Fitting tribute to one of Australia’s most talented racers
Phillip Island’s MotoGP race day was marked with the unveiling of a statue of famous South Australian racer Kenny Blake. South Australian Governor Hieu Van Le pulled the covers off the striking tribute, set up in Blake’s home town of Strathalbyn.
It was the highlight of a weekend-long festival of motorcycling honouring Ken Blake, which involved various displays, a gala dinner and tribute rides around the Adelaide Hills roads where he honed his riding skills in the 1960s. Blake became a national star in the 1970s before heading off to Europe. He died in a race at the Isle of Man TT in 1981, aged 32 years.
The memorial statue features Kenny Blake and his 1976 Suzuki RG500 GP bike. That was the year he famously beat grand prix legend Giacomo Agostini at the one-off Laverton TT. Blake achieved legend status in Australia for his ability to race and win on any type and size of motorcycle.
Constructed from mechanical parts, engine components, suspension, hand tools and general motorcycle hardware, the statue is a life-size replica of Blake and his bike mid-race.
It’s the work of Goolwa artisan James Stewart. James, who specialises in assemblage art, creating pieces from recycled, scrap and new metal.
By Hamish Cooper