Allen returning to where it began
IT has been nine years since Bundaberg man Phil Allen’s last competitive ride, but the lure of one last assault at Sydney’s Oran Park this weekend was too hard to resist.
The Bel-Ray 6 Hour Race will be the final time the tarmac is used, before it is torn up for residential developments.
It is the track where Allen started his road racing career in 1985.
“That was where I got seriously into road racing; it’s where it all started,” he said.
“So to be riding there for the final time will be special.”
The 6 Hour has been a fixture of the Oran Park circuit since 1970, with a traditional Le Mans start meaning riders must run across the track to their bike to start the race. Whoever clocks the most laps in six hours is crowned the winner.
Allen knows the track like the back of his hand, but has heard rumours of a bumpier-than-normal surface this year.
“It’s going to mean concentration non-stop, otherwise you’ll probably crash,” Allen said.
Before moving to Bundaberg in 2000, Allen forged a reputation in the sport while based in Adelaide, winning the 1994 Bathurst TT Bears Class and mastering the most treacherous of all road races, the Isle of Man TT in 1995.
“The fortnight I was there we counted nine deaths from bike crashes. It’s the most dangerous in the world, but I came away with a 104-mile lap, so I was happy,” he said.
The speed freak will compete in the six-hour endurance format with three other riders, swapping turns in the saddle at every fuel or tyre change.
Tactics, he said, would determine the outcome.
“It’s all very strategic. We’ll be plotting our tactics and hoping they come off,” he said.
“But in six hours anything can happen. You’ve just got to be there at the end of the day.”
The team left for Sydney yesterday , and practice sessions today and tomorrow will determine which order the team rides in.
Allan, 48, is optimistic that he still has the speed to match his younger rivals.
In trials with the new bike he was able to post impressive times, and he has been training hard to ready himself for his biggest test in a decade.
He will ride in the 600cc Superstock and Veterans class, with $10,000 up for grabs for top spot.