Those Were the Days
Hall of Fame - MOTORCYCLING'S Living Legends Honoured at Centenary of Motorcyling new Zealand celebrations, 2016LIVING LEGENDS HONOURED
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Three living legends of New Zealand motorcycling were honoured in a special ceremony in Wellington on Saturday night.
The governing body for motorcycle sport in this part of the world, Motorcycling New Zealand, celebrated its 100th birthday at Wellington's Te Papa Museum on Saturday night, the organisation using the occasion to announce its major award recipients for 2016, to recognise and honour special achievements by individuals and also to name the latest inductees into the Hall of Fame.
The centenary function heralded five new additions into the MNZ Hall of Fame and among them were revolutionary inventor of the iconic Britten motorcycle, John Britten, and the man behind "The World's Fastest Indian", Burt Munro.
While both of these men were honoured posthumously, three "living legends" of the sport were on hand to personally accept their honours and speak before a large crowd that represented a "Who's Who" of New Zealand's motorcycling community.
Palmerston North's Tim Gibbes, Lower Hutt's Paul Treacy and Tokoroa's Sean Clarke heard their names read out as they were inducted into the Hall of Fame and they each modestly declared themselves "humbled" by the occasion.
Named as an Ambassador to NZ Motorcycle Sport or Industry, the 82-year-old Gibbes has been heavily involved in motorcycling most of his life and he still plays a vital part in the sport today.
He was a Grand Prix motocross racer in the 1960s and, between 1955 and 1963, he won six gold medals and one bronze medal at the International Six Days Trial (later renamed the International Six Days Enduro, ISDE), an event often referred to as the "Olympic Games of Motorcycling".
It was during this period that Gibbes also worked as a motorcycle stuntman in the Hollywood blockbuster The Great Escape (released in 1963, starring Steve McQueen).
He was a factory bike tester and works rider on English-made Matchless, AJS, Greeves, DOT and Ariel bikes and, later in his career, Gibbes was the New Zealand Team Manager on several occasions for international race teams. Once the owner of a motorcycle shop and also a regular official, organiser and promoter at events, Gibbes has done it all.
It was Gibbes who founded the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville in 1961, this event now New Zealand's longest-running and largest motocross event, held each January.
In 1999 he became the first person to introduce electronic timing into motorcycling events in New Zealand and can still often be seen in the timing booth at superbike races, meticulously collating results.
Paul Treacy was recognised on Saturday night for his contributions to motorcycle design and engineering.
His work behind the scenes in the sport has been remarkable.
A former racer himself, he built and developed bike frames, suspension and engines that rivalled even the work done by the factory teams, assisting several riders to become world champions.
Treacy's career took him to the United States and then the United Kingdom where he helped Kiwi riders Richard Scoular, Des Barry and Richard Scott to considerable success when racing at the Isle of Man, North West 200 and F1 and F2 World Championship events.
He later joined the famous Kenny Roberts Factory Yamaha Team.
Treacy also assisted Bill Buckley in 1999 and 2000 with his BSL 500 GP project.
The youngest of this trio of inductees, the 48-year-old Sean Clarke was also named as an Ambassador to NZ Motorcycle Sport or Industry.
Sean & Mrs. Clarke
A multi-time New Zealand enduro champion and Tarawera 100 cross-country champion in 2000, Clarke has also competed internationally, winning gold medals at the ISDE, both times when the international event was held in Australia, at Cessnock in 1992 and at Traralgon in 1998.
He won ISDE silver medals on a further two occasions, in Slovakia in 2005 and in Greece in 2008, as well as tackling the iconic Romaniacs extreme enduro in Romania, placing ninth in 2011, winning his class in 2013, finishing third in 2014 and fourth in 2015.
Many times an event official, organiser and promoter, Clarke was the man behind New Zealand hosting the ISDE at Taupo in 2006. As a result, New Zealand won the FIM's prestigious Watling Trophy, the first time in its history that it was awarded to organisers rather than a team and Clarke was that year also named Administrator of the Year in the South Waikato Sports Awards.
"I was so blown away to be Inducted into the MNZ Hall of Fame on Saturday night," said Clarke. "I can't take all the glory on my own though. My wife and kids have been a major part of this journey.
