Photos & Musings: Grands Prix

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1987 German GP, Reutlingen

This Jack Burnicle Photo was taken as I walked back to the truck after my best ever moto result – 2nd in the first race at the 1987 German GP at Reutlingen.

Due to some mechanical issues I had scored a poor timed training time and hence a poor gate pick for the races on Sunday. The start featured a fast right hand sweeper and so everyone lined up on the left hand side of the gate to get a fast line through the first turn. With my bad gate pick I ended up on the right (inside). However, at the start of the first race what happened was that everyone ran wide in the mud leaving a big opening on the inside which I snuck into and came out of the first turn in the top five.

Jobe was in the lead and pretty much checked out. I moved up to second and engaged in a race-long battle with Hakan Carlqvist. He would pass me then make a mistake and I would pass him back. This went on for lap after lap. It was really muddy and so it was essentially a case of going as fast as you dared, while making no mistakes, and of course keeping your goggles on. Eventually Hakan DNF’d and I went on to finish second. It was a real ‘tortoise and hare’ situation.

The press cutting* shows Hakan doing his best to reel me in.

*Note to self: Get full face helmet to disguise look of utter terror when riding...

For the second moto everyone got wise and lined up towards the right side of the gate, with the inside line for the first turn. Me, with my lowly qualification time ended up way out wide. I didn't get such a good start in the second race but raced hard and battled through to 9th. That gave me joint third overall but I lost out on a podium position on a tie breaker.

I had two shots at podiums in GPs. Joint second (with three riders) in Austria '86 and joint third in Germany '87. Both times I lost out on the worse second race finishing position rule and so never got to stand on a GP podium. That was disappointing.

The advertising sign that now adorns my workshop was, I'm ashamed to say, stolen by myself after the race. While I would never condone theft, it was on the side of the road as we drove through the local town on Sunday night after the race. I'd like to think that some good came of my actions though as it now has a good home and is much cherished.

A 2nd place ensured a smile despite the tough conditions Enlarge image

Conditions were hard Enlarge image

A pleasing result Enlarge image

Advertising board from the 1987 German 500GP Enlarge image