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The end of motorcycle road racing?


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#1 Wolf

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 13:36

Just the other day I was watching a MotoGP race when one of Eurosport comentators remarked how a certain driver was amongst very best road racers (probably to the effect, best of the lot). MotoGP is not actually road racing, is it? This got me thinking a bit about a subject I've been pondering (or should I say wondering) about.

Back in '77 or '78 (I think) World Championship saw the demise of true road racing- from then on all races would be on permanent racetracks. Some splendid (but dangerous) tracks like IoM and Preluk got dropped from the race calendar. But what was the feeling, back then, about this decision- how did spectators react, and how those involved in the sport? I mean, some of the drivers must've been quite relieved- I certainly wouldn't like to be in their boots, zooming around countryside, with paltry 'protection' and all those nasty things just waiting to be hit by me or my bike (regardlerss of how brave and chivarous this idea might appeal to me)... OTOH I'd expect some people would hold the same views DSJ held when JYS was on his safety crusade in GP racing. Any insights to that era, and things about this 'switch' are welcome.

Thanks in advance. :)

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#2 fines

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 15:26

Imatra was used until 1982 at the very least, and a shorted version of Brno too, iirc! Remembering the times, I think everybody was relieved. These tracks were just lethal, and a number of drivers died each year. The FIA tried to prolongue the lifetimes of some tracks (Vila Real, IoM, Dundrod) by introducing a sort of Road Racing "Tourist Trophy World Championship", but it didn't attract top riders of the Continental Circus. One of the last active GP stars to appear at the TT was Graeme Crosby in 1981, I think. Of course, some of the TT stars went on to become GP stars as well, most notably Ron Haslam.

Most of the really big stars in Grands Prix boycotted the really dangerous tracks anyway from the mid-seventies onwards, to the point that there'd be usually no 500cc race at Brno etc. I always frowned (and still do!) when I see pictures of long, flat-out straights lined by trees with protective... straw bales placed in front of them! :down:

#3 MoMurray

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 16:44

What a great thread idea.

I grew up in Ireland and of course Road Racing is very much alive and well on that little piece of heaven. It still frightens the bejesus out of me though to see how fast a modern race bike can go on these country lanes. Proper world level racing (MotoGP, WSB, BSB or AMA SB) is now a different art than it was in the seventies and eighties. In the old days if you slid the rear tire, it was a "moment". Nowadays, you simply cannot be competitive without the ability to steer the bike with the throttle and push the front tire into the corners. Road racing is just not compatible with that style of racing. I remember when riders were choosing one discipline over the other, the scratchers as we called circuit racers were often and wrongly branded somehow less brave. However, I think the two forms of racing are just different, Rallying and F1. The greatest Road Racer of them all was not a particularly gifted short circuit racer but I don't think he was any braver than Rossi or Roberts et al.

I worked as a team mechanic in both disciplines and decided for myself that I did not care for Road Racing after losing several friends. That is just my own very personal decision and I am still in awe of those riders who choose to follow this path. Same sense of awe I have when I see professional bull riders at a rodeo...not something I would ever do and very dangerous, but fantastic to watch.

Mo.

#4 Keir

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 16:49

Hmmm !

I guess it depends on your terminology.

Is Spa a road course or a circuit or both ??

Indy is a circuit, IOM is a road course. ..... but Indy hosts a round of the Formula One Championship and that is considered Road Racing. Hmmm !

This might go on and on !!

#5 llmaurice

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 17:35

As Mo Murray says ,the (late) greatest roadracer of them all was certainly not a great circuit man. Like Mo ,I've seen so many lost to the roads but then also had a personal tragedy with short circuit racing too.
The fact is that unlike cars where certain restraints can be easily imposed to attempt preventing injury at known danger areas , bike racing is such a sport where so called speed control areas cause their own problems as in the recent BSB round at Mallory Park where the new Edwinas saw stoppages in nearly every race . The infamous bus stop too saw a number of incidents.
The fact is that falling off a motorcyle hurts ! With modern technology in tyres , the improved grip means that once the limit is reached on cornering ,the machine starts to slide ,then grips , the result being the terrifying high sides that we witness these days .
Couple this with the fact that none of the big 4 Japanese 1000cc sports bikes do less than 175mph ,then think of this even in "superstock" where some weight is taken off the machine ,uprated exhausts are allowed (no other power increases other than blue printing ),giving about 170bhp on 285kg weight then gearing down for say Mallory to a max. speed of 145 along Stebbe straight . just think now of the acceleration coupled with limited traction afforded by treaded rubber that must be able to handle this type of power for at least 20 minutes , and you end up with what we see in todays racing .
Now couple that to "closed road" conditions with off cambers ,potholes,white lines etc. and then we can begin to understand why folks such as MoMurray (myself included) have no time for the roads these days.