"The support from all the team who come along and help me at events ... before, during and after ... are all part of the backbone to the sport. I couldn't have done it without all their support."
Individuals who had already previously been inducted into the MNZ Hall of Fame are Ivan Mauger, Ronnie Moore, Shayne King, Graeme Crosby, Ginger Molloy, Len Perry, Hugh Anderson and Rod Coleman.
The awards and centenary weekend was supported by principal sponsor Mike Pero Real Estate, with a number of category sponsors also backing the event. The categories and sponsors are: Female rider of the year (Bike Rider Magazine, Dirtrider Downunder); Service to motorcycling (Crombie Lockwood); Best up-and-coming off-road rider (Precise Print & Design); Best up-and-coming road rider (Suzuki); Male rider of the year (Mike Pero Real Estate). Supporting sponsors: BikesportNZ.com, Gibson Sheat Lawyers, Spark New Zealand.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan
Tim Gibbes Motors Ltd. 50 years - 1965 to 2015
It is right about now, but 50 years ago, that Tim Gibbes Motors Ltd. began trading on 1st Sept. 1965.
While this may not be very significant, you may like to add this to your useless information file, as you, as a customer or employee, were part of our "TGM" family. I still meet from time to time old customers & staff when we are able to talk about "Those were the days".
In our 20 years of trading as a wholesale & retail motorcycle shop, first at 9-11 George St., then a few years later at 80-96 Taonui St., Palmerston North, NZ we sold 10,000 motorcycles to commuters, students, road riders, off roaders, enduro, trials, MX, farmers & road racers. We employed mainly keen motorcyclists, & pleased to say many of us are still that way.
We are still trading but nowadays with our transponder timing/results service for motorcyclesport, motorsport, jet sprinting, "Relay for Life", etc.
You might have some photos & memories we can share? More about Tim Gibbes is under the heading "Who is Tim Gibbes" on this site.
Am trying to put together our former employee names & so far have got to 46, but will need some help to remember a few others with their contact details.
5th July, 2014 : Just had some sad news : a few days ago Dave Bickers, right of photo, had a serious stroke and he passed away this morning (Sunday UK time). Dave a former two time world 250cc MX Champion, stunt man & really good guy, will leave a great mark in MX history from his fearless riding, enjoyment of life & a man with many admirers, we being some of them. Dave is on the right of this "Half a Trophy" presentation recently in Italy, a New Zealand memory! He visited New Zealand in 1970 to ride our International MX Series as well as train our riders.
Many World, British & European MX champions gathered just recently in Italy for the ASI MX reunion at Imola, venue of the 500cc MX GP for many years. Dave Bickers is on the left.
The start of the 1970 International MX round at Ohariu Valley while the right photo is one of many publicity photos - Bob & Rod Coleman, Ron Grant famous American road racer who visited NZ several times with Jeff Smith & Dave Bickers sitting on the bike - during their visit to New Zealand for our last International MX Series in 1970
Some of Tim Gibbes memories of Dave :
Aug 4th, 1958 : I had been riding the Belgian 500 MX GP at Namur on the Sunday. After an overnight dash from Belgium, I went over to England for the Shrubland Park National Trade Supported Scramble, as required by the factory I was riding for at the time. The DOT Motorcycles Team Manager saw me arrive late and asked me if I would like to go out in the 250 race on a factory DOT to get some practice, which I did willingly. Had a good race with front runners and got 5th. Dave Bickers (Greeves) was the rising top man then and did a 4th place to 1st place pass like I’ve never seen before. He jumped over the heads of the front 3 as we dropped into an enormous bomb crater at the end of the straight! Probably shell shocked the other riders couldn't believe what they had just seen! Needless to say Dave went on to win the race.
When he was quite young, possibly mid teens when he was quite small, he built a Triumph 5TA 500cc motor unit into a Greeves 250 frame. In those days the English "scrambles" were all kickstart at the drop of the flag. Dave couldn't reach the ground with his other leg so used a high wooden block for support. I had also installed some light oval flywheels in my factory AJS 500. Neither of us had tested the bikes before. As we left the line we were both out of control all over the track skimming trackside ropes both sides. Dave thought it was a hell of a joke & looked across at me as we crossed lines totally out of control, laughing as though this was great fun, despite the dangers!
