Dave Hiscock is returning to New Zealand to ride at Wanganui’s legendary Suzuki Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day.
Hiscock (pictured above, left) is one of New Zealand’s most successful road racers with many championship titles and major race wins gained in NZ, Australia and South Africa. Riding big Suzuki production bikes and dedicated Formula 1 machines the former Wellingtonian dominated the racetrack during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Wanganui’s unique Cemetery Circuit was one of Hiscock’s most successful racetracks with 13 victories in several classes.
For the first time since January 1984, Hiscock will be reunited on December 26 with the famous ‘Plastic Fantastic’ for a series of demonstration laps in what will be one of the most celebrated homecomings of any Kiwi racer.
Sponsored by Wanganui-based Coleman Suzuki, in 1982 Hiscock finished third in the World TT-F1 and British TT-F1 championships on a Steve Roberts produced aluminium monocoque GS1000 racer. He regularly beat the worlds best four-stroke F1 riders and their factory-backed race bikes, on a machine designed and built in Wanganui.
The following year Hiscock took the new ‘Plastic Fantastic’ to Europe and placed eighth at the tortuous Isle of Man during it’s first race. In the Classic TT he was in fourth position when a piston broke. However, at his second meeting he suffered a high speed crash in Holland, ending his 1983 Northern Hemisphere season.
Hiscock recovered to defend his Australian Swann Series title later that year but could only manage seventh overall on a developing bike suffering suspension problems from the Assen crash.
The ‘Plastic Fantastic’s first race in NZ was on Boxing Day at Wanganui, 1983. With a new rear shock he won two legs of the Bryan Scobie Memorial trophy, the first win in the world for a kevlar-carbon fibre framed motorcycle, setting a new lap record.
Now living in Australia, Hiscock scored a hat-trick of wins at Gracefield a few days later to win the 1983 Pan Am Countrywide International Series.
Due to anti-apartheid laws Hiscock caused controversy in 1983 when he was placed on the United Nations blacklist of sportspeople who competed in South Africa.
The kevlar-carbon fibre monocoque chassis was built in Wanganui by Steve Roberts for Hiscock to compete in the World F1-TT championship. Roberts co-won the televised 1983 UDC Inventors Award ahead of 198 designs, for building the world’s first kevlar-carbon fibre racing motorcycle. In 1984, TVNZ produced a documentary about the machine.
The ‘Plastic Fantastic’ went on to enjoy considerable success in 1984 and ’85 at the hands of the late Robert Holden, after Hiscock had returned to live and race in South Africa.
The 2009 Suzuki International Tri-Series will be staged over three rounds for a $32,000 prize pool at Manfeild, Wanganui, and Taupo.
Entry forms and further details can be found on www.raceweek.co.nz or www.cemeterycircuit.co.nz. Phone organiser Leighton Minnell on 0064 (0)27 444-4731.
Suzuki International Tri-Series Schedule:
Rnd 1: Manfeild, December 19
Rnd 2: Wanganui Cemetery Circuit, December 26
Rnd 3: Taupo Motorsport Park, December 28
Words by Terry Stevenson
The photo above shows Dave Hiscock (left) with co-rider Robert Holden at the 1984 Castrol Six-Hour race.
Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com