Author Topic: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER  (Read 2170 times)

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Offline paul

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BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« on: April 09, 2012, 08:05:44 PM »
At the 1969 Bishop Court races, Bill Smith won the 350cc class on a Bridgestone 350GTR.  This was probably the only race ever won by a Bridgestone 350GTR in the United Kingdom.  As most of you know, Bill Smith was the Bridgestone importer in the United Kingdom.

Offline bert Lilley

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2017, 08:34:38 PM »
Yup 1969 was a bad year in N.Ireland got real close to civil war. One of our guys Camble Gorman had a 350 Bridgestone the first time I saw it was at at the Temple 100 Dr.Gordon Blair of Queens University had tinkered with the porting a little like most of that era ignition was a ongoing problem.
While back for my Mothers funeral In 2001 i visited a collectors home and there was the Bridgestone 350 !
Bert

Offline paul

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2017, 09:27:52 PM »
Thanks for replying to my old post. The info about Smiths victory came from a letter or article I saw in Classic Racer, a British magazine. I'm  not familiar with the road racing schedule , courses, tracks, etc  of that period.  Mr. Lilley, How long have you raced your GTR?




Offline bert Lilley

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2017, 05:52:48 PM »
Gees thats a good question, on and of about 15yrs. I have been more of a tinker trying to improve the things that failed plus seeing what i can do to make it faster. I was intrigued by Tony Murphy's speed run and some day want to give my machine a run at the Ohio Mile. Ignition problems where a factor so when it would not run i'd run my 250 Bultaco. 

Offline farmerdl

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2017, 08:19:58 PM »
 It is my understanding that the Ohio Mile meet this last fall was to be the last as the East Coast Timing Association has lost the use of the airstrip they were using in Ohio. The last I heard they were looking for another facility.  Things may have changed since the last I heard was a few months back.

Offline bert Lilley

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2017, 11:09:37 AM »
 You are correct the are locating another Venue.

Offline bert Lilley

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Re:Bridgestone 350 and the 1972 Ulster Grand Prix
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2017, 11:28:03 AM »
It looks like the 1969 U.G.P. did NOT have a Bridgestone 350 as a winner HOWEVER  the Official Programs of the day show that Ray McCullough was entered on a Queens University Belfast  Q.U.B.  B,Stone 350 in the 1972 350 Class but did not start.
I believe this is the same Bridgestone Bike  that Campbell Gorman rode at the "Temple 100" road races. see my Photo

for whatever reason this system will not allow me to post the 1969 & 1972 Official Programs

Bert


Offline paul

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2017, 09:38:03 PM »
Mr. Lilley, thanks for responses, I  recall seeing the Bishop Court mentioned in Clasic Racer a few years back.As I think about it, there may have been a later issue of Classic Racer that disputed the reference  to  Bishops Court.  Also, I think Bill Smith may have  ridden/ sponsored  several riders on various makes and displacements, so mistakes may have  been made in regard to who raced what on which day.  Is it possible a race was held at Bishops Court ,and the the race was not  the UGP? Wonder what happened to Gorman and McCullough?  GTR based road racers  don't appear to have been very successful.

Offline bert Lilley

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2017, 03:21:36 PM »
Wow well Campbell Gorman unfortunately passed, another Sad Irish Race story of a good guy. Irish Racing is unforgiving. 
Run on Public  roads sometimes directly through Towns and Villages check out this Utube Video :-
                                 https://youtu.be/YdvzxEUQogE  "N west 200"
                                https://youtu.be/G08y7s0ahBU  "Tandragee 100"
     Along the course, Walls, trees, Barbed Wire fences, Bridges. I hit a Bridge in the 1969 "Cookstown 100" during a rain storm don't misunderstand me Extremely well Run Events super Track Marshals,Doctors, Flag man etc. 

Both Bridgestone,s are still in Ireland , i posted a photo of the one that Campbell Gorman rode. The other one ridden by Ray McCullough is owned by Bertie Bradford, its Fast. I hopefully  will also get a Photo to Post. 

    Ray McCullough is a legend in Irish road-racing and was Irish Champion since he was a young Lad in 1960 he was equal to the very best International riders but never left Ireland to race, when he was 70yrs old he did a Parade lap of Dundrop (UGP) course went out and broke the Course Record.  Joey Dunlop if you know the name got really fast catching McCullough and often said " when your up with that man McCullough its really scary" and Joey was no Slouch !! as later I.O.M. wins would Prove.

To be honest the Sponsors who owned these Race Bikes the guys rode, where purchased Factory Machines like Yamaha,s, Ducati's, Nortons, AJS's, Bultaco's  out of the box Race ready with spares and the factory continually working to improve them to Win races, just needed a good Rider to get results.
The rest of the guys would choose Road Machines and work on them to get Race type performance, due to not having the $ to buy Factory Bikes some where very successful some just needed more and more Development.
Hope this answers your Query

Regards Bert

Offline paul

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2017, 09:36:05 PM »
Mr. Lilley, Thanks for the info. Do you know if a GTR  based racer  ever finished a race in Ireland or anywhere in the UK? I don't  think   Tony Murphy's GTR racer ever finished an AMA  sanctioned  race.