Later Dave moved to Husqvarna from Greeves. At the time I was doing articles for British Motorcycle News called "No Holds Barred bike tests". I went to Dave's property to test his bike. The property was actually a car wrecking yard, but he had made a practice track wending its way between wrecks. At the end of the test Dave turned up with a Greeves "Invacar", part of the sole of Greeves at the time as they made these for handicapped people. But Dave's "Invacar" was different, it was just the 3 wheels, no body, & a long rod provided tiller steering, but a full house 250cc Greeves GP MX motor unit.
Dave had his own track for this one - down a steep hill to gather more speed, then a ramp to jump over a car, in those days, quite a feat.
More info about Dave > http://motocrossactionmag.com/news/godspeed-dave-bickers-1938-2014
Many of us will recall David's skills which he knew how to calculate to 120% to get that extra bit of courage & speed at the right moment.
R.I.P. Dave, we cherish our memories.
Event Revival of the European and World Championships Motocross - Imola in Italy 1948 -1965
An event that Tim Gibbes was invited to during May 2014 but not able to attend.
Here's some of the stories! It started in 1970
What actually happened was that at the second last event of the 1970 NZ International MX series I said to Dave Bickers & Jeff Smith, both former World MX Champions, that I knew they would have hundreds of trophies in their cabinets but did either of them have a "half a trophy"? Neither had so we figured that at the last round near Christchurch we could achieve a tie if they played a game of winning & second placing’s, which they thought was a brilliant.
Of course there "just happened to be a tie" at the final so we set about cutting the trophy in half.
The problem has been that we've never been able to locate the two halves of trophy & about every year since I get an message delivered to me by an intermediary from either JV or DB where's the half trophy? It's been an embarrassment!
Jeff Smith's son inspects the "Half Trophy" that never resurfaced!
The "Half a Trophy" saga in 1970. It got lost after our dissection, so we made another couple & sent them to Italy in 2014
These are our 2014 "Half a Trophy" versions sent to Italy for the presentation by Luciano Costa & Les Archer. Manufactured & fashioned by "We Cut Shapes", NZ
The lower souvenir trophy inscriptions are upside down emphasising they are from the "other down under"! Newer photos from Justyn Norek Junior.
Note from the event organiser, Luciano Costa : The "Half Trophies fifty / fifty" sorting out a promise not delivered in NZ were presented by Les Archer to Dave and Jeff during the gala dinner on Saturday night at the Mineral Waters Park, Imola in Italy in front of an audience of 150 people. It was a moving moment, and at the same time very funny.
Luciano Costa & Les Archer spring the surprise to Dave Bickers on the right Jeff Smith receives his long awaited "half a trophy"
See the list below of "who's who" in World Championship MX of yesteryear to see who saw the presentation!
Les Archer, who presented the "Half a Trophies" commented "The presentation of the two half trophies took everyone by surprise including Jeff and Dave who were really delighted .
there to do the honours yourself ."
Comments from Jeff Smith after the presentation & a recipient : "What an exciting trick you and Les Archer played on David and myself. At a gathering of old mx racers deep in the Italian hinterland there suddenly flashed on a screen a shot of David and I hacksawing a silver cup in half 44 years ago in New Zealand! Irene saw it and said "Isn't that you and David?" I looked up and at first didn't recognise the two young men and what they were doing. By then Les had taken the stage and proceeded to explain what had happened all those years ago at the prize presentation in New Zealand. Of course, no one except David and I knew that we had planned to share first place from the start and the hacksaw session! There is no doubt that we seriously annoyed the organisers by taking such a weapon to their trophy. They took it off us and said they would finish the cut but as far as we know they never did and the cup disappeared into the mists of time. We have never given up hope that it might surface and each time either of us has visited N.Z. we have always made enquiries. What a surprise, what a prank. I don't know if you and Les or David and I had the biggest laugh. Certainly the crowd enjoyed it.
How about this for a trip down memory lane? Join the former MX Champions.
Tim Gibbes was invited to join the Champions as he had competed in this World Championship event in 1958 on an Ariel 500 HS, but regretfully was unable to make the trip. His story & photos below!
