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The Australian National Motor Racing Museum presents a tribute to Gregg Hansford

Australian Greg Hansford was among the best Kawasaki GP racers of the mid to late '70's :clap

Link to MCN Australia with brief bio & pix

Text & pix from link:
It has been over ten years since one of Australia’s greatest ever motorcycle racers was tragically killed at the Phillip Island circuit. The National Motor Racing Museum at Bathurst has created an exhibition in tribute to Gregg Hansford, who was so liked and admired in world motorsport.

Included in the display are five of the bikes that Hansford rode in his career, a Kawasaki KR250, a KR350, a KR750 and the air-cooled H2R750. There is also the Yamaha TZ700 that he rode at Daytona and then at Mount Panorama in 1974. Brisbane builder, Gary Middleton, who was a friend from school days, has loaned the Kawasakis, as well as trophies, photos and a set of leathers. He has put the collection together over a number of years and, with the support of Gregg’s family, has made it available to the museum to enhance the exhibition.

The Yamaha TZ700 is owned by Queenslander Graham Lampard, himself a great admirer of Hansford, and a close friend of the subsequent owner of the bike, Rob Moorhouse. Moorhouse was tragically killed at Mount Panorama in 1980.

The bikes have been rarely sighted in public for many years, so it is an opportunity to view them and to pay tribute to one of our best.

There is much to celebrate in the career of Gregg Hansford, who after leaving school worked as a motorcycle mechanic before starting racing in 1971. Success came his way and in 1974 he and fellow Aussies Warren Willing and Ron Toombs went to the Daytona 200 in the US to compete against the likes of multi world champion Giacomo Agostini and Kawasaki works rider Yvon du Hamel. Unfortunately Willing couldn’t secure a ride, so he became Hansford’s team manager for the race. Although he didn’t win on the TZ700 Yamaha, he had certainly arrived as far as the observant team managers were concerned.

Returning to Australia, Hansford took the TZ700 to Mount Panorama for the Easter meeting. In an epic race, reminiscent of the Bill Horsman/Ginger Molloy dice, Willing and Hansford swapped positions for the whole 20 laps of the Unlimited race. A photo of the two, airborne coming over the second hump on Con-Rod Straight, has been immortalised. Oran Park was the scene of another of their “let’s mix it” approach to racing.

Hansford ran his own bike business for a time but racing took precedence when he joined Team Kawasaki in 1975. There he came under the influence of one of the all time great team managers and tuners, Neville Doyle, who shaped his bike career for a number of years.

After dabbling in car racing in 1977, Hansford took the decision to take on the World Motorcycle Championship in 1978, full time. It should be remembered that prior to Wayne Gardner, Gregg Hansford held the record for the most number of Grand Prix wins by an Australian, ten of them, over a three year period. In fact, in the 250cc class, Gregg’s final win in 1979 at Rijeka in Yugoslavia was not equalled until Gold Coast rider Anthony West stood on the podium over twenty years later.

Hansford finished runner-up in the 250cc class in 1978 and 1979 to South African Kork Ballington and third in the 350cc class in both years, once again to the same rider. It was an era when the talent pool was full to overflowing with riders of the calibre of Barry Sheene, Kenny Roberts, Kork Ballington and Anton Mang vying for supremacy. Hansford’s physical size was a disadvantage on the smaller capacity bikes, but it didn’t stop him getting results.

After a serious accident curtailed his World Championship ambitions, Hansford returned to Australia looking to carve out a career in car racing. The change to cars is not always a success for top-line riders, exceptions being John Surtees and to a lesser extent Mike Hailwood, Wayne Gardner and Graeme Crosby, but Hansford over the next ten years or so proved to be one of the best endurance drivers around (he’d proven his endurance capabilities on bikes in the Castrol 6-Hour and the Suzuka 8-Hour). He tasted success in the 1988 Sandown 500 driving a Ford Sierra RS500 with Allan Moffat, the 1994 James Hardie 12-Hour driving a Mazda RX7 with Neil Crompton at Bathurst and then the ultimate, the Tooheys 1000 in 1993 at Mount Panorama driving a Commodore with Larry Perkins. Interspersed with these wins were a number of podium finishes at all sorts of events, but it’s an eternal mystery as to why Hansford didn’t secure more regular drives.

In the 1995 Two Litre Championship Hansford signed up with Ross Palmer’s team and drove a Ford Mondeo. It was at the Phillip Island round that in a high speed accident he lost his life, and Australian motorsport lost one of its true greats. Of course the loss is felt deepest by the family and friends of this talented man and the National Motor Racing Museum is honoured to display the material that is so valued by them. The exhibition will run well into 2006, and affords fans the opportunity to remember a remarkable career. The Museum is only closed Christmas Day and Good Friday and is open from 9.00am till 4.30pm.

Source: MCN Australia
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