Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

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Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

Postby Gosling1 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:09 pm

Phil (fezzick) has been fairly keen to see if I had any articles in the vast archives of the 4th Dimension library, regarding the 1981 Coca Cola 800 Endurance race, which was held at Oran Park back in early 1981.

So I had a bit of a squizz tonight, and dragged out the 1981 editions of REVS Motorcycle News. Sure enough - as per the usual high standards of the race reports that REVS used to do back in the day - there is a 6-page report with heaps of photos of this event. (and in the very next issue, are some excellent notes about this same event, I will scan these and add to this thread shortly...). Due to the size of this broadsheet magazine, and the way the article was printed, I have had to scan smaller sections of print and the photos seperately - however it is all placed here in correct order, and you can just read from one section of text directly to the next.

This particular race is of some importance in regard to the Shadowfax endurance racer that Phil & I are currently rebuilding - Kent Miklenda and Neal Keith were entered in this event on Shadowfax, and Phil was the race caller on the day. The winner of this race was a team that included Greg Pretty - Greg unfortunately passed away in a motorcycle accident last year, so this article being reproduced here is also a bit of a tribute to Greg, who on his day, was almost unbeatable. A great rider, sadly missed. RIP Greg Pretty.

Without any further ado, here is the report straight from REVS Motorcycle News, Vol 14 #9 - Mar 6-19 1981......


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".....shut the gate on this one Maxie......it's the ducks guts !!............."

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Re: Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

Postby bonester » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:14 pm

They raced an XS1100? Fuck me.... :shock:
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Re: Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

Postby Gosling1 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:22 pm

(cont)

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Re: Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

Postby Gosling1 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:45 pm

(cont)....

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Top qualifiers

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Provisional Results

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At the very bottom of that list, position #33 - are Kent Miklenda and Neal Keath from the Canberra Road Racing Club - riding Shadowfax. Although this list shows the riders to be classed as finishers, apparently this was not the case because they had not completed enough laps due to some lost time with a worn-out alternator cover.

This gets a mention in the following edition of REVS, and Phil knows this story backwards, because he was announcing it at the time !!! :lol: :lol:

I will be doing some more stories like this from back in the day, the REVS and Two Wheels collection in the 4th Dimension library is massive, and worth sharing.

8)
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Re: Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

Postby robracer » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:12 am

Tex is in that list as well #28 ?
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Re: Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

Postby the kid » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:03 am

Nice work Gos . Thanks
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Re: Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

Postby loubre » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:23 am

Ah memories, I was one of the thousands there in the crowd that day, bloody awesome riding in the conditions. Keep em coming! :D
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Re: Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

Postby Glen » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:03 am

Sensational Gos. I know we wax on about the good ole days but they really were 8)
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Re: Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

Postby fezzick » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:52 am

BRING BACK ENDURANCE RACING.....OK, now that I've got THAT off my chest...That's certainly a comprehensive report, indicative of how important road racing was back then. Unfortunately, no pictures of the beast, nor mention either, as Gos has noted. The bike actually finished the race running strongly, but had spent much too much time in the pits while the track announcer (yours truly) begged and pleaded over the PA for the loan of a Kawasaki alternator cover. When the bike was built, as is the way, money was short as was time and the decision to use a total loss electrical system had to be abandoned. So the bike ran with the standard Kawasaki alternator. Since it was very vulnerable in left-hand corners, Rick Miller did the best he could to limit damage by taking the cover off and filling the bottom of it with Araldite. Thus, if it did incur damage, it would hopefully not leak oil or allow the alternator itself to be damaged. (for Bathurst a total loss system was in place, not that it helped much).
Rick warned the riders that they would have to take it carefully on left-hand corners because of this bodge and Kent did so, after Neil had qualified the bike near the top 10. However, when Kent pitted for the first stop, with the bike still running inside the top ten, he handed over to Neil who went out and went ballistic. It was well before his stint was due to be over that the bike was back in the pits with a worn-through alternator cover and oil spewing everywhere. Appeals were made for another cover for what seemed like hours and the appeal was finally answered by a spectator who offered the use of the cover off his road bike that was parked in the car park. It was hastily stripped and fitted and the bike ran to the end. But due to the rule that you had to complete a certain percentage of the winner's laps to be classified as a finisher, the team recorded an official DNF. Thanks for posting this, mate. Brilliant.
Oh, and incidentally, the Shadowfax team was not the only CRRC entry. If you look at the results sheet you'll see that Ron van der Sterren and Phil Thompson on the Marfe Cabinets GSX1100 finished 10th. Ron was the proprietor of a kitchen and joinery business in Queanbeyan that is still in business, now run by his younger brother. His TZ350 race bike that he used during that time as well, is now on display at the National Motorcycle Museum at Nabiac. Phil Thompson was the founder, along with John Studdert, of TJ's tyres in Braddon.
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Re: Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

Postby s man » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:29 pm

Those were the days!! See the names? Normal team mates pitted against eachother, man they were good times!!
Many Thanks for that Goz, you are a champ!
I wonder what ever happend to the Pittmans chain drive XS1100???
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Re: Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

Postby Gosling1 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:59 pm

robracer wrote:Tex is in that list as well #28 ?


