The club race which helps Australia’s best sharpen up for battle
In the lead-up to Darwin’s Hidden Valley round several leading ASBK riders used round four of the Hartwell Motorcycle Club championships at Phillip Island to get back up to full race pace.
One of the riders bouncing back from a disastrous previous ASBK outing at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia was defending champion Josh Waters. He took his Suzuki GSX-R1000R to an emotional victory in the Greg Bailey Cup feature race, putting him back in the right frame of mind for Darwin.
This race is hotly contested and draws a good crowd. The Phillip Island round was no exception. Josh Waters qualified on pole ahead of Max Croker with another 31 riders on the grid.
Waters stamped his authority on the race, finishing 34 seconds ahead of Nathan Jones (Kawasaki ZX-10R), who just managed to hold off an heroic ride from Croker on his Suzuki GSX-R600 with Matt Tooley (Yamaha R1) just behind.
A glance over the honours board covering the many decades of the Greg Bailey Cup shows that the first winner was Colin O’Neil in 1979. He won again in 1980, followed by Alan Fairthorne in 1981. There is a lot of history here.
The meeting covered a huge range of classes, from Juniors through 125 GP, Formula 400 and all the way up to unlimited. There were also classes for historics, supermono, thunderbikes and sidecars. To sum up, there was a class for anyone interested in road-racing at any level of racing ability.
Who is Greg Bailey?
This Greg Bailey Cup is in honour of a much-loved Hartwell member who died after a racing incident in the UK in the 1970s.
“Greg was a keen club rider who moved to the UK to compete in the mid-1970s,” Hartwell administrator Karen Skate explains. “Greg was sponsored by Vic Camp of Vic Camp Motorcycles in Walthamstow, London (a leading UK motorcycle dealership and racing supporter) and became a great favourite of the many fans.”
Bailey died in the Derby Royal Infirmary as a result of an accident at Donington Park circuit in November 1978 where he and another rider collided during an event. He never regained consciousness.
“Our Club Secretary at the time, Mr Wes Brown (now 95 years old), was invited to present a trophy in honour of Greg after his passing at the BBC-sponsored event at the Brands Hatch circuit in 1980,” she says. “The cup that is presented to the Greg Bailey winner at our presentation night at the end of each year is the actual cup that was awarded to Greg in England for his third place in the 1977 Shell Championship.”
Darrell Bailey, Greg’s brother, still races today on historic machines.
“While I never met Greg, if he was anything like Darrell it would have been an honour to know him,” said Karen. “Greg was very highly regarded and Hartwell are proud to be able to keep his memory alive by honouring him continuously by our Greg Bailey event at each of our meetings.”
Hartwell Motorcycle Club
(03) 9729 7729
PO Box 2023, Bayswater, Vic, 3153
By Hamish Cooper
Photos Serge Piastra