Bike lovers gear up for 60th round

By Iain Hyndman


All roads lead to the Cemetery Circuit in Wanganui on Boxing Day as the iconic motorcycling event celebrates its 60th anniversary.

Organiser Allan "Flea" Willacy said the largest and arguably the most popular street circuit motorcycle racing meeting in the country would be even bigger this year, with numerous past champions and current stars descending on the River City to take part in the celebrations.

While event promotions have only just begun, the race meeting and Wanganui are already in the limelight with a motorcycle display at the i-Site information centre attracting major attention.

The display features five machines, four of which have won on the track dating back to the 1950s. The display includes the former Paul Dawes-owned AJS classic, Pat Heenan's (US) feature race-winning Suzuki, the Steve Roberts-built Suzuki ridden to victory on several occasions by Dave Hiscock, Geoff Perry's Suzuki and the only Suzuki 8-hour bike in New Zealand kindly loaned by Suzuki New Zealand. The 1000cc machine is a full Yoshimura works bike.

Willacy said visitors and locals alike were already flocking to see the display, but worldwide attention will be centred on the display with television coverage set to screen in Europe on Motors TV.

It will screen to more than 4 million viewers in France, England, Germany, Spain and Italy.

"I have also offered it to Speed TV in Australia and it will appear in New Zealand on TV3 and the Cue channel on Freeview, so Wanganui will be in the limelight worldwide," Willacy said.

Prolific Cemetery Circuit winner Heenan has confirmed he will fly from his home in North America to celebrate the 60-year anniversary, while Kiwi racers Graeme Crosby, Aaron Slight and Hugh Anderson will also attend. Hometown hero Richard Scott has also been confirmed, as have Rod and Bob Coleman, the founders of New Zealand Suzuki.

In the coming weeks, Willacy hopes to confirm other high-profile motorcycle racers arriving for the anniversary.

"In the meantime, while the display is on tickets can be bought from the i-Site for $20, a saving of $10," Willacy said.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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