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Pat Hennen - the early years (1972-1975)


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#101 picblanc

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 18:28

Pat Brands Hatch Trans Trophy 1978.
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Photo Copyrighted to Graham Etheridge.

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#102 ccmUS

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 19:28

It seems the timing on these photos is perfect, as the GP at Laguna Seca is coming up next weekend, July 27-29, 2012. These photos were sent to me by Pat's Dad, so I shall parcel them out.............. slowly........... Apologies for the quality of the images, it's been 38 years, and some of us are not as good at archiving /preserving images as Graham. :kiss:

1974 Laguna Seca, Monterey, California

Pat's Dad, Claudia (I am wearing my John Boote t-shirt, which I still have :blush: , Pat's younger brother David (yes, they looked very much alike), Chip with the blue jumpsuit and back to the camera

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Yours truly behind the tape, Pat's Dad, Pat, David, Chip and the Ocelot Engineering mechanics

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David with back to the camera, Chip, family friend Matt Christe (curly hair) and John Boote behind the fence. John's bike is #61, he was pitted right next to Pat

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Edited by ccmUS, 28 July 2012 - 17:50.


#103 philippe7

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 20:28

Excellent pics and story Claudia ! Just thought I would copy here this post from the John Boote thread , any ideas as to the ID of the two people with John ?

Just found this stunning pic on the Ron Grant Racing facebook page.... this is John's first visit to Laguna Seca for the AMA Nationals in 1974...

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Edited by philippe7, 21 July 2012 - 20:29.


#104 picblanc

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 21:20

Great photos Claudia, nice to see a pic of David, he & I were in correspondence many times while he was trying to get Pat inducted into the Hall of Fame ( took a couple of years!) which I found unbelivable as Jay Leno (why!?) was in there!! but the first ever rider from USA to win a 500GP race was not. Most odd! :well:
If your still in touch with David Claudia? please pass my best regards on to him. :wave:

#105 ccmUS

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 19:01

Excellent pics and story Claudia ! Just thought I would copy here this post from the John Boote thread , any ideas as to the ID of the two people with John ?


Philippe, I have seen this photo of John Boote before, so great :love: , and unfortunately, I do not know who the two people are with him. I've emailed the photos to Chip and Pat and asked for their help as well. Just noticed the briefcase, or something similar, on the floor of the van with Gregg's name on it. Here is a poor photo of him from 1974 Laguna Seca, talking to Pat's mechanic Kerry.

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#106 ccmUS

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 20:19

Now, here comes an episode for which I hope some people in the know will be able to help me . Sometimes in 1974, I suppose during the first half of the year, Pat went to Australia - as is very obvious from the pictures below, kindly sent to me by Claudia.

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Now, when were those pics taken ? A while ago, Murray Sayle had written here that the 750 H2R Kawasaki that he used during the 74/75 Marlboro Series ( supplied by Hurley Wilvert, spannered by George Vukmanovitch ) had "previously been used by Pat Hennen for the 1974 Swann Series". I think the Swann series were run sometimes in January/February ? But then, there is also this other picture, also provided by Claudia.

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This is said to have been taken at Bathurst, which the experts on here will very quickly be able to confirm or not... but the bike is certainly not a H2R , but rather looks like the Len Perry 750 Suzuki triple which Ron Grant had used in the previous Marlboro Series, and that Pat was going to use in New-Zealand the following year. I saw a clip on youtube about the Bathurst 1974 event, which was a race-long tussle between Greg Hansford and Warren Willing, closely followed by Pat who finished 3rd . The Bathurst motorcycle races were usually ran around Easter if I'm not mistaken - so did Pat go to Australia twice, for the Swann series then for Bathurst - and riding different bikes on each occasion - or was it just one long trip ? Any clarification on this subject would be welcome, before we move on to the rest of the 1974 AMA season.



I am hoisted by my own petard!! Yikes :well: I pulled the photos out again to look at them and discovered identification regarding the photographers. The photos of Pat with the kangaroo, and Pat and Gregg with the koala were taken by Barry Marshall, Brisbane Australia. The photo of Pat at Bathurst is attributed to Projects Pictorial located in Neutral Bay NSW. So sorry for the oversight in assigning credit where credit is due! :blush:

#107 ccmUS

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 18:28

More from Laguna Seca 1974. Photos from Pat's Dad.


