1970 – 79

Racing Memoriam – Post World War Two :

 1970 – 79

Robin FITTON German GP – 12 July 1970, Nürburgring. Edwin Robin Fitton (b. Leeds, 1928) was a Grand Prix motorcycle road racer from Leeds, West Yorkshire. Fitton’s racing career commenced in 1951. His first victory was the Munster 100 handicap in Cork, Ireland on 14 July 51, riding a BSA 350. Fitton was an active member of the “Continental Circus” for an incredible 19 seasons. His best season was in 1968 when he finished the year in fourth place in the 500cc world championship. Fitton was sadly killed at the Nürburgring during practice for the 1970 West German Grand Prix. During Saturday practice he crashed heavily at the Wipperman section of the Nürburgring. Unfortunately steel guardrails had been installed on this corner. Fitton lost a leg in the accident and also suffered serious head injuries. He was airlifted to hospital in Bonn; but died in the afternoon.

Sven RENLUND: (no pic available) – Ice racing, Sundsval Ornskoldsvik in 1970. Sven was the first rider to be killed in ice racing events in Sweden. Sven lost control of his bike which then went hit the fence and he crashed head-on into a car which was parked there. Sven was killed upon impact.

Les ILES: (no pic available) 1 June 1970 – Les was the first rider to die of six in the IOM Tourist Trophy race for 1970. He died riding his 125 cc Bultaco when he hit the wall at Brandish corner above Kate’s Cottage during practice. The accident was believed to have occurred when the soldered nipple of the bike`s front brake cable gave way.


Michael COLLINS: (no pic available) 3 June 1970 – Senior TT IOM – Mick crashed during practice, when his 500 Seeley left the road and hit the fence at the Verandah. 26yo from Crayford, Kent, Collins had been racing for six years. He helped Colin Seeley, test riding for him at Brands Hatch.

Denis BLOWER: 3 June 1970 – IOM TT – Dnis was sadly killed when his 500 BSA sidecar outfit left the road approaching the Mountain Box. Dennis was 23yo and from Mattersey Thorpe, Notts.   His passenger, Stuart Brown, was seriously injured, unconscious for ten days wth very serious injuries to both arms, shoulders, pelvis and hip.

Pic kindly supplied by Tony Skirrow –  Denis Blower  taken in the 1969 TT practice when Tony was his passenger.

Pic kindly supplied by Mark Brown of Dennis and Stuart on the fateful lap.


Santiago HERRERO Lightweight TT June 10 1970, Isle of Man (pic here and here). Santiago Herrero (b. May 9, 1943) was a Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. He was born in Madrid, Spain. At the age of 12 Santiago Herrero bought his first motorcycle. In 1962, he obtained his racing license, competing on a Derbi and doing his own maintenance. He soon moved up to a Bultaco Tralla 125 and caught the eye of Luis Bejarano, the owner of Lube (a Spanish motorcycle marque) who recognized Herrero’s talent. Bejarano offered him a job in the company’s competition department. In 1964, Herrero finished in third place in the 125cc Spanish National Championship and in 1965, he finished in second. Unfortunately, the Lube marque ran into financial difficulties and went out of business. Herrero decided to go into business for himself, running a motorcycle repair shop in Bilbao.

 He purchased a Bultaco and competed as a privateer. Around this period, Eduardo Giró, lead designer of the Ossa motorcycle company developed a revolutionary bike with a monocoque chassis. Recognizing Herrero’s riding talent as well as his mechanical skills, Giró offered him a job to develop the Ossa 250cc race bike. Together they won the 250cc Spanish National Championship in 1967. In 1968, he would move up to compete in the 250cc Grand Prix world championship. Although the single cylinder Ossa had 20 HP less than the powerful V4 Yamahas of Phil Read and Bill Ivy, the Ossa was 45 pounds lighter and its monocoque frame was much stiffer, giving it superior agility. The Yamahas swept the championship but, Herrero left no doubt that the little Ossa was quick and dependable. He finished seventh in the championship and claimed a third place in the final race of the season at Monza. He would once again take the 250cc Spanish National Championship.

1969 would be a big year for Herrero. He began the year winning his first Grand Prix at the opening race of the season in front of his countrymen at Jarama. After retiring from the German Grand Prix with mechanical problems, he returned with a victory at Le Mans. He followed this with third place at the Isle of Man TT, a considerable accomplishment considering his horsepower deficit on the infamous Snaefell Mountain Course. He triumphed again at Spa and was leading the championship points race when he was beset by bad luck. He crashed in the rain at the Ulster Grand Prix and suffered a broken left arm. Most observers considered his championship hopes dashed, but Herrero showed true grit by coming back to finish in a remarkable fifth place at Imola. At last race of the season in Yugoslavia, he held a one point lead in the championship. He started the race in the lead but crashed on the seventh lap, ending his championship hopes. He would finish third in the World Championship.

He repeated as Spanish 250cc champion for a third consecutive year. Herrero got the 1970 season off to a promising start. Although, he retired from the first race of the season in Germany, he finished in second in France and took a victory in Yugoslavia. The Grand Prix circus then moved to the treacherous Isle of Man venue for the 1970 Isle of Man TT. Herrero crashed at the 13th Milestone (Westwood Corner) on 8 June 1970, losing control of his motorcycle on melted tar during the sixth and final lap of the 250cc Lightweight TT. Despite a previous setback at Braddan Bridge when he went up the slip road and crashed, breaking his windscreen, he had battled back up to third place. Stan Woods, who had originally been reported to have collided with Herrero, actually crashed while trying to avoid him.

