Mal Campbell and Honda RC 30 Reunite at Island Classic
Aussie motorcycle racing legend Malcolm Campbell will be reunited with Honda’s RC30, on which he won two Australian Superbike championships, this coming weekend at Phillip Island for the International Island Classic.
Saying that a racing bike is built to win is a bit redundant, but the RC30 really was built to win. Honda saw an opportunity in the fledgling World Superbike Championship to build a no-compromise racer that would capture hearts and minds with its majesty and peerless performance. So they homolegated the RC30 and set it to work.
Fred Merkel rode an RC30 to win the first ever World Superbike Championship in 1988, and then the second one in 1989. Its 750cc V4 happily pushed Steve Hislop to the first ever 120 mile per hour lap of the Isle of Man TT. Around the world and across disciplines RC30s did their thing and did it well.
And they have become incredibly desirable and quite rare classic machines. It’s wonderful that the late ’80s are being opened-up more and more to historic motorsport. At the International Island Classic beautiful machines like the RC30, Yamaha RZ500 two-stroke and Suzuki GSX-R750 will run in the ‘New Era’ class; a new formula of historic bikes for machines produced between 1983 and 1990.
So, what ’83 to ’90 machine would you take to the track?
Read on for the full word and photos from the Island Classic team.
Veteran rider, Mal Campbell, to reunite with an old icon
A new class of historic road racing – Period 6 – will make its debut on the big stage at this weekend’s massively popular Island Classic meeting (January 27-29), to be held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
The fledgling formula, to be known under the ‘New Era’ moniker, is for hardware produced between 1983 and 1990, with the eight-year window including bikes such as the Honda RC30, Kawasaki ZX-7R, Suzuki GSX-R750 and the Castrol 6-hour winning Yamaha RZ500 two-stroke.
One of the toughest, bravest and most combative riders to ever pull on motorcycle leathers in this country, Launceston’s Malcolm Campbell, was intrinsically linked with the snarling RC30. Campbell even won two Australian Superbike titles on the free-wheeling Honda — created especially for homologation purposes to compete in the Superbike World Championship – and some of his fierce battles with the likes of Rob Phillis (ZX-7R) are now the stuff of legend.
Campbell, now 58, has just announced he’ll reunite with a restored ‘works’ RC30 in the Period 6 races at Phillip Island. But no Phillis this time – although he does have a ZX-7R that’s all ready to be dusted off. Watch out 2013…
“I competed on some great machines over the years, and the RC30 is right up there as one of my favourites,” said Campbell. “It’s just such a sweet bike to ride, and really set a foundation for the modern Superbikes we see today.
“And it was jus so successful on the race track, from winning local championships to the world Superbike title. I am really looking forward to riding it again at Phillip Island.”
As well as the Period 6 races, Campbell will also compete in the headline Tahbilk International Challenge format for Forgotten Era machines (1973-1982, Period 5) on a Honda CB1100R.
Campbell will combine with the likes of Suzuki Katana-riding trio Phillis, Steve Martin and Shawn Giles in the Australian team, competing against the Jeremy McWilliams-led UK equip and the World 13, a fusion of riders from New Zealand, France, Australia and America. Four races will decide the International Challenge.
The Island Classic will see over 260 riders – and 350 separate machines – in action, with solo classes for bikes dating back to pre-WWI, right through to Vintage (1920-1945), Classic (1946-1962), Post Classic (1963-1972) and the aforementioned Forgotten Era (1973-1982) and New Era (1983-1990) classes. Sidecars will also compete.
A total of 44 races will be held on the Saturday and Sunday.
For more information and bookings, visit www.islandclassic.com.au or contact the circuit on (03) 5952 2710.