Bikes Roar Into Action

The Sun Herald

Saturday April 11, 1992

PETER KOGOY

MOTORCYCLE racing returns to Mt Panorama after a four-year absence.

Highlight of the Easter 1992 motorcycle racing will be the inaugural King of the Mountain race.

The King of the Mountain will be decided over 20 laps and 125 km of the Mt Panorama circuit.

It is open to any solo motorcycle under 1000 cc. Supporting events will be held for sidecars and the racing bikes which made Bathurst famous in the 1950s, 60s and 70s - the classic machines produced up to 1962 and post-classic(1963-72) machines.

The classic racing makes include such well known marques as AJS, Norton, Vincent and Triumph, while the post-classic period includes pukka racers and Australian-built specials from Bultaco, Ducati, Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha.

The crowds who flock to "the Mount" early will see the bikes in action for the first time at official practice on Thursday with racing set down for both Good Friday and Easter Saturday.

Bathurst City Council, as race promoter, has re-established the Easter motorcycle race tradition.

Without doubt Mt Panorama is Australia's longest and most demanding circuit, boasting the fastest straight and its average lap speeds rival those at Phillip Island in Victoria.

A works Yamaha OW31 750cc was timed at 300 km per hour on Conrod Straight in 1976.

The outright record for the old 6.172 km layout stands to Victoria's Andrew Johnson at 2 minutes 13.10 seconds (166.9km/h), set in 1983 on a works replica Honda RS500R.

Western Australia's Mike Dowson holds the outright lap record for the revamped Mt Panorama circuit at 2 minutes 18.48 seconds (161.5km/h), set on Easter Saturday four years ago on a Yamaha FZR1000 Superbike.

The return of motorcycle road-racing to the Bathurst circuit re-kindles a tradition started in 1931, when motorcycles first raced on the Vale public road circuit, where the Bathurst sale yards now stand.

Motorcycle racing moved to the Mt Panorama circuit at Easter, 1938, co-inciding with the running of the Australian 150th anniversary Grand Prix.

Motorcycles and cars shared the Easter meeting until 1974 when Bathurst became a four-day motorcycles only meeting.

ONE of Australia's new group of superbike "Young Guns" has upped the ante for the inaugural King of the Mountain race.

Bilpin rider Shawn Giles will use a new Japanese prepared 140 horsepower Honda RC30 V4 supplied by legendary Japanese tuner Mamoru Moriwaki.

It was Moriwaki who built the superbikes which helped both Wollongong's 1987 world 500cc champion Wayne Gardner and New Zealand ace Graeme Crosby make their names in Europe.

Giles, 20, spent the 1991 season riding for Moriwaki in the prestigious All-Japan Formula 1 motorcycle championship.

He recently won two rounds of the New Zealand Formula 1 championship on a Moriwaki-Honda.

Multiple Bathurst winner Tony Hatton has been overseeing the preparation of Giles' superbike for the big Easter "war on wheels". Giles is one of a group of five riders, all under 21, who represent the new face of Australian superbike racing.

The other four-a new Team Kawasaki Australia signing Matthew Mladin, Benn Archibald at Ducati, new Yamaha signing Tony Corser and Chris Hill with Honda

With the high calibre of rider and the race's unique formula - open to any motorcycle up to 1000 cc - we should see the lap record for bikes lowered.

Based on motorcycle and tyre improvements since 1988, the new breed of superbikes could lap the 6.213 km circuit at 2 minutes 12 seconds or a fraction over 169 km/h.

A time of 2 minutes 12 secs would better the lap record for the original 6.172km Bathurst layout. *

© 1992 The Sun Herald

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