#6 MoMurray

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 17:38

Kier,

Spa is the evidence that there will never be a clear delineation between what we consider a pure road race (the Skerries 100 outside of Dublin) and pure short circuit (say Silverstone). It is a gradation of sorts where sort pure road circuits have been modified to make them more suitable for modern machinery. Even in the IOM, the road surface on the course is of a standard far above that on the rest of the island. Although Indy is talking with AMA Superbike about an event, it does not currently host a world championship event on two wheels (this thread started as a motorcycle topic). However, you bring up a good point worth debating. Would Monaco be the four wheel equivelant of a pure road race on motorcycles. Or the long track at Spa for that matter. Motorcycles don't do so well on street courses because of the close proximity of walls, although I was part of a championship winning effort in the US in 1991 where we clinched the series on the street course in Miami!

Mo.

#7 ghinzani

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 17:56

Originally posted by MoMurray
Motorcycles don't do so well on street courses because of the close proximity of walls, although I was part of a championship winning effort in the US in 1991 where we clinched the series on the street course in Miami!


Mo

I witnessed the bike race at Macau in the early 90s, sadly was'nt really aware of who the riders were (they werent 500 riders so the names didnt stick) but boy were they brave!! They looked so much more exciting than the F3 cars, altho Macau is probably a better venue than Monaco or Ballyjamesduff ;)

Was the Miami bike race on the same circuit the Indycars used? The one that Al Unser won his last championship at in 85, was it called Tamiami?

#8 Wolf

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 17:58

Keir, I wouldn't call modern Spa road circuit, but old Spa definitely was.


BTW, this was our circuit that got dropped from World Championship in '77 (suceeded by Grobnik, from '78 untill 1990ies) : http://preluk.freehosting.net/ . A friend did a video and I did the site with photos (as a project for GPL- '67 F3 race and '38 GP making it relevant for GPL)...

#9 Barry Boor

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 19:24

To me the definition is simple. When the racing is over, what happens to the circuit. If the public starts to ride, drive, cycle or whatever, on it, it's a road racing circuit. If not, it isn't.

The grey areas are those where there is part road, part track. Le Mans being a prime example, although the bikers do 24 hours on the Bugatti... :eek:

So, as has been said, apart from Ireland and the I.O.M, there ain't much of it left!

#10 MoMurray

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 20:09

That's a good definition Barry, as long as we accept a few exceptoins to the rule...Would Ile de Notre Dame in Montreal be considered a real road race? (ok for cars and not bikes) When racing is over, it is open for public use, however, it was originally designed as a race track. Life is shades of grey, isn't it. ;)

Mo.

#11 Wolf

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 20:30

Mo, well, it's located in the town, so is it perhaps a street circuit? :p

#12 ghinzani

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 21:16

Anyone know where I can get a rundown of the Macau bike race results? So I can see who I didnt know, if you see what I mean.

#13 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 22:02

I went to Skerries a few times in the 70s and 80s. The last time I went (1983) I was so scared for the riders that I never went back.

#14 philippe7

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 08:17

In French we tend to refer to "natural" or "artificial" circuits …..a "natural" circuit being one which sticks to the natural environment , not necessarily on open roads …..in that sense Charade , Mosport, the "new" Spa or the "real" Nurburgring would be considered as "natural" , although purpose-built…..whereas the Albert Park, Montreal or Adelaide, although mostly made of public roads, would be deemed as "artificial"…But of course, there is some subjectivity involved..... Anyway……

Let's remember that the safety crusade of the 70's Grand Prix riders was originally aimed at taking the dangerous circuits (wether natural or artificial) out of the "compulsory" rounds of the World Championship, in order not to force the riders who were (legitimately) bothered about the safety issues to race on them for the sake of scoring points . There was no call for a "ban" of dangerous tracks, but only a plea to leave the riders with the open choice of wether or not to run on them . The situation was a bit touchy since the Grand Prix organisers used to take advantage of the obligation that World Championship contenders had to enter their meetings to give them very minimal starting money. So the riders also needed to enter well-paid non-championship races in order to make a living. So, the same men who strongly objected to seeing Grand Prix organised at Salzburg, the Nurburgring, Opatija or Imatra, had no problem with entering meetings on pure road courses like Mettet, Chimay, Raalte , Schwanenstadt or Macau…. But then , it was their choice to take part or not , and they could also "take it easy" and not push to the limit, since there were no points at stake and they had cashed the starting money. Phil Read's victorious return to the TT once it was out of the World Championship, or safety crusader Barry Sheene's terrifying duels with Mick Grant at Scarborough, are only a few examples.