As a result of the accident, Woods suffered a broken ankle and two broken collar-bones. Herrero died of irreversible shock and from his injuries two days later. He was 27 years old. The cause of the accident was described by Stanley Wood as “may have been melting tar on the bend.” His loss affected the Ossa factory so much that they abandoned racing altogether. Spain had lost one of their first racing heroes.

John WETHERALL: (no pic available) 12 Jun 1970 – Isle of Man TT – Senior Race –crashed his Norton near Milntown Cottage on the approach to Ramsey.


Brian STEENSON TT 17 June 1970, Isle of Man – (photo supplied by Denis Paineau taken at Le Mans 1970 GP). Brian Steenson was a former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. His best season was in 1968 when he finished the year in ninth place in the 350cc world championship. In 1969, Steenson finished second to Giacomo Agostini in the Isle of Man Junior TT. He was killed while competing in the 1970 Isle of Man TT on his Seeley 500. He was 23 years-old.

George COLLIS: IOM Manx GP – 1 Sep 1970 – George Collis was a well known endurance racer, winning first place in the 1969 Spanish 12-hour race at Jarama. He also competed in the Thruxton 500 and the Barcelona 24 hour races. George was seriously injured 250 Lightweight Manx Grand Prix. The crash may have been the result of a missed gear as he approached Handley’s Cottage. Collis sadly died in hospital the next day.


Neville  LANDREBE Pukekohe, New Zealand 17 Oct 1970 (no pic available)

Herbert ANGERMAYER 1971 – Austrian-Motorcycle-Trophy , Ziersdorf, Austria (pic courtesy Helmut Ohner). Herbert was killed in a crash at Gettsdorf whilst riding a 500 Linto on the Ziersdorf public road circuit in Niederösterreich Austria.

Peter BIRCH: 1971 – killed in practice on his sidecar machine near Melbourne, Australia. Peter was a successful solo rider and sidecar passenger who competed in the TT and GPs in the 1960s.

Rusty BRADLEY Daytona 200 1971. 1971 was Bradley’s first shot at the Daytona 200. Bradley, on a new H1-R Kawasaki, got a great start and was fifth or sixth as the field streamed down the banking for the first time. “I was drafting Dick Mann in that race,” Bradley’s teammate Frank Camillieri remembers. “I was three feet behind him and bikes all around me, top gear, at 155mph. I remember seeing someone go sliding as we went into (turn) one, but I didn’t know until later that it was Rusty.” After the incident, Camillieri chose to never race at Daytona again.

Bradley seemed to be trying to make a late-braking move going into turn one. Racer Don Emde was directly behind Bradley when he fell. “I saw the whole thing. I remember thinking as we crossed the finish line that first time around to take it easy. We all had full gas tanks and there was a lot of traffic. I was behind Kel Carruthers as we went into turn one and I just tried to keep some space between us. That’s when Rusty came by me. Basically he just got caught up in traffic as the field compressed going into the turn. Rusty ran right into Kel Carruthers, right at about Kel’s seat. Rusty went over the high-side and just started bouncing.” It happened on the first lap of the race.

Bradley was immediately transported to a local Daytona Beach hospital. It has been said that Bradley was wearing a poorly-made helmet and died of massive head injuries. According to his family, this is untrue. They state that he suffered both aortic and spinal cord damage to his neck in the crash, that there was no blood flow to his brain. The doctors were powerless to help Bradley. Hours after a crash in his first expert race, he was taken off life support.


Brian FINCH: (no pic available) – 9 June 1971 – IOM TT – Brian was killed during the 500 production race. He crashed his Suzuki 500 at Ballacraine following a brake failure injuring some spectators in the process.


Maurice JEFERY: (no pic available) – Senior TT 12 June 1971, Isle of Man –Welshman Maurice Jeffery was killed riding his Norton in the Senior race. He hit the curb and crashed at Rhencullen and died before he could reach hospital.

Christian RAVEL Belgian GP  500 4 Jul 1971 – Spa-Francorchamps. Ravel lost control of his Kawasaki H1R  crashed at 240 kmh at Blanchimont. He was taken to Francorchamps’ hospital but died shortly afterwards.  Christian Ravel was 22. In 1966 he won the 250 class of the French Motorcycle Championship, riding a Ducati and a Yamaha. The following year Ravel started his first World Championship event, the French GP held at Clermont-Ferrand.   In 1969 Ravel joined the Écurie Yamaha-Sonauto. Ravel was hired by Xavier Maugendre, the Kawasaki French dealer, to share a 500 Mach III motorcycle with Pierre-Louis Tébec in the 1000 Km of Le Mans. The couple won the race and Christian Ravel was signed up by Maugendre’s Écurie Kawasaki-Baranne, as works rider for the next season, with Eric Offenstadt as team mate. In 1970 Ravel rode a Kawasaki H1R winning the 500 title in the French Motorcycle Championship.

Günther BARTUSCH East German GP 1971, Sachsenring. Günter Bartusch from Freiberg, crashed riding a 300cc works MZ. He wasl on crutches when he started practice after a crash at Assen. He crashed on the first lap and was killed.

