1970: BSA bid to rule world
18-year-olds get the vote, Mccartney leaves the Beatles and Brit Rodney Gould takes world 250 title
The Bridgewater by-election saw 18-year-olds vote for the first time. And while Giacomo Agostini was dominating the 350 and 500 GP class, Rodney Gould was flying the flag for Britain in the 250s.
Gould claimed six 250 wins and three podiums on his way to being crowned world champion. It was his only world title, although he did go on to finish second in 1971 and third in 1972. He also made a strong showing in the 500 class in Õ72 and ended the season fourth. He then retired and went on to run a Yamaha dealership with Mike Hailwood.
The Honda CB750 Four was ruling the roads with bikes like Kawasakiõs 500 Mach 3. Triumph battled back with a redesigned Bonneville but the writing was on the wall as the Japanese machines were faster, more reliable and cheaper.
GREEVES GO FOR GOLD
Greeves had expanded into motorcycles in the 1950s after making stacks of cash building a three-wheeled mobility vehicle – the Invacar. In 1970 the company and attacked the world motocross 250 500cc world championship and were also making waves in road racing. The Wade season started well, too, with Bryan MX GP. finishing fourth in the Spanish 250
BANKS ROBBED OFF WORLD TITLE CHANCE
John Banks had finished runner-up in the 1968 and 1969 world 500cc championship aboard his BSA and was hoping 1970 would be the year he finally topped the lot. But he suffered a knee injury at the Cambs Grand National (like you do) and went into the opening GP round in Switzerland far from fit. He battled to fifth in the first race, but retired in the second outing.
HICKMAN FLIES THE BSA FLAG
Despite falling motorcycle sales and profits, BSA were still competing on and off road – and with some success. Keith Hickman gave the company something to smile about at the start of the 1970 season. He finished ninth in the opening 500 GP and won three races at a French International for good measure.
‘Winning a world championship has been really hard work, but it’s been worth it’ RODNEY GOULD, WORLD 250 CHAMP
MOVE OVER HARRY POTTER
Long before our bespectacled wizard friend was jumping through walls at King’s Cross, TT stars were blasting down Euston Station platform to promote the Isle of Man. Among the line-up is Pat Mahoney and Dave Nixon.
A COMEBACK GRAHAM JUNIOR MAKES
Stuart Graham, son of Leslie Graham (winner of the first world 500 GP title in 1949), was a 125 and 50cc specialist and won two GPS in 1967. He was making a comeback in 1970 having retired to concentrate on car racing.
MV 750 STUNNER TESTED
This beautiful 750 four was capable of 140mph and looked incredible. Purists bemoaned the use of a shaft drive, but it turned heads and many were prepared to part with the £1300 asking price. The bright blue tank, with white stripe and racing red seat made this a much lusted-after machine and today you’ll need £80k to buy one!
JUST THE TICKET
In a bid to raise cash for the Scottish International Six Day Trial Team, the Scottish ACU sold tickets for £1 each. After the event, ticket-holders stood the chance to win one of the four factory machines that were used in the event by the Scottish team.