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Six Hour 1978

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CASTROL SIX HOUR - 1978: The New Breed of SUPERBIKES arrived in 1978. The Honda CBX1000A, Suzuki GS1000 and the Yamaha XS1100. Great Machinery with some of the greatest Riders from Australia, New Zealand and some English guy turned up again, MIKE HAILWOOD on a Ducati. There was a new Kawasaki Z1R at Amaroo, parked in the pits!

I have commented elsewhere about Hales, Crosby and Pretty's quick 'race' on practice day, it was incredibly risky and exciting stuff!

 

THE PITS: Regardless of the new four and six cylinder SUPERBIKES, tremendous interest again followed the 'little' Ducati 750 (Bike No.9), the lead rider was MIKE HAILWOOD again teamed with Jim Scraysbrook. I recall Mike put the Bike down during practice then 'back up' rider Stu Avant did the same thing, then the engine let go with Mike on board!  Amazingly the Team still entered the race, albeit from the rear of the grid.

DON WILSON: BMW R100S

CROSBY/HATTON: HONDA CBX1000

NEILL/COLE: HONDA CBX1000, WITH JOHN GALVIN (BACK TO CAMERA)

 

#9: HAILWOOD/SCRAYSBROOK/AVANT, SHOWING THE DUCATI 750SS FAIRING DAMAGE, BOTH SMBH AND STUART AVANT PUT IT DOWN THE ROAD!

 

GREG PRETTY/JEFF MILLER: YAMAHA XS1100

PARK FERM'E,  AMAROO PARK STYLE....

 

SATURDAY'S TOP QUALIFIERS: The action was already hot during practice, new Motorcycles, new problems and fast lap times. It seemed incredible but Graeme Crosby put the new Honda CBX1000A (Bike No.2) on pole, a transverse 'Straight Six' on such a tight circuit, amazing stuff. Second on the Grid was the GS1000 (Bike No.6) piloted by Alan Hales. Greg Pretty put the XS1100 (Bike No.28) into third grid position.

Interestingly fourth on the grid was another XS1100 piloted by Jim Budd and Roger Heyes, (Team Avon) on, guess the number, (Bike No.3). Amazingly Mick Cole achieved ninth on the grid with another CBX1000A, just a second shy of the Crosby bikes time. Mick, already a winner on a CBX, had recently blasted his way to the first road race win by a CBX1000  'anywhere in the world', winning the 1978 Calder (Victoria) Two Hour Production Race.

#2: CROSBY/HATTON, #6: HALES/CHIVAS

#2: CROSBY/HATTON AND GEORGE PYNE (BENNETT HONDA)

 

RACE DAY: The Le Mans start was uneventful, Crosby got the jump at the start and blasted up Bitupave Hill, followed by Greg Pretty and Alan Hales. Sadly the Crosby CBX retired during the event, the reason given was 'bad fuel', stories circulated that the engine had partially seized!  Croz was somewhat non committal when I asked him about all this at the Isle of Man TT100 in 2007. Then again twenty nine (29) years had passed, eek. (Yep OK, I gotta get out more)......

Another CBX1000A, that of Dennis Neill and Mick Cole came through to the lead at one stage and were hampered by a disastrous pit stop to change the rear tyre (wheel), the problem, refitting a very 'hot' rear axle through the 'cold' wheel bearings of the replacement wheel.

#2: CROSBY, #28 PRETTY, #6: HALES AND #3: BUDD, PROMINENT

#1: KEN BLAKE AND #12: JOHN WARRIAN CHASING THE LEAD GROUP

 

KEN BLAKE/DAVE BURGESS: BMW R100S

CROSBY ON THE CBX1000

JIM BUDD/ROGER HEYES: XS1100

 

JIM BUDD/ROGER HEYES: YAMAHA XS1100

NEILL/COLE: HONDA CBX1000

KLEIN: GS1000 & KEN BLAKE: R100S

 

WES COOLEY AND STEVEN KLEIN: SUZUKI GS1000

 

BOB ROSENTHAL/MURRAY SAYLE: YAMAHA XS1100

ROB MOORHOUSE/DUNCAN READ: YAMAHA XS1100

 

GREG PRETTY/JEFF MILLER: YAMAHA XS1100

 

THE CHEQUERED: The Jim Budd/Roger Heyes Yamaha XS1100, won the race with 354 laps covered, a very professional team and that Number 3 won again!!  John Warrian and Terry Kelly finished second on 353 laps on a Ducati 900SS and third was taken by the Dennis Neill and Mick Cole's CBX1000A also covering 353 laps. Ken Blake was again entered on a BMW R100S (Bike No.1) teamed with Dave Burgess and the machine fettled by Don Wilson, given the class of Superbikes they did well on the venerable 'flat twin', finishing in fourth place on 353 laps, just behind the Neill/Cole CBX!!

It is possible that the Neill/Cole CBX1000 could have taken the 1978 event, certainly second place, if the rear wheel replacement method had been pre-planned with a new rear axle mated to the replacement wheel. However the strategies employed by the Avon sponsored winners and the much simpler rear wheel/tyre replacement method on an XS1100 probably would have ensured the win regardless.

BIKE No. 3 WINS AGAIN: YAMAHA XS1100

THE WINNERS: JIM BUDD, ROGER HEYES AND THE XS1100

 

THE FUTURE: There was a new motorcycle at the 1978 Six Hour, the Kawasaki Z1R, I was really surprised that Kawasaki Australia did not make an effort to display the motorcycle prominently. I took the image of the first Z1R I had ever seen, it was languishing at the rear pit area. The shape and the colour choice certainly highlighted that marvellous engine and headers, whilst disguising the overall visual bulk as compared to the Z1B 900 and 'standard' Z1000.

KAWASAKI Z1R

I LOVE NEW TECHNOLOGY, TABLETS, LAPTOPS, DIGITAL CAMERAS, MOBILE PHONES/WIRELESS BROADBAND, GPS, ETC.  ALL SO COOL AND 'PORTABLE'......


Copyright 2013   Derek J. Hanbidge,  (aka Deejay51),  all rights reserved.
Revised: August 25, 2013.

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