1976 Laverton Air Base International Race Meeting
1976. This was the first time ever that the current world Champions Giacomo Agostini 500cc, Walter Villa 250cc and 350cc and Paolo Pileri 125cc classes ever raced at the same meeting in Australia. It was a great confidence boost for our local riders to compare standards. Under FIM rules the promoters provided the same fuel for every competitor.
It was my only chance ever of riding against a current world champion. On the front row of the grid was Walter Villa, Kenny Blake, Jeff Sale, Ray Quincey, Len Atlee, Rick Perry, Otello Buscherini and myself. I was first off the grid and lead the field with Villa behind. I was matching him for speed down the long straight into turn 1, then 2, then3, still in front for turn 4 and 5, then onto the straight again, half way down I could see him alongside me and ducked into his draft. Within seconds the bike seized and I coasted to a stop. My dream race was over. We later found out the organisers had mixed benzene in the fuel to increase the octane rating. There were a lot of other riders having the same trouble with their bikes seizing. Speaking with John Woodley afterwards he had confirmed his bike seized while leading Agostini in the 500cc Race.