What an exciting era this was for motorcycle racing. The Americans would send a team over. The races would be held at several different tracks in the UK over a span of just a few days – a logistical nightmare for the teams and riders, but what a success!
Check out these covers from my own personal program collection
This was the program for the 1981 transatlantic trophy match race series between England and America. Run over one weekend at 3 different circuits, this made for a real challenge for teams, riders and spectators.
This is a slightly later program from the same series
And yet another cover from the early Eighties. This one shows the three race venues with the American and English flags. Oh, the tension mounts!
AND WHAT ABOUT THE RIDERS?
TEAM CAPTAIN- BARRY SHEENE
What can we say about Barry Sheene? He had good looks, sense of humour, a leggy blonde model girlfriend. He was a friend of the Celebrities. He was multi World Champion at GP level. He was an ambassador of the sport becoming highly involved in rider safety but he always had time for the press and fans. He was simply the rider we all wanted to be.
Inside the brochures was to be found details of the British and American teams along with photos of them in race action. These pictures were the ultimate inspiration for fans like myself to get trackside and support their favourite riders – mine just happened to be a certain Randy Mamola who had a fantastic, hang off the side, riding style. Of course Barry Sheene was the main man with his pioneerining knee out style in the early days but later we were to be treated to such spectacles as the Kevin Shwantz leg out which modern GP riders seem to have re adopted. They were indeed exciting times!
Here’s a pic of Ron Haslam. He was a local Nottinghamshire lad who came out of nowhere and ended up taking the world by storm. He was a regular transatlantic team member and went on to carve a solid career out of motorcycle racing. Donnington Park was always the circuit associated with Rocket Ron but he was equally at home on road courses such as the North West and of course the TT where he rode the famous Norton marque. Lots of other riders came up through the Transatlantic Trophy Races. Names such as Mick Grant, Steve Parish, John Newbold, Niall Mackenzie were all there to give the likes of Freddie Spencer, Kenny Roberts and Randy Mamola a run for their money. Even future Multi TT winner and all round hero, Joey Dunlop appeared at these match races.