11th January 2007
With 130 entrants ranging from Anzani to Zundapp (probably) and a freshly finished Métisse Triumph to ride, Nigel Green wasn't going to miss the 25th Southern Classic Festival at Broadford...
The Silver Jubilee Special
No, no not the Triumph 750 (although there was one in the car park), this was the 25th running of the Southern Classic road races hosted by the Historic Motorcycle Racing Association of Victoria (HMRAV).
Chairman Ron Trounson and his splendid team of volunteers made a special effort to celebrate the anniversary and not only got a bumper entry for the 15 classes being raced, with over 130 solo and sidecar riders listed in the programme, but also laid on other attractions for competitors and spectators.
There was a static display of race bikes and road bikes, a small swap meet (auto jumble), a classic off-road display, low cost overnight camping, a superb blues band on Saturday night, catering and a bar.
Probably the best of the attractions was the incredibly friendly and open nature of the event. No MotoGP pit passes, BS or Jobsworths here, quite the reverse - you were made welcome and engaged by racers, mechanics, their families and supporters - an attitude that many race circuits and clubs would do well to copy.
Criticisms? Very few - queues for catering on Sunday seemed to be endless, the swap meet was pitifully small and possibly the rally could have been made more interesting with some trophies or awards to encourage attendance. But these are very small negatives in a sea of positives - a big well done to Ron and his team for a superb event.
It's not the destination, it's the journey
There were 3 of us mounted on Triumph twins (Richard Cummins on his immaculate '69 TR6, Murray Wilson on his very well sorted T140 and me on my Métisse) who decided to make a weekend of the event and to stay overnight on Saturday.
I won't slavishly re-tell the results (if you really want to know the details then check out www.computime.com.au) but I did want to mention a couple of the characters that for me typified the spirit of the meeting. Rob Phillis - yes THAT Rob Phillis - veteran of over 100 World Superbike races and legendary Aussie bike racer, jumped onto a Forgotten Era 1980 Suzuki 1166 and spent all day being harried by Karl Corpe, Stuart Loly and the other riders in his class. But not once did he run a way with a race, they kept him honest all day long.
Lindsay Urquhart happily swapped between his 1100cc British Anzani powered solo and sidecar and barely put a foot wrong all day. His dices with WLA HD-mounted Rob Hermans in the Vintage Solo / Class C races were epic and at one point, with Rob chasing him down, the combination of rudimentary fork and a rigid rear on the big Anzani vee twin saw the front and rear wheels literally alternately bouncing off the tarmac under straight line braking - great stuff!
Finally the 1300cc Irving Vincent outfit of Barry Horner and Chris Dinuzzo was not only the best presented and prepared bike at the meeting, but also it sounded magnificent and was only beaten by Suzuki powered outfits that probably had a 50bhp power advantage. Again great entertainment from all the pilots in the well supported Post Classic and Forgotten Era sidecar classes.
The Southern Classic is the longest running historic motorcycle-only event in Australia, we're already looking forward to returning for the 26th running in 2007!
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