I have a lot of admiration for today's "real road racers" , as they call themselves ( they even have a dedicated website at http://www.realroadracing.com ) , and indeed over those last decades it has become very much of a strictly British/Irish thing . I admire their skill and bravery, but I can't help thinking that the price to pay is way too high. Since the 70's , the number of riders maimed or killed in World Championship rounds has thankfully significantly dropped…..while at the same time , "real" road racers ( and even the best of them, Joey Dunlop or David Jefferies to name only two ) continued to lose their life at a tragic pace, and Grand Prix stars such as Tom Herron, Jon Newbold, John Williams or Pat Hennen paid the high price for the "thrill" of occasionally blasting around Dunrod or the Isle of Man…

Which famous road racer was it who used to say "you never see a tree crossing the road" , meaning that it was the rider's responsibility to adapt his riding to the trackside conditions ? There is certainly some truth in that , but even the most careful rider can be caught by an unplanned hazard. I had a conversation a few months ago with Jean-Claude Meilland, a midfielf French Grand Prix rider of the 70's whose career was effectively ended by a horrifying crash on the Isle of Man. He told me how much he had dreamed of running the TT, how careful he had been in preparing his bike to minimize any risk of mechanical failure, and how much he had firmly decided to take it easy and never push close to the limit. What he could not account for, however, was the fellow rider who collided into him and sent him flying into the wall of a trackside house , putting him in a coma for five days, which he thankfully survived……


Anyway, sorry for rambling on……

#15 ghinzani

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 08:26

No apology needed, excellent post Phillipe! :up:

#16 llmaurice

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 14:03

Trees certainly don't cross the road .Unfortunately in the late '80s ,a horse crossed the road during the 250 IoM race when poor Gene McDonald lost his life .
Whether it be on pure roads or closed circuit ,the irrefutable fact is that 10 out of 12 bike crashes HURT .It is a much lower percentage in cars -even single seaters .
The main difference is that even at top level (Grand Prix) there average at least 30 fallers in the course of the average GP qual/race weekend .
These blokes are very brave fit young men who need far more acknowlegement than they currently get .
Back to the Isle of Man , anyone who has stood in the pits ,watching those "clock" faces move round ,waiting for "their man", has at some time or other had to to wait for over 18 minutes (even more in the past) when the local scout troop leader forgot to signal one of his lads to move the hands round , until -finally , their rider appeared over the start finish-no had kittens .
It makes Le Mans seem like a holiday !
Never lose sight of the fact that motorcycle racers are a breed apart .

#17 Keir

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 15:15

Wolf,
As an old cyclist myself, I'd hate to lose it on that circuit!!

..... but that's why the throttle goes both ways !!

BRING BACK TRUE ROAD RACING

#18 MoMurray

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 15:22

Poor Gene was one of those I would have included in my earlier reference to friends lost. Great young bloke. And the really sickening thing about that accident was some low life bastard journo, I think it was Nick Harris, caught the whole scene on camera and sold it to one of the british tabloids who ran it as a center spread. I was in Rijeka with the Armstrong team at the time and said ******* arrives in our pit area proudly showing off his latest work. :mad: He was barred from our pit and every time I hear his sqeaky voice on TV now I can't help but think of that horrifying image of my friend. One of life's lessons that day, I can tell you.

Mo

#19 Keir

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 16:12

Mo,

Getting back to the Ille de Notre Dame, it was never designed to be a race circuit, it started out life as Expo 67, a world's fair of sorts, and the roads were for the public use. They did get it paved and the usual safety stuff installed, but the original intent was not racing !

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#20 philippe7

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 16:55

Originally posted by MoMurray
I grew up in Ireland


Mo, I'm flying out to Cork tomorrow . I'll have a pint of Guiness to your health tomorrow night ! :)

Cheers

#21 MoMurray

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 18:42

In Cork, you're safer ordering "Murphy's". It is the local stout and they feel rather proud of it compared to that oul' shite from Dublin!!

Being a Dub, I am a Guiness man...and so I envy you and appreciate your offer to raise a glass of the black stuff for me...

Slainte

Mo.

#22 philippe7

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Posted 13 May 2005 - 20:01

Mo,

1/ I did have a pint of Murphy's to your health on Wednesday evening

2/ A pint of Murphy's is 3,75 € in a lovely pub in Cork, and 7,90 € in an ugly bar in Paris Charles de Gaulle airport....that beats all the Salt Lake City / Los Angeles comparisons in another thread !

3/ I caught a few minutes of "real road racing " on Irish TV as they were running a preview for the NorthWest 200......those guys are mad, honestly !

