Photos & Musings: Grands Prix

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Canadian GP, 1986

These photos are from the Canadian GP in '86.

I think this was the last time that a GP was held in Canada, and took place at Chatsworth just outside Toronto. All the Europeans had to ship in their bikes and equipment, and work out of rental vans etc.

The first photo shows the factory Honda team's pits. HRC had the big Ryder Hire truck and Honda Canada supplied the tent.

You don't realise how complicated it is to go racing until you do it like this. Bike stands, funnels, Fuel cans, water bottles, towels, paper, - all the stuff that you just take for granted at home (in the truck) you don't have. I imagine that these same problems crop up for Australians, Kiwis and South Africans when they first arrive in Europe in search of a GP career. You just have nothing.

This race was a week after I accidentally walked through a plate glass window in a shop in Tewkesbury. I remember the date exactly - 7th June 1986. My right forearm was cut to the bone, and I severed all sorts of nerves and arteries. It was not a pleasant sight. A proper serious injury and today I still have no sensation in my right hand.

I spent two nights in hospital and underwent surgery to try and reconnect everything. I came out with my arm in plaster and the Canadian and US GPs just a week away. The Surgeon was understanding and said that he couldn't recommend that I went and raced but realised that I needed to go.

I flew out and kept the plaster on until Friday afternoon prior to the race, then hacksawed it off. As soon as it was off I wished that I had not done so because while it had felt fine before, my arm was so weak with the plaster off. On top of that, I really did have concerns that my forearm would just blow open during the racing. I ended up putting the plaster back on but removing the palm part so I could work the throttle.

I raced, holeshot the first moto and got a tenth as I remember. As good a result as I could have hoped for.

Then, from Canada we headed off to Carlsbad for USGP the next weekend.

Think I remember first noticing Colin Reed over there for the first time. Thought to myself that I recognised him from GPs back home and that he must be keen. Colin later went on to sponsor Jared Smith and then have his own RWJ team.

The HRC pits at the 1986 Canadian GP. Enlarge image

Technical control in Canada Enlarge image

Team Kawasaki in Canada Enlarge image

Team KTM Enlarge image

Alec Wright supervising noise testing of Jobe's bike Enlarge image

Canadian GP Programme cover Enlarge image

Entry list Enlarge image

My mechanic Ken Baulf takes my bike through technical control Enlarge image

Andre Malherbe's wife checks lap times during practice Enlarge image

Not for the squeamish! Big-time slice to my forearm courtesy of Tesco Enlarge image