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The year was 1989 | Columns | Gassit Garage

“I was going to punch him but then realised I was probably on TV” Wayne Gardner after being taken out by a slower rider during practice


Wayne Gardner flying the Aussie flag at home.

AMCN GP Edition     $3.50 – 95 pages  On sale 14 April 1989     Editor: Guy Allen



Talk about fairytales. Not that long before 1989 the Australian GP had been only a dream, Phillip Island little more than a farmyard track, and motorbike racing a Cinderella sport with public awareness limited to a few aficionados.

The dream came true on Sunday 9 April 1989, with Wayne Gardner (Rothmans-Honda) joining the ranks of the all-Australian gods after winning one of the best GP races since the 500-class series began, on one of the best circuits in the world.

Bike Test


  Engine       749cc

  Power       51.5kW @ 7500rpm

  Torque       66.7Nm @ 6750rpm

  Gearbox       Five-speed

  Final Drive     Chain

“Yamaha doesn’t want to follow a trend,” the assembled throng was told, “it wants to create one.” Yamaha’s new trend was called Sport Touring, and the Super Ténéré had been built along those lines. Its looks suggested a super off-road machine, but in fact it was a touring motorcycle capable of tackling the occasional unsealed road.


Below: Robbie Phillis led Peter Goddard until the latter eventually won  the war of the Superbikes at the Australian Grand Prix meeting

Barry Ditchburn and Laurie Genova won the 15-lap Australian Sidecar GP

World Championship leaders after 2 of 15 rounds

500cc Wayne Rainey

250cc Sito Pons

125cc Ezio Gianola

In 1989…..Our Prime Minister Bob Hawke tearfully admitted to cheating on wife Hazel, while in the US President Ronald Reagan handed over the reins to George H W Bush. Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, went into hiding after a Fatwa was issued on him. All 1645 Australian domestic airline pilots resigned after being threatened with the sack for striking over a 30 per cent pay claim. Bond Corp went into receivership with the largest debt in Australian history. A Kempsey crash involving two tourist coaches killed 35 and injured 39, and a Newcastle earthquake left 13 dead. Japanese Emperor Hirohito died, serial killer Ted Bundy was sent to the electric chair, and ‘Tank Man’ captivated the world by standing in front of a unit of tanks as the Chinese military forcefully suppressed protests in Tiananmen Square.

How much?

Interest rates on a mortgage reached a staggering 17 per cent in 1989. If you had borrowed today’s average loan of $500,000, your repayments would’ve been a staggering $7189 per month

Era Tech

The MicroTAC was released by Motorola on 25 April 1989. It was the smallest and lightest phone available at the time and set the standard for flip phones for many years to follow. Originally an analog phone, GSM-compatible and TDMA/Dual-Mode versions were introduced in 1994.