#23 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 08:14

Are there any DVDs available of Phoenix Park car races or any of the other road races.

#24 exclubracer

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 21:28

As Mo Murray says ,the (late) greatest roadracer of them all was certainly not a great circuit man. Like Mo ,I've seen so many lost to the roads but then also had a personal tragedy with short circuit racing too.
The fact is that unlike cars where certain restraints can be easily imposed to attempt preventing injury at known danger areas , bike racing is such a sport where so called speed control areas cause their own problems as in the recent BSB round at Mallory Park where the new Edwinas saw stoppages in nearly every race . The infamous bus stop too saw a number of incidents.
The fact is that falling off a motorcyle hurts ! With modern technology in tyres , the improved grip means that once the limit is reached on cornering ,the machine starts to slide ,then grips , the result being the terrifying high sides that we witness these days .
Couple this with the fact that none of the big 4 Japanese 1000cc sports bikes do less than 175mph ,then think of this even in "superstock" where some weight is taken off the machine ,uprated exhausts are allowed (no other power increases other than blue printing ),giving about 170bhp on 285kg weight then gearing down for say Mallory to a max. speed of 145 along Stebbe straight . just think now of the acceleration coupled with limited traction afforded by treaded rubber that must be able to handle this type of power for at least 20 minutes , and you end up with what we see in todays racing .
Now couple that to "closed road" conditions with off cambers ,potholes,white lines etc. and then we can begin to understand why folks such as MoMurray (myself included) have no time for the roads these days.


Ilmaurice and Mo Murray :wave:

I recall an interview given by the great Jeremy McWilliams some years ago, when he said that, within the Irish racing community, if you didn't 'do the roads' you were considered a pussy.

Jeremy started racing when he was 26 y-o IIRC and never raced on the roads, his performances and committment on closed circuits were beyond reproach IMO but I think he was an exception as Irish riders go, insomuch as he never raced on the roads.


#25 stuavant

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 01:51

In French we tend to refer to "natural" or "artificial" circuits …..a "natural" circuit being one which sticks to the natural environment , not necessarily on open roads …..in that sense Charade , Mosport, the "new" Spa or the "real" Nurburgring would be considered as "natural" , although purpose-built…..whereas the Albert Park, Montreal or Adelaide, although mostly made of public roads, would be deemed as "artificial"…But of course, there is some subjectivity involved..... Anyway……

Let's remember that the safety crusade of the 70's Grand Prix riders was originally aimed at taking the dangerous circuits (wether natural or artificial) out of the "compulsory" rounds of the World Championship, in order not to force the riders who were (legitimately) bothered about the safety issues to race on them for the sake of scoring points . There was no call for a "ban" of dangerous tracks, but only a plea to leave the riders with the open choice of wether or not to run on them . The situation was a bit touchy since the Grand Prix organisers used to take advantage of the obligation that World Championship contenders had to enter their meetings to give them very minimal starting money. So the riders also needed to enter well-paid non-championship races in order to make a living. So, the same men who strongly objected to seeing Grand Prix organised at Salzburg, the Nurburgring, Opatija or Imatra, had no problem with entering meetings on pure road courses like Mettet, Chimay, Raalte , Schwanenstadt or Macau…. But then , it was their choice to take part or not , and they could also "take it easy" and not push to the limit, since there were no points at stake and they had cashed the starting money. Phil Read's victorious return to the TT once it was out of the World Championship, or safety crusader Barry Sheene's terrifying duels with Mick Grant at Scarborough, are only a few examples.

I have a lot of admiration for today's "real road racers" , as they call themselves ( they even have a dedicated website at http://www.realroadracing.com ) , and indeed over those last decades it has become very much of a strictly British/Irish thing . I admire their skill and bravery, but I can't help thinking that the price to pay is way too high. Since the 70's , the number of riders maimed or killed in World Championship rounds has thankfully significantly dropped…..while at the same time , "real" road racers ( and even the best of them, Joey Dunlop or David Jefferies to name only two ) continued to lose their life at a tragic pace, and Grand Prix stars such as Tom Herron, Jon Newbold, John Williams or Pat Hennen paid the high price for the "thrill" of occasionally blasting around Dunrod or the Isle of Man…

Which famous road racer was it who used to say "you never see a tree crossing the road" , meaning that it was the rider's responsibility to adapt his riding to the trackside conditions ? There is certainly some truth in that , but even the most careful rider can be caught by an unplanned hazard. I had a conversation a few months ago with Jean-Claude Meilland, a midfielf French Grand Prix rider of the 70's whose career was effectively ended by a horrifying crash on the Isle of Man. He told me how much he had dreamed of running the TT, how careful he had been in preparing his bike to minimize any risk of mechanical failure, and how much he had firmly decided to take it easy and never push close to the limit. What he could not account for, however, was the fellow rider who collided into him and sent him flying into the wall of a trackside house , putting him in a coma for five days, which he thankfully survived……


Anyway, sorry for rambling on……

Well written and entirely accurate. There was a time when the question was'nt whether or not the track was safe, rather is it as safe as it can be. Pat Hennen used to say to me when arguing about safety that all the circuits are dangerous, its just about how far the tight arse promoters went to ensuring we had maximum protection. then Pat was broke, needed the money from the IOM ( or loan truck from SGB) and the rest is history.


