Geelong Revival 2014
The heat was on in Victoria’s Geelong late in November. The town’s motoring festival took place with temperatures ranging from 35 degrees upwards – great for crowd numbers but daunting for the competitors in the motorcycle sprints sitting on their bikes in the sun in full leathers waiting for their turn on the 400-metre strip.
This year saw the first proper 400m strip in use, so timing suddenly became important. The drag strip runs along Eastern Beach Road parallel to the bay so at least the competitors could look at the water to cool down. There’s a gentle arc in the road that you’d probably not notice if you’re obeying the normal 50km/h speed limit, but it’s sharp enough at racing speeds to focus the mind.
The event is a proper festival of motoring and, while the speed trials are an important component, there are plenty of other things going on including classic car and motorcycle displays, vintage fashion awards, Street Machine magazine-sponsored cruising, live music and a vast array and variety of food outlets.
Off the track, it’s a real family affair. Many families choose to bring a picnic and sit free of charge on Spectator Hill opposite the pits for a bird’s-eye view of the proceedings. On the bay side of the pits is a giant ferris wheel and plenty of other activities to keep kids amused. Most of the activities are free but there’s a small charge if spectators want to enter the pit area for a closer inspection of the hundreds of cars and bikes participating in the sprints.
Motorcycle Trader had a marquee set up on Transvaal Square where most of the non-competitive motorcycle-based activity took place. The standard of entries in the Shannons Classic Motor Show classes was outstanding and the square was packed with display bikes ranging from 1910 to around 1985. Many participants took the opportunity to visit the MT stand and enter the competition to win a new Indian Scout.
RED, AMBER, GREEN
Waving the MT flag on the track was deputy editor Chris Harris on his big-bore BMW R80 café racer which you’ve been reading about recently, and editor Groff on his Rod Tingate-designed and Peter Jones-built Tingate SR500 which featured in the official program.
Harris ended up with the fastest recorded time in the club-plate class but the stewards have been called in to explain how it’s possible to go from 13.50 to 10.28 seconds in just two runs. Chris says it’s mostly down to riding ability but the jury is still out.
Among the serious bikes was an Irving Vincent fettled by Ken Horner and ridden by Beau Beaton. Even rarer was a Hunwick Hallam X1R entered by creator Paul Hallam. Its grunt down the strip was awe-inspiring and reinforced what a shame it was that the Hunwick Hallam bikes didn’t make it to production.
John Gee from Antique Motorcycles was there with an array of his floor stock getting some exercise, including a Kawasaki H2 and a Triumph Hurricane. Michael Catchpole from Mid Life Cycles ran some of his smaller-capacity customs, which attracted a lot of interest.
YOU CAN DO IT
If the idea of running your bike down the Geelong 400m strip in front of a huge crowd appeals, start preparing for next year. You don’t have to be rich or famous to enter: the pit area was full of interesting but modest entrants including a Jawa California 250 which only just managed to crack 22 seconds for the distance. It didn’t stop owner Geoff Lewis from having a ball.
You’ll need full leathers (zip together is fine) and you can buy a motorcycle competition licence for $25 on the day. For full details and race results visit GeelongRevival.com.au