Des NOBLE 17 Dec 1971 – Speedway solo rider, tragically killed at Claremont Speedway in Western Australia. (More pics here)


Ian HOG: (no pic available) – 2 April 1972 – sidecar – Bathurst Australia – Mt Panorama –  TT race


Gilberto PARLOTTI Ultra-lightweight TT 1972, Isle of Man. Gilberto Parlotti (17 September 1940 – 9 June 1972) was born in Zero Branco, Treviso, Italy and was an Italian motorcycle racer competing in the FIM World Championship between 1969 and 1972 racing with Benelli, Derbi, Morbidelli and Tomos motorcycles. During the 1972 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season, after winning the first two 125cc races of the season in West Germany and France, Parlotti decided to race at the 1972 Isle of Man TT Races to take advantage of his main championship rival Angel Nieto’s absence from the Isle of Man Mountain Course.[1] While lying in first place on the second lap during the 1972 125cc Ultra-Lightweight TT Race held in heavy rain, Gilberto Parlotti crashed his 125cc Morbidelli motorcycle at the Verandah section on the A18 Mountain Road and died from his injuries. The death of Gilberto Parolotti helped bring about the end of the Isle of Man TT Races as a world championship event. After his death, his close friend Giacomo Agostini announced he would never again race at the Isle of Man TT Races because he considered it too unsafe to be a part of the FIM World Motorcycle Championship calendar. At the time, the Isle of Man TT was the most prestigious race on the world championship calendar. Other top riders joined his boycott of the event and by 1976, the event was dropped from the Grand Prix championship schedule.

Hans-Jürgen CUSNIK 16 Jul 1972 – Czechoslovakian GP  sidecars (passenger) 1972, Brno. Heinz Luthringshauser lost control of his BMW sidecar outfit and crashed into a pole. Luthringshauser was only slightly injured, Hans-Jürgen Cusnik died on his way to Brno hospital. Hans-Jürgen Cusnik, 22yo, was from Kaiserslautern West Germany.

Renzo PASOLINI Italian GP 250 1973, Monza. Renzo Pasolini (18 July 1938 – 20 May 1973), nicknamed “Paso”, was a popular Italian Grand Prix motorcycle road racer in the 1960s and late 1970s.

His unpredictable and unrehearsed racing style made him a crowd favourite. Pasolini’s rivalry with Giacomo Agostini divided motorcycling enthusiasts, and while Pasolini’s style brought mixed results (ultimately preventing him from winning a world title), it earned him a place in the hearts of many fans. Pasolini was born in Rimini, the son of a motorcyclist. He began his motocross career in 1958, after having shown great interest in boxing as well. A smoker and incorrigible party-goer, he was an uncommon athlete, as was his approach to corners while racing—a dangerous combination of balance and speed which always made him seem about to fall off his bike. After performing well in motocross, Pasolini focussed on road racing while remaining active in other sports to keep physical form. In 1962, he debuted with the Aermacchi 175cc, when his two first-place finishes ahead of Giacomo Agostini spurred their long rivalry. Pasolini took a two-year break from racing to complete his military service and, while stationed in Sardinia, he met his future wife, Anna, with whom he would have two children, Sabrina and Renzo Stefano.

Pasolini resumed his racing career in 1964, racing Aermacchi 250cc and 350cc bikes at the senior level. In the 1965 Italian championship, Pasolini, racing a Benelli, finished second to Tarquinio Provini in the 250cc class and third in the 350cc class behind Giacomo Agostini and Giuseppe Mandorlini. 1966 was a year of varying results both domestically and internationally; most notable was the final race of the Italian championship, which Pasolini won on the then-new four-cylinder Benelli 500.

With a more competitive bike, Pasolini was able to rival the best, and this marked the start of a string of epic confrontations with Mike Hailwood, then riding a Honda, and the revival of his rivalry with Agostini, an MV Agusta rider. The 1968 season saw him second to Agostini in the 350cc championship, after having earned the 250cc and 350cc Italian titles.

1969 brought mixed results, causing Pasolini to lose out to Benelli teammate Kel Carruthers in the 250cc world championship. New regulations in the 250cc classification for the 1970 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season limited the category to two-cylinder bikes, which prompted the Benelli team to concentrate on the 350cc class. After a miserable season, Pasolini left Benelli and joined Aermacchi, fresh out of a merger with Harley-Davidson. Much of the 1971 season was lost to testing the Aermacchi/Harley-Davidson 250cc bike, which took much longer in development than had been anticipated. The resulting bike was not superior to most, and a number of up-and-coming racers increased competition; among them was Jarno Saarinen, to whom Pasolini lost the 250cc world championship in 1972 by a single point. Pasolini lost his life at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza on 20 May 1973. The biker was not able to finish the 350cc race because of mechanical problems, withdrawing from competition with four laps to go, and fell during the first lap of the 250cc race. Jarno Saarinen, immediately behind him, was unable to avoid him and fell as well, causing a chain reaction ultimately involving twelve riders and resulting in Pasolini’s and Saarinen’s deaths. Much debate has surrounded the probable causes of the accident, with the most common explanation suggesting that a spill left on the track during the 350cc race (when Walter Villa’s Benelli leaked on the penultimate lap, but the urge to collect championship points led the rider to continue racing despite the leak) likely caused the bike to slide. While it has been ascertained that race officials did neglect to order clean up of the track prior to the 250cc race—one rider, John Dodds, made his concerns known to authorities, only to be met with threats—Pasolini’s fall and the damage sustained by his vehicle are consistent with an engine problem, likely a seizure of the pistons.

In 1986, Ducati Motor Holding, then under the ownership of Cagiva, introduced the Ducati Paso, named after Pasolini and designed by Massimo Tamburini, co-founder of Bimota.




Jarno SAARINEN  – Italian GP 250 1973, Monza

In 1972 he won the World 250cc Championship and came 2nd in the 350cc class.