#26 picblanc

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 10:39

Yes indeed Philippe, I don't remember reading this when first posted, spot on comments as per usual!. :up:

#27 bobness

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 08:07

Keir, I wouldn't call modern Spa road circuit, but old Spa definitely was.


BTW, this was our circuit that got dropped from World Championship in '77 (suceeded by Grobnik, from '78 untill 1990ies) : http://preluk.freehosting.net/ . A friend did a video and I did the site with photos (as a project for GPL- '67 F3 race and '38 GP making it relevant for GPL)...


Hi Wolf.
Crikey. Not much run off then....
Is this the track that's also called Opatija?

#28 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 09:19

In French we tend to refer to "natural" or "artificial" circuits …..a "natural" circuit being one which sticks to the natural environment , not necessarily on open roads …..in that sense Charade , Mosport, the "new" Spa or the "real" Nurburgring would be considered as "natural" , although purpose-built…..whereas the Albert Park, Montreal or Adelaide, although mostly made of public roads, would be deemed as "artificial"…But of course, there is some subjectivity involved..... Anyway……

Let's remember that the safety crusade of the 70's Grand Prix riders was originally aimed at taking the dangerous circuits (wether natural or artificial) out of the "compulsory" rounds of the World Championship, in order not to force the riders who were (legitimately) bothered about the safety issues to race on them for the sake of scoring points . There was no call for a "ban" of dangerous tracks, but only a plea to leave the riders with the open choice of wether or not to run on them . The situation was a bit touchy since the Grand Prix organisers used to take advantage of the obligation that World Championship contenders had to enter their meetings to give them very minimal starting money. So the riders also needed to enter well-paid non-championship races in order to make a living. So, the same men who strongly objected to seeing Grand Prix organised at Salzburg, the Nurburgring, Opatija or Imatra, had no problem with entering meetings on pure road courses like Mettet, Chimay, Raalte , Schwanenstadt or Macau…. But then , it was their choice to take part or not , and they could also "take it easy" and not push to the limit, since there were no points at stake and they had cashed the starting money. Phil Read's victorious return to the TT once it was out of the World Championship, or safety crusader Barry Sheene's terrifying duels with Mick Grant at Scarborough, are only a few examples.

I have a lot of admiration for today's "real road racers" , as they call themselves ( they even have a dedicated website at http://www.realroadracing.com ) , and indeed over those last decades it has become very much of a strictly British/Irish thing . I admire their skill and bravery, but I can't help thinking that the price to pay is way too high. Since the 70's , the number of riders maimed or killed in World Championship rounds has thankfully significantly dropped…..while at the same time , "real" road racers ( and even the best of them, Joey Dunlop or David Jefferies to name only two ) continued to lose their life at a tragic pace, and Grand Prix stars such as Tom Herron, Jon Newbold, John Williams or Pat Hennen paid the high price for the "thrill" of occasionally blasting around Dunrod or the Isle of Man…

Which famous road racer was it who used to say "you never see a tree crossing the road" , meaning that it was the rider's responsibility to adapt his riding to the trackside conditions ? There is certainly some truth in that , but even the most careful rider can be caught by an unplanned hazard. I had a conversation a few months ago with Jean-Claude Meilland, a midfielf French Grand Prix rider of the 70's whose career was effectively ended by a horrifying crash on the Isle of Man. He told me how much he had dreamed of running the TT, how careful he had been in preparing his bike to minimize any risk of mechanical failure, and how much he had firmly decided to take it easy and never push close to the limit. What he could not account for, however, was the fellow rider who collided into him and sent him flying into the wall of a trackside house , putting him in a coma for five days, which he thankfully survived……


Anyway, sorry for rambling on……

I´ll second what Stu said, Philippe. Good post. The only change I would make is in the comment, "Grand Prix stars such as Tom Herron, Jon Newbold, John Williams or Pat Hennen paid the high price for the "thrill" of occasionally blasting around Dunrod or the Isle of Man…".
I don´t think they were after thrills. They saw the taming of those very difficult circuits as an enormous challenge.
A well known GP rider of that period once told me it was the danger of M/C racing that attracted him to the sport, because it added a new dimension to the challenge. He described it as having three elements, danger, respect (he never used the word fear) and skill. The challenge was to see how far one could extend one´s skill, without losing respect, or sight, of the danger.
Occasionally, those limits are overstepped and, tragically, the price is a high one.