Offline BRT-GTR

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2017, 05:29:32 PM »
            While owning a GTR, I used to follow National and Clubmans racing in the North of England at the time.
        Visiting Oulton Park (as a marshall), Aintree, Wallasey with occasional run to Mallory Park in the Midlands. Was never aware of any BS racer, I'm sure I would have picked up on it.  Could always pick out a thundering 350 Aermacchi from a bunch of 20 two strokes down the back straight at Mallory  ;D 8)
            Brian.
Growing old is compulsory, Growing up is optional.

Offline slawsonb

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2017, 08:28:08 PM »
Maybe your interest in Aemacchi blinded you to the presence of greatness...(probably not, but fun to poke...) ;)
...bert

Offline BRT-GTR

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2017, 07:48:24 AM »
         You may well be right, Bert, it's that Italian Racing Red, tinted glasses thing.  :D   Poke away, all good fun  ;D.     Hmmmm? wonder what a GTR would look like in classic red and white.

   Our younger readers (under 45? :o) have to remember, the internet didn't exist in those days (so we invented it for you  8).  Information was only available by word of mouth, books and magazines. My ghasted has never been so flabbered by the revolution that has taken place. How did we survive  ??  ;) ;D
   
Bert (Lilley),  Many thanks for your fascinating insight into the Irish road racing scene in the 60s and later. Never personally witnessed it but get the impression it could be brutal at times with riders having  an obsessive will to win. Possibly the best available physical and psychological training ground, this side of the pond,  for future champions as you say. What might Ray McCollough  have achieved had he raced outside Ireland. Did he get the opportunity?    Must put Irish racing on my bucket list now I'm back on two wheels.
       
   Hope I haven't  diverted your post Paul,       Brian.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 07:10:10 AM by BRT-GTR »
Growing old is compulsory, Growing up is optional.

Offline bert Lilley

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2017, 09:10:30 AM »
Brian, it was not me who answered that last reply, i indeed did ride a MV Augusta in the 200cc class as a Member of the Belfast & District Motorcycle Club. It of course was a 175cc road bike upped to 197cc
So i am quite familiar with Italian Red 

Offline Sye

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2017, 11:53:04 AM »
I've been watching this thread with interest. Bill Smith is now in his 80's and has a dealership a few miles from me. I've been a customer of his for more years than I care to remember and bought a Bridgestone from him in 1969. I used to see him from time to time but not lately. His daughter Karen and son Paul now run the business.

I thought I would post a link that gives some information about the man and his racing history. There are also some pictures from the past that some of you may find interesting.

http://www.billsmithmotors.co.uk/pages/about/our-heritage.htm
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 01:19:39 PM by Sye »
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Offline BRT-GTR

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2017, 12:11:49 PM »
     Mr Lilley, Bert,       Apologies, if I confused things. My comment regarding Italian racing red was directed at Bert Slawson who       knows  I'm a 'macchi fan.

    Thanks for the MV Agusta photo, an exotic machine in it's day ( compared to the likes of a BSA Bantam).
               For those of you watching in black and white, the red bike is the one in front of the rider dressed in blue.   ( A take on an actual snooker commentary from the days before all had colour TV in the UK)

                                     Brian.                                                                                               
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 05:52:51 PM by BRT-GTR »
Growing old is compulsory, Growing up is optional.

Offline bert Lilley

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2017, 02:04:43 PM »
Hey no offense taken, it's all Banter after all. I'm a pretty open guy not much i can't answer
In fact like all Irish guys I've got all the answers, May not be to Right answer But !!

Cheers Brian

Offline paul

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2017, 09:12:00 PM »
My old post has  started a discussion. Has anyone ever asked Bill Smith about his Bridgestone experiences?  Jack Findlay and Steve Murray have passed away. I suggest we start writing things down.

Offline bert Lilley

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2017, 12:30:00 PM »
That would be a great Idea , to sit with the guy and ask him of his experiences riding a Bridgestone.

Would be super to read about his Racing Times

Bert

Offline BRT-GTR

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Re: BILL SMITH 350 GTR RACER
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2017, 06:45:14 PM »
          There is a post on this site showing an extensive article by Steve Murray about his memories of a batch of 3,  50cc twins racers that BS brought to the UK. Just got to find it.
          Whether Bill Smith ever rode a BS race bike on the track, I am not sure. I saw him race many times but usually on a Honda. I was also lucky to see him ride at the Isle of Man TT meet in 1978, along with a comeback by Mike Hailwood
    The Bill Smith website that Sye posted says he started with BS in 1966 for a couple of years. I was told in maybe 69/70 that no more spares would be coming in to the UK for my GTR as BS had stopped production. I now know that wasn't quite true. So the UK BS story was over a relatively short time span.( Mod - 3 and a bit years, just seen in a magazine)

   Sye,  Do you know Bill Smith or his family well enough to request a meeting to discuss and maybe record his experience with BS. I only knew him when I was a young lad and only as a customer.  Also, the guys at Fastline bikes in Preston, who seem to know him quite well, mentioned he may not be in good health.

        Brian.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2017, 09:36:22 AM by BRT-GTR »
Growing old is compulsory, Growing up is optional.

 


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