Game time. Ocelot mechanics gassing up the bike.
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Pat putting on his leathers, Chip accompanying him. Ocelot mechanics pushing the bike to the start line.
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Ocelot mechanics and Kerry with the bike, Pat to the left preparing himself for the race. I love this shot. It also give you a feel for what the track looks like. Open space, hills, lots of oak trees, lots of esses.
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Great photo!! Start line, with some of the best racers in the US: #32 Steve Baker, #114 Pat Evans, #3 Gene Romero #64 Gary Scott. Not sure who is on the Yamaha to the back left. Pat, family friend Matt Christe (with curly hair), Kerry and Chip. You can see the terrain in the background, the course went through the hills.
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#108 GD66

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 21:23

Great pics Claudia ! :wave:

I'd say it's probably Kenny on the back left, as it looks like Kel Carruthers' cheese-cutter hat alongside him.

Edited by GD66, 23 July 2012 - 21:24.


#109 philippe7

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 22:08

Great pictures indeed !

I was puzzled for a while to see Pat on the same grid as Evans, Baker, Scott, Roberts, Romero (#3) etc .... as those were all Experts in 1974 while Pat had chosen to remain a Junior for a second year.... and then I realised that the bikes are all 250's and that the picture must be of the line-up for the AMA "lightweight" race, which in those days was always a joint "junior-expert" event.

#110 ccmUS

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 17:56

Excellent pics and story Claudia ! Just thought I would copy here this post from the John Boote thread , any ideas as to the ID of the two people with John ?


Philippe: I thought I would post the reply to your query here as well as on the John Boote thread:

The older of the two young men in the photo with John Boote is Bill Moore. I have emailed Bill to ask who the other person is, but have not yet heard back from him. This is what Bill wrote to accompany the photo, which he posted on Facebook:

Really stoked to hook up with John Boote NZ, Road Racer that trusted me to change his tires, mix fuel and put a wrench to his TZ when I was just a teenager..



#111 LittleChris

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 00:48

Claudia

Were they running the circuit in reverse ( ie up the Corkscrew ) , the pictures seem to suggest so ?

Thyx

Chris

#112 philippe7

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 07:37

Claudia

Were they running the circuit in reverse ( ie up the Corkscrew ) , the pictures seem to suggest so ?

Thyx

Chris


Chris, this pic from the same event seems to show the corkscrew was taken the ususual ( downhill ) way...

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#113 LittleChris

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 20:41

Thanks Philippe, the location of the pit lane in the last picture that Claudia posted confused me and I assume that it is the original one outside the circuit that was used prior to it moving to the inside of the circuit. I spent ages last night trying to determine, without any joy, as to when the pit lane was moved as I thought it was prior to 1974 .

#114 ccmUS

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 18:37

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1972 Laguna Seca, Pat's first pro novice race. Ron Grant built bike. Gotta love the pit/paddock area, things were pretty rough in the beginning!!! :lol: Pat garnered enough points from his finishes at Laguna Seca and Ontario to turn Amateur/Junior for the following year.


Chris: My memory is that pit lane was always inside the track during the years Pat raced there. This is a photo of 1972 Laguna Seca and Pat was pitted up inside the track with the front straightaway where the car is in the photo (car is a level below the track). The bikes would approach from right to left, with the Castrol over hang being the finish line. The timing booth was on the far side of the track and would have been to the right, just outside the frame of the photo. The following years I think they set up more to the right of the pit area (looking toward the timing booth and front straight). I'll post additional photos from the 1974 race and maybe it will help complete the picture!!

Edited by ccmUS, 30 July 2012 - 18:47.


#115 ccmUS

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 18:46

Posting this one again. Chris, the Ocelot mechanics and Kerry are on the track, front straight, but currently set up in reverse, facing the wrong direction. The structure in the right of the photo is the timing booth, the pits/paddock area would be behind where Pat is sitting. I'm thinking he's sitting on the cement retaining wall that is in the 1972 photo where the car is parked.


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#116 ccmUS

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 19:10

1974 Laguna Seca. The timing booth, the corner of which is shown in the very right of the photo where Pat is sitting on the cement divider preparing for the race. I think I'm in there somewhere!! The bikes would approach the finish line from right to left.

