Racing in the 70's:
What an exciting era this was for motorcycle racing. Club racing, classic motorbike racing and Grand Prix racing was in full swing but there was also another event that happened every Easter.
THE TRANSATLANTIC TROPHY RACES: The Americans would send a team over to the UK. The races would be held at several different tracks in the UK over a span of just a few days – a logistical nightmare for the teams and riders, but what a success!
Check out these covers from my own personal program collection:
What about the riders - Great Britain
What can we say about Barry Sheene? He had good looks, sense of humour, a leggy blonde model girlfriend. He was a friend of the Celebrities. He was multi World Champion at GP level. He was an ambassador of the sport becoming highly involved in rider safety but he always had time for the press and fans. He was simply the rider we all wanted to be.
Mick Grant a Yorkshire man, was a works rider for many teams including Honda, Norton, Kawasaki and most associated with Suzuki. He also specialised in true road racing ,winning 7 TT races.
Ron Haslam who is still a big name in the racing game currently running a race school based at Donnington park. He was also a road racing specialist, once riding for Norton at the Isle of man TT. His son,Leon, is also a big name in racing having done very well in both British and World Superbikes.
Steve Parrish was another 'all round' racer who was most famous for being Barry Sheene's team mate in the Eighties GP seasons. He has since had success in the truck racing scene and as a tv motorcycle racing commentator
Keith Huewen worked his way up from privateer club racer level to Team Suzuki GP rider. He also appeared in Ireland, winning at the NW 200 in 1979. He is now to be found commentating for one of the big tv sports channels.
Kenny Roberts earned a name for himself in American series dirt racing before coming to the UK to contest and Captain the American team in the transatlantic match races. He was also famous in GP racing. Who can forget the epic 1979 British GP at Silverstone where he and Barry Sheene battled right up to last corner when Roberts took the win by a fraction of a second having struggled the entire race with oil all over his throttle hand due to a start line leak!
Freddie Spencer was rated as one of the all time great GP riders. He was known as 'fast freddie' and won his first 500cc championship at the age of just 21. He was probably one of the youngest riders at the transatlantic trophy races too!
Randy Mamola was a highly successful works GP rider for Suzuki, Cagiva and Honda. He was known for his dramatic riding style which involved climbing right off the side of the bike and hanging by just his foot.
Experiences of a 70's biker
Roger Marshall was a short circuit racer and a road racing specialist who worked his way up winning the British championship along the way. He was a works rider for Honda at the TT partnering the likes of Roger Burnett. He went on to become a works rider at GP level for Heron Suzuki riding alongside the late Barry Sheene.
John Long was not very well known in the UK. He was another oval dirt racer from the states who took up circuit racing. He became better known when he was the highest points scorer in the first Transatlantic race in 1975. He then went on to be a works rider for Suzuki.