In the absence of Australia’s largest historic motorcycle race, the ‘International Island Classic’, the Superbike Masters class will be a welcome addition for racing fans and a reminder of when big-bore racing attracted thousands to witness races with similar machinery to what they rode to the track.
In 1970, visionary promoter, Vince Tesoriero and his fellow Willoughby MCC members dreamed up the first Castrol 6-Hour and the annual event soon developed into world’s go-to production bike race.
Such was its standing and prestige, manufacturers produced specific models, like the Honda CB1100R – solely designed for success in the Castrol 6-Hour with the old adage of “what wins on Sunday, sells on Monday” and sell they did! The CB was basically a race bike with a single seat and fairing, designed for the road and produced in limited numbers.
The flip side of that was that entrants went to great lengths to take advantage of any loophole in the rules – sometimes exceeded the regulations. So Tesoriero and co came up with an idea; instead of endurance races for production bikes, what about sprint races for modified machines with the top riders of the day involved? The catch cry on one of the posters was “Super heroes on Super bikes”.
Get your tickets for this weekend here…
Making its debut on 18 February 1973 at Amaroo Park, the rules were fairly open for what was allowed on the machines. The four-round series was called the “Chesterfield 5000” – the “5000” signifying the prize money that was up for grabs. However, the concept lasted just three years.
After a hiatus, Victorian clubs commenced their own competitions for modified big-bore, four-stroke machines and the southern state soon became the central powerhouse of Australian Superbike racing. The first Australian Superbike Championship was held in 1987. Since then, many riders have had their name etched their name on the trophy; Robbie Phillis, Malcolm “Wally” Campbell, Troy Corser, the late Kirk McCarthy, Anthony Gobert, Marty Craggill, former MA President, Peter Goddard, and ASBK commentator Steve Martin are just some pre 2000 Champions.
The P5 ‘Unlimited Forgotten Era’ is for machines manufactured from 1973 to 1982. These are split into 2 classes; P5 Unlimited and P5F1 for aftermarket framed bikes like the Harris, Spondon and the GP-spec Yamaha TZ750 two-strokes. The P6 ‘New Era’ is open to bikes from 1983 to 1990 and are made up of Formula 750 machines like the Honda RC30 and P6 Formula 1300 – for machines such as the Yamaha FZR1000 and the CB1100R.
Just a taster of the spectacular machinery on show will be XR 69, factory replicas Endurance racing specials fitted with Suzuki GSX 1100 Engines, the Harris Replica Formula 1 fitted with Z900-Z1000 Kawasaki Engines and a P & M Formula 1 – fitted with a Z1000 Kawaski engine. Some of the popular riders featured in the class include 3 x time Australian Harley Davidson Sporters Champion John Allen, riding the Terry McKinnon -C&M Motorcycles prepared Yamaha TZ750.
In addition, multiple Island classic winner Scott Webster, will be riding the T&K Carney prepared Harris Suzuki XR69. Webster is the only rider to represent Australia at every island classic international challenge and always rises to big occasions. Multiple Australian P4 and P5 Australian title winner, Craig Ditchburn, will be riding a homebuilt Yamaha TZ750 while on the same machinery will be 250 UK Production Championship Champion and 2 x British Endurance Champion, Jim Agombar.