He is mate. The one and only ! :lol: Another competitor that is in this race that you might recognise is big Joe Marukic ! I raced against Joe at Oran Park in the 2001 season with the PCRA.

the kid wrote:Nice work Gos . Thanks


no worries mate - this is not even the tip of the tip of the iceberg ! :lol: but it takes a while to scan/crop/etc .....all worth it, some of the stories in REVS from back then are really good. Mike Esdaile was a great editor.

loubre wrote:....Ah memories, I was one of the thousands there in the crowd that day, bloody awesome riding in the conditions. Keep em coming! :D.....


apparently it was pretty wet !! :shock: :D

Glen wrote:....Sensational Gos. I know we wax on about the good ole days but they really were 8)...


they really were. Some great specials from back then as well...........

fezzick wrote:... Unfortunately, no pictures of the beast, nor mention either, as Gos has noted..... Thanks for posting this, mate. Brilliant....Oh, and incidentally, the Shadowfax team was not the only CRRC entry. If you look at the results sheet you'll see that Ron van der Sterren and Phil Thompson on the Marfe Cabinets GSX1100 finished 10th. Ron was the proprietor of a kitchen and joinery business in Queanbeyan that is still in business, now run by his younger brother. His TZ350 race bike that he used during that time as well, is now on display at the National Motorcycle Museum at Nabiac. Phil Thompson was the founder, along with John Studdert, of TJ's tyres in Braddon.


I ran into Phil at the local VV&C run around Lake Burley Griffin back in July - he was going well. Always good to catch up with him....wait till you see the 'notes' from this gig in the following edition of REVS mate ;) :lol:

s man wrote:Those were the days!! See the names? Normal team mates pitted against eachother, man they were good times!!
Many Thanks for that Goz, you are a champ!....I wonder what ever happend to the Pittmans chain drive XS1100???...


no worries Steve - I will be keeping an eye out for your name in the results sheets as I go through some of the old mags :kuda:. Not sure what happened to the original XS11, but there were 2 copies of this bike at the Island Classic earlier this year. I think Rex Wolfenden built one of them ? They both looked flash, the other example was just a bit up from the pits where Billy, Steve Kairl and myself were pitted.

More coming tonight :)
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Re: Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

Postby loubre » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:30 pm

fezzick wrote:BRING BACK ENDURANCE RACING.....OK, now that I've got THAT off my chest...That's certainly a comprehensive report, indicative of how important road racing was back then. Unfortunately, no pictures of the beast, nor mention either, as Gos has noted. The bike actually finished the race running strongly, but had spent much too much time in the pits while the track announcer (yours truly) begged and pleaded over the PA for the loan of a Kawasaki alternator cover. When the bike was built, as is the way, money was short as was time and the decision to use a total loss electrical system had to be abandoned. So the bike ran with the standard Kawasaki alternator. Since it was very vulnerable in left-hand corners, Rick Miller did the best he could to limit damage by taking the cover off and filling the bottom of it with Araldite. Thus, if it did incur damage, it would hopefully not leak oil or allow the alternator itself to be damaged. (for Bathurst a total loss system was in place, not that it helped much).
Rick warned the riders that they would have to take it carefully on left-hand corners because of this bodge and Kent did so, after Neil had qualified the bike near the top 10. However, when Kent pitted for the first stop, with the bike still running inside the top ten, he handed over to Neil who went out and went ballistic. It was well before his stint was due to be over that the bike was back in the pits with a worn-through alternator cover and oil spewing everywhere. Appeals were made for another cover for what seemed like hours and the appeal was finally answered by a spectator who offered the use of the cover off his road bike that was parked in the car park. It was hastily stripped and fitted and the bike ran to the end. But due to the rule that you had to complete a certain percentage of the winner's laps to be classified as a finisher, the team recorded an official DNF. Thanks for posting this, mate. Brilliant.
Oh, and incidentally, the Shadowfax team was not the only CRRC entry. If you look at the results sheet you'll see that Ron van der Sterren and Phil Thompson on the Marfe Cabinets GSX1100 finished 10th. Ron was the proprietor of a kitchen and joinery business in Queanbeyan that is still in business, now run by his younger brother. His TZ350 race bike that he used during that time as well, is now on display at the National Motorcycle Museum at Nabiac. Phil Thompson was the founder, along with John Studdert, of TJ's tyres in Braddon.



Yep three of us there together at the time all with the right bike but after seeing how that Neil Keath rode scraping the shit out of the cover there was no bloody way you were getting an alternator cover off any of us! :roll: :lol: :weedman:
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Re: Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

Postby Eian » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:01 pm

Good on ya Gos,that was a good read.Brought back some memories,the worlds changed so much.Imagine riding that on a xs ha.
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Re: Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

Postby Gosling1 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:39 pm

Here are some more pictures of the bikes involved in this event - unfortunately, none of Shadowfax.....


AJ riding dirt-track style on the Pitmans Yamaha XS1100

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Neil Chivas on the Suzuki Australia GSX1100

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Scott Stevens on the mighty Bankstown Z1R Kawasaki !

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Glen Taylor - well-placed in the field when this shot was taken, later sidelined by a prang...

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Here are some more stories from this race, these were published in REVS in the subsequent issue, Vol 14 #10, Mar 20 - Apr 10 1981........

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Re: Coca Cola 800 - 1981.

Postby Gosling1 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:46 pm

(cont)....

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