#29 picblanc

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 09:46

I´ll second what Stu said, Philippe. Good post. The only change I would make is in the comment, "Grand Prix stars such as Tom Herron, Jon Newbold, John Williams or Pat Hennen paid the high price for the "thrill" of occasionally blasting around Dunrod or the Isle of Man…".
I don´t think they were after thrills. They saw the taming of those very difficult circuits as an enormous challenge.
A well known GP rider of that period once told me it was the danger of M/C racing that attracted him to the sport, because it added a new dimension to the challenge. He described it as having three elements, danger, respect (he never used the word fear) and skill. The challenge was to see how far one could extend one´s skill, without losing respect, or sight, of the danger.
Occasionally, those limits are overstepped and, tragically, the price is a high one.



To add to that, if you look at all of those riders mentioned
Tom Herron was riding with a hand in plaster rightly or wrongly he felt capable of controlling his bikes, & lost control in the last race on last lap only yards from the finish :cry:
John Newbold clipped the back of Mick Grants? bike, and crashed in almost the same place as Tom. :cry:
John Williams died later in hospital from I think heart failure? & not from injuries relating to the accident from which he got up & walked away. :cry:
Pat Hennen of course collided with a large bird causing his accident,(something that even happens on "safe" circuits like Philip Island) he thankfully making an almost 100% recovery.
But all of these guys were professional racers, they earned their living from racing, and chose where to race, and almost certainly enjoyed every minute of their racing right up to the end.
Yes they are missed, but lets remember them (& others like them) for what they did, the people they were, the pleasure they got & gave to us from their racing.

#30 stuavant

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 21:32

To add to that, if you look at all of those riders mentioned
Tom Herron was riding with a hand in plaster rightly or wrongly he felt capable of controlling his bikes, & lost control in the last race on last lap only yards from the finish :cry:
John Newbold clipped the back of Mick Grants? bike, and crashed in almost the same place as Tom. :cry:
John Williams died later in hospital from I think heart failure? & not from injuries relating to the accident from which he got up & walked away. :cry:
Pat Hennen of course collided with a large bird causing his accident,(something that even happens on "safe" circuits like Philip Island) he thankfully making an almost 100% recovery.
But all of these guys were professional racers, they earned their living from racing, and chose where to race, and almost certainly enjoyed every minute of their racing right up to the end.
Yes they are missed, but lets remember them (& others like them) for what they did, the people they were, the pleasure they got & gave to us from their racing.


Agreed Fu, and no one was ever forcd to go in the latter years. When I first went to Europe in 1976 it was a given that even thou the IOM was a WC event, you just did'nt go. I raced at the IOM for money but I could never get to grips with it. Learnt the circuit on my old mate Don Morely's Norton International and did'nt go much quicker in the race!
Oddly enough, although it proved to be just as fatal, the NW200 seemed more like our NZ circuits and I can recall looking forward to going there. Nevertheless having crashed at Deers Leap in 6th at the Ulster and servived ( thanks to Tom Herrons ill advice :) I just count myself very lucky!


#31 fil2.8

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 21:57

Agreed Fu, and no one was ever forcd to go in the latter years. When I first went to Europe in 1976 it was a given that even thou the IOM was a WC event, you just did'nt go. I raced at the IOM for money but I could never get to grips with it. Learnt the circuit on my old mate Don Morely's Norton International and did'nt go much quicker in the race!


Stu , is Don still around do you know ?? Always enjoyed his company , and a good ' David Bailey ' to boot

#32 stuavant

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 09:14

Stu , is Don still around do you know ?? Always enjoyed his company , and a good ' David Bailey ' to boot


I'm not sure as I've been down under for so long. Back in 1980 or so Don came on hard times and bunked up with us on occasions. He always had a laugh that we had weetbix for breakfast and lunch. Thats all we could afford. I admired him as a good bloke and hope he is well?


#33 Macca

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 11:31

Although I'm the least qualified to talk here, a couple of points come to me; I think the last regular GP riders to do the TT would be the likes of McElnea, Linden, Klein and Guy (in 1984). I remember Rob Mac was winning everything on the short circuits in GB in '84 and doing quite a few GPs as well, and after winning 2 TTs he went to Paul Ricard for the French GP and ironically was injured avoiding someone else's crash.

