Sunday, 23 January 2011

International Island Classic Phillip Island

I took a run down to Phillip Island with one of the other old West Coast Procrastinators, Andy, for the 'Island Classic' historic race meeting.We met up with our mates Bill & Terry when we got there. The weather was perfect for competitors and spectators alike. The biggest concern at Phillip Island is always how windy it will be.Thankfully today was very calm and sunny with a temp around 24C.

The last time that I went to Classic Races at PI was the first time this event was run! Here's the pin I bought back then.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day and was particularly impressed with some of the lap times. A handful of the very  best were only 10 seconds slower than Stoner's 2010 MotoGP qualifying time. That's pretty impressive for 30 year old machines.
1938 Vincent HRD
I think it's a 1962 Azani Special
Andy made comment that the meeting was a bit light on for old British racing motorcycles, especially compared with all the post classic and forgotten era Japanese bikes. A fair comment - my analysis is that PI is maybe a bit too big a track for the really old bikes and that smaller tracks like Broadford probably suit them better.  I happen to love the 70's & 80's era Jap  bikes as they are the ones I saw, lusted after and rode during my youth.

A spectator's lovely 1100 Katana. Mrs Tarsnakes has ridden one of these back in the early 1980's, alas I never have.
Spectators with classic machines did a parade lap at lunch time.
What I really like about the Island Classic is that you can ride / drive vehicles anywhere around the track, rather than have to park in a designated parking compound. Also, the admission price ($35 for Sunday) includes full access to the pits. This means that it is very easy to take a close look at many of the classic motorcycles and the people who race them. I get a real buzz out of seeing guys roll up on their own historic or classic bikes. The ones I saw ridden in to the event  ranged for a 1928 AJS to a late 1970's Laverda Jota. The Jota owner (a former Kawasaki dealership owner) was going to ride home 250+ miles that night after the racing finished- lot's of faith in a well maintained motorcycle.

Seeing a mint CBX1000 and RC45 together and talking to their owner was a real treat for me as well. I've mentioned before on this blog how much I'd love to have a CBX!
Mint CBX1000. The owner of this also had the RC45!

A very rare RC45

The classic races are very friendly, open events and certainly don't have that kind of that market driven, 'glamor' event feel of the MotoGP - which is a big positive in my book.

I took plenty of pics, for high resolution pics CLICK HERE

Holed crankcase

I can't lean any further!

John Whitla's lovely Jota. Mikuni carbs & Brembo brakes

I was a young teenager when these hit the market - glorious sounding twins.

The track by the ocean - Phillip Island

1928 AJS ridden in. The Gladstone bag 'top box' was a nice touch


  1. Brilliant photos thanks Jules - we both love the classics! Someone not far from me has a CBX 1000 with 6 Stainetune mufflers - sounds incredible. If I had a spare fortune, I'd have an RC45 in the shed. It still features in many bike magazines' top 10 bikes of all time.

    I'm off the the annual international classic meet in Auckland in 2 weeks - wonder if any of your people will be coming over?

    Thanks again mate!

  2. I've seen one CBX in person and I still remember the moment...Sweet! Nice post and pics. :)

  3. Ken, I still remember the first time I saw a CBX as well. It's great how some bikes made that much of an impression. I'd really love to get one before they become impossibly expensive.

    Geoff, love the classics but I'm quite biased towards the early Japanese superbikes - they made a big impression on me when I was a boy & I actually got to ride a few of them.

    I think that the RC45 is in the "unobtainium" category for most of us. The one pictured was imported from Japan, and the relatively young owner (in his 30's I'd say) also owned an RC30, the CBX pictured and aCX500 turbo (the worst bike Honda ever made in his view). A pretty impressive collection.

    I wouldn't be surprised if some of the International riders like Jeremy McWilliams also traveled to NZ as well. The track commentator was an expat NZ'er named Glenn Ducey.