Saturday, November 7


 The RGB500 Suzuki that has been carefully restored to full original specification by former New Zealand international Stuart Avant.  He has gone to great lengths to get it to this condition.

Queensland Raceway became 'home' to several rare grand prix racing machines last week, their owners giving them a shakedown run prior to the Barry Sheene Festival of Speed event.

Former world 500 grand prix race winner Kevin Magee put a very rare ex-factory YZR500 Yamaha through its paces while former Australian 350 Champion John Pace gave an RGB500 Suzuki prepared by New Zealander Stuart Avant a gallop.

Avant finished seventh in the first World 500 Championship race he contested, the French Grand Prix at Le Mans in April 1976, and was a regular top-finishing privateer for several years.

Stuart Avant's RGB500 Suzuki in its final phase of preparation.

The man who worked with him that first year in Europe, Christchurch's Mike Sinclair, was also on hand at Queensland Raceway to help Avant fettle the rotary disc valve square four 500cc Suzuki before Pace took it out to test.

Also helping was former Team Roberts man Paul Treacy from Wellington.  As well as giving Avants Suzuki a check-over, they also helped ensure the ex-factory Yamaha was running crisply before Magee took it out for a trot.

Kevin Magee back in action on a 500cc two-stroke Yamaha YZR500.

Completing the Christchurch flavour was Avant's former Levi's jeans team-mate John Boote. 

Boote was testing a pristine, as-new 1973 Yamaha TZ750.  Boote was the first rider outside Japan to race one of these in-line four cylinder machines when he debuted it at the Gracefield (Wellington) round of the inaugural Marlboro International Series in New Zealand in early 1974.
Paul Treacy (left) and Mike Sinclair check over the TZ750 Yamaha 
that John Boote took out for a shake down run.

And unlike most of the other riders in attendance in the test session at Queensland Raceway, he was the only one still able to fit into his original 1974 leathers.

In addition to the Kiwi contingent, Queensland resident South African Kork Ballington was on hand to put several of the late Gregg Hansford's Kawasaki racers to the test.  

Ballington won four world championships for Kawasaki in the 1970s and will be one of the stars of the Barry Sheene Festival of Speed meeting in March.  He will join six other international stars on track as part of the  the festivities.

For more details on the Barry Sheene Festival of Speed, including information about how to attend, click here

The Kawasaki 750 that Kork Ballington tried out at Queensland Raceway.