 In 1973 he won the Daytona 200. Jarno Karl Keimo Saarinen (December 11, 1945 in Turku, Finland – May 20, 1973 in Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Italy) was a Finnish Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. He is the only Finn to win a road racing World Championship. Early in his career Saarinen won the Finnish ice track racing championship. Saarinen was also an accomplished motorcycle speedway racer. He had studied mechanical engineering and thus could modify his bike in addition to riding it. For example, in order for him to ride using his “hang-off” style, he lowered the handle bars and angled them downwards at an extreme angle. Saarinen began his Grand Prix career during the 1970 season, at the age of 25. He would finish in a respectable fourth place in the 250cc class, despite missing the last three races to return to his engineering degree studies – before the DNF at the Finnish TT he was tied for second. In 1971 Saarinen competed in both 250cc and 350cc classes. Saarinen won his first Grand Prix that year, claiming the 350cc class in Czechoslovakia. He finished third in 250cc World Championship and second in 350cc. His success didn’t go unnoticed as Yamaha signed him to ride its TD3 and TR3 bikes, then pre-production TZs for the 1972 season. Saarinen delivered as expected, winning the 250cc World Championship. He finished second in 350cc World Championship, giving defending champion Giacomo Agostini a strong challenge.

Yamaha developed a new, four cylinder, two-stroke 500cc bike for the 1973 season and chose Saarinen to ride it. Finally, Saarinen was ready to challenge Giacomo Agostini and Phil Read in the 500cc class with competitive equipment. Saarinen’s 1973 season started amazingly well, as he became the first European rider to win the prestigious Daytona 200 race in the United States on a TZ350 against much larger-capacity opposition. Returning to Europe, he jumped to an early lead in the Grand Prix championships by winning his first 500cc race, then the premier racing, class. His win was also the first win for the new, four cylinder Yamaha. Saarinen went on to win the first three 250cc rounds and the first two of three 500cc rounds, but his bike suffered a broken chain in the third. It seemed he was on the brink of running away with these titles, with the opportunity to complete in the 350cc class if or when the 250cc title was certain. However, the 1973 season ended in tragedy. On May 20, 1973, the fourth Grand Prix of the season was held at Monza near Milan, Italy. Despite the installation of new chicanes for cars during the previous year’s Formula One season (one was placed before the Curva Grande and one at Vialone), they were not used for motorcycle racing at Monza. The second-placed Renzo Pasolini fell in front of Saarinen. He couldn’t avoid the fallen rider and the resulting crash caused a multiple rider pile up. In all, 14 riders were embroiled in the mayhem that resulted. When the dust cleared, Jarno and Pasolini lay dead with many other riders seriously injured.

Over the years, the crash has been subject to significant controversy. The original cause of the crash was attributed to a spill left on the track during the 350cc race when Walter Villa’s Benelli began leaking on the penultimate lap. Race officials neglected to clean up the spillage prior to the 250cc race, and one rider, John Dodds, made his concerns known to authorities, only to meet with threats of ejection from the circuit by police. However, some articles have appeared showing photos of Pasolini’s bike consistent with the bike having seized.Not only did this incident take the lives of the two top competitors, but after the race, the factory-teams of Suzuki, MV Agusta, Harley Davidson, and Yamaha all joined together to fight for better race conditions. Yamaha went even further by pulling out of racing the rest of the year to honour Saarinen’s memory. However, only forty days later, three riders in a Juniors race were killed in the same turn. From that day until 1981, all motorcycle racing at Monza was banned. The tragedy saw the end of a racing regime which had not adjusted to changing times.

Jarno Saarinen’s legacy continues to live on. There is still an active Saarinen fan club in Italy. The birth name Jarno became very popular in Italy of many newborn boys in the ’70s. One of them is Jarno Trulli, the former Formula-1 driver. Saarinen remains the only Finn to have won a motorcycle road racing world championship, winning 15 Grand Prix during his career. In 2009, the F.I.M. inducted Saarinen into the MotoGP Hall of Fame.

 See tribute here: http://www.ozebook.com/jarno.htm

Emanuele MAUGLIANI Skofja Loka Road Race (SLO) 27 May 1973. Emanuele crashed near Stari Dvor, his bike careering into a spectator area.  Tragically Emanuele was killed in the crash as were five spectators. Coming only a week after the Pasolini/Saarinen crash this terrible incident caused much controversy over race safety. The Skofja Loka Road race was not used again.

John CLARKE TT 2 June 1973, Isle of Man (no pic available). John was from Whittlebury, near Towcester, Northants, England. John at The Bridge at Union Mills in the Lightweight Production race whilst riding his 250 Suzuki T20 Super Six. The machine was believed to have seized. John was riding in his first TT, but, he had raced in the Manx GP in 1971 and 1972. In 1972 co-riding with Lyn Jenkins in the Thruxton 500 on the T20 he had finished 3rd..

Leo COMMU rode GPs in 1972 and 1973, died at Tubbergen ,Holland –23 May 1973 – Leo’s TD2 250 Yamaha contacted Adri van de Broeke’s bike at speed. Leo crashed, was gravely injured and sadly died later in hospital.

Eric PINER:  (no pic available) – Lightweight Manx Grand Prix, Douglas Corner, Kirk Michael – 5 Sep 1973. Eric was from Southall, Middlesex.  

