1970: BSA bid to rule world

18-year-olds get the vote, Mccart­ney leaves the Bea­tles and Brit Rod­ney Gould takes world 250 ti­tle

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Contents -

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.

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