Today we thought we’d again take a short trip back in time to feature a couple of classic snaps from the BikesportNZ.com archive.
The main photo above shows road-racing legend Craig Shirriffs. Although now retired from racing, he was spotted recently at Manfeild, a track in his own back-yard, giving a helping hand to riders at the Suzuki Series round there.
It’s the old story really … if you don’t fall off now and again, you’re just not trying hard enough … Craig could never be accused of not trying hard enough.
The man on the left in this first photo is well-known for his exploits on his Kawasaki KX250, especially around Hawke’s Bay – it’s Wayne Shapcott, of course – and the other rider was a top national 125cc class rider in New Zealand in the 1980s, until he left to live in the United States. He has since re-settled back in New Zealand. This man is Cliff Tolley.
Tolley was a 125cc class dynamo throughout the 1980s, finishing 6th in the nationals in 1982, 4th in 1983 and 5th in 1984, before switching to a big bike and finishing 6th in the 500cc class in 1986.
His friend Shapcott was a local identity of the Hawke’s Bay motocross scene in the 1980s. Shapcott’s main claim to fame was winning the open class in the popular West Coast Winter Motocross Series in 1982, finishing ahead of former national motocross champion Greg Brinck.
Napier’s Shapcott was a multi-time 125cc class winner at the Hawke’s Bay Championships and also excelled in local cross-country races.
A married father of four boys, Shapcott was unable to continue his motocross career once he started working as a commercial deep sea fisherman. He spent 22 years working at sea before settling back with a land-based job. He celebrated his 57th birthday this week.
At that time he was rubbing shoulders with the lead character played by American actor Michael Beck (who also took the lead roles in “The Warriors” and “Xanadu”), American actor John Ratzenberger (Cliffy Clavin off TV comedy series “Cheers”) and noted Kiwi actors Bruno Lawrence, John Bach and Kelly Johnson (Gerry Austin in iconic 1981 Kiwi film “Goodbye Pork Pie”).
Timpson was among the top echelon of New Zealand 250cc motocross stars in the 1980s, finishing 3rd in the nationals in 1983, 4th in 1984, 3rd again in 1985, 7th in 1986 and 5th in 1987.
Timpson is married with three adult daughters and, once he’d hung up his motocross boots, he tried his hand at mountainbiking, finishing as high as World No.6 in the masters’ class (for riders aged 30-40 years) in Cairns in 1996.
© Photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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As a bonus, we dug out this teaser clip for the film Battletruck, where we can see Timpson in action on the motocross bike: