Which bike, which issue?

Crawford River Classic 2009

Words by Dan Tydd
Photos by Mark Austin

(click on photos to view larger)


Perfect weather and track conditions for the weekend event made for another unforgettable two days of VMX action at the HEAVEN Club’s home track at Crawford River, Buladelah. Rider entries in excess of 110 for the weekend and ensured that full grids would be the order of the day for the weekend’s events.

The main focus for the weekend though were the memorial races and who would take over the polishing duties for the next twelve months. Mark Austin was back to defend his Pre 65 — Roy East trophy, a busted Ross Merrick was still recovering from a little lie down that he had at the Jack Hogg Classic earlier in the year and would not contest the Pre 70 John Hine Trophy, Michael McMillian was still out injured due to a spectacular fall at Canberra earlier in the year so was unable to defend his Pre 75 Geoff Elderidge trophy and the always fast Peter Lovering was back to defend his Pre 78 Ray Ryan silverware. There was also a full program of normal HEAVEN (Round 3) racing, including Pre ’78 age races and the Jack Ireland invitational races for both pre and post ’78 bikes.

Mark Austin made a successful defence of his Roy East Pre 65 title for another year with a great ride and his latest win gives him a trifecta of victories on his Bultaco Mk2 250.

The John Hinde Pre ’70 race saw a great battle with Noel Lewis on his ’68 CZ360 taking home the trophy ahead of Mark Birkett on a borrowed ’69 Maico 250 square barrel and Nathan Senior on a ’68 Yamaha DT1 250 completing the podium.

In the Pre 75 Geoff Elderidge race, ’74 Yamaha MX 250 mounted Greg Bilton bolted out of the gates and took home the first place honours. Kel Moore on his Yamaha YZ250A ’74 model came in second with Sean Hardman riding his ’73 Husky WR250 taking out third.

For my mind though, the race of the weekend was the Pre ’78 Ray Ryan memorial. John Green on a ’77 Suzuki RM370 jumped out to an early lead and looked like he would run away with the event. Dean Rowe on a ’77 Montesa VB360 settled in for second and Sean Hardman on a ’77 Yamaha YZ250 had a mortgage on third place. Sean showed tremendous determination though and a never say die attitude saw him make his way past Dean and John to take the lead and win the event.

There were a couple of hard luck stories for the weekend as well. Peter Lovering was in bed at the unusual time of 9:00pm on Saturday night as he wanted to be fresh for the defence of his title on Sunday. Normally Pete’s up until at least 2am or 3am, bench racing with “Firewater Fernando” and other unsuspecting victims but it seems that this change of strategy may have been Peter’s downfall as he crashed out in the Pre ’78 race. No more early nights for Peter!

Rob ’Shoey’ Shoemark lent Nathan Senior his Husky to ride, who in turn won a trophy in the age races on the Saturday afternoon, but Shoey did not share the same success at the pointy end. That good deed is just one of many that shows the spirit and mateship that has developed amongst the HEAVEN members. Well done Shoey. The WILTEC boys made the trip down for the event from QLD and although they didn’t ride the Pre ’78 events, they had their Hondas cranking in the events that they did enter and were always up the front of the filed. Another traveller was Rockstar, who came up from Melbourne for the event. Thanks to all those who travelled long distances and hope to see you all again at next year’s event, there’s always room for more.

To all those who helped out over the weekend and made the event possible, on behalf of all the riders there, I must say a huge THANKS. Special mention must go to Jack Ireland for once again allowing the HEAVEN club to host the event on his land.

As a relative “newbie” to VMX, it is great to see and experience the friendly faces and positive atmosphere that is on hand at these events. Keep ’em coming.