The bikes may be old but the action was fresh and furious as Australia’s best classic racers battled it out
The Australian Historic Road Racing Championships were held at Wakefield Park, NSW, over 9-12 November, with competitor and spectator attendance exceeding expectations and making for an action-packed weekend.
Standout performers included Newcastle’s Aaron Morris, who rode three different bikes over the meeting, Chas Hern on the Harris F1 Honda, and Stephen Craig on his giant-killing Kawasaki ZXR400.
More than 380 bikes were involved in the four-day event, with Wakefield Park Operations Manager Matt Baragwanath saying, “A lot of competitors travelled from interstate to participate this weekend – we had riders from as far away as Tasmania and Western Australia – so it was sensational for Goulburn and the local economy. On the Saturday there were over 700 tickets sold, which shows there is a really strong interest in historic racing.”
The format provided plenty of track time for competitors with each category holding two five-lap sprints on Saturday and Sunday for a total of 48 races over the two days. Bikes were grouped according to their era and power output, making for some interesting match-ups on track. Spectators could also check out a static display from the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club.
The Post Classic Racing Association of NSW hosted the event and club stalwart Lech Budniak was delighted, saying, “It’s always hard to run with such a variety of bikes, but generally it seemed everyone liked the mix. Aaron Morris, it doesn’t matter what he rides, he is a weapon. To top it off, all the helpers have made it an unreal weekend. Matt and all the staff at Wakefield, nothing is too much trouble. Ross Martin, the clerk of the course, he kept everything on schedule and we’d also like to thank all the flag marshals and admin staff.”
New Era – 1st January 1983 to 31 December 1990
The big-bore Period 6 bikes turned on the action, producing lap times that belied the age of the machines. The Formula 1300 winning bike was a 1990 Yamaha FZR1000 ridden by Aaron Morris and prepared by Craig Stewart from C&M Motorcycles.
“This bike was a carpark find we named ‘Darren’, costing $1000,” said Stewart. The package enabled Morris to produce times that wouldn’t have been out of place on a current-day ASBK grid, taking four straight victories from Chas Hern.
“We’ve been going fast on it straight away,” said Morris, “we are on Bridgestones for the first time, and it feels comfortable to push. I can back the FZR in to corners pretty consistently now after a small clutch mod.”
Runner-up Chas Hern was riding a Rex Wolfenden-prepared 1986 Yamaha FJ1200, a bike
that was originally intended for touring.
“I haven’t been here since 2011 when I was racing on modern bikes,” said Hern. “The FJ looks like a big cuddly bear or something. I don’t know if anyone in the world has raced one of these! It just goes to show the amount of work Rex has put in to get it where it is.”
Rounding out the class podium was the Yamaha FZR1000 prepared by the team of Stuart Woodbury and Chris Pickett. Chris’s son Alex rode the bike, a machine that Woodbury said had taken hundreds of hours to prepare for the track.
In the P6 Formula 750 class Stephen Craig stepped up with a mighty display on his ZXR400, using the Kawasaki’s superior corner speed and power under brakes to full advantage. He held off the larger bikes in all but one race to thrill the crowd.
“It’s tough, but it’s all about the brakes when you’re racing against these guys,” he said. “The ZXR400 is lighter than the 750, but this is a fast 400. The mid-corner speed is great and you can get on the gas early.”
Brett Simmonds was second on his 1989 Suzuki GSX-R750 with Stephen Ward third on an ex-AMA Fast by Ferracci Ducati 888.
Craig also took out the 500cc class on the 400cc Kawasaki with John Hazeldene (1989 Yamaha TZ250) second and Tim Podt (1989 Honda VFR400) third.
Glen Kelleher (1990 Honda NSR 250) dominated the P6 250cc Production class, winning all races. Behind him there was a close tussle between 250cc specialists Keo Watson (1990 Suzuki RGV250) and Simon Dickson (1990 Honda CBR250RR), with Watson taking second.