Blog Search

Monday, 4 June 2012

Anglo-American Match Racing, 1971

Call it Karma if you like but the last few weeks have seen a few quite independent events become inter-twined.

I made a recent post about blog piracy and the swift action taken by Google to remove the material from the offending person's website.  The outcome could have been a whole lot more positive for that person had some simple courtesies been extended to the people he stole material from.  Meanwhile, at the complete opposite end of the scale.... a short while ago, I received an email from a British couple, Julie and Brad Jones, who currently live in France.  Julie explained that they had seen a couple of photos on the internet which I'd taken in the early 1970's of factory supported BSA/Triumph racing triples.  They were classic BSA fans and in particular the BSA/Triumph factory racing triples. They were intending to publish a booklet on a particular period and series of events involving these bikes and would I please give permission for my photos to be included? As as the respondents in the post about piracy said, most bike enthusiasts are more than happy to help when it's fellow enthusiasts asking, and making the normal acknowledgement offers.  Julie and Brad's request ticked all the boxes and I was delighted to supply a few additional photos as well.

Their request held particular significance as in my early 20's, my mates and I used to go to UK race meetings specifically to watch those racing triples so they were very much part of my formative years as far as bikes went.  Small wonder that I currently ride a Street Triple!   Apart from their looks and amazing performance, it was the engine note which literally gave me goosebumps.   They had a 3 into 1 exhaust system, running into a long, shallow taper unrestricted megaphone.  When those bikes were warming up in the pits with their unique howl, I reckon most spectators literally felt the hairs on the back of necks go up.  And at full throttle, well.... aural sex!! (No, not oral sex, sigh....)

 Dave Aldana's BSA triple - ohhhhh....the noise!

The period in question which Julie and Brad wanted to cover was the 1971 Anglo-American Match Race Series.  It involved a team of household names from the USA (Mann, Castro, Emde, Rice, Aldana and a non-riding team captain Gary Nixon) pitted against the UK's finest in the shape of Smart, Tait, Cooper, Jefferies and Pickrell, all on BSA/Triumph triples.  I was fortunate to be at 2 of those race meetings and the spectacle (and noise!) is still with me to this day. Incredibly close racing with no quarter given.

To complete the reminiscences, the finished booklet arrived a few days ago with Julie and Brad's compliments and what a cracker it is!  As well as the detailed background story to the racing series and results, it's packed with memorable photos: the riders, the bikes and some wonderful promotional material for the event, including the one immediately below.  Monty Python fans might recognise the attractive woman as Carol Cleveland who set a lot of youthful, hormonal hearts racing, including mine; whenever she appeared in that classic TV show!

Carol Cleveland doing her patriotic duty with little flags
(courtesy Julie and Brad Jones)

Paul Smart at speed on the Triumph Triple - Mallory Park

John Cooper, UK team member. Looks like Phil Read in the background
(In the same year, JC beat Giacomo Agostini on the works MV  Augusta in one of the best races ever seen in the U.K and I had the privilege of being there!)

The Transatlantic match race trophy (appropriately, a triple crank and rods)
(courtesy Brian Polliitt)


If there are any other racing BSA/Triumph racing triple enthusiasts out there and Anglo-American Match race fans in particular, the booklet is commercially available at a very modest price.  Details including shipping costs can be obtained from the Jones' HERE .  They also have a number of other booklets covering BSA's and Triumphs from  around that period so it would pay to ask if you're going to place an order.

So there we are, a courtesy request for photos leads to a win for Julie and Brad, a win for me in the shape of a great booklet (thanks again guys!) and a whole load of great memories. Karma?  I'd like to think so!

17 comments:

  1. Great story, Geoff. Courtesy indeed goes a long way.
    I sense that Jennie's absence is taking its toll. Exhibit A: Sporting Carol Cleveland's property.
    Exhibit B: Using the S word, twice. But I understand the meaning of aural entrancement to the fullest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sonja, you're a wicked girl!;-) Pure coincidence, I assure you (I think) but laughed my head off when I saw your comments - hadn't thought of that.

      I'm glad your command of English regarding "aural" is flawless. I dare say that a certain other moto-blogger living a bit closer (maybe more than one) will demonstrate a poorer grasp of their mother tongue in due course!

      Don't worry, I'll take my pills in a couple of hours ;-)

      Delete
    2. Geoff, I was quite the novice with regards to 'the aural thing' until a certain fellow blogger introduced me to the ensnaring sound of a Street Triple.

      Delete
  2. Awesome. It must make you feel great to have them ask for permission and then publish your photos. Good stuff mate.

    And I would agree, there is just something about the sound of a triple......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Brandy!
      It's certainly nice to "meet" bike enthusiasts who behave exactly how we'd like to conduct ourselves. That recent pirate is very much an exception, thank goodness.

      ....especially a big horsepower triple with no silencing!

      Delete
  3. Sonja,
    Sounds like your setting me up to take the blame for the acquisition of a certain machine at some time down the track!

    For a Triple with stock mufflers like mine, the howl from the airbox is something else, isn't it? When you get that, combined with a pair of aftermarket mufflers, you have heaven on earth!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like a drug dealer you persuaded me, ever so subtly, and supplied me with means and opportunity... now I'm doomed.

      Delete
  4. Drug dealer.... Kiwi blogger. Yes, I see the similarities - you could have thrown in Used Car Salesman too ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. and insurance broker ;-)

      G'd nite from this part of the world.

      Delete
  5. Ok I see my problem now, I'll have to sell my Yamaha and buy a BSA if I want Oral sex....

    ReplyDelete
  6. 'ello Steve,
    Well. you didn't disappoint mate, there had to be a "first" although I thought it would originate in NZ :-).

    Forget about the BSA and buy yourself a Street Triple - you'll be beating the chicks off with a stick - trust me :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post Geoff. Fantastic that your old pics are so well preserved. Many of our better old pics were 'slides' and over time mold has actually grown on them and really degraded them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Jules!
      We had some of our old slides digitised last year. Interestingly, some of ours were a bit grubby too, but the professional outfit which did them has cleaning services and remedial software which brings them up well. They were NZ$2 each so I was quite selective about what I had done (Jennie in a micro mini-skirt at 26 years of age was a must, hehe). Somewhere amongst our unpacked boxes, I have several boxes of slides from the 1969 IOM TT!

      Delete
  8. Better make sure those IOM pics are preserved OK!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it must be a good decade since I last saw them so hope I can find them!!

      Delete
  9. Carol Cleveland's Atlantic ocean is a bit "tight"??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nikos me ol'fruit!

      Without descending too far into the gutter, I'seem to remember that the Atlantic has some deep trenches as well as ridges.

      My wife has been enamoured with Greece on her travels - has been helping the economy in Mykonos and Athens. Now getting ripped off in Venice (the location of part of our honeymoon 40 years ago)before returning home, presumably with a somewhat lighter purse.

      Delete