Tom Herron's crash is mentioned by Steve Parrish in the Sheene biog; he was on intermediates and tried to pass Parrish round the outside at the last corner, Parrish caught a glimpse of his front wheel and thought he was trying too hard. In the Barry Coleman biog of Kenny Roberts, it says Herron said he was regarded by some diehard Irish roads fans as a traitor for going to the GPs, and got verbal abuse when he was back in Ulster "spannering for his Uncle Wilfie".

When the "TT F1 World Championship" included rounds at the likes of Assen and Jerez, Joey Dunlop was pretty useful on those circuits as well as on the roads. I remeber the last rounds in '87 and '88 were at Donington and Joey used to stay with someone who lived opposite my Mum near Nottingham.

But, yes, all bike racing is inherently dangerous (Guintoli's accident at Donington yesterday was scarily reminiscent of Kenny Irons), it's just how much risk people are prepared to accept.

Enough rambling from me too - respect to all bike racers, wherever they've raced.


Paul M





#34 LittleChris

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 21:31

Not the end of road racing yet. Ulster GP this weekend and BBC NI are streaming it live though I hope the coverage is better than the NW200 when, due to technical problems, there was no live coverage from York to Metropole

#35 Rob

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 19:29

Not the end of road racing yet. Ulster GP this weekend and BBC NI are streaming it live though I hope the coverage is better than the NW200 when, due to technical problems, there was no live coverage from York to Metropole


There are two one-hour highlights programmes on BBC 1 Northern Ireland on Sunday at 22:25 and Tuesday at 22:35.

On Sky that's channel 973.

#36 LittleChris

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 21:00

Hopefully the BBC iPlayer available to people outside NI will also have the programmes immediately after they're shown in NI, certainly did for the Cookstown races earlier in the season :up:

#37 exclubracer

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 08:15

I remember Rob Mac was winning everything on the short circuits in GB in '84 and doing quite a few GPs as well, and after winning 2 TTs he went to Paul Ricard for the French GP and ironically was injured avoiding someone else's crash.

Paul M

Correct Paul, Rob crashed and broke his leg avoiding Boet van Dulman who came off right in front of him.


#38 LittleChris

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 20:21

Hopefully the BBC iPlayer available to people outside NI will also have the programmes immediately after they're shown in NI, certainly did for the Cookstown races earlier in the season :up:



This years Cookstown 100 is now on BBC iPlayer and it's the NW200 this weekend - BBC NI streaming it live I think

http://www.bbc.co.uk..._Cookstown_100/

http://news.bbc.co.u...kes/default.stm

#39 vc1954

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 08:22

I was having a quiet beer with Tom Herron the night before he had his fatal crash and I did ask him why he was riding, considering he had a broken thumb!!! His response was "doin it fer ma fans Vaughan." To say that I was surprised would be an understatement!!
Having ridden at the NW200, IOM and the Kiwi street circuits I am not so sure that the Aussie "proper" tracks were safer at all in those days.
With the sheer horsepower of the machines these days it leaves me gobsmacked to watch them on the road circuits.
The NW200 in 79 made me question my own mortality.




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#40 larryd

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 08:40

The NW200 in 79 made me question my own mortality.

I did like your fairing paint job though, Vaughan ! !

:cool:


#41 vc1954

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 09:41



I did like your fairing paint job though, Vaughan ! !

:cool:

[/quote]

My attempt to learn the IOM was on a GT380 spewzuki that was without a fairing of course..... Turned into a pub crawl......I made it to Ramsey and the rest is classified, suffice to say she was a nice girl :-)


#42 tonyed

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 16:58

During the prolonged but ultimately futile broadcast today from the NW 200, Mr Parrish, flippantly commented that only 50% of a race with two strokes would have finished and he missed the smell of seized pistons etc.

Well from 10.30 to 18.00 hours we saw exactly, two, 'warm up’ laps for the so called ‘Supersport’ 600 followed by a half decent encounter between two riders over 5 laps. Then oblivion. Obviously the weather and the bomb scare were out of the hands of both organisers and competitors.

However then the ‘Superbikes’ get going and some sad old Kawasaki dumps its’ guts. :down:

In the end that is it. :eek:

‘Superbike’, ‘Supersport’, ‘Superstock’ come on re-brand.

‘Sadbike’, ‘Sadsport’, ‘Sadstock’. :up:

Have these dinosaurs really moved on from the oil dropping crap that the British bedevilled motorcycling with its’ worn out machines and no vision. :confused:

What has a fours stroke? – 16 times the parts, twice the capacity, half the power, if that is progress then I am Geronimo. :cool:

Jesus H, it is not rocket science.

The old Japs luv the 4 stroke, just like they luv the noocllera power station.

They also made great, simple two strokes.

