The first Castrol Six-hour race was run on Sunday, October 18, 1970, when 68 riders lined up for the Le Mans start.
The race was run by the Willoughby District Motorcycle Club and held at Amaroo Park until 1983, when it was moved to Oran Park for 1984 until the final race in 1987.
Originally the race was called the Castrol 1000 in recognition of the prizemoney on offer from Castrol.
At the time it was the biggest and most prestigious bike meeting in Australia, enjoying huge support from not only Castrol and much of the motorcycle trade, but also was a great hit with the motorcycle community who saw it as a real test of the motorcycles they might wish to buy.
It also had considerable television coverage and either contributed to or was the result of a motorcycle sales boom.
At first the race was for three classes, Unlimited, 500cc and 250cc. The race continued in that format until 1975, when the 250cc class was dropped for “rider safety”.
Then in 1978 the 500cc class was dropped and a 750cc class introduced.
For 1983 the maximum capacity was limited to 1000cc, probably to comply with the ACCA regulations and in 1987 a 250cc class was reintroduced. The idea was to keep the bikes in production fettle.
According to racer Steve McDowall, “factory teams were especially eager to prove that their bikes were strictly production machines. Kawasaki was known for taking the club’s Chief Scrutineer, Chris Peckham, to the warehouse where he would choose two crates at random and those bikes would run as the team’s race bikes for the weekend”.
Snag’s career in motoring journalism spans 29 years with stints at major bike mags Australian Road Rider, Motorcycle Trader and AMCN along with contributions to just about every other outlet worth a hill of beans. He was editor of Unique Cars magazine and hosts his legendary podcast ‘Snag Says’ when he gets off his date.