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Tom Herron - Silverstone 1977 or 1978


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#1 brands77

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Posted 27 January 2022 - 18:00

I remember spectating at the '77 or '78 British GP at Silverstone and seeing Tom Herron coming down Hanger Straight frantically slapping his chest. He was leading at the time and I think it was the 350cc race, in fact he was well ahead of everyone else. It looked to me as if a bee or wasp had got into his leathers and maybe was stinging him. He dropped back after that and I think Mang came through to win, mind you my memory is getting a bit hazy and it could have been Ballington and it could have been the 250cc race and it could have been '77 or '78.

I've always wondered what happened.

Was anyone else there and remember this and know why Tom was doing this?



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#2 tonyed

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 01:18

In 1978 Tom was second to Ballington in the 350 race and again second to Mang in the 250 race, as for the bee I do not recall



#3 kabouter

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 07:52

I wasn't there - it was before my birth... - but I looked up the race reports in Dutch annual Grand Prix Wegrace '78 (in 1977 Herron was not involved in the lead battle in either class).

 

In the 250cc race report it says (my translation): "Afther this event [Ballington's retirement] Tom Herron took the lead and it looked as if there was finally going to be a GP win for 'the fastest privateer Yamaha'. However there was another Kawasaki in the race and this one was going to spoil the party. Toni Mang needed 17 of the 24 laps to get close to Tom, but then it was all over; the Irishman made an attempt in the final corner, Woodcote, but to no avail."

 

The 350cc race report: "Kork Ballington fought a long and attractive battle with Rougerie, Grant and mainly Herron, but at about two-thirds distance he managed to find some extra speed and convincingly took the lead from Herron, who was leading until then."

 

I'd say the 250cc race matches your recollections best, but no mention of why Herron might have slowed down.



#4 tonyed

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 14:49

The 350cc race report: "Kork Ballington fought a long and attractive battle with Rougerie, Grant and mainly Herron, but at about two-thirds distance he managed to find some extra speed and convincingly took the lead from Herron, who was leading until then."

And we all know where Ballingtons extra speed came from - oooh that fuel smells funny, well it would if there was any left in the tank for analysis :wave: :down: :rolleyes: Dozy prat 'allegedly' :confused:

#5 Michael Ferner

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 15:24

Nothing in Motocourse, Volker Rauch's Motorrad-WM or Motorsport aktuell :(

 

By the way, Motocourse had a nice quote from Tom Herron after the 250 race: "It was hard riding (by Mang), but he did the right thing.I would have done it to him", after reporting that "Mang, coming from the outside of the (last) bend and going slightly faster than Herron, was bound to end up on Tom's line. Tom didn't think he would have the nerve to hold it, and there he was wrong. Mang went for Herron's line, saw Herron thrown into a wobble and didn't flinch."



#6 tonyed

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 15:59

The works 250 and 350 Kawasakis were a slightly sharper tool than Toms production TZ D models. Though in all fairness Anton was a handy rider himself.



#7 brands77

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 11:01

Yes, '78 does fit, although what was confusing me was that I remember the 500cc being wet and the race Tom was leading was dry, which is why I thought it could have been '77. I have in the back of my head it was the 350cc race and Motocourse reports that in '78 Tom led that race and when Ballington got past, fell back and Ballington went on to win by a comfortable 10 sec. Where as in the 250cc race it reports Tom went into Woodcote on the last lap in the lead, which doesn't fit with my recollection. I recall Tom having a good lead, then beating the front of his leathers along Hangar straight and subsequently being caught and falling back behind one of the Kawasakis. I always felt at the time that Tom's  performance dropped off immediately after that incident, and in my opinion that affected him and he would have won otherwise.

Thank you Michael Fenner for looking it up in Volker Rauch, I have a copy of that year's edition, but my German isn't good enough to read it properly.


Edited by brands77, 29 January 2022 - 11:05.


#8 Robin127

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 17:21

Yes, '78 does fit, although what was confusing me was that I remember the 500cc being wet and the race Tom was leading was dry, which is why I thought it could have been '77...

I'm pretty certain that the 500cc race started in the dry.  I was racing at the Bantam Club 50 miler that day and I remember the heavens opening just as my race finished.



#9 brands77

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 19:29

Yep, I think the 500c was a dry start and then it rained, that was what caused all the confusion - with the pit stops to change tyres putting everyone out of position and Manship being credited with the second place finish. I remember having absolutely no idea who was where when the rain started.


Edited by brands77, 29 January 2022 - 19:29.


#10 tonyed

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Posted 31 January 2022 - 04:41

Many had Manship as the winner except the official timers. There was no way that 'they' were going t give the race to Manship though. It was chaos



#11 brands77

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Posted 31 January 2022 - 09:09

Absolutely, it was chaos, especially as you could barely see who was who in the rain for the rain and spray.

 

I was interested to hear your comment about Ballington's fuel. It was his brother who was his mechanic wasn't it?

 

I did meet him in '76 at the 750c Silverstone GP John Player Meeting. In those days when you were allowed to, I used to like mooching around the pits looking at the bikes almost as much as watching the racing. Kork was there sitting in the back of what must have been the Sid Griffiths racing truck/box van, having just finished a hard days racing, I think he rode the 250, 350 and 750 that weekend. I remember he was very generous with his time chatting to me, a young teenager, who was asking what were probably very stupid questions, he didn't talk down to me and I always followed him and backed him after that. He didn't have to bother with me but he did. I also remember the primitive conditions some of the riders in those days used to live under. I think it was Ken Nemoto's bike being stood outside what was basically a 2 man pup tent and I thought this is a Japanese privateer pretty far from home and he must be on a really tight budget.


Edited by brands77, 31 January 2022 - 09:10.


#12 tonyed

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Posted 31 January 2022 - 13:10

Dozy Ballington.

Read 'The Privateer' by Jon Ekerold, there were no end of octane boosters available at the time, all illegal in world championship events, all were carcinogenic.  



#13 billlawrence

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Posted 01 February 2022 - 03:27

how did they get away with it ? was it turn a blind eye 



#14 tonyed

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Posted 01 February 2022 - 05:06

Works rider versus privateer - it wasn't race directions (at the time) job to 'rock the boat'.  :down:

It wasn't just once that the fuel was drained after the race.

Whether Kork was aware  :rolleyes:  who knows  :rotfl:  allegedly 

I was and still am of the opinion that Kork won more than just his talents should have allowed - not to say it was all the machine, not to say I would have beaten him if I'd had that machine and he was riding a lesser machine. What I would say is given the 250 and 350 works Kawasakis I would have beaten more of MY contempories on lesser machines.  :confused:   


Edited by tonyed, 01 February 2022 - 14:29.


#15 brands77

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Posted 02 February 2022 - 08:47

Here is an interesting addition to the fuels discussion. From the early 90s.

 

https://www.superbik...ng-race-bike-2/


Edited by brands77, 02 February 2022 - 08:47.


#16 tonyed

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Posted 02 February 2022 - 11:08

Klotz Oil KL-602 Octane Booster

Warnings WARNING - California Proposition 65

Cancer and Reproductive Harm – www.P65Warnings.ca.gov

 

 

 

The products back when were much more dangerous  - Even 'Marlboro Man' kept clear 

As the article says the burnt fumes were even more dangerous  - sometimes both my heads ached. :(