ASI MOTOCROSS SHOW Imola, Italy - May 16-17-18, 2014
Event Revival of the European and World Championships Motocross - Imola 1948 -1965
Concours d’Elegance for Vintage Cross Motorbikes 1948-1965
On days May 16-17-18, 2014 ASI SHOW MOTOCROSS back to Imola world champions and the motorcycles that have made the history of great motocross in the forties, fifties and sixties. The event, sponsored and supported by ASI, stands as a historic revival of the European and World Championships Motocross of Imola 1948-1965 .
The organization is under the responsibility of CRAME (Club Romagnolo Auto e Moto d'Epoca) Imola acting on behalf of ASI.
The event enjoys the patronage of the City of Imola.
They also participate in: - The Club Azavalvola of Bologna that will organize the performance of motocross and
- The Moto Club SANTERNO "Checco Costa," historical association that organized the world championsips in Imola at the time.
KTM has given his support by participating with the latest motocross models.
Responsible organizer for ASI is the ex-rider of Golden Flames Gian Pio Ottone who took part in the Italian Grand Prix of Italy at Imola in 1960.
After 47 years since the last Grand Prix, will return to Italy the ranks of the champions of motocross Golden Era, which made ??great the competitions of Imola and of Europe.
They have already joined almost all the champions who attended the edition of 2012 and other new important riders. They will be at Imola:
The display of well known MX bikes of yesteryear at the Show and former World Champions of MX Rolf Tibblin, Sten Lundin & I need help to identify the one on the right
Then add to the mix all these International riders >.
This glorious group of champions will be able to catalyze around him a multitude of other veterans of motocross and a large audience of fans.
The ASI MOTOCROSS SHOW, as well as exhibition and performance, provides, as highlight of the event, the awarding ceremony of the champions in the center of Imola and a historical parade that will go from the city to the Mineral Waters Park, site of the old motocross.
They joined the event more than thirty collectors of dirt bikes Golden Era pre-'65 from Italy and Europe, as well as several other Italians collectors KTM that will make possible the realization of a second historical exhibition KTM.
It will be available to the audience an exhibition of 40 motocross-bikes Golden Era pre-'65 provided by Italian and north-European collectors and an important photographic exhibition with a selection of 350 images restored and with large format on the history of international competitions of Imola.
The exhibition KTM will include a wide range of motocross productions from early 1969 Penton until the last models.
On the morning of Friday, May 16th will be devoted to a historical walk in the Mineral Water Park together with the champions to look for traces of the old path of motocross. Will be rediscovered and remembered the most salient and spectacular passages.
On the evening of Friday, May 16th, at the Conference Room of the CRAME, there is the Public Presentation of the event and of the champions. In this moment will be offered to the guests of honor, the commemorative tiles of the meeting produced by Cooperativa Ceramica Imola.
On Saturday, May 17th starting from 10:00 am, the exhibitions will be open and it will be possible admire specimens of motocross-bikes unique, and technical and historical value from Italy and North-Europe. The exposure of the bikes will be divided into two sections: a pre-'65 Golden Era and a KTM. The audience can also visit the photo exhibition of great iconographic value on the history of the Grand Prix of Imola. During the day, fans can meet the champions.
In the early afternoon of Saturday, the Concours d'Elegance will award five bikes, for the best restoration, the best preservation, the age and the number of appearances in competitions (Italian motorcycles and foreign bikes) and a jury composed of the same champions guests will assign the awards to the winners collectors.
Later in the afternoon, it’s possible to participate in a talk-show, hosted by sports journalist Paolo Conti, together with the champions, journalists, industry experts, and other characters from the world of sports. In this context, participants can speak, ask questions, comments and listen to stories of great racing events of the glorious past.
At one stand there will be books on the history of motocross and motorsport.
In the evening, the tables will take the place of the bikes, and the audience can participate in a festive social dinner with the champions. At dessert time, will be projected on a wide screen video of the RAI historic Motocross of Imola.
On Sunday morning, May 18th the exhibitions at AcqueImola area will open again its doors. At the same time, in the historic center of the city, will host the Champions Award. The awards will be made by the Committee of Honour composed by the Mayor and the Presidents of the ASI, of the Moto Club and of the other Sports and Cultural Associations. Soon after, the champions themselves will create an extraordinary historic parade motocross Golden Era which, starting from the center, will reach the exhibition grounds in Mineral Waters Park, home of the glorious track.
