Just got home from Sydney. Tonight was the official launch of Jim Scaysbrook’s definitive history of the Castrol Six Hour Production bike race, which ran from 1970 to 1987. Jim has taken nearly 10 years to research and compile the book and get it to production, and I’m proud to say that I had a little to do with that, supplying Jim with photos from the 1970’s races that were used in the book. It’s nice to get credit and appreciation for your work.
But what a star-studded occasion it was. Held on the premises of Deux ex Machina on Parramatta Road at Camperdown, the place was packed to the gills with luminaries past and present. There were at least a dozen former winners of the race including 1987 World 500cc Champion, Wayne Gardner, Michael Dowson, Richard Scott, Joe Eastmure, and a host of riders who competed over the years but didn’t win, like the Blanco brother, Allan and Emanuel, Robbie Phillis, Warren Willing, the Sayle brothers, Jeff and Murray (Murray, of course, a winner with the late Gregg Hansford in 1975). There was Roger Heyes, a 2-time winner, both times with the late Jim Budd and Rod Cox and local stars Geoff Sim and Kevin Cass. Tony Hatton, probably Australia’s best-ever production racer was also there.
The cafe area was also decorated with posters and Six Hour Memorabilia including the genuine 6 Hour Trophy, a huge, red “6” on a base on which brass plaques recorded the details of every winner in the race’s history. Jim’s Ducati 750SS with whch he won the 750cc Class in 1977, sharing with the late Mike Hailwood, was on display, as well as the replica Kawasaki Z1 of Team Avon Tyres (Budd and Heyes 1976). Rod Cox’s Suzuki Katana and a CB1100R Honda from the Molloy team, formerly ridden by Wayne Gardner completed the static displays.
As well as the riders there were dozens of other people intimately connected to the race in many ways. There was former Kawasaki head honcho, Miles Stivano, Lyndsay Walker who, as boss of the Team Avon Tyres outfit provided the bike for two-times winners Budd and Heyes. Cameron McMillan, the former boss of Welbank Motorcycle Accessories was there as was John Vevers, a former rider, founder of JCW Motorcycles at Yagoona, now the Helmet Warehouse and current boss of Castrol in Australia.
Kevin Mcgee was there too, and many other famous names which I am sure you would recognise. Current Suzuki superbike star Sean Giles was there too, nursing his badly broken leg and hobbling around on crutches. Current 125cc star Peter Galvin and his partner Cath Thompson, she of the purple hair and super fast 125cc pedalling, were there too.
It sound so pretentious to drop all these names, but it’s just so that you can see how important an occasion it was. I sincerely doubt that such a collection of stars will ever be collected under the one roof again. And it was all to honour Jim Scaysbrook and to help him launch his book. I bought a copy ($69 – ouch) and got all the famous people to autograph it for me, so I’m happy.
It was a great night. I also had a good chance to chat to Tony Hatton and line up an in-depth interview with him about the Moriwaki 80cc series of the late 90’s that produced our MotoGp and WSBK stars of today like Chris Vermeulen, Broc Parkes, Anthony West and many more. Look out for the results of this interview in future.
Tired but happy.