The worlds mad and I’m a fish.
:smoking:




#43 fil2.8

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 19:39

Well said , Tony :up: , a couple of points there I hadn't considered :love:

#44 tonyed

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 13:37

Because it's blowing a gale out here and there is no real sport on the box I (unwisely) gravitated to the F1 from Barcelona on BBC1. :cry:

If we thought MotoGP has a problem because it's going down the same path as F1 then it's an effin shame the world didn't end last night. :(

I don't think (well I know) I have not heard such inane drivel since watching Prime Minister Question time. :blush:

Where did they find that lot, the lunatic asylum?

Arsene Wenger talks more sense. :confused:

Psycho babble.
:stoned:
There is Eddie the Irishman, who appears to really fancy himself (just as well as 5 foot 1 with a silly beard he's probably not too busy on a non F1 Saturday night). :down:

Some Scottish pundit talking Gaelic (well I assume it is as he is obviously not talking English) who I assume (could be wrong) is the man with the brick shaped head David Coulthard. :cat:

Well after 24 laps, most of the competitors had pitted twice (must be to reset the bullshit meter before it blows up) I switched off.
:wave:

The NW200 broadcast was more exciting and had more racing despite being rained off.

Can't wait for Wimbledon :rotfl:

Edited by tonyed, 22 May 2011 - 13:40.


#45 rd500

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 23:35

its very true, to be honest though i never really cared about the 4 stroke bikes as they had their place in racing and we had variety, that was fine but it i think people are really getting fed up now with the monopolisation in general of everything and to stick my neck out here to say the new road bikes actually breed poor, ignorant riders now.

i was at a mot centre a few weeks back getting my yamaha mot'd and there was a guy there who had a gsxr 1000, he came over to speak to me and in short he asked have i just passed my test as i only have a 500, then advising he only needed an mot to get to track days as he considered himself a (this is honest now) a fast track/road rider. i asked why he didn't go into competition but he said it wasnt for him :confused: and this was a guy in his 40s! mind you after watching him pull away with paddling feet and loud "can" blaring out i had to think what a opportunity some team owner missed out on there

then i headed up to my local bike shop to get some 2 stroke and while waiting i was enthralled by the customers tale (again 40s age group) how it was only in 6th gear on full throttle that his hyabusa was misfiring.

there was an old dealer around my area who has passed away now, once said to me "a normal good rider would not be able to get the full use out of a 250 now" and that was in the 80s.

i dunno mabye i just dont get it now but it all seems they are the next rossi who have missed the chance, the bikes now are full of riders aids and of course are fast in a straight line so mabye thats all it takes.

some views from our motocross friends who are stuck in the same boat. still laughing about miss piggy.

http://twostrokemoto...ecade-part-iii/ :lol:

#46 bobness

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 08:33

I am torn here.
Been going to the NW200 for 6 years now (a mere novice) but even as a "glass is half full" kind of guy with enormous admiration for anyone who races there, the hours of doing nothing are starting to get on my nerves.
We had similar last year when a day's road closure saw 20 ish racing laps, and seemingly endless delay upon delays.
The riders go out on a sighting lap, and then are held on the grid for up to half an hour, seemingly only for the media. Then they get a warm up lap, then they get chance to change tyres and talk to the "Technical Director" (CoC) and only then do we see a (5 lap) race.

The bomb scare and oil were beyond their control, but to take 2 hours + to declare racing off was a bit rich. It must've been obvious to anyone that a mile long oil slick on a wet public rooad between walls wasn't going to be cleaned up to the racers' satisfaction anywhere near in time. Put us out of our misery.

You hear stories of national races in Ireland where 12-20 races are done in a day and the roads reopen early. OK you need some luck to do that, but it can be done.
There's way too much faffing around at the NW200 IMHO. 9 hours closed roads for 5 half hour races? Maybe all the corporateness of it is calling the shots?

As Guy Martin said, you would have only needed one bike to cartwheel out of Dhu Varren, kill the rider and maim a few spectators and the sport is over. Safety must come first. Even though the NW is seen as the "safest" road course, and they have done wonders over the years (pointless chicanes notwithstanding) as one rider once said "You look round the course and you think to yourself 'There's nowhere I'd feel happycoming off at' "

I'll be back, but I think the NW200 needs a good long critical look at itself. The object of the day is safe racing, with the media covering it. Not pleasing the media at almost all costs.

We're hoping to pop over to the Armoy races in July. Maybe we'll be surprised by that....

Feel free to disagree!

#47 LittleChris

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 22:03

BBC iPlayer highlights ( 2 x 1 hr programmes ) from the recent Ulster GP meeting.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...nd_Prix_Part_1/

http://www.bbc.co.uk...nd_Prix_Part_2/