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The resolution on this photo isn't very good but you can see who some of the other riders are. The riders in the right of the photo are circling around to face the other direction on the grid. It is also a good shot of the terrain; the esses are to the left. The pits are to the right in the photo.

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A couple of other riders. The crews are standing in the pits area

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#117 LittleChris

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 20:46

The resolution on this photo isn't very good but you can see who some of the other riders are. The riders in the right of the photo are circling around to face the other direction on the grid. It is also a good shot of the terrain; the esses are to the left. The pits are to the right in the photo.

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Thanks Claudia, so the current pits are on the right of the photo and presumably the old, no longer used, pit lane is to the left and it is the earlier shot of this behind Pat that confused me

#118 ccmUS

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 18:13

The last of the photos from Pat's Dad for Laguna Seca 1974. Again, sorry about the quality!

Corner before the front straight

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Wheelie down the front straight

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Winner's circle. The man in the left of the photo is Phil Frank. He used Ron Grant as his tuner and we saw him a lot, traveled with him to races. What a character, really fun guy!!

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#119 ccmUS

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 17:40

Hello!! :wave: Wanted to post in this thread as well. I made a trip down to the Bay Area in California this past weekend and was able to spend several hours with Pat. SO wonderful to see him again :kiss: He is doing well. I hope to be able to see him again sometime soon. :clap:

Edited by ccmUS, 28 September 2012 - 17:40.


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#120 kz71

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 20:04

Hello!! :wave: Wanted to post in this thread as well. I made a trip down to the Bay Area in California this past weekend and was able to spend several hours with Pat. SO wonderful to see him again :kiss: He is doing well. I hope to be able to see him again sometime soon. :clap:



Hi Claudia,
Nice posts.
Maz and I are looking forward to seeing Pat, Chip and Frans in NZ in December.
Do you have any idea what happened to Phil Frank?
As you say, quite a character. I lived in his house at Holly Park Circle SF for a while in '74.
An interesting hacienda......moose head above the front door, tree stumps for tables, tin foil ceiling linings (easily accessible supply for other purposes) and a VW dune buggy named "The Roach" which he used to drive around in like a maniac....which he was.
Great guy. He set fire to almost the entire field in a race in 72(?) when he forgot to clip his gas cap shut on the grid then fell going into the first turn.
He took out most of the field and the fuel caught fire burning all the bikes. He wasn't popular for a while there.
He had a fire shrunken glove sitting on the trees stump in the lounge as a reminder to do the gas cap up!

#121 ccmUS

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 18:12

Mike, thanks for the stories on Phil, he was indeed a character!! :stoned: We spent a lot of time around him, and he and his girlfriend were part of the famous Dallas trip in about 1972 (I think I referenced that in an earlier post). I remember going to his flat in San Francisco, don't remember the address, eclectic decor to say the least!! Amazing that you lived there for a while!

I looked for him a while ago, and it appears he may have moved to Lincoln, California, which is a bit north and east of Sacramento. I should follow up on this, call him and find out what he's doing. Great guy. If I connect with him, I will certainly let you know.

I can well imagine he was unpopular after the "motorcycle flambe" incident!!

I remember going to the hospital to visit him after he crashed at one of the races, think it was Laguna Seca. Punctured a lung as I recall. I had to go sit on the floor in the hallway because I wasn't feeling well!! :blush: Wow, flood of memories!! Thanks for sharing yours!

#122 Redneb

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 22:43

This "Pat Hennen" Suzuki RG was on display at the Barry Sheene Memorial meeting at Hampton Downs yesterday. There was no info and no-one seemed to know much about it, so I'm not sure if it's the real thing or a replica.


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#123 Macca

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 08:40

This "Pat Hennen" Suzuki RG was on display at the Barry Sheene Memorial meeting at Hampton Downs yesterday. There was no info and no-one seemed to know much about it, so I'm not sure if it's the real thing or a replica.


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It looks great but it's a Mk 8 RG500 which came out in 1983, and Pat's career ended at the IoM in 1978.

Paul M

#124 Redneb

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 20:11

Well that's about as wrong as you can get isn't it? Why plaster Pat Hennen all over it...what's the purpose of that? I feel like I've been conned and it seems disrespectful to a rider I respect enormously after seeing him ride back in the day.

Edited by Redneb, 22 October 2012 - 20:16.


