Greg Pretty Tribute: The Little Master 1955-2010
Greg Pretty was one of the most versatile riders of his generation, and hugely respected by his peers.
Aussie race legend Greg Pretty lost his life in a terrible head-on accident on January 16, 2010 aboard the Honda CB750-K1 that he had just finished restoring. His former tuner Jeremy Burgess gave a eulogy at his funeral, and one of Greg’s Pitmans Yamaha XS1100s emblazoned with his signature #64 was positioned at the front of the congregation. While the pain of Greg’s loss will linger, his rivals and former team-manager share their fondest memories of an unsung hero whose love of a good time and rock music equalled his passion for bikes.
Wayne Gardner: “Greg really was one of the good guys of our sport. Not only was he a talented and committed racer, but off track he made a lasting impression as an exceptionally professional competitor. My most vivid memories of him were his incredible riding on the Pitmans TZ750. He was really fast and really smooth, and he was someone I’ve always tried to model my professionalism on. This is a big loss to the entire motorcycle community, and my deepest sympathies are with Greg’s family and friends. He’ll be greatly missed.”
Graeme Crosby: “Everyone warned me of how bloody good Greg was at Adelaide [International Raceway]. I found out first hand, so I’m glad he didn’t venture onto my turf too many times in NSW. History may have been decidedly different, since he was always the man to beat in the Swann Series. I’m glad he rode that old XS1100, and not a Kawasaki!”
Stu Avant: “My memories of Greg? Rose Tattoo pumping out of huge speakers in his backyard at midnight in the UK, 1980, pissing off the neighbours.Telling my wife how much he admired her before throwing up in her lap! His Transit van pumping out Credence Clearwater at Oulton Park when the Poms were listening to Ultravox. Sideways on his XS1100. He’ll be sadly missed.”
Mal Pitman: “Greg was an exceptional rider who took production and GP events by storm in the late 70s and early 80s, and I had the privilege to work with him as his mechanic/team manager during those great years. Greg wanted to race the fastest bikes, so it was no surprise that an offer of a Pitmans Yamaha TZ750 ride swayed him to swap from Kawasaki to Yamaha. This was the carrot to get him to race XS1100s in the production events, and history shows that he excelled in both arenas. Greg was virtually unbeatable during that time, and made us extremely proud of being South Australian. Partnering with Greg was one of the highlights of my career working with race bikes.
“Thank you Greg for all the good memories. You were always a gentleman and a good friend, who was fiercely competitive, willing to include everyone in the fun and an outstanding rider who will be sorely missed.”