Mike Pero South­ern Clas­sic

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS - Re­port Kerry Swan­son

Mike Pero South­ern Clas­sic

1-3 De­cem­ber, 2017 – Lev­els Race­way, Ti­maru, New Zealand

This meet­ing has to be one of the New Zealand Mo­tor­sport suc­cess sto­ries of 2017; a com­bi­na­tion of 350 bikes, a long list of and gor­geous, if hot weather. This year’s theme was ‘su­per­bikes of the 1980s and ‘90s’, with two very spe­cial guests Wes Coo­ley and Graeme Crosby – amongst the list of ‘leg­ends’, the ma­jor­ity of whom would ride in the ‘Pa­rade of Cham­pi­ons’. Wes’s af­fa­ble na­ture and gen­eros­ity in mak­ing him­self avail­able for pic­tures and a chat, and Graeme ‘Spyda’ Sta­ples’ in­formed com­men­tary, left ev­ery­one with de­served re­spect for his quite re­mark­able rac­ing pedi­gree. The fact that Croz was also present cre­ated an al­most per­fect ‘superbike’ syn­ergy; in the late 70’s and early 80’s when both were at their peak, there were re­mark­able par­al­lels in their rid­ing styles. The fact that Croz also built up a su­perb replica Yoshimura Suzuki GS1000R for Wes to ride, was also a nice touch in the sense that both rode in Pops’ team at Day­tona and Suzuka. The best way to get a sense of the di­ver­sity of both ma­chin­ery and ‘leg­ends’ in terms of rac­ing ex­per­tise is to sim­ply list the rid­ers and their ma­chines: Aaron Slight (Honda RC 45, NR 750); An­drew Stroud (Brit­ten V1000); Gary Good­fel­low (Brit­ten Aero D Zero); Graeme Crosby (Mori­waki Kawasaki 1100); Wes Coo­ley (Yoshimura Suzuki GS1000R); John Hep­burn (Suzuki GSXR 750 EFI); Rob­bie Phillis (Suzuki Katana 1170); Hugh An­der­son (Yamaha FZ750); Den­nis Charlett (McIn­tosh Suzuki 1130); John Boote (Honda RC30, Yamaha TZ750); Jock Wood­ley (Yamaha TZ350); Paul McLach­lan (Yama­haTZ350) and Jake Lewis (Plas­tic Fan­tas­tic 1075). Ear­lier in the year, Hugh An­der­son in­di­cated to the CAMS com­mit­tee that he wanted to do­nate a cup (‘The BikeTranz N v. S Tro­phy’) to be com­peted for by North and South Is­land teams at NZCMRR Spring Tro­phy meet­ing at Man­field (Oc­to­ber) and then at the MPSC (Lev­els). The de­ci­sion sub­se­quently reached that for 2018 on­wards, the com­pe­ti­tion would be ro­tated an­nu­ally be­tween the two cir­cuits. For 2017 at Lev­els, rid­ers rep­re­sent­ing each is­land were se­lected on lap times so that as broad a rep­re­sen­ta­tion across the classes was achieved. The fi­nal re­sult was close (South Is­land 106; North is­land 109). Roll on 2018!

In a conversation be­tween Dave Reesby, Wes Coo­ley and his wife Melody on Satur­day morn­ing, Dave asked Melody if she would like to go out on the track on his chair later in the af­ter­noon? “She said she would like to, so I took her out for a too­tle and she loved it; Wes was shocked!” It’s these lit­tle vi­gnettes that make clas­sic meet­ings such a suc­cess. For the ben­e­fit of those spec­tat­ing from the bank be­tween the club rooms and the track; Den­nis Charlett, af­ter ex­it­ing Castrol Bend at the eastern end of the cir­cuit and en­ter­ing the main straight, re­peat­edly wound the throt­tle lift­ing the front wheel of the McIn­tosh 1130cc ‘Freeth’ Suzuki and hold­ing that at­ti­tude for at least 50 me­tres. Satur­day evening’s bar­beque pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity to mix and min­gle, quench a dry-as thirst and then feed the en­gine. For the af­ter-match so­cial held in the car-club lounge, Swan­nie and Spyda pre­sented a ‘Mo­tor­cy­cle Trivia Chal­lenge’; two teams made up of the ‘Leg­ends’ (‘The Spe­cials’) and the re­main­der, known as ‘The Com­mons’, the teams al­lo­cated 30 ques­tions each. The fi­nal score was close; ‘The Com­mons’ 137; ‘The Leg­ends’ 135.

The fact that just un­der one third of the bikes reg­is­tered to race were from North Is­land, is con­fir­ma­tion of the fact that the ‘Mike Pero South­ern Clas­sic’ is in­creas­ingly be­ing recog­nised as an im­por­tant event on both Na­tional and In­ter­na­tional mo­tor­sport cal­en­dars; that also guar­an­tees full grids (40+ bikes not un­usual) and more im­por­tantly, a di­ver­sity of ma­chin­ery in the pits large enough to pro­mote in­ter­est and con­ver­sa­tions. Sig­nif­i­cantly, late on Sun­day as at­ten­dees packed up tents, gear and bikes, a num­ber of the North is­land con­tin­gent gave clear in­di­ca­tion of their in­ten­tions to pro­mote the Lev­els meet­ing and en­cour­age as many of rid­ers as they can to make the trip in 2018. Con­grat­u­la­tions to the CAMS team and a big thank you to the over 50 vol­un­teers, with­out whom such meet­ings could not hap­pen, not for­get­ting that many of the lat­ter are al­lot­ted tasks that of­ten re­quire long hours of oc­cu­pa­tion of­ten in the least pro­tected parts of the track. The meet­ing will be re­mem­bered for its re­laxed, friendly at­mos­phere and for a full rac­ing pro­gramme run ef­fec­tively for the ben­e­fit of all rid­ers and spec­ta­tors – a true mo­tor­sport fes­ti­val.

Pho­tos MJS and John Cos­grove

The Yoshimura Suzuki replica built by Graeme Crosby for Wes Coo­ley to ride.

Den­nis Charlett pun­ishes the rear tyre of the McIn­tosh Suzuki. (John Cos­grove photo).

Gary Good­fel­low on the Brit­ten Aero D Zero.

Wes Coo­ley helps his wife Melody gear-up for her ride on Dave Reesby’s side­car. She re­turned beam­ing from ear to ear.

Spon­sor of the meet­ing Mike Pero was busy on and off the track.

ABOVE North ver­sus South par­tic­i­pants with Hugh An­der­son pre­sent­ing the tro­phy. LEFT Leg­ends: Wes Coo­ley and Graeme Crosby. RIGHT Young Tyler Lin­coln was a stand­out on Dave Ke­nah’s Manx Nor­ton. (John Cos­grove photo).

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