Ex­plod­ing JAPs

Old Bike Australasia - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

I re­fer to the let­ter from Barry Gra­ham in OBA57, re­lat­ing to the Bob Sharp ESO. Although not want­ing to buy into the ar­gu­ment about who had what when, I also saw Bob Sharp on the ESO at Townsville Show­grounds in 1961. Bob started the sea­son on a JAP, but ac­quired the ESO about midyear, and was out­stand­ing on it against such world­class riders as Ken McKin­lay and Ken Cameron, who were also rid­ing with the Rock­hamp­ton based pro­moter Ted Price. The Aus­tralian ti­tles were run in Rock­hamp­ton that year, and were won by Bob Sharp on the ESO, with Ivan Mauger sec­ond on a JAP. Mauger then ap­peared at Townsville for 2 meet­ings, and at the sec­ond meet­ing, in a scratch race was just lead­ing Bob Sharp, when the JAP mo­tor ex­ploded, just in front of where my favourite spec­ta­tor po­si­tion was on the back straight. Bob Sharp was un­able to dodge the mag­neto, and crashed into the fence, while the other A graders were able to lay their bikes down, and avoid any fur­ther car­nage. The thing that sticks in my mind about this in­ci­dent, was the fa­cial ex­pres­sion of an over-ea­ger spec­ta­tor who leapt the fence and picked up a length of con rod, which was lying on the track about 6 feet from the fence. As you can imag­ine, he only kept hold of it for about a mil­lisec­ond, and I can still see the look on his face. Un­for­tu­nately, the speed­way pro­moter had a dis­agree­ment with the Show So­ci­ety and the Speed­way did not re­turn in 1962.

John We­ber Townsville, Qld

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