From the Blog

A very spooky coincidence.

As I mentioned before, there are all sorts of people who I remember from my early contacts with bike racing who are popping up on Facebook at the moment. One of them is Bernie Summers, who, for many years, worked for REVS magazine in all sorts of capacities. Bernie is retired from moto-journalism now and is living the life of Reilly in Queensland somewhere. He still maintains a healthy interest in the sport, however, racing his old 125cc bike in Post Classic racing and enjoying the laid-back scene that it is.

On his page, Bernie posted a wonderful collection of old black and white pictures from the 70’s including this one.

This is Wollongong’s Dave Burgess, riding an early TZ700 Yamaha at Bathurst, probably 1976. “Burgo” was an institution in Wollongong, being part of the Geoff Sim/Kevin Cass/Clem Daniel crew who formed the backbone of an incredibly healthy involvement in road racing in the Illawarra that ultimately spawned riders like Wayne Gardner and Trevor Jordan. Wollongong MCC was one of the healthiest club in NSW and maintained strong involvement in road racing, as noted, but also in the many aspects of dirt bike competition as well, giving rise to stars like Anthony Gunter.

“Burgo” rode in the very first Six Hour race in 1970 with Joe Eastmure on a Suzuki T250, winning the class. In subsequent years he continued to compete, recording a 5th in the 500cc class in 1971 (again with Joe Eastmure) and winning the race outright in 1972 on an H2 750 Kawasaki with Mike Steele. He continued to compete throughout most of the 70’s

But it was on 125cc bikes that Dave seemed to excel.

This bike formed the basis of the bike that Bernie Summers now races, and is almost certainly a CSD, judging by the badge on the tank. This was the brand of home-built racers built by local engineer and tuner, Clem Daniel.

So, why an I telling you all this? Because of what is probably a very spooky coincidence.

When I bought BBII, my black VFR750, I bought it from a gentleman in the Blue Mountains who had, he said, owned it for about 6 years. Documentation that came with the bike proves that he actually owned it for 8 years, purchasing it in April 2000. When I bought it he told me that he had bought it from a dealer in Sydney who was selling the bike on consignment for the widow of a man from Wollongong who had died in a farming accident. A tractor had rolled over on him and killed him. This was said in connection with the fact that the bike was going to return to Wollongong.

When I came across these photos on Bernie’s page he remarked that Burgo had passed away some years before and that he had died in a farming accident when a tractor that he was driving rolled over on him and killed him. Eh? When I asked Bernie for more details he couldn’t quite place the date, but he said it could have been 10 years ago.

Now I dont know how many farmers in and around Wollongong have been killed in tractor-related accidents in the last 10 years but I’d be willing to bet that there were very few. It seems highly likely then that, sitting in my garage, is the last bike that the late Dave Burgess ever owned.

Like I said, it’s not 100% but it could very well be one very spooky coincidence. I should add that I met Dave several times during his racing career.