During the afternoon, from 15.00, in an extensive lawn area adjacent to the exhibition of AcqueImola will be organized a performance dedicated to motocross bikes pre-'65 and KTM vintage and new. The old motocross will meet the modern motocross offering a highly exciting and spectacular show. Will be present KTM with the latest cross models that will be driven by champions of today and yesterday as Andrea Bartolini and other riders by surprises.
Official speakers and presenters of the event's will be lawyer Carlo Costa, President of the Moto Club Santerno "Checco Costa" and the sports journalist Paolo Conti.
THANKS KTM FOR PARTICIPATION
Here are few significant memories
Les Archer was World 500cc MX Champion 1956 riding an Archer Norton made especially for Les by Ron Hankins
Here is the same bike, same body but 55 years later & awarded "Bike of the Show" 2014.
Some of the former World Champion MXers from yesteryear, from Left - Les Archer, ? ? Sten Lundin, Geoff Ward, ?, Jeff Smith in blaser, ? , Torsten Hallman, Roger DeCoster, Dave Bickers while the bike in front is a road going version of the Belgian Sarolea, a brand that produced a world champion winning MX bike too.
On the left :Tour of the circuit 50 years later. Photos attached to trees showing a section where breaking off a handlebar was "not healthy"! On the right : Thousands of photos at the reunion from "those days"!
June 22, 1958 Sunday: Italian 500 GP, Imola Italy. Tim's Diary Comment: Rode poorly tired after long trip, read more about this below. 11th place 1st heat race, 2nd race, broke special high tensile handlebars and landed in a dry rocky stream crossing. Also cracked frame of the Ariel. Hard rocky dusty course. Paid OK 100,000 lire.
Tim Gibbes is #21 Ariel 500cc HS #21 middle background
1958 Italian 500cc World Championship MX GP. Tim Gibbes #21 on start line with the Ariel 500HS.
Official Results - 22 giugno 1958
10° GRAN PREMIO D’ITALIA – Campionato Mondiale
Classe 500 cc
Prima Batteria (1st heat)
Percorso: km 3,200 – 10 giri – km 32,000 – 19 concorrenti
1. Draper John (GB) BSA in 33’23”;
2. Scaillet Hubert (Belgio) FN in 33’37”4/5;
3. Nilsson Bill (Svezia) AJS Crescent in 34’15”1/5;
4. Gustafsson Lars (Svezia) BSA in 34’15”2/5;
5. Klym Robert (Francia) BSA in 34’35”;
6. Archer Leslie (GB) Norton in 34’36”3/5;
7. Rasbro Boris (Danimarca) BSA in 35’05”;
8. Matthes K.H. (Germania) Matchless in 35’21”;
9. Sica Antonio (Italia – FFOO) BSA in 35’25”;
10. Godey Paul (Francia) BSA in 35’57”;
11. Gibbes Tim (GB) Ariel; (Australia not GB!!)
12. Blumensaadt Niels (Danimarca) AJS;
13. De Giorgi Luigi (Italia) BSA;
14. Casagrande Giovanni (Italia – FFOO) BSA;
15. Castelli Romano (Italia) Bianchi.
Giro più veloce: Scaillet Hubert in 3’16”4/5.
Ritirati: Altaflni Gianni (Italia – FFOO) Gilera; Moretti Antonio
(Italia) Mi-Val; Neri Fernand (Belgio) BSA; Hilsmann (Germania)
Seconda Batteria (2nd Heat)
Percorso: km 3,200 – 10 giri – km 32,000 – 19 concorrenti
1. Lundin Sten (Svezia) Monark in 34’08”2/5;
2. Baeten René (Belgio) FN in 34’27”4/5;
3. Smith Jeffrey (GB) BSA in 34’34”4/5;
4. Ward Geoffrey (GB) AJS in 34’40”1/5;
5. Johansson Gunnar (Svezia) BSA in 35’00”;
6. Van Der Becken Roger (Belgio) BSA in 35’07”3/5;
7. De Soete Herman (Belgio) Matchless in 35’16”4/5;
8. Ostorero Emilio (Italia) Mi-Val 350 in 35’20”;
9. Angelini Lanfranco (Italia – FFOO) BSA in 35’30”;
10. Rombauts Alfons Jean (Belgio) BSA in 35’42”;
11. Klym René (Francia) BSA;
12. Nielsen Arne (Danimarca) BSA;
13. Pedersen M.C. (Danimarca) BSA;
14. Schnud Jaques (Francia) BSA;
15. Linegaard Jacob (Danimarca) Triumph.
Giro più veloce: Lundin in 3’17”4/5.
