Classic bikes join in races
The 32nd Classic Motorcycle Festival will be held at the Pukekohe circuit over Waitangi Day weekend next year.
This world-famous event will feature more than 300 bikes from the 1920s to 1975 of British, European and American origin, with a huge programme of more than 50 races and parades.
It is recognised as the finest gathering of classic racing motorcycles in the southern hemisphere.
Riders from the United States, Japan, Australia and the Britain will be competing.
New Zealand’s Grand Prix star, Ginger Molloy, will be racing his 250cc Bultaco GP bike that he recently used to win the Australian Historic 250cc Championship at Phillip Island.
Molloy was runner-up in the Premier 500cc Moto-GP Class to Giacomo Agostini in 1970, and has continued to race motorcycles for more than 50 years, still looking every bit the professional rider.
A special display is planned to celebrate 100 years of the famous Italian Benelli brand and the 1920s American icon, Henderson.
The Henderson was famous for its massive four cylinder car-size engine in an era when most motorcycles had one or two cylinders.
The American motorcycle industry thrived in the early 1920s and other US manufacturers copied the successful Henderson design, with almost every brand finding its way to New Zealand.
More than 30 different machines are to be displayed with such rarities as Militaire, Cleveland, Ace and Indian all represented in what may well be the best display of these bikes ever assembled anywhere in the world.
Steve Wynn, the famous Manchester Ducati agent who sponsored Mike Hailwood’s record-breaking return to the Isle of Man TT, now lives in New Zealand and has arranged to demonstrate a 1954 exfactory MV-Agusta 500cc 4 cylinder GP racer.
Other exotic rides being raced include a 1957 BMW 500cc Rennsport GP racer and a 500cc DOHC Jawa GP racer.
This meeting has gained an international reputation for its combination of highly competitive racing combined with a ‘‘ live museum’’ atmosphere with many of the bikes only seen in public for this event.
A huge field of the famous Manx Nortons, Matchless G50s and AJS 7R Grand Prix racers provide very close racing with lap times that amaze many modern racers.
Entry to the pits is free. Car parking is free. Entry is $30 for a full weekend pass (February 5-6).
This meeting will be followed a week later by a second New Zealand Classic Motorcycle Racing Register race meeting for classic motorcycles only, to be held at the new Hampton Downs Circuit, a further 15 minutes drive south of Auckland.
See nzcmrr.com for more information.
Classic ride: Ginger Molloy in action on a 1966 Bultaco 350.