of your bike.
What has gone wrong since ?



#237 philippe7

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 10:44

Brilliant story, thanks very much Mike :up:

#238 GD66

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 11:10

I must add to Mike's treatise on Dale Wylie : he first came to attention on the tracks of NZ in the 1970 summer, riding a Colin Lyster-framed G50 Matchless owned by Christchurch furniture manufacturer Bob Harris, in a crappy old set of leathers and a tatty old gold and black Stadium helmet. Off the bike, he looked like he'd just walked out of a plane crash, but on board the Lyster G50, he was FAST and BRAVE, achieving fearsome angles of lean and riding the thing to the edge of its' tyres limits. Awesome !

#239 peterd

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 12:24

"... he looked like he'd just walked out of a plane crash"

Isn't Dale a commercial pilot these days?

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#240 fil2.8

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 14:40

Brilliant story, thanks very much Mike :up:


Yes, i'll second that :love: , good stuff !!!!


#241 Coupe Kawasaki

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 15:06

That was worth finding my specs for Mike..great stuff :)

#242 Redneb

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 23:21

Fantastic stuff, thanks for sharing those stories.

BTW Philippe - number 8 is Rodger Freeth on the Viko Yamaha TZ (not sure if it's a 700 or 750).



#243 kz71

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 10:02

That was worth finding my specs for Mike..great stuff :)


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I just found a pic of Dale on the Lyster Matchless, which GD66 mentioned. This belonged to Bob Harris, a local businessman who sponsored Dale.
A few years before, Bob owned a Norton/BSA on which he wanted to sponsor a young rider and so he got all the local lunatic fringe out at the track and the fastest got the ride and that was Dale. He rode the BSA in 1969 and then Bob bought the Matchless off Neville Landrebe and they ran this until the TR500s came on the scene.
Dale and I both had TR500s and we spent a lot of time together developing them at the local race track and on the South Eyre road outside Christchurch. We had a nodding relationship with the local farmer and he would allow us to spend many afternoons flying up and down the road outside his farm, testing all sorts of engine set ups, exhaust pipes and even different streamlinings.
Crazy stuff but we had no dyno and anyway road testing was even more fun. The format was that Dick Lawton would send a heap of test stuff down to us and we would modify one bike and use the other as a base set up.
We would run up the road side by side and would clearly see if one pulled away. We had them geared as fast as they would go and we'd hold them flat for quite a period.
Luckily for us a TR500 flat out was only doing about 155 mph, so we were fairly safe........although we were side by side......
While avoiding the farmer coming out of his gateway one day I went off the road at full speed and I was bloody lucky there were no stakes or guy wires running to the power poles since I just missed the poles by centimetres. I flattened a quarter mile of hay before I got stopped and had my boots full of the stuff.
I was still shaking 2 hours later back at work.
By the time of the 73/74 NZ Christmas races we could see that TR500s were well finished and the 700 Yamaha had to be the go.
And here's a pic I found of us riding together....I like this one since I'm in front. :p Me on TR500 and Dale on Dick Lawtons 350 3 cyl Suzuki at Ruapuna in a reverse direction race.

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#244 GD66

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 10:17

Great stuff ! Cheers, Mike :up:

#245 robinmck

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 10:57

This could be one of those TR500's. I found it in a shed n Christchurch in 1980 or '81, it was red and had the std TR seat on it when I discovered it. It was not running, I worked out it had an ignition fault and could not find suitable replacement CDI units for it, so converted it to T500 points ignition, running total loss from a battery mounted behind the seat, that's why in this photo it has a TZ seat, the TR seat hump was too small to fit a battery in.http:///img256.imageshack.us/img256/4665/tr5002.jpg

Edited by robinmck, 18 June 2010 - 11:00.


#246 Hasselhoff

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 09:28

Moving right along with some shots from '75/76.

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#247 GD66

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 09:47

On fire, Hass ! The 125 behind Jeffrey in the top pic was raced by Geoff Sim, I guess that's him in the pic. The TZ700 letter A was raced by Jim Allen, of Dunlop fame, with the #3 outside him the Air New Zealand model of Trevor Discombe.

#248 philippe7

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 09:52

Another brilliant contribution, Hass !! :up:

Where's Jeff by the way, we haven't seen him for a while on the forum ?

You Aussies sem to have been all bundled up together in a designated paddock space ?

May I ask who the bearded gentleman in your first pic is ? Also, in the 2nd pic, there's Trevor Discombe in the background but who does that 700 with A on the fairing belong to ?

And is this maybe Len Willing in the last pic with Jeff and Vaughan ?

edit : Thanks Glenn . Jim Allen then . A while ago I replied in another thread but it didn't seem to raise much interest...better here then !
http://forums.autosp...w...t&p=4392559

Edited by philippe7, 19 June 2010 - 09:57.


#249 Russell Burrows

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 09:58

May I ask who the bearded gentleman in your fisrt pic is ?


Geoffrey Sim, one time empolyee of Bennett Honda who in the late sixties raced the scruffiest but probbably quickest CB 350 Honda in existence

Edited by Russell Burrows, 19 June 2010 - 09:59.


#250 Hasselhoff

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 10:03

And is this maybe Len Willing in the last pic with Jeff and Vaughan ?

No not Lenny his name was/is Chris Dixon a kiwi (Aussie in fact thanks below) motocross rider.

One more for you......

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Edited by Hasselhoff, 20 June 2010 - 02:16.