Steve Walton at Geelong Revival 2016

The Geelong Revival 2016 – probably not an event that many people have heard of in the UK. But think Goodwood Revival meets Brighton Speed Trials in the sunshine and you’ll get the idea. This year saw the 60th anniversary of this motoring extravanganza, a prestigious event held on the waterfront at Geelong, near Melbourne, Australia. As the meeting co-incided with a trip to visit our daughter in Melbourne a tentative enquiry was sent to the organisers, so imagine my delight when not only was I invited to attend as a guest but they offered to source a machine for me to ride too!

After a lot of work behind the scenes by the organising committee I was amazed to be offered the opportunity to ride two different priceless Irving Vincents. These hand built machines are purpose built for various racing classes and have enjoyed enormous success racing in both Australia and the USA.

After an early start on the first day of the event I eventually made the start line feeling very nervous (especially as I was under threat of death should I drop the bike)………. First run was on the bike which won the 2015 Australian Superbike Championship – 1600cc, nearly 200BHP at the rear wheel and an all up weight similar to a Daytona 675 meant it needed to be treated with respect as it had the potential to bite me! A rather leisurely start meant the machine spluttered away from the line as I should have given it a few more revs but as soon as it cleared its throat the rear spun up enough to get the ticker going and remind me this was all real and not a dream. The combination of power and torque was tremendous and although I was taking things very steady the acceleration from the machine was amazing. Crossing the finish line fairly sedately I applied the brakes and was astounded by the braking capability which was just as well with the relatively short braking area.

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Getting some last minute instruction from Ken and Barry Horner, owners of the Irving Vincent

All of the motorcycles returned to the start line together for a second run where I swapped over onto the 1300cc version which although still very powerful was slightly easier to ride and certainly less intimidating and a phenomenal bit of kit.

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Here I am having just completed a run and still grinning (no, I didn’t ride without gloves!).  The sidecar outfit is in the background.

me having just completed a run and still grinning (no I didn’t ride without gloves!). Sidecar outfit is in the background.

To teach the ‘Pom’ a lesson I ended up finding myself as a passenger in their racing sidecar outfit for 3 runs in the afternoon session. Again this highly successful racing machine develops large amounts of power clearly illustrated when the rider, Barry Horner, left the line at only half throttle and it still wheelspan away from the start. I was prepared for the outfit trying to spit me out of the back on acceleration but wasn’t expecting it to try and catapault me out of the front when the brakes went on at the end of the run. I can only sum it up as think of the scariest fairground ride you’ve ever been on and double it. How those guys passenger the sidecars around circuits such as the Isle of Man is beyond me, but would I do it again? – you bet I would!

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The following day saw further demonstration runs on the two solos and the nerves had gone so although I was never going to push hard on these fabulous machines I did run a bit quicker as I began to get the feel for the bikes. All too soon the event was over and overall I was made to feel very welcome and can’t have disgraced myself as I was invited back so I guess I’ll have to start saving for the flight now!

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A huge thank you to all of those who made this possible for me at the Geelong Revival (www.geelongrevival.com.au) but in particular Chris Seager, Competion Liasion Officer for all of his efforts and Ken and Barry Horner of Irving Vincent (www.irving vincent.com) for entrusting me with their fabulous machines.

Article written by Steve Walton, salesman at Jack Lilley Romford branch.

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