#125 picblanc

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 20:18

Well that's about as wrong as you can get isn't it? Why plaster Pat Hennen all over it...what's the purpose of that? I feel like I've been conned and it seems disrespectful to a rider I respect enormously after seeing him ride back in the day.



Would not disagree with that statement. :up:

#126 fil2.8

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 22:00

Would not disagree with that statement. :up:



perxactly


#127 billlawrence

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:13

Would not disagree with that statement. :up:



Yes too much of this stuff going on .How many Barry Sheene Suzukis are there ? Bill Lawrence

#128 peterd

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 11:25

There was, of course, a genuine ex Pat Hennen RG500 at the meeting. I think it was Pat's 1976 Finnish GP winning bike (please correct me if I'm wrong) and long-time owner Alan DeLatour was giving it a good workout on the track.

#129 suzrg500

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 14:07

Well that's about as wrong as you can get isn't it? Why plaster Pat Hennen all over it...what's the purpose of that? I feel like I've been conned and it seems disrespectful to a rider I respect enormously after seeing him ride back in the day.


I guess it depends on the context of the presentation of the bike, if it is an attempt to pass it off (badly in this case) as the real thing and with false provenance then I totally agree, but if it has been built more as a tribute bike and purporting to be no more then I see nothing wrong with that. Being the builder of a KRJr Telefonica RGV500 I suppose I would say that would'nt I :)

#130 tdijam

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 16:13

It looks great but it's a Mk 8 RG500 which came out in 1983, and Pat's career ended at the IoM in 1978.

Paul M


It' either a MK 4 or Mk5 RG , certainly not a MK8 because it a twin shock , nice looking RG though, even if the paintwork is not quite right.either way its too new to be a Pat Hennen bike. Still it makes a change from all the Barry Sheene replicas here in the UK.

#131 suzrg500

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 16:30

Braced swingarm and can't see the front to clearly but looks like it may have anti dive so maybe Mk6

#132 fil2.8

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 17:54

Braced swingarm and can't see the front to clearly but looks like it may have anti dive so maybe Mk6




a genuine ..................................................bitza :rolleyes: :well:


#133 philippe7

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 18:14

There was, of course, a genuine ex Pat Hennen RG500 at the meeting. I think it was Pat's 1976 Finnish GP winning bike (please correct me if I'm wrong) and long-time owner Alan DeLatour was giving it a good workout on the track.


I did see the picture on your facebook page Peter, it looks like the machine that was in a museum in NZ alongside two genuine Geoff Perry bikes, already owned by Alain de Latour if I remember well what the sign said.

Edited by philippe7, 23 October 2012 - 18:17.


#134 GD66

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 03:36

There was, of course, a genuine ex Pat Hennen RG500 at the meeting. I think it was Pat's 1976 Finnish GP winning bike (please correct me if I'm wrong) and long-time owner Alan DeLatour was giving it a good workout on the track.


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:wave:

Pic by Barry Raynel.

Edited by GD66, 27 October 2012 - 03:40.


#135 robinmck

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 04:40

Pats in NZ now
http://www.wanganuic...-glory/1694107/

#136 joeninety

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 19:56

https://www.youtube....p;v=NNkdZSg-m0M

#137 ccmUS

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 18:28

https://www.youtube....p;v=NNkdZSg-m0M



The video from Mallory Park 1977, Race of the Year was compiled by Chris Thorne from VHS tapes that were given to him by Mick Grant.


There is also a shorter video at Oulton Park 1977 that Chris put together, also via tapes from Mick:




And a short video at Olivers Mount, Scarborough International 1977, also from Chris via tapes from Mick. This was the first time Pat had raced there, he placed third:



#138 ccmUS

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 04:21

 Isle of Man Classic TT 2013.  Allan Brew, Steve Baker and Pat Hennen.  

 

Allan-Steve-Pat-MGP13E_0055-1_zps3212362



#139 philippe7

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 08:26

Good to see Pat obviously enjoying himself, thanks Claudia !

 

Also, nice to see him together with Steve Baker, one of his toughest rivals at the time, both in the US or on the Grand Prix trail. Although, with no disrespect at all to the man's great talent and brilliant career, I fail to see the relevance of Steve at the Classic TT  :confused:  Unless I'm very much mistaken he never rode on the island, did he ? But then again, no offence meant, it's just a passing question. 



