Broadford Bike Bonanza
For motorcycle enthusiasts in the south-eastern corner of the country, the Easter break and Broadford’s Bike Bonanza have become synonymous in recent years.
It’s held at Victoria’s Motorcycle Sport complex just off the Hume Highway at Broadford about 85 kilometres north-east of Melbourne. Whether you bring a bike or just come to ogle the amazing range of classic machines that others bring, you’re in for a special time at the Bonanza.
Eligible bikes, pre-1990 models, cover the full gamut of categories: road bikes, road racers, speedway sliders, scramblers, traillies, enduro bikes, MXers, dirt-trackers and, of course, it would be no show without a bunch of sidecar outfits.
As well as hosting the general get-together and a range of static displays, Motorcycling Victoria’s Broadford facility throws open its full range of competition tracks and circuits within the 420-acre property. It’s the action option that makes the Bonanza special. It’s not just another classic meeting where the enthusiasts are passive spectators. Here you can choose to get out there and participate.
Non-competitive ride sessions are available on the road-race circuit and all the dirt tracks including the speedway, motocross, enduro and trials courses.
Trackside camping offers decent facilities as well as rural charm and gives you the chance to bench-race with your mates around the campfire to your heart’s content at the end of very special days.
The focus for the 2014 Bonanza is a celebration of two much-loved events from our rich motorcycle racing heritage: the Castrol 6 Hour road races and the Sunraysia BP Desert Rallies. As well as displays of bikes and memorabilia from the events you’ll get the chance to catch up with many of the competitors. To whet your appetites here’s a profile of some of the racing legends who’ll be there.
CASTROL 6 HOUR RACER – GRAEME LAING
Graeme competed in his first road race at Phillip Island in 1955. He and business partner Peter Jones were very active in road racing through the ’60s and ’70s while involved in motorcycle retailing at Melbourne Motorcycles in South Melbourne.
Graeme’s ultimate move from a dealership into a management role at Yamaha Motor Australia didn’t keep him away from the track. If anything, it increased his involvement.
Graeme finally hung up his race-leathers in 1998 after a 43-year road-racing career. He was retiring from Yamaha so it seemed like the logical moment to call it a day and hand back the YZF600 he’d been campaigning.
In retirement, Graeme keeps his hand in with a couple of classic bike restos and regular rides on his Yamaha R6.
GRAEME’S CASTROL 6-HOUR
Graeme competed in the 6-Hour in 1970, ’71 and ’72, racing Suzuki two-strokes very effectively.
1970 – Graeme finished second in the 500c class on a 315cc T350 Suzuki he shared with Peter Jones, beating Kenny Blake on a H1 Kawasaki 500 into third place.
1971 – With Ross Barelli, he finished seventh in the 500cc class on a T350 Suzuki, again beating an H1 Kawasaki to the flag.
1972 – He and Eddie Catton finished second in the 250cc class on a GT250 Suzuki.
“When the 6-Hour cropped up we thought, yeah, we’ll have a go at this,” Graeme says. “It was an easy-enough decision to plan for hourly rider changes because we knew the fuel would last the hour. But we actually didn’t know whether riders could manage an hour on a racetrack because our experience was in four-lap races.
“The Suzukis didn’t need tyre changes or brakes. I don’t think we even had to adjust chains. Just to finish that first 6-Hour was a real experience.”
BP DESERT RALLIES
Graeme was a regular in the BP Sunraysia Desert rallies, competing on a range of Suzuki dirt-bikes.
He recalls that the event was tough on riders and bikes: “Some of the really soft stuff was powdery, like gypsum, which the fat tyres on the RV models handled well. But hidden in the powder were big, hard lumps that the suspension of the day couldn’t handle. So it was bang, bang, bang…”
MEET TEAM GODDARD
The racing Goddard family will be at the Bonanza in force – that’s Ted and his sons: Andrew, Michael and Peter.
Ted was the first official Australian entrant to compete in an International Six-Day Trial, winning a silver medal in Austria. He then became team manager and won bronze in Sweden and silver in Germany.
Ted also competed in the Baja 1000 and a number of US six-day qualifiers. He was recently inducted into the ADB Hall of Fame.
Andrew, a successful enduro competitor, enjoys punting his GS Beemer for fun these days.
Michael is returning from the US, his home for the last 20 years, for the Bonanza. He won the Wynns Safari in 1988 and the Australian Safari in 1993.
Peter won two Australian Pro-Dirt track championships before moving into road racing, winning the All Japan 500cc GP Championship in1991. He went on to a stellar career in Australian superbike racing and world endurance competition before a number of years in development roles with Aprilia, Ohlins and BMW.
You can meet the Goddard family, Graeme Laing and many other racing luminaries at the 2014 Broadford Bike Bonanza. MT will be there in force as well, so visit our area in the pits where you’ll no doubt see Spannerman desperately trying to keep the staff fleet going. For more information about the Bonanza visit www.MA.org.au