Tom GOODFELLOW: – Mallory Park 27 May 1973 – Nigel crashed in the 750 British championship race on a Dearden Norton at Devil’s Elbow, Mallory Park. (no pic available)

Kim NEWCOMBE Silverstone, 1973. Kim Newcombe (2 January 1944 – 14 August 1973), was a Grand Prix motorcycle road racer from New Zealand. Born in the town of Nelson, Newcombe grew up in Auckland, then moved to Australia (first Brisbane, then Melbourne) in 1963, and subsequently moved to Europe in 1968. He competed in the 500cc Grand Prix World Championship finishing second to Phil Read in the 1973 season.

Along with fellow racer, John Dodds, he developed a motorcycle using a two-stroke outboard motor designed by Dieter König. He and the König were the first to challenge the dominance of the MV Agustas after the departure of Honda from Grand Prix competition at the end of the 1967 season. In contrast to his main competitors, Newcombe was credited with the distinction of developing, building, maintaining, and riding the König machine in competition.

On 11 August 1973, Newcombe was seriously injured at a non-championship event at Silverstone at Stowe Corner. After taking his customary walk of the track prior to the event, Newcombe had requested that hay bales be positioned on the outside of Stowe Corner before the race but race officials refused, stating they were “not required”. In the race itself, Newcombe slid off the circuit at that very corner, and collided with the concrete barrier. He died from his severe head injuries three days later. He was survived by his wife Janeen who was supporting him on tour, and their son Mark (aged four at the time).

Kim Newcombe’s story was the subject of the award winning 2006 documentary Love, Speed and Loss directed by Justin Pemberton.

See tribute here: http://www.ozebook.com/konig.htm

Cal RAYBORN died Pukekohe New Zealand Dec 1973. Calvin Rayborn II (February 20, 1940 – December 29, 1973 (aged 33)) was a top American motorcycle road racer in the 1960s and early 1970s. Born and raised in San Diego, California, Rayborn began riding motorcycles at an early age. He began his racing career in dirt track events in Southern California and in 1964, he began racing professionally in the A.M.A. Grand National Championship, a series which encompassed events in four distinctive dirt track disciplines plus road racing. Rayborn excelled at road racing, winning his first AMA national at Carlsbad, California in 1966. His prowess on road courses earned him a place on the Harley Davidson factory racing team. It was with Harley Davidson that he achieved his greatest success, winning two consecutive Daytona 200 victories in 1968 and 1969. He also set two 1970 motorcycle land speed records. He accomplished a tremendous feat when he competed in the Trans-Atlantic Match Races in England in 1972. The Trans-Atlantic Match Races pitted the best British riders against the top American road racers. On an outdated motorcycle with no experience on British race tracks, Rayborn won three of the six races.

At the end of 1973, it was apparent that the Harley Davidson team couldn’t provide him with a competitive motorcycle, so Rayborn accepted an offer to race for the Suzuki factory. In late 1973, Rayborn travelled to New Zealand to compete in an auto racing event and to test ride a Suzuki. At the Pukekohe Park Raceway outside of Auckland, Rayborn was killed when he crashed after the bike’s engine had seized, and his body slammed into a wall close to the track.

Rayborn was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.


David NIXON: 4 June 1974 – Glen Helen IOM Production TT. David crashed his Boyer Triumph Trident whilst placed second in the race and sadly died later in the day. Click on news item to enlarge. See also link to pictures of his bike,

Phil HASLAM Scarborough 7 Jul 1974. Phil Haslam was from Langley Mill, near Heanor, Derbyshire. He was famous for breaking the 100 mph barrier in the Manx Grand Prix. In fact in the 1973 Junior Manx, he lapped twice over the ton and set two practice laps at 102 mph. In 1973 he won the Grovewood award as one of the most promising riders of the season. He had started racing in 1969 with a 250 cc Suzuki production racer and soon became a consistent winner at club level. Died after crashing into a bridge on his Pharoah Yamaha TZ250  at Olivers Mount, Scarborough in June 1974. His bike faltered as he accelerated out of Mere  Hairpin. Phil raised his arm to indicate he was stopping when his handlebar was clipped by Derek Chatterton, sending Phil across the track and directly into the path of Steve Machin who hit Phil with tragic consequences.  

Vic WRIGHT Scarborough 7 Jul 1974 – Vic Wright was from North Anston, Yorkshire. He crashed at Oliver’s Mount when his 250 Yamaha seized during practice.  (no pic available)

James (Jim) FARLOW 13 Jul 1974, Billown, Manx Southern 100, Isle of Man –whilst riding his 250 Yamaha.  Jim Farlow crashed his 250 Yamaha at Church Bend during the first morning practice session for the Manx Southern 100 on Tuesday, 09 July 1974. He sadly passed away in hospital on Saturday, 13 July. Jim Farlow, from Belfast in Northern Ireland, was twenty-three years old.  Jim’s brother George would become a champion rider in the 1980s, riding TZ250 and TZ750 Yamahas in Ireland, IOM and England. (photo kindly supplied by George Farlow)



Steve MACHIN: – Cadwell – 26 July 1974.  The “Lincolnshire Imp”. He had 4 GP starts, debuting in the 1971 Dutch TT at Assen, finishing 7th in the 125 cc class on a Padgett Yamaha. He achieved two 5th places in the 1971 Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod, Belfast, 350 and 250 cc classes. From 1970/72 he won the British Gold Star. During his career Steve raced Machin framed Yamahas. His brother Jack, built the Machin Frames. Steve Machin died testing his 250 cc Yamaha TD2 at Cadwell Park, after the gearbox seized on Park Straight.  Just 20 days before, he had won the 350 class at Oliver’s Mount. During the 500 race on the same day Machin could not avoid Phil Haslam, who died in the incident.

Werner GIGER: (April 17, 1949 – July 31, 1974) – was a Grand Prix motorcycle road racer from Switzerland. His best year was in 1973 when he finished in fourth place in the 500cc world championship. Giger was killed in 1974 during practice for a race in Hämeenlinna, Finland.

Nico van der ZANDEN: 7 Sep 1974 – Assen – killed on the last lap of the Formula 750 race when he crashed his Yamaha TZ750 on the last corner. (See full size pics at www.deraceheldenvanweleer.nl)

Billie NELSON (November 2, 1941 – September 8, 1974) was a British former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. His best season was in 1969 when he finished the year in fourth place in the 500cc world championship. Nelson also passengered for Charlie Freeman on his Norton Manx sidecar racer in British and International races for a number of seasons in the 1960s. He was killed at the 1974 Yugoslavian Grand Prix held at the Opatija Circuit. Yugoslavian GP  250. Billie Nelson (November 2, 1941 – September 8, 1974) was a British former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer.


Ray BARBER3 January 1975 – Ray (23 y.o.) was a champion speedway sidecar passenger who was tragically killed when his sidecar, driven by Dennis Nash, spun and collided with 2 other sidecars at the Claremont Western Australia speedway track.  (See more pics here. Submitted by Ralph Taylor).

Derek BEST – 18 April 1976 – Derek was killed at the Easter Trans Atlantic Trophy meeting held at Oulton Park. (photo copyright –  Graham Etheridge, Racebikepics).


Peter McKINLEY: – TT 29 May 1975, Isle of Man
(photo by Graham Etheridge, Racebikepics). Peter McKinley crashed during practice for the Tourist Trophy at Milntown Cottage on a TZ700  Padgett Yamaha.


Phil GURNER: TT – 4 Jun 1975, Isle of Man. Phil crashed during the 1975 Senior Tourist Trophy. The accident happened at Milntown Cottage, in the same place where Peter McKinley was killed in practice.Phil was riding an over-bored Yamaha TZ350.



Rolf THIELE Dutch TT – 28 June 1975, Assen. Crashed his TZ250 Yamaha at “De Bult” with tragic consequences.


Ross BARELLI 17 April 1976 – Suzuki RG500, Bathurst . “Rossco” crashed in practice for the 1976 Australian Motor Cycle Grand Prix, at Mount Panorama, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. Ross’s Suzuki RG500 crashed from front brake failure on 16 April 1976 at 280 kph on Conrod Straight. He threw away the bike 100m before Murray’s Corner but slid into the armco fencing.  Ross, 28yo from Mitcham, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, was a popular racer who had previously won several Victorian and Tasmanian titles.


(see www.oldracephotos.com for prints)

Otello BUSCHERINI ItalianGP 1976, Mugello (pic here and here). Otello Buscherini (January 19, 1949 in Forlì – May 16, 1976 in Mugello) was an Italian Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. His best years were in 1973 when he won two Grand Prix races and in 1974 when he finished the season in fourth place in the 125cc world championship. Buscherini was killed during the 1976 Nations Grand Prix at Mugello. He won three Grand Prix races during his career.

Paolo TORDI Italian GP 16 May 1976, Mugello.


Walter WORNER:  (no pic available) – TT 7 June 1976, Isle of Man. Walter was passenger to Siegfried Maier on a 500 Yamaha powered outfit in the Sidecar TT which crashed and burst into flames at Greeba Castle


Les KENNY TT 12 June 1976, Isle of Man. Crashed in the 250cc Lightweight TT when his Yamaha seized at Union Mills.


 Pic from TZ350 and 250 website – by Chris Baker


Pat EVANS Imola – 6 April 1977 – see photo tribute here.

Pat crashed at 200 kph riding a Harris Yamaha TZ750 at the Tamburello corner of the 200 Miglia AGV Imola race

Mike PATRICK Cadwell Park UK – 24 April 1977. Collided with another rider on Charlies Bend during Superbike Race.

(photo by Graham Etheridge, Racebikepics)

Hans STADELMANN Austrian GP 350 1 May 1977, Salzburgring. Killed in controversial circumstances. Swiss rider Hans Stadelmann crashed when Franco Uncini fell and brought down Cecotto, Fernandez and Braun. Stadelmann crashed into the fallen bikes at speed. After Uncini’s crash no yellow flags were displayed allowing Stadelmann to hit debris on the track. Even so no flags were shown. A number of riders stopped, grabbed the yellow flags and began waving furiously to warn of the risk. It took 8 more laps for the race to be stopped. After this debacle all the top riders of the 500 class refused to start the race. This disastrous race added to the tension with the FIM and raised rider concerns with track safety.

Poor quality but this video of the incident shows crash and shocking lack of track safety – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkSQ1gJA_Ls

Johan BOSHOFF (“Bossie”)- Kylami – 11 June 1977 – (entry contributed by Jon Ekerold). Johan Boshoff crashed his works BP Yamaha OW31 750 at Jukskei Sweep in Kyalami during practice for the Republic Trophy Races. He died in hospital in Johannesburg on 17 June 1977, aged 36.

Ulrich GRAF Yugoslavian GP 50 – 19 June 1977, Opatija. Ulrich  crashed his Kreidler after suffering rear tyre failure.

Giovanni ZIGIOTTO Yugoslavian GP – 19 June 1977, Opatija. Zigiotto’s Harley Davidson seized practice for the 250 class.  Giovanni was hit by Swedish rider Per-Edvard Carlsson who was following him. Ziggiotto passed away on 29 June 1977.