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#140 Rennmax

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 08:59

Why shoudn't guys like Baker, Spencer, Lavado etc not enjoy themselves on the IOM and do a parade lap? Ago, Read, Gould were also there, though they once vowed that they would never ride there again...


Edited by Rennmax, 27 August 2013 - 09:05.


#141 philippe7

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 09:33

I hear what you say, Renn. After my initial post I googled a bit about the Classic TT and indeed saw that Spencer, Lavado, etc....were also there. Of course, they are perfectly entitled to do what they want ( and who would I be anyway to object to their right to do so...) It's only that I found it a bit ...."surprising" . Never mind, it's not important and  I'm not trying to start an argument ! The important thing ( for me ) - and in the context of this thread - is to see Pat obviously pleased to be there.



#142 larryd

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 18:30

Pat is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo entitled to be there, and most welcome.

 

I remember signing in for my first Manx Grand Prix in 1978, and there were bulletins on his on-going condition pinned up in the Race Office.

 

As to the other "Heroes" mentioned, I would only ask how much it cost the Manx DED to bring them, and to what purpose ??

 

:confused: 



#143 eman1948

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 23:09

Great reading and so good see that Pat is doing well. I was watching at the eleventh mile stone on that fateful day. If my memory is not playing tricks with me he was dicing on the road with John Williams and Tom Herron two other brilliant riders that have left us.



#144 Swisskitsch

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 02:02

Here's a story Pat told me about his first road race. And how on the first turn of his first race, he learned his first lesson about road racing. 
 
Pat was riding a converted Suzuki X6 Hustler 250 street bike.
 
While working in Ron Grant's garage, he'd noticed the basket case leaning against the wall behind a lathe.  
 
It's cool looking fiberglass fairing was simply too much to resist, so he asked Ron if he could borrow it if he fixed it up.
 
With the help of his brothers Chip and David and many late nights down in the family garage, the bike was ready to race in the 1972 Laguna Seca Pro/Novice event.  The California track that currently hosts Moto GP, is only 90 minutes south of his hometown, San Mateo.  
     
Pat's riding philosophy was - If they can do it, I can do it faster.
 
He got a great start off the line, admittedly due to the fact that they had somehow forgotten to tell officials, that, unlike the factory racers, the former street bike still had it's extra low and verboten first gear. 
 
Running with the lead pack into the first turn he braked hard for the fast left-hander.  The large drums worked as advertised. However, not so for the tires.
 
This is when Pat learned that one shouldn't go road racing on a set of used rubber. 
 
He ran wide off the track, somehow managing to keep it upright, no doubt a tribute to his dirt tracking pedigree.
He reentered the track leaving a huge cloud of dust for the trailing riders to choke they're way through.  
 
In the end, on a borrowed modified street bike, with used tires, Pat Hennen managed an impressive top 10 finish in his first ever road race.

Edited by Swisskitsch, 20 October 2013 - 02:02.


#145 picblanc

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 12:18

What a great story! thank you for sharing it with us, & welcome to the forum. :wave:



#146 ccmUS

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 18:53

What a great story! thank you for sharing it with us, & welcome to the forum. :wave:

Hi Greg!!  Greg is one of Pat's very good friends, and he sees Pat often.  I was privileged to join Pat and Greg at the MotoGP in Laguna Seca at the end of July this year.  Quite a bit different than in early 70s!!  If it is not readily apparent in Greg's photo, he is sporting a "Pat Hennen in '77" t-shirt.  I recently heard the "extra gear" story too.  Some things are better left unsaid???   :rolleyes:



#147 Swisskitsch

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 01:53

Hi plcblanc. Thanks, it's great to be on board.

 

Hi Claudia.  The cats out of the bag.  :cool:



#148 philippe7

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 09:26

Hi Greg. Nice to have you around. Please go on with the "untold stories" !



#149 JAW

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 10:50

Here's a few shots of another hot dice Pat had with Gregg Hansford, at the `76 Australian G.P. ( with Ago on his MV),

 

http://www.deejay51.com/laverton.htm



#150 fil2.8

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 10:16

Here's a few shots of another hot dice Pat had with Gregg Hansford, at the `76 Australian G.P. ( with Ago on his MV),

 

http://www.deejay51.com/laverton.htm

 

 

Great piccies , thanks for sharing  :up: