Classic Racer

Tree huggers!



Now here’s an evocative image of the John Player-backedtran­satlantict­rophy series from the Easter weekend of 1976.

It was the traditiona­l clash between the Americans (and sometimes the odd Canadian or two) versus the Brits, and the events had been held since 1971.

In that first year the riders were on Triumph/bsa three-cylinder machines and the British riders – including a certain Paul Smart – won by 183 points to 137.The American team would not have an overall series win until 1975, when the USA’S line-up was a formidable one, featuring Dave Aldana, Steve

Baker, Kenny Roberts (who made his debut in front of a British crowd at the 1974 event), Gene Romero and Pat Hennen. The British team included Percytait, Stanley Woods and Mick Grant. The Yanks won by 278 to 243 points.

This 1976 shot from Oulton Park on the Bank Holiday Monday shows Hennen (40) leading Stevie Baker (32), with the likes of Roberts (2), Barry Sheene (7) and Gary Nixon (9) in hot pursuit.

After the first event at Brands Hatch that spring, the US team led by 15 points as they went to Mallory Park for Easter Sunday’s clash. But by the time they arrived at Oulton Park, the tables had been turned and the Brits led by a slender five-point margin. Eventually it would be a home win for the British team, 415 versus 384 points – thanks in many ways to the debut of a young Ron Haslam who took a second place finish – but the warnings were there as both top individual scorers were Yanks: Steve Baker and Kenny Roberts.

We love this shot as – if you look closely – you can see some very adventurou­s fans who have climbed the nearby trees to get the best seats in the house… Were you one of them? We’d love to know…

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 ?? Photo: Mortons Archive. ??
Photo: Mortons Archive.

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