Photo by Roberto Cianfarani

Geoff BARRY 25 Jun 1977 – Ulster Killinchy 150. He was leading the 1000 cc race when he crashed his 750 Yamaha at Tournagrough, a fast left-hander on the Dundrod circuit, near Belfast. The previous lap Barry had recorded the quickest Killinchy lap of 111.68 mph.

Geoff Barry’s most notable success was winning the 1000 cc class at the 1976 Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod.

In 1977 he had ridden with Tony Rutter in the Honda GB endurance team and also alongside Kork Ballington and Stu Avant. Barry was also a development rider with Barry Hart’s Sparton Phoenix project.


 (Photo by Graham Etheridge, Racebikepics)

George McQUITTY: 6 August 1977 – crashed his 350cc Yamaha at the Fore Road Race- Castlepollard, Co., Westmeath, Ireland, during practice and died as a result of his injuries.

Uschi FLEISCHER-SCHICK: 11 August 1975 –  Hockenheim – sidecar passenger killed after striking armco fence on last corner. Born on May 26, 1935 as Ursula Scheffler. Came to motorcycle sport from Berlin was in the early 1960s by her first husband, former DMV race and sports director Ralf Schick. A sporting highlight was a class victory at the legendary ADAC 24-hour race at the Avus on 4/5 May 1963.

George OATES: 20 August 1977 – George Oates, a sidecar driver, and his passenger John Molyneux were killed during the 1977 Ulster Grand Prix. They crashed their Kawasaki sidecar at Tournagrough, on the Dundrod circuit.

John MOLYNEUX: 20 August1977 – John Molyneux, a sidecar passenger, and his driver, George Oates  were killed during the 1977 Ulster Grand Prix. They crashed their Kawasaki sidecar at Tournagrough, on the Dundrod circuit.

Ivan HOUSTON: 31 August 1977 – crashed at Creg Willey’s Hill during Manx Grand Prix Practice on his 250cc Yamaha.

Norman TRICOGLUS: 3 September 1977. Englishman Norman Tricoglus died in practice session for the Senior Manx Grand Prix after crashing his 500 Yamaha at Rhencullen.

Phil BOSCO Croft 17 Sep 1977. Midlands rider Phil Bosco was killed at the North East Racing Club’s British Championshipon his 750 Yamaha.

The Motosport Memorial site notes that “Phil Bosco had won the Cadwell Conquerer Golden Helmet just nineteen days before his death. He was the fifth holder to be killed along with  Geoff Barry,  Peter McKinley,  Billie Nelson, all killed in racing accidents and Ken Redfern, who died in a road accident in 1973. Coincidentally the race in which Phil Bosco was killed was just the “Ken Redfern Trophy”. Following a request of Cadwell owner Chas Wilkinson, the Golden Helmet, which was considered a jinxed trophy, was buried alongside Phil Bosco’s body at the King’s Norton Cemetery in Birmingham”.


(pic courtesy – Graham Etheridge)

Piers FORESTER: 30 Oct 1977 – A former boyfriend of Princess Anne and a close friend of Prince Michael of Kent, Forester was a real playboy. Forester was a close friend of Barry Sheene. Sheene shared Forester’s Chelsea flat for seven months following his 1975 Daytona crash. Piers crashd during a BRC Formula 750 race at Brands Hatch when he ran wide in Clark Curve and collided with the steel trackside barrier at about 120 mph.

(Photo Copyrighted to Graham Etheridge, racebikepics.)

Graham WARING: – Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough – Scarborough Gold Cup International – 10 Sep 1978 – Graham’s Aunt, Rene Norton, has kindly supplied a photo of Graham (click to enlarge). Graham sadly died 2 weeks before his planned wedding. Graham Waring’s bike seized coming into the start straight during a race.

Mac HOBSON IOM TT – 5 June 1978 – Mac Hobson and his passenger Kenny Birch were killed during the first lap of the 1978 Isle of Man TT when their sidecar crashed at Bray Hill.

Kenny BIRCH IOM TT 5 June 1978 – on the opening lap of the 1978 Sidecar TT on the Isle of Man, Hobson hit a manhole cover on Bray Hill at high speed and crashed.  Both Hobson and his passenger Kenny Birch were killed in the crash.  Shortly after Ernst Traschel passed the crash scene only to crash further down the road killing the four times Swiss Champion Ernst Trachsel.

Ernst TRASCHEL IOM TT 5 June 1978 – crashed his sidecar at Bray Hill in the same race that calimed the lives of Mac Hobson and Kenny Birch.


Mike ADLER:  (no pic available) –  Isle of Man – 9 June 1978 – New Zealander Michael Adler crashed his 350  Yamaha at Glen Helen.

John WILLIAMS 12 August 1978 – Ulster Grand Prix – His best season was 1975 when he finished in fifth place in the 500cc world championship on a Yamaha. Williams won his only world championship race in 1976 at the 500cc Belgian Grand Prix. He was a five-time winner of the North West 200 race in Northern Ireland. Williams died from injuries suffered while competing in the August 1978 Ulster Grand Prix in Northern Ireland.

Ken ROADS August 1978 Wanneroo Western Australia – Ken was tragically killed in a practice incident in which his sidecar outfit struck an armco railing beside the old pits area on the top of the hill at Wanneroo Raceway. His passenger, Andrew Clark was seriously injured and unfortunately lost an arm in the incident. Andy went on to run McCulloch’s Suzuki in Victoria Park Western Australia.