Ritirati: Jaquemin Michel (Francia) Matchless; Betzelbacker Fritz (Germania)
Matchless; Koheler Bartl (Germania) BSA; Bombardini Giancarlo
Percorso: km 3,200 – 14 giri – km 44,800 – 20 concorrenti
1. Lundin Sten (Svezia) Monark in 46’12”2/5;
2. Scaillet Hubert (Belgio) FN in 46’25”;
3. Nilsson Bill (Svezia) AJS Crescent in 46’27”2/5;
4. Smith Jeffrey (GB) BSA in 47’05”;
5. Johansson Gunnar (Svezia) BSA in 47’44”3/5;
6. Draper John (GB) BSA in 48’00”;
7. Gustafsson Lars (Svezia) BSA in 48’10”;
8. Baeten René (Belgio) FN in 48’18”;
9. De Soete Herman (Belgio) Matchless in 48’18”2/5;
10. Ostorero Emilio (Italia) Mi-Val in 48’29”2/5;
11. Klym Robert (Francia) BSA;
12. Rasbro Boris (Danimarca) BSA;
13. Godey Paul (Francia) BSA;
14. Matthes K.H. (Germania) Matchless;
15. Sica Antonio (Italia – FFOO) BSA;
16. Van Der Becken Roger (Belgio) BSA;
17. Angelini Lanfranco (Italia – FFOO) BSA.
Ritirati: Archer Leslie (GB) Norton; Ward Geoffrey (GB) AJS;
Rombauts Alfons Jean (Belgio) BSA;
In the final Tim Gibbes (GB) Ariel 500 HS Model - the bike was GB (Going Bad) the rider Australian! The right side handlebar broke completely off as I was going down a narrow track to turn sharp right over a narrow bridge. I finished up head first in a rocky stream!
How about this for a rush trip England to mid Italy > June 20 Friday evening : Left Mid Wales, Llandrindod Wells about 7pm and headed towards Italy for Italian 500 MX GP Sunday in the Vanguard pickup with Ariel 500 on back. Flat tack all way, caught midnight ferry Dover to Dunkerque probably. On the ferry, I picked up English hitchhiker, who had £10 in his pocket and a bag full of sandwiches (the bonus)
Bounced through France with unmarked road works through the night, like ½ metre deep holes. 85 mph where possible, over Swiss passes to arrive at Imola by 2am Sunday morning. Slept on the ground at the circuit. Woken up about 4am from the noise of local riders practicing!
1,000 miles (1,600 Kms) in about 36 hours non stop. After the event I asked the hitchhiker where he proposed to go. He said originally North to Scandinavia, but thought Italy with me was good. He was in Rome Monday morning! Round trip from Wales to Italy returning via Geneva, Lyon, Paris to Birmingham – 2,500 miles.
One complete set of tires worn out. Part of the reason was the Vanguard had poor brakes so I had to fling it sideways to slow down, which scrubbed off quite a lot of rubber!
June 22 Sunday: Italian 500 GP, Imola Italy. Diary Comment: Rode poorly tired after long trip. 11th place 1st heat race, 2nd race, broke right side of special high tensile handlebars and landed in a dry rocky stream crossing. Also cracked frame of the Ariel. Hard rocky dusty course. Paid OK 100,000 lire
Spent the following week repairing the bike. Swede Sten Lundin (500 World MX Champion at the time) and girlfriend Britt drove the Vanguard while I travelled with Lars Gustafsson. Sten put low octane petrol in the Vanguard pick-up and it blew the head gasket. No parts in Italy, so I made a new head gasket out of a copper sheet. Worked out well! Gave it valve grind and decoke also.
Then I moved on to the next event > June 29 : International MX, Pinerolo, Italy. Diary Comment: 9th in final classification of 3 of 45m + 1 lap races. Rode poorly. Hard narrow twisty course. 142,000 lire paid OK.