Early Superbike Heros

It’s Monday which means it’s time for another story. This week I’m doing Superbike history, specifically the formative years of 1976-1979. I tell about the people of the early Superbike class, both riders and tuners. Look for the page titled “YO. Superbike Pioneers. 1976-1979.”


2 thoughts on “Early Superbike Heros

  1. Hi Paul

    I hate to be the one to tell you this but Superbike racing as we know it (based on the stock street bike, including chassis) was ‘invented in Australia several years before it became a major class in the USA.

    In fact, the rules used for the 1974 (I think) Superbike race at Laguna Seca were a modified version of the Australian rules.

    Warren Willing gave Steve McLaughlin a set of the Aussie rules, Trudy Ulrich re-typed them, then they were modified for US circumstances, and supplied to Tripp Cox Promotions for Laguna Seca 1974.

    That’s the way I got the story from Steve McLaughlin.

    I believe Yvon DuHamel won the 1974 Superbike race at Laguna Seca, on a Yoshimura Kawasaki.

    The France family at Daytona like the idea and ran a Superbike race at Daytona in 1975, also won by DuHamel.


    Michael Esdaile

    • Michael,
      You are right — the Production races the AMA experimented with in 1974-1975 were indeed strongly related to the Chesterfield series in Australia. But the new rules started in 1976 were different, a LOT different, than the Australian-based rules used in 1974-75. I think the AMA called the classes “Production Superbike” in 1974-75. In 1976, with the new rules, they called the class “Superbike,” dropping the “Production” part.

      I’ve communicated with Steve about this, and I probably should have mentioned that the Production Superbike classes of 1974-75 were modified from Australian rules, but my focus was on the class that started in 1976. As far as I know those Superbike rules were unique to the U.S. at the time.


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