2013 Geelong Revival

Date 27.1.2014

Presented by
  • Motorcycle Trader


2013 Geelong Revival

> Watch the video: MT at Geelong Revival 2013


Despite the major advances in technology mankind has achieved, the weather is still determined by the gods. They smiled on the Geelong Revival for its 2013 event and both participants and spectators had two days of glorious sunshine on the weekend of December 1 to take in some of the country’s best cars and bikes.

While the focus is on Eastern Beach Road where the sprints actually take place, the event unlocks the garages of hundreds of classic bike and car owners, all of who are delighted to show off their wares to a very receptive public.

According to motorsport director of the event, Scott Pigdon, the Geelong Revival appeals to owners who would not normally consider engaging in competition. It might be that they don’t want to risk damaging their rare and expensive machines but many of them are also in a post-competitive stage of their lives and many of the runs down the speed strip were ‘display’ rides rather than attempts to break any records.

“We see the Revival as a showcase of motoring culture and very much a community event,” he says. “Motoring culture isn’t just about nuts and bolts – it’s also about fashion, food and music. There’s plenty to see and do even if you’re a non-competitor and we estimate that we had 30,000-plus spectators over the two days. It certainly helps the community feel that the event is free,” he says.


The bay-front precinct of Geelong is one of Victoria’s hidden treasures. It’s a beautiful area almost perfectly set up for an event like the Geelong Revival. As well as the Eastern Beach Road strip, there’s plenty of open, grassed areas including the Eastern Beach Reserve, Transvaal Square and the Steampacket Garden. These are perfect for displays, food stalls and music venues.

Best of all is Spectator Hill where a grassy slope above Eastern Beach Road allows a spectacular view of the action with a boats-and-bay background.

Cunningham Pier is also a focus with displays along its length with a reward at the end for hungry and thirsty visitors.

The designated competition strip is a little deceptive in that it’s around 360-metres in length rather than the more traditional 400 metres. It also has a mild bend in the middle which can be a challenge for the faster bikes. It was nerve-wracking watching Shane Walker’s Harley-Davidson V-Rod Destroyer drag bike in action: the wheelie bar was a big help during the launch but this outfit was never designed to turn during its run. He still achieved excellent times but spectators could hear him backing off before the bend before getting back on the gas.


Among the highlights of the weekend was the Irving Vincent team which fielded three bikes. Ken Horner, part of the creative team that developed the bike, rode one while the other two were piloted by current racer Beau Beaton and motorcycling royalty in the form of Mick Hone. Neither Beau nor Mick understands the concept of ‘display’ and both their Irving Vincent’s received a solid hammering.

Another starter from Mick’s period of racing also made an appearance: Bob Rosenthal. Bob demonstrated great skill in launching a 1962 Manx Norton towards very good times for a bike never really designed for this kind of work. Bob once told MT that he considered around 10 per cent wheel-spin to be perfect for race starts and he showed he has lost none of his skill.

Those who love a racing fix were also delighted to see Jack Findlay’s 1974 Yamaha TZ in action under the hand of Noel Heenan (see page 33). Jack won the FIM Formula 750 championship on this bike, beating Barry Sheene by one point.

You didn’t have to be a high-end racer to participate. Rodney Wright delighted the crowd with his runs on a 1942 Harley-Davidson WLA, Julie Bogers had a fairly rare Norton Jubilee 250 in action and Catherine Davison made a number of runs on Mid-Life Cycle’s Honda CB100 café racer.

Another pair of entrants who produced many smiles were Shane Soutar and his son Zac on their GSX-engined LCR sidecar.


Motorsport director Pigden told MT that the event has a bright future. As well as lots of support from the Geelong Chamber of Commerce and the City of Geelong (new mayor, Darren Lyons, flagged the event off), the current premier of Victoria, Denis Napthine, also made an appearance and was very impressed.

Plans are already in place to make it easier for riders to participate in 2014 so start dusting off your classic and watch MT for more information on how you can become part of this great event.

BIKE: Suzuki T500
OWNER: Mick Wright

Crane-driver Mick turned up to the Geelong Revival on his beautiful Suzuki T500. He imported it himself from California around four years ago and undertook an engine rebuild after he managed to hole a piston.The bike gleams in the sunlight and is all hand-polished. Unique to this one American model is a factory rack on the tank. Other visual highlights include the twin leading-shoe front brake which Mick claims, after much work, is now very powerful. Part of the secret is using a lever arm from the GT380 model which is just slightly longer and offers better lever effect.

Mick knows a little about T500s having now owned three along with a GT500 as well. This model is pretty-much stock apart from Ikon rear suspension and non-standard, flat ’bars. He says his best experience on it was not taking it on a recent trip to Tasmania – he bought a BMW K100 instead as he felt it would be easier to keep up with his mates on that.

BIKE: Honda CB100 Café Racer
OWNER: Catherine Davison

Catherine is the manager of business development at the rapidly growing Mid-Life Cycles. She’s also part of Australia’s motorsport royalty being the daughter of Lex Davison.

She’s been involved in sports car racing but says her extended family which includes V8 Supercar drivers Will and Alex Davison have accepted her motorcycle obsession.

She’s owned a C-series Vincent and currently owns a Harley-Davidson 1200 Sportster.

The CB100 she rode at the Revival is a Mid-Life Cycles show bike built by Darren Brown. It has a hand-fabricated tank and seat in alloy and has a custom stainless muffler. It even has a name: Sammy.

Sammy’s no slouch, either, with a time of 20.6 seconds for 360-metre strip.

BIKES: Norton Atlas ’61 and ’65
OWNERS: Mick Panayi and Ken Maher

If you’ve ever been to the legendary Mt Tarrengower hill-climbs near Maldon in Victoria, you’ll already be familiar with Mick Panayi’s Norton: it’s been the fastest bike up the hill for the last 11 years straight! Mick (pictured left) runs Classic Road and Race Motorcycles and specialises in Norton twins (www.RoadnRace.com.au) and, to demonstrate his skills, turned Ken Maher’s basket case Atlas into a runner for the Revival in just three weeks. Ken says many long nights were involved.

The brace of bikes in the Revival collection included Mick’s partner, Jules’ ’61 Norton Navigator 250. Few made it to Australia and it’s a striking bike. Ken asked us, if we ran this story, to thank his long-suffering partner, Karen, for her patience.

Mick and Ken race under the ‘Team Africa’ banner. ‘Africa’ stands for ‘Another Fucking Race I Can’t Afford’. Good luck to all members and, Ken, if Karen forgives you, let us know – we might try apologising in a national magazine ourselves…

BIKE: 1977 Honda CB750 Automatic
OWNER: Phil Armitage

“I’ve got about half a dozen bikes – mostly trials bikes … [but] I just happened upon this,” Phil Armitage says. The bike in reference is this original, automatic Honda CB750, bought from the family of his son’s friend two years ago.

Honda produced about 20,000 automatic versions of the CB and all were sold in the US.

“The auto is good around town, but it’s not real sporty,” Phil says. “It’s like a car with ‘Low’, ‘Drive’ and ‘Neutral’ gears so you just kick it up and it goes into ‘Low’. It engages and you just wind the throttle on and away it goes and, when it feels like you’re going too fast (anywhere between 30 and 50mph, or 48-80km/h), you just kick it again and it goes into ‘Drive’.