From the Blog

The Six Hour.

This weekend (21st/22nd November) marks the final motorcycle race ever at Oran Park Raceway. I am privileged to have been asked by the organisers to head up the commentary team for this most important race. I think I have remarked already that I love my endurance racing, my passion going right back to the first Castrol Six Hour race that I attended in 1976 at Sydney’s Amaroo Park Raceway.

Later I was able to commentate several of the Arai endurance races at Bathurst and, even later still, 2 of the 3 Six Hour races that were run at Oran Park and Eastern Creek in the late 90’s-early noughties.

I’ve kept my eye in commentating the various 4 and 5 hour Cubman Relay races held as part of the RB Imports Series and the St George MCC race series, often calling the races solo, which is quite good fun.

But this weekend will be a big one. The last-ever motorcycle race at Sydney’s Oran Park and the last chance for riders to enjoy this venue before it gets turned into a housing estate.

As part of my preparation for the weekend, I’ve been doing my homework, and I thought that the following statistical breakdown might be interesting.

Kenny Blake was the most successful rider of the Castrol Races. He entered every race from 1970 to 1980. His record is as follows.

1970. 3rd in the 500cc Class on a Kawasaki H1 riding with Kel Carrick

1971. 6th in the 500cc Class on a Kawasaki S2/350 riding with Rob Hinton

 Unlimited Class from 1972 onwards.

1972. 3rd with Jeff Curley. Ducati GT750

1973. 1st riding solo. Kawasaki 900

1974. 1st with Len Atlee. Kawasaki 900

1975. 2nd riding solo. BMW R90S

1976. 2nd with Tony Hatton. BMW R90S

1977. 1st with Joe Eastmure. BMW R100S

1978. 4th with Dave Burgess. BMWR100S

1979. 8th with John Warrian. Honda CB900

1980. 23rd with Ron Haslam. Honda CB1100R (Haslam crashed the bike in practice and bent the frame.)

Kenny was killed at the Isle of Man, June 9th, 1981.

He raced 11 races consecutively, 9 in the Unlimited Class. Of the 9 races in the Unlimited Class, he only once finished out of the top 10 (1980) and only once out of the top 5 (1979).

He scored 3 wins (1973, 74, 77), 2 2nds (1975, 76), 1 3rd (1972) and 1 4th (1978)

In addition he was the only man to win the race riding the whole six hours solo (1973) and the only man to finish 2nd riding solo (1975)

The last 2 Six Hour races were won by the same team, Yamaha’s Michael Dowson and Kevin Magee.

 

Dominant Manufacturers.

Yamaha 5 wins

Kawasaki 5 wins

Honda 4 wins

Suzuki 2 wins

Triumph 1 win

BMW 1 win

 

The most successful rider combinations were:

Dowson/Magee. 2 wins (1986, 87) and 1 3rd (1985)

Budd/Heyes. 2 wins (1976, 78)

 

Multiple winners of the race in order of merit.

Kenny Blake 3. (73,74,77)

Michael Dowson. 3 (84,86,87)

Jim Budd/Roger Heyes. 2. (76,78)

Wayne Gardner. 2 (80,82)

Kevin Magee. 2. (86,87)

Richard Scott. 2 (84,85)

Len Atlee. 2 (70, 74)

Of later races, Dowson was the star. 3 wins and 1 3rd.

Links to relevant web sites.

Kenny Blake. www.halltech.com.au/kennyb

The Six Hour. www.the6hour.com.au

Castrol Six Hour Results. http://www.castrol6hour.com.au/

Wikipedia overview. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castrol_6_Hour

Rennicks the publisher’s link to the excellent Jim Scaysbrook history of the Six Hour. http://www.renniks.com/picture/The%20Castrol%20Six%20Hour.pdf

I can’t wait for the weekend.

Comments

  1. Only 4 sleeps to go mate!! i love the history of the 6 hour; all the great riders.
    You should do a ‘Where are they now” on Australia/New Zealand racers of the past.

    I know some have passed like Jim Budd; Neville Hiscock ; hopefully not too many more.
    I do know Tony Hatton as i have been to his place on Razorback Mountain in 1980 [time fly’s quickly] ,very friendly; knowledgeable guy.He fixed my Honda CB900; i always wondered what he’s up to these days.

    Anyways have a great weekend at Oran park,i can’t be there but i believe channel 10 are televising it to be shown at a later date so that will be good.
    I think there will be a few tears shed at the end of the day too…Oran Park will always have fond memories for me at least the developers can’t take that away.

    Have Fun!!

    • Thanks, mate. Yes, a “Where are they now” thread would be good. Sadly there are many of the old stagers who are no longer with us. Brian Hindle died in an ultralight accident, Ian Standen was killed at Amaroo, Maxie Robinson passed away earlier on this year, WDMCC’s scrutineer, Chris Peckham last year from cancer and Kawasaki’s Mike Stivano also from cancer earlier this year. The great Gregg Hansford is no longer with us thanks to his accident at PI in a car!!!, and, of course, we lost the peerless Kenny Blake at the IoM in 1981. Danny Oakhill was killed at Lakeside years ago, Robert Holden also died while racing, Lenny Willing from a premature heart attack and I’m sure there’s more.

      Nevertheless we remember the good things, and I’m confident that this weekend will be great. Thanks for the good wishes.

  2. Wow didn’t know so many had gone..very sad.

    All these guys & more were ‘real’ racers i.m.o ,they didn’t ride bikes with traction control & all the other electronic wizardry they have nowadays.
    One of my favorite riders of all time the great Barry Sheen [bless his soul] was pure entertainment on bikes [& off the track] his skill was unbelievable & coming back after all those horrendous crashes puts him right up there with the best.

    My favorite road racing is the Aus & world superbikes & supersports.I have no time for Motogp as it too artificial i.m.o.
    Now that the the 250cc class is gone [ the most exciting & close racing ] i think the new 600 class will be like a clone to the Motogp’s with just a smaller engine.

    cheers