More information on Ken’s racing career can be found at this sitehttp://ozebook.com/bikes/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Image00008.jpg

Tom HERRON NW200 Ulster – Coleraine – 26 May 1979 – Superbike race. Tom Herron struck a lamppost at Juniper Hill. Tom Herron was 3 times winner of the Isle of Man TT and 5 times winner of the Ulster Grand Prix.

Brian HAMILTON NW200 Ulster – Coleraine – crashed 26 May 1979 – 350cc race. 19yo Scottish rider Brian Hamilton was killed at Black Hill in the 350 race. (no pic of Brian available)


Frank KENNEDY mortally injured 26 May 1979, University Corner, 1979, North West 200 Races, Superbike Race – Frank Kennedy, Kevin Stowe and Australian Warren Willing were all seriously injured in a multiple pile-up at the University during the first Superbike race – none of the three would ever race again, Frank Kennedy later died in hospital after lying in a coma for almost six months. (memorial submitted by Melvyn Irvine)

Ron TOOMBS Bathurst Australia –15 April 1979. “Toombsie” as he was known by friends and fans, was a successful and popular Australian rider in the 1960s and 70s. Well known for riding the “Green Meanie” Kawasaki 750. He retired from racing in 1975, after crashing at Sydney’s Amaroo Park Raceway.  4 years later he made a comeback, at forty-six to the Australian GP at Bathurst racing a brand new Yamaha TZ 350F. This also was the first time in his career that he raced on slick tyress. He was believed to have suffered a heart attack before striking a tree on the Mountain. His death stunned and saddened the Australian motorcycling and racing community. A memorial plaque to Ron Toombs was placed above Forrest’s Elbow on the Mount Panorama circuit  near where he was killed.


Fred LAUNCHBURY  – 8 June 1979 Glentramman 1979 Isle of Man TT  Formula III 248cc Maico. Fred Launchbury had a shop in Raynes Park in London, selling Bantam racing gear. In 1967, on an ex-GPO Bantam fitted with George Todd’s equipment and tuned by him, Fred was to come in 20th at an average speed of 73.9mph in that year’s 125cc Lightweight TT.


Eric MORT Killarney South Africa 1979/80? – riding Kawasaki fell and was struck by Ben Birk’s GS1000 Suzuki – died 4 days later

(submitted by Richard Cooke) – click on image for larger size

23 thoughts on “1970 – 79

  1. From Alan Pacey Phil was very close friend of mine as well was terry haslam the day he was killed he had taken my bike up to Oliver’s mount in his van I was in the previous race and crashed out on the hairpin after the start & finish the crash smashed the footrest off when I returned to the paddock Phil was on hand straight away to help not knowing his race was next I said your race is next they have gone to the grid so he shot of I heard the race start so left what I was doing to watch they told me he was leading the race the next thing the red flag and stopped the race. Sadly lost his life he was excepctional rider.

    • Arguably the happiest days of my life…..You, Phil, Terry, and Ron were my hero’s ! Ironically still road- racing sidecars…..in NZ ! Pirate Pete Goodwin 111

  2. Have you anything on George McQuitty who died on the 06/08/1977 at the Fore Road Race in Co Westmeath, Ireland

  3. I only saw Graham Waring’s grave a few days ago. He is buried in the same part of the cemetery in St. Helens as my aunt and uncle. His headstone is amazing.

    • Alan Barnett and not Dave Nixon? I’ve looked and disagree. As you may know Alan rode for Tom Kirby (Essex dealer and race manager) and his style of riding was unmistakable – very tight and all tucked in.

  4. Eric Piner as the record says was killed at Kirk Michael in 1973 in the Manx GP. He made his debut the previous year winning a replica.

  5. Mick Patrick’s Premier helmet came off and he was stuck on the head by a following rider. I met Mick in his workshop in Oxford around end of September ’76. He welded up a TD3 frame for the previous owner of a bike which I later tested at Brands, crashed and bought the same day. I remember looking at a dismantled TD2B motor on his work bench and him being a bit touchy about not disturbing anything. The engine was from a bike that his brother rode in the following season. I raced at Keevil, it must have been a few weeks after he was killed. His brother was there and raced the bike I had seen in pieces a few months earlier. His wife was also there, I remember. I think she needed, at the time, to be around people that understood.

    Steve Henshaw was killed at Olivers Mount. His sponsor, at the time, was Harold Coppock. I’m no longer sure but I think Harold dropped out of sponsoring bike racing after Steve’s death.

  6. Hi. I have a picture of Brian Finch who died at the 1971 TT. If you’d post it I’ll send it on if you send an email address.

  7. George mcquitty was a privateer from Ballymoney Co Antrim n Ireland who came from a farming background , as far as I remember his brother attended the races with him .

  8. Message for Mr W Baines, shown as a friend of Graham Waring, who died at Scarborough in Sept 1978. On that day when fate took a hand 40 years ago, I had pointed out to Graham a serious fault with his machine, which was then repaired and made safe, probably his 125. Not sure if it was his 250 that seized later in the race.
    If you or any family members wish to reply, please do so direct if possible.

    Rod rodstjim@aol.com

  9. Regarding the verdict on the death of Les Iles that stated it was a nipple coming off the front brake cable being the cause. I knew Les well and it was he who helped me start racing. He was also instrumental in teaching me about machine preparation. This included the correct way to solder on nipples. This involved taking the nipple off a new cable, countersinking it and then splaying the cable strands before reapplying solder making it impossible to pull off. A close friend of myself and Les who was in the IOM at the time of the accident had a bitter argument at the time at the inquest. He was also familiar with Les’s meticulous machine preparation and stated categorically that